Hasso-Plattner-InstitutSDG am HPI
Hasso-Plattner-InstitutDSG am HPI

Startups – From idea to business (Wintersemester 2020/2021)

Dozent: Dr. Frank Pawlitschek (School of Entrepreneurship) , Maximilian Mense (School of Entrepreneurship)

Allgemeine Information

  • Semesterwochenstunden: 2
  • ECTS: 3
  • Benotet: Ja
  • Einschreibefrist: 15.10.2020-11.11.2020
  • Lehrform: Seminar
  • Belegungsart: Wahlpflichtmodul
  • Lehrsprache: Englisch
  • Maximale Teilnehmerzahl: 25

Studiengänge & Module

IT-Systems Engineering MA
  • Management-Kompetenzen
  • Recht und Wirtschaft
  • Management und Leitung
Data Engineering MA
Digital Health MA
Cybersecurity MA


Our course "Startups - From Ideas to Business" will be held in four blocks this year, due to the current Covid-19 pandemic. Instead of the Bootcamp we will organize the "HPI Pitch Challenge 2020" together with SAP.

The course begins on 13.11.2020 with a preparation day consisting of lectures and exercises. On this day, different challenges of the partner SAP in the field of "Cybersecurity" will be introduced. The challenges can be solved by teams consisting of the lecture participants until 12.02.2021.

The second block seminar will take place on 04.12.20 and 05.12.20 and will include further teaching content on the most important elements of founding a company, e.g. building a team, validation of a business idea, the development of an MVP, as well as presentations by interesting guest speakers from the Berlin start-up scene.

On 08.01.2021 the third block seminar will take place in which, in addition to essential aspects of financing and venture capital, the basics of a successful investor pitch will be explained.

The course ends on 12.02.2021. On this day the teams will pitch their developed solution models in front of a jury. The winning team will receive 1.000€.

Between the block seminars, the teams can arrange individual consultation appointments with the E-School team to get feedback on the status of their pitch decks.

The primary goal is to guide students through the topics of setting up a company based on a practice-oriented program. They are provided with relevant knowledge and a wealth of experience. The E-School course aims to motivate students to start their own business and to support them in developing the necessary knowledge and skills.


Core Questions Addressed in this Course:

  • How do I develop a business idea iteratively through customer interviews?
  • Is my business idea solving a real problem?
  • What could be a good value proposition for my business idea?
  • Who do I need for the founding team of my startup?
  • How does the Lean Startup Approach help me in creating my startup?
  • What aspects do I have to consider when designing a business model?
  • What is important to know about the external environment of my business model?
  • How can I position my startup among existing competitors?
  • What are good go-to-market strategies and revenue models for my business model?
  • How do I finance my startup and do I really need venture capital?


If you would like to participate in this lecture, please submit a short application with the information described below by 05.11.2020. The course has a limit of 25 participants. Places are assigned to the most fitting students. Please let us know the following additional information:

  • Name, Email Address, Study Major
  • Tell us why you want to participate (2-3 sentences)
  • In case you already have a business idea that you want to develop during the lecture, please give us a two sentence explanation of the idea

Please send this information to Maximilian.Mense[at]hpi.de


Interest in startups and entrepreneurship. Willingness to work on a real business challenge from the field of cybersecurity for the HPI Pitch Challenge 2020. Eagerness to get hands dirty. 

The lecture will be held in English. Therefore, this lecture requires participants to be able to discuss subject related matters in English.


  • Eric Ries: The Lean Startup
  • Ash Maurya: Running Lean
  • Brad Feld: Venture Deals
  • Alexander Osterwalder: Value Proposition Design
  • Alexander Osterwalder: Business Model Generation

Lern- und Lehrformen

  • Lectures (5 days, 6 hours)
  • Hands-on exercises to finish the pitchdeck – Preparation of the pitchdeck for the pitchchallenge on 12.02.21.
  • Voluntary consulting sessions with each team between the block seminars
  • Challenge Partner SAP. The cybersecurity challenges are real aspects SAP is currently facing.


Written report (to be submitted until 14.03.21) (Hausarbeit) - 100 %

The written report needs to be in English too.



  • First Block: 13.11.2020
  • Second Block: 04.12.20+05.12.20
  • Third Block: 08.01.21
  • Final Pitches: 12.02.21

Rooms: G-3 E.15/16

Livestream of the block seminars (tba)

For questions contact: Maximilian.Mense[at]hpi.de