12:30 - 13:30
Makers & Mittelstand. How can 100 year old companies and the maker movement play together and where do they clash?

Short thesis

Maker culture has been on the rise. With a focus on developing tangible DIY solutions, these projects are more and more frequently turned into scalable products and hardware startups. At the same time digitisation is reaching the traditional German manufacturing businesses known as Mittelstand. In this session we start building a bridge between these worlds, exploring ways of collaboration, where the specific cultures are complimentary and where they might clash.


The past decade has seen the growth of the world wide Maker movement. With roots in DIY culture the movement is helping to turn consumers into prosumers through the spread of new tools and turning selfmade solutions into scalable products and hardware startups. At the same time digitisation has reached the German manufacturing sector known as Mittelstand. With old business models coming under pressure they are now increasingly looking for new technologies and new ways of working. With this session we would like to explore the potential for bridges between these two cultures: what role can Mittelstand companies play in the manufacturing of hardware solutions? Can maker culture change inspire the ways of the Mittelstand? Do these large companies offer an alternative to the VC model when it comes to the funding of startups? Where are these two cultures complementary and where do they perhaps collide?