Robotics Start-up Challenge

ZEISS and KIT Robotics Innovation Competition

Startup, Science, and Student Challenge

  • Win €25,000 for a joint startup project with ZEISS and €3,000 as the winner of the Robotics Hackathon!
  • Expand your professional network and meet robotics experts, colleagues, researchers, practioners, and investors.
  • Challenge your competencies and make your innovations, technical thoughts, and business ideas come true.

You are a robotics expert or keen to work on robotics questions?

Be one of the selected high-tech teams that will make their ideas, startup, or technology a great success. Do you like working in interdisciplinary teams for a weekend to solve challenges in the area of robotics, computer vision, control engineering, and reinforcement learning? Go and apply for the ZEISS Robotics Innovation Competition. We are looking for students, scientists, and startups, and we will provide a suitable framework to support your contributions.

Scientists and Students Track “Hackathon”


We will provide a working environment as well as the required hard- and software to enable you to work on robotics topics during the hackathon. Furthermore we will give you advice, guidance and support to evolve your technical approach for an innovation which could be the basis for new business.

Please provide a short email as your application with following information (bullet items ok)

  • Contact details
  • What do you study? In which semester?
  • Why do you want to participate (1-2 sentences)?
  • What are your competencies and why should we invite you (2-3 sentences)?
  • What do you expect from the hackathon (2-3 sentences)?



Ten selected teams comprising 3-5 students will be invited for a two-day Hackathon session.


How You Benefit

  • Win a cash prize of €3,000
  • A lot of fun
  • Access to ZEISS as a potential future employer
  • Access to startups as a potential future employer
  • Access to venture capitals and corporate venture capitals
  • Access to ZEISS Business Experts who will evaluate your very early phase technology/business idea

Startup Track

also open for students/scientists teams


Your contribution and project has a technical focus on robotics, computer vision, control engineering, or reinforcement learning for industrial applications. To sign up, please send

  • A one-page presentation with a clear value proposition, problem statement, and your area of expertise in customer understanding; also include the competencies, diversity and open competency needs of your team
  • A business idea or business plan for your project (max. 4 pages)
  • A video (3-5 minutes) with your technical solution showing yor scientific methods/solution approach, novelty, and impact
  • A short explanation on how we can develop joint and new businesses in a short-term or mid-term collaboration (1-pager). Please also provide a statement, what you need from ZEISS/KIT to succeed within the next 24 months.



Startups or founding teams (e.g. student & scientist teams) with a focus in robotics, computer vision, control engineering, and reinforcement learning as wenn as innovations for digital quality solutions for additive manufacturing are invited.


How You Benefit

  • The best project(s) get(s) a contract of €25,000 to provide a prototype or technical contribution
  • Do you need expensive hardware for testing the setup? This is an opportunity to obtain this hardware from ZEISS for the duration of the project.
  • Become a trusted collaborator of the Corporate research and Technology Network at ZEISS
  • Enjoy the chance to win ZEISS as startup funding or to become a strategic partner for ZEISS
  • Have access to selected venture capitals and corporate venture capitals
  • Recruit for your own startup


16th of June 9am-6pm Student hackathon
16th of June 6pm-9pm Startup pitches and startup winner presentation
16th of June from 9pm Evening event and networking party
17th of June 9am-6pm

Student hackathon + hackathon winner presentation

The winners will be invited to present their concept at the Innovation Days at KIT on 27th of June

Got questions

Your contact

Application or request

Danny Krautz
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