Here’s what you can expect at the me Convention in Frankfurt

The third edition of the me Convention, a cooperation between Mercedes-Benz and SXSW, will be held from September 11th to 13th during the IAA (International Motor Show) in Frankfurt. The complete details of the conference programme are currently being finalised, but the organisers are excited to announce a number of confirmed programme items. And we are excited that Hamburg Startups is also involved. You can find out how in this article.


This year’s me Convention programme focuses on local startup ecosystems in the region between Frankfurt and Stuttgart. For example, thingsTHINKING, a startup associated with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), will offer a workshop on how artificial intelligence (AI) can support a more direct form of democracy. Startup Mannheim will discuss how the essential leadership skills of the future, such as empathy, social competence and creativity, might give women in tech and entrepreneurship an advantage. Experts and startups from Heidelberg University will offer an audience discussion on whether computers could be better doctors than humans, as well as examine the future role of AI in diagnostics for better health care.

Local impulses with far-reaching influence

Startup Autobahn from Stuttgart will coordinate a series of programme items related to the theme of sustainability and innovation, including a panel on corporate sustainability, and will host a demo area dedicated to startups and sustainability. The me Convention is also working on the future together with the Stuttgart initiative Next Entrepreneurs. In a startup bootcamp for pupils from Southern Germany, five teams will develop a business idea and then pitch it to a jury that includes Dorothee Bär, Minister of State for Digitisation.

Preparing for the future. Students solve tomorrow’s problems at a NEXT Entrepreneurs Startup Bootcamp. (Photo: Hauke Seyfarth Photography)

Finally, TechQuartier, as representative of the host city of Frankfurt, will present a Fintech panel and address the question of how the financial world has fundamentally changed due to the emergence of new technologies and disruptive startups. Together with PwC, they will also set up a unique Cyber Security Escape Room. In this room, visitors to the me Convention can try to hack a bank. The aim is to promote an understanding of the importance of cyber security.

Regarding this regional initiative, Mirko Whitfield (SXSW) and Kitty Leering (me Convention conference program co-director)commented:

During the last four months, we have traveled to a number of cities inthe Frankfurt Rhein-Main region, and we were pleasantlysurprised to see how many great programs are being rolled out,and the quality of the startups in general.There were at least another 10 cities we could have selected, but those that we are featuringat the me Conventionwill hopefully get some wider exposure for their projects–not just nationally but also internationally.

Startup Cities: Twelve cities now confirmed

For the third year in a row, the me Convention will be hosting the Startup Cities track, where a variety of cities from around the world are invited to givea 10-minute presentation and explainwhy their home town is such a great place for entrepreneurs and startups. Last year we presented Hamburg and in 2019 these twelve cities will be there:
Atlanta (USA), Bangkok (Thailand), Bristol (UK), Brussels (Belgium), Rotterdam (Netherlands), Fukuoka (Japan), Marseille (France), Nicosia (Cyprus), Brno (Czech Republic), St. Petersburg (Russia), Kaohsiung (Taiwan) and Tampere (Finland).

Pahrada “Mameaw” Sapprasert, Director of 500 Startups, Bangkok, Thailand, represents her hometown at the Startup Cities (Photo: Pahrada Sapprasert)

This is an amazing opportunity for me Convention delegates to understand what is happening in the startup ecosystems of other cities around the world. Each city will talk about what makes it so unique, what kind of support there is to attract companies and what kind of cooperation exists with universities and colleges. They will also explain the problems they have overcome to become a global Startup City. Including this year’s participants,a total of 56 startup cities have now presented at the me Convention.

At the me Convention the first decision for the Reeperbahn Startup Pitch is made

On a national level, the me Convention in cooperation with Hamburg Startups will initiate the only startup competition within the framework of the event. Through our Reeperbahn Startup Pitch website, young companies from all over the world can also apply for the pitch in Frankfurt. From all candidates we will choose between 15 and 30 startups in advance. The general public will then select five startups by online voting, which will pitch at the me Convention 2019 on September 13th. A top-class international jury will declare one of these five startups the winner, which will then reach the final of the Reeperbahn Startup Pitch on November 7th in Hamburg and automatically receive a free registration for SXSW 2020 in Austin, Texas.

This post is also available in: German