Merck kicks off application period for accelerators in Darmstadt and Nairobi

By Oliver Griffin October 26, 2016

Merck, a leading science and technology company, has opened applications for the next round of its accelerator programs in Darmstadt, Germany, and Nairobi, Kenya. 

The company is looking globally, seeking young start-ups with a digital approach in the fields of healthcare, life science and performance materials.

For the startups applying to the accelerator in Darmstadt, the opportunities provided by the program will remain unchanged.

“Our rough focus will stay on Merck’s key competencies in life science, performance materials and healthcare, but for this intake we are particularly interested in wearables, sensors, bioengineering and other solutions that individualize healthcare provision,” said Michael Gamber, head of Merck’s Innovation Center. “The trend is increasingly turning toward individually tailored medicine.”

The teams in Nairobi and Darmstadt will still have the option to extend their acceleration period via a month-long residence in Silicon Valley. This opportunity represents the possibility for the startups to test and prove their business model in the United States as well.

While Darmstadt remains unchanged, the Nairobi program is implementing some new changes. The financial support for the startups has been raised from $15,000 to up to $30,000 and the startups are moving into our new workspace, Mettā Nairobi.

Owing to the number of highly qualified applications in the last intake, Merck has also decided to expand its Nairobi program. The startups now are going to be housed in Mettā Nairobi, where the teams will have the opportunity to be part of a more international environment. Mettā not only provides us with a working space, it also serves as a networking area.

Gamber added, “Due to the dynamic nature of the digital health market in Nairobi, we decided to invest more in the start-ups here and to link them up with a more global community. We also recognize that many start-ups here in Africa need financial support of a certain level in order to give them the opportunity to push their ideas forward.”

The programs in both Darmstadt and Nairobi will start on March 6, 2017, and will end on May 24, 2017. The application period will run from October 17 through December 19, 2016, via the accelerator website.


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