Community Experts

Community makes the difference. 

Our 6+3 month program is enriched by the valuable expertise and commitment of our partners from various industries. These experts are not only mentors, but also door openers and pioneers for the TRIP Class. Through workshops, networking events and intensive exchange, they not only offer valuable industry knowledge, but can also pave the way for taking innovation to the next level. Discover our inspiring community here and experience how collaborative growth shapes the future at TRIP.

For the area of corporate communications, we have the great pleasure in this year’s TRIP schedule of being able to draw on the expertise in press relations of Juliane Keith.

Since September 2020, Juliane Keith has been managing partner of Fachverlag Thüringen, which currently publishes three titles in its core business – Wirtschaftsspiegel Thüringen, and Karriereheimat. As successor to the publisher’s founder Jürgen Meier, she bears overall responsibility for the media company. Today, Wirtschaftsspiegel is a business magazine that informs and connects people in business, science and politics through reporting on research and development, innovations, as well as company and location development.

First-hand industry knowledge from experts: In this batch, we are pleased to have Juliane Keith, among others publisher of Wirtschaftsspiegel Thüringen, on board as an expert for communication.

For the development of a sound financing strategy we may introduce Kevin Reeder, CEO of bm|t as Community Partner. In order to achieve the goal of investment readyness, a close cooperation with bm|t is of great advantage for TRIP Class.

As the investment company of the Free State of Thuringia, bm|t invests in innovative and growth-oriented companies with great future potential. Kevin Reeder is managing director of bm|t and has been a strong partner of TRIP since the beginning. After various positions in investment and investment management in Denver and Zurich, he worked as an investment manager for bm|t from 2013 to 2014 and is therefore very familiar with the startup scene in central Germany.

From 2014 until his return to bm|t in 2017, he also supported the management of the emerging company M-KOPA in East Africa. Kevin Reeder shares his learnings as well as his expertise in investments with TRIP Class 23/24.

Financing Strategies for Investment Cases: In this batch, we are pleased to have Kevin Reeder on board as an expert in startup financing.

Develop your startup team with Stefan Kermas!

Behind every success are people. A well-functioning team is therefore the basis of every successful business model. That’s why the team is prioritized in our first workshop after the kickoff.

With Stefan Kermas we were able to win a team expert for TRIP Class 23/24. As a lawyer and competitive athlete, he supports teams and leaders in setting themselves up for success and effectively achieving their own goals. And he does this with his own approach and success principles from top-class sports.

His many years of experience around victories and defeats in the business and sports world make Stefan Kermas a valuable speaker for the TRIP Accelerator Program

Developing Successful Team Structures: We are pleased to have Stefan Kermas on board as an expert in team design in this batch.

From the very beginning, Michael Bätz from EY has been on board as a strong partner of TRIP. As the central contact for EY in the Thuringia/Saxony region and a member of the EY Startup Initiative, he is an expert in the local startup scene and for SMEs. As an advisor to innovative companies, he knows the answers to all relevant strategic, business, legal and financial questions in order to generate sustainable business success from groundbreaking concepts. For many years, Michael Bätz has been a sponsoring partner of the Investor Days Thuringia with EY and part of the selection jury.

We are also pleased that Olivia Weindorf, auditor and audit manager at EY, will be one of our TRIP partners from this year on. Together with Michael Bätz, she organizes the annual EY Public Value Awards for Startups in Leipzig.

The EY team shares this concentrated expertise exclusively with the TRIP Class in two workshops on the topics of business model creation and strategy. They provide input on developing an innovative business model and work with the startups on aspects of long-term successful strategies for startups.

Taking the business model to the next level: We are happy to have Michael Bätz and Olivia Weindorf on board as experts for Business Model Creation in this batch.

From founder to founder: Martha Wenzel, co-founder of E-TERRY, shares her expertise with TRIP-Class.

The startup builds autonomous field robots that guide farmers:in their journey to lighter and more sustainable agriculture. In 2019/20, E-TERRY participated in the first TRIP-Class and the team used the time to optimize the startup’s business model. In 2022, the founding followed and eventually bm|t joined as lead investor.

Co-Founder Martha Wenzel thus knows from personal experience the ups and downs of founding and the relevance of a strong network. In particular, as the success of E-TERRY shows, she is an expert in approaching investors. In the workshop “Investor Relations”, she exclusively shares her own experiences as well as dos and don’ts in investor relations with the finalists of the TRIP-Class.

Stefan Jahn is Senior Investment Manager of our sponsoring partner bm|t beteiligungsmanagement thüringen gmbh. The finance and accounting expert has already had a successful career as a banker and branch manager at Sparkasse Elbe-Elster and Thüringer Aufbaubank. Since October 2014 he strengthens the investment team of bm|t and shares his first-class competences in the field of corporate finance with focus on private equity / venture capital. Since May 2020 he also holds the title “Certified Private Equity Analyst” of the TUM School of Management.

Meeting Stefan Jahn will give you exclusive insights into the views and actions of the investor:inside. In the workshop “Investor Relations” he shares his experience and knowledge on venture deals and communication with VCs.

Become investment ready: We are happy to have Stefan Jahn on board as an expert for VC investments in this batch.

Susanne Trautmann is a go-to-market expert, co-author of the “B2B Marketing Handbook” and a LinkedIn Top B2B Marketing Voice.

With practical experience from over 15 years of B2B tech marketing, Susanne has developed the Marketing Canvas, a collaborative framework that simplifies the launch of innovative products and technologies.

Because through her own experiences, she knows the challenges of B2B marketing very well: Innovations don’t market themselves. They are communication-intensive and their added value often has to be made clear to the target group in the first place. For these conditions, Susanne Trautmann has developed the Marketing Canvas, a strategy model for marketers that can be ideally applied by startups.

Taking brand communication to the next level: We are happy to have Susanne Trautmann on board as an expert for B2B marketing in this batch.

Over the last 15 years, Sven Müller has been able to build up an enormous amount of knowledge in the venture capital market. In particular, through his work as Co-Founder and former Managing Director of Rapid Venture Accounting GmbH. The software solution “Reporting VC” developed there supported venture capital and private equity companies in mapping their portfolio efficiently and effectively.

In addition, Sven Müller was involved for over 10 years as a board member of auftakt. Gründerforum Ilmenau and initiated the VC CAMPUS at the TU Ilmenau.

He shares his expertise on venture deals and communication with VCs from an investor:inside perspective in the workshop “Investor Relations” with the Final TRIP Class 23/24.

Developing a Deep Understanding of Investor Relations: We are happy to have Sven Müller on board as an expert for VC communication in this batch.

A startup is only as strong as the team behind it. How can you strengthen your team and thus the entire startup through effective organizational development? Find out in the “Team” workshop with Dr. Sebastian Händschke. Through his doctorate at the Friedrich Schiller University in the Chair of Organization, Leadership and HRM in Jena, he brings the scientific background to the topic of “team scaling”.

In addition, Sebastian Händschke is currently involved in technology transfer and start-up management at Bauhaus University Weimar and heads the “Digital Innovation Hub Photonics” (DIHP) in Jena. The DIHP focuses in particular on promoting startups in the field of optics and photonics at Jena’s Beutenberg research campus.

Bring structure into your startup: We are happy to have Sebastian Händschke on board as an expert for organization, leadership and HRM in this batch.


You want to take your innovation to the next level with the concentrated power of expert know-how? Then be part of TRIP!

Partner up

You also want to contribute with your expertise? Then get on board as a partner and become part of the TRIP community!

TRIP ist eine Initiative der STIFT im Rahmen des Projektes ThEx innovativ und wird gefördert durch den Freistaat Thüringen aus Mitteln des Europäischen Sozialfonds Plus.

part of Stift