autoregion international - Issue 01/2022

20 The trip, which was organised by the VDA in conjunction with Alphazirkel, took in global players such as SpaceX and Apple, as well as numerous start-ups including Lucid and Hyperloop. Venture capital companies also featured on the itinerary. The members of the delegation included two Saarland residents. One was Dr. Jörg Rupp, owner of DORUCON – DR. RUPP CONSULTING GmbH. This firm advises companies of all sizes on subsidies and funding for innovation and growth, and also offers assistance with the complex task of submitting applications. In addition, companies from the automotive sector are among its clientele, including an autonomous driving innovation network with Daimler. The other representative of Saarland was Dr. Georg Wagner, founder and managing partner of NTC Nano Tech Coatings GmbH. The company’s groundbreaking new coatings can, for example, be found adorning the vehicle trim made by prominent automobile manufacturers. Based in Tholey, Saarland, the company is also a market leader for functional coatings in various industrial sectors. ‘I was particularly impressed by the various technical innovations at the highest level’, Dr. Wagner explained in our joint interview with the two men. ‘Autonomous driving, new communication and aerospace technologies, but also revolutionary 3D printing processes for industrial use. Furthermore, the principle of open innovation was genuinely being put into practice at most young start-ups. In addition, I was impressed by how closely the universities were oriented towards the reality of the business world. We also visited spin-offs of German companies that are seeking to capture ideas from this region.’ ‘We can see that venture capitalists in the USA invest up to ten times more than European ones’, Dr. Jörg Rupp noted. ‘The majority of America’s venture capital can be found in the Bay Area (around Silicon Valley). In 2021 alone, around 120 million dollars were invested in over 3000 deals. This excellent ‘We learned that on our visit to Silicon Valley!’ Two Saarland entrepreneurs draw inspiration from the USA’s spirit of innovation and investment. In early December, a German delegation of innovative business owners and economists spent a week on America’s west coast to experience open innovations and the sustainable mobility of the future from up close. Images: © NTC/DORUCON Dr. Jörg Rupp Dr. Georg Wagner