Martin Olczyk Joins Techstars as Managing Director of METRO Accelerator for Hospitality

I am extremely honored and excited to announce that I joined Techstars as the managing director of the METRO Accelerator for Hospitality powered by Techstars in Berlin. Together with Franziska Lohl (Program Manager) and the METRO accelerator team we will recruit and accelerate 10 outstanding entrepreneurial teams who are ready to help shaping the hospitality industry.

In the past 10 years, I have started four companies, acted as its CEO, CFO and COO, raising multiple venture capital rounds, worked with dozens of technology businesses as an M&A banker, advising companies on raising millions of dollars and selling businesses across the globe, being a business angel, mentor and advisor to startups and several accelerators. But compared to a serial entrepreneur journey, joining Techstars just feels by far as the most exciting move! Techstars is THE worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed – for me that means working with the brightest minds and helping them build the next world market leaders, I can’t imagine anything more exciting!!

I have seen a lot of changes across many industries and the increasing influence of technologies. Before starting my own entrepreneurial journey, I was always very fortunate to work with and learn from successful and super talented entrepreneurs during my career. Having the experience of working with early stage companies and more matured ones, I was always very curious about the persons behind the businesses – the entrepreneurs.

Having lived in several countries in Europe and in Asia, experiencing different cultures there seems to be one common entrepreneurial DNA which connects the special type of human beings.

Global Network and #Givefirst

Starting a business is tough and requires a lot of energy. Especially at the early stage, founders need the most help and the most support. Techstars’ #givefirst mission and the global network of mentors offers a unique one-stop shop home for founders and entrepreneurs. Knowing Techstars and the dynamic environment for a few weeks only, I am totally convinced that if I had had the opportunity when I started my business it would have been of enormous advantage for the growth and the development of my companies and I am thrilled about the idea of supporting other entrepreneurs within the Techstars now and lifelong.

METRO Accelerator for Hospitality powered by Techstars in Berlin

The hospitality sector has a significant economic impact and almost 10% of all European jobs depend on industry. However, the industry is still massively under-digitised and does not have such a large corporate structures compared to large industrial sectors. The huge number of individual businesses usually burns more money and cannot compete with organised franchise and system chains, which is usually connected with poor conception and planning processes, high burnout rates and poor food and service quality. At the same time, the segment is extremely cost-sensitive and is threatened to become the victim of various social developments – such as the extinction of the cooking profession, faster changes in trends, new developments in metropolitan areas  and the countryside or the above mentioned low level of digitisation. All in all, the segment offers high digitization potential with a high degree of complexity.

METRO, with €30bn revenues and the global network, an amazing mentor pool and access to key industry players, is the perfect hotbed/frontier for hospitality startups to test, improve, fine-tune its solutions and  find out what technologies customers need to succeed. Running two accelerator programs together with Techstars in parallel, for 4 years in a row, having invested in 50 companies together with METRO, offers the ideal conditions to turn your ideas into globally relevant products and sustainably successful companies.

Berlin has a uniquely vibrant and rapidly growing startup atmosphere and is said to be the best location for tech startups in Europe offering a perfect  infrastructure for funding, financing and scaling. You’ll be part of this international community and Techstars family not only for the three months but lifelong! So, we are looking forward to your application!

Applications for the METRO Accelerator for Hospitality powered by Techstars in Berlin are open now and close August 3rd, 2018.

You will find more valuable information about how to apply within the Application Toolkit or feel free to add me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter and let me know if you have any questions!

I am looking forward to work with the Techstars and METRO family and help grow and develop a new generation of innovative hospitality companies and boost the founders’ vision to unicorn level!

Presenting the 2017 Class of the METRO Accelerator for Hospitality, Powered by Techstars

The team is incredibly proud to introduce the 2017 class of METRO Accelerator for Hospitality, Powered by Techstars. These ten startups are gathering in the heart of Berlin for three months to accelerate, fund and grow their concepts to robust scalable businesses.

  • The third round of the successful mentorship-driven program METRO Accelerator for Hospitality, Powered by Techstars, kicks off in Berlin on 11 September 2017
  • Ten startups were selected among many applicants from 52 countries
  • For three months, the teams will collaborate with more than 100 international mentors, get the opportunity to test their products in 500 restaurants and hotels, and will each receive €120,000 in funding
  • The highlight of the program: the participants will present their companies to a panel of international investors at the Demo Day in Munich on 12 December 2017.

For the third consecutive year, METRO AG and the US startup network Techstars are jointly supporting startups with innovative digital solutions for the hospitality sector – with great success among international investors. In the first rounds, the participating startups generated an above average total volume of over USD 55 million in venture capital.

“Since we launched the accelerator program for hospitality in 2015 we have already selected and promoted 21 exciting startups, selected from several hundred applicants. We can with confidence state after the third round that the METRO Accelerator for Hospitality has turned into a fully established program.

It is the first program to connect the hospitality industry with first-rate technology innovators. We offer startups the opportunity to test their digital products and services with 500 restaurants and hotels in five European cities”, says Andreas Wuerfel, Director Global Innovation Community at METRO.

Today, the third round kicked off in Berlin. Over a period of three months, the participating startup founders will collaborate with more than 100 international mentors to further fine-tune their business models. The real test will be the Demo Day in Munich on 12 December 2017: that is when the start-ups will present their business ideas to international investors.

Will restaurant visitors soon be calling the waiter with the help of an illuminated LED cube? Or will we soon have machines mixing cocktails so that the bartenders can focus even more on advising their guests? These are but two examples of what the routine at the restaurant of the future could look like if it were up to the startups who made it into the third class of the METRO Accelerator for Hospitality, Powered by Techstars. 

Here are the startups participating in the third METRO Accelerator for Hospitality, Powered by Techstars 2017 class: 


A mixing machine that prepares perfect cocktails within just a few seconds


A bot named Concierge that answers the online queries of hotel guests


A digital end-to-end solution to optimize workflows in restaurants, personalize customer experience, accelerate customer satisfaction and increase significantly turnover


A restaurant system offering quality take-away lunches for business people


An in-destination App solution that gives hotel guests a personalized travel experience through the GuestU phone


A cloud-based software for the management of small and medium-sized hotels


An IT solution to minimize waste in restaurant kitchens


Nabl collects customer reviews in restaurants, hotels and shops before they walk out the door


An LED cube for guests to call the waiter by the push of a button


A tool for the beverage management of restaurants who want to stand out with their selection of wines

This was originally posted here