Challenge Up! Start-ups Wow Our Jury!

The Internet of Things is becoming the main driver for the digitization of businesses. That is why Deutsche Telekom has joined forces with Intel and Cisco to launch Challenge Up!, a unique cooperation to jointly scout the best IoT start-ups, develop their ideas, and bring them to market. Our focus was on IoT solutions that will enable companies to save costs and build new business models.


As an executive sponsor of Challenge Up! I am proud to be able to report that after eight months of intensive work by all the teams involved we were able to celebrate the 12 final projects in the 2015 Challenge Up! program at London’s unBOUND event on Monday this week.

The 12 winners are Admetsys, ComfyLight, DeviceHub, Hi-Park, Ifinity, n-Join, Oort, ProGlove, SEMSeye, Senic, Taggalo and Waylay, and they offer solutions for the smart office, smart cities, retail and manufacturing, amongst other sectors. All the start-ups had at a use case with at least one of the corporate partners, most of them even with two or even all three of us. More information about the 12 finalists and their solutions is available in the Use Cases document you will find below.

The event itself was held at Vinopolis, one of London’s trendiest venues near London Bridge, and was positively buzzing with excitement as well as start-up and innovation spirit. I presented Challenge Up! together with our partners from Cisco and Intel at a panel session moderated by the Financial Times and was able to speak to the media, our start-ups and partners afterwards. We announced that Challenge Up! will continue in 2016 with the involvement of all three ‘parents’ and I was asked about the advice I had for start-ups that might want to get involved with us in future. I can only say: continue to be disruptive and challenge the status quo! That’s what is at the heart of innovation – and we are in the fortunate position to be actively involved in getting these ideas transformed into real solutions to the benefit of businesses and consumers alike!

Activities like Challenge Up! are important for Deutsche Telekom and our European subsidiaries. Positioning ourselves with partners like Cisco and Intel and, even more importantly, with dynamic start-ups shows that we are driving innovation and clearly supports our strategy to win with partners. Besides this, involving mentors from DT’s headquarters as well as our subsidiaries helps us to build T-Spirit and ensures that innovation is directly linked to business needs.

How did we achieve this excellent result?

The official announcement of the Challenge Up! Start-up program was made during the Barcelona Mobile World Congress in March 2015. All three organizations – Intel, Cisco and Deutsche Telekom (via Hub:raum Krakow) – have had previous experience with start-ups. That helped to establish a great mentoring team including colleagues from our NatCos to give young companies support in business, technology and how to attract customers.

During the application period, we received more than 300 projects from 40 countries all over the EMEA region. The projects covered a variety of areas from Smart & Connected Solutions, Big Data & Analytics, and Cloud Computing to Information Security. The ensuing selection process filtered the number of projects down to 25, which were then presented during the first Incubation Days in Krakow early this summer. After that, 12 projects were selected and each received at least three mentors who are providing continuous support.


Read the recent interview with Elias Drakopoulos, Deutsche Telekom’s senior vice president for European B2B, with Telco Transformation:


Use Cases: CUP Use cases FINAL

Link to Challenge Up! Website:

Link to Challenge Up! Media Information:

Link Challenge Up! intro movie:

Author: Elias Drakopoulos Senior Vice President at Business Excellence Europe Deutsche Telekom AG
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