Since 2014, the Innovationscentrum Osnabrück (ICO) has offered startups a perfect place to further develop their entrepreneurial approaches. Among the first tenants were iotec GmbH and Bitnamic GmbH. Both companies, together with the ICO tenant seedalive GmbH, moved into the new iotec building in the science park in December 2022. Together with representatives of the Osnabrück Economic Development Corporation (WFO) and the ICO, Mayor Katharina Pötter learned about innovative projects and products on site.
On about 1000 sqm of floor space, spread over three floors, the owners iotec and the two tenants Bitnamic and seedalive work on advancing innovative business models. The immediate proximity to the university was a decisive criterion for the choice of location, says Daniel Mentrup, managing partner of iotec. The culture of short distances is also cultivated in the building: Technological overlaps are used to bundle competencies.
All signs point to innovation and digitization
iotec supports the automation of a wide variety of processes with smart sensor technology, coupled with services related to software and hardware development and the Internet of Things. The portfolio is consistently problem-oriented: Among other things, the team has developed a sensor-based monitoring and decision support system for integrated plant protection in greenhouse crops, which enables a timely response to pest infestations.
Bitnamic has dedicated itself to the topic of smart service solutions on mobile devices, which are also implemented via augmented reality. Bitnamic products are used for training as well as for support services. This creates opportunities for the economy: “Many companies are under-digitized, with AR we can develop new, digital business models,” explains Rolf Behrens, CEO of Bitnamic.
seedalive is developing a photometric seed germination test that is evaluated using AI. “We want to become the global gold standard for seed viability,” explains Franziska Gröne, Lab Manager at seedalive. The target group is agriculture as well as seed banks, which do essential work in the face of climate emergency and biodiversity crisis.
Thanks to the networking activities of the WFO and the seedhouse network, seedalive is already in negotiations with global players, says Jens Varnskühler, CEO of seedalive. iotec is also certain that its entrepreneurial development has benefited enormously from the support in the Osnabrück environment, especially from the ICO.
Shaping the science park for the future
“The three companies are prime examples of the Osnabrück startup ecosystem,” says Thomas Büdden, authorized signatory of the ICO. The three companies were spun out of the university context, brought their products to market in a timely manner, and are establishing their innovations locally to internationally. Katharina Pötter was impressed by the potential of the mapped automation processes: “We have to set out to counter the shortage of skilled workers. The right solutions can be found here.”
“The fact that three ICO startups have found a new home here under one roof in the Science Park and continue to use synergies among themselves here is of course something I am particularly pleased about,” says Ingmar Bojes, ICO and WFO managing director. “This shows us that both the ICO concept and the conversion in the Science Park are successful and create added value for the Osnabrück economic region.”
The visit to the new company headquarters makes it clear: Here, above all, people are thinking of the future. Not only in terms of entrepreneurial visions, but also in terms of further development. After completion, the site will have generous parking spaces with charging columns for e-mobility as well as potential space for two further building complexes, each with a floor area of 399 square meters. The property that has already been built complies with the GEG efficiency house standard and features a comprehensive energy concept.