CIRCULAZE Night 2022: Where Business Meets Innovation

On October 21st, our CIRCULAZE jury, partners, and start-ups came together for an evening of circular innovation and networking. The main event: the reveal of the CIRCULAZE Top 20 Circular Economy Start-Ups 2022

by CIRCULAZE | Nov 30, 2022

On Friday October 21st, 2022 the first ever CIRCULAZE NIGHT took place in Munich at the überlab im House of Communication (der Serviceplan Group). It was great to see so many familiar and new faces at the event, and we are still running in circles of joy after such a wonderful evening.

Celebrating the Top 20 Circular Economy Start-ups of 2022

First, a big thank you to our hosts for the evening; the newly constructed House of Communication is a sight to see, and the sustainable cuisine by foodaffairs was divine!

After a fabulous walk down the red carpet to strike a pose in front of the CIRCULAZE logo wall, guests were greeted with beautifully handcrafted and locally sourced floral displays and a music act by the lovely Malva. The night was opened with a welcome speech by CURAZE Co-Founder Claus Schuster and Program Director Maike Backhaus.

The evening really got off to a circular start when Judith Kühn-Gerres, CEO of Greentech Fesitval, took the stage. Delivering a thought-provoking and inspiring keynote address, Judith urged the audience to turn the climate crisis into opportunities for growth and to open dialogue between innovators and the old economy.

If you start a start-up, it’s quite important to start a network and network events like this make it easier for you. And if a spotlight with a prize is a part of it, it’s much easier to get started into the market. That’s why I think it’s necessary to have these kinds of events.

Judith Kühn-Gerres, CEO of Greentech Festival

Next up was a wonderful panel discussion hosted by Impact Investor, Sustainability and Venture Advisor, and Board Member Miki Yokoyama. Joining her was:

  • CIRCULAZE jury member Prof. Dr. Martin Stuchtey (Founder and Managing Partner SYSTEMIQ Ltd., Prof. for Resource-Strategy and Management University of Innsbruck)
  • CURAZE member Corina Kurscheid (Global Marketing Director Personal Care WOMEN at Beiersdorf)
  • and CIRCULAZE Top 20 Start-up Winner Andrea Schneller (Co-Founder of Numi Circular).

The panel went into great detail on how corporates and start-ups can better work together to lead the Circular Economy. Most importantly, as we learned during the discussion, circularity is not a sprint or a marathon done by a single runner, but a dance that we all do together. #cantdoitalone

And then came the moment everyone had been waiting for: the reveal of the Top 20 Circular Economy Start-ups 2022. For the grand reveal, Miki Yokoyama came back on stage to introduce and conduct a short Q&A with each start-up present:

  1. Circular IQ represented by Roy Vercoulen (Founder) and Niels van der Linden (Founder)
  2. Circulor represented by Ellen Carey (VP of Public Affairs & Strategy)
  3. hey circle represented by Doris Diebold (Founder) and Morris Kurz (CTO)
  4. Madaster represented by Thomas Rau (Founder)
  5. Matter represented by Rob Hemsley (CFO)
  6. mujō represented by Annekathrin Grüneberg (Founder) and Kilian de Syo (Business Development)
  7. numi circulor represented by Andrea Schneller (Founder) and Mario Schneller (Founder)
  8. werewool represented by Chui-Lian Lee (Founder) and Valentina Gomez (Founder)

Check out the Top 20 Start-ups here.

Keeping with the theme of the night, the start-ups were presented with a circular award – a tree planted in their honor. The celebrations continued late into the Munich night with tasty vegetarian dishes (each with a special circular finish), networking, music, and dancing.

The Key Takeaways of the Evening

  • Green change happens when people with big ideas get to know each other, inspire each other, and their work gets appreciated by a global audience.
  • We need alliances with our friendly enemies and dialogues between the old and new economy.
  • There is an urgent need for a new currency of credibility and honesty within companies‘ DNA and communication.
  • Let‘s not talk about WASTE; everything is a raw material. We already have material shortages and are facing resource competition, this is why we need to get started immediately with the Circular Economy.
  • And it’s not just talking but taking action. However, it is important to realize that there are no plug-in solutions for every challenge and fighting climate change and implementing sustainable solutions isn’t for the faint of heart.

What Our Guests Had to Say

It’s really inspirational to be among some of the founders of the Circular Economy and some of the most important corporates and start-ups involved in that space. Absolutely fantastic.

Rob Hemsley, Chief Financial Officer at Matter

It was really exciting to learn that you are connecting two parts that aren’t traditionally connected – businesses/investors to start-ups. The connections we have made have been really interesting.

Chui-Lian Lee, Co-Founder at Werewool

For me, collaboration and different ecosystems talking, meeting with each other – that’s it. That’s what we need right now to really drive the Circular Economy. And that’s why I said yes, I’m in!

Janine Thies, CIRCULAZE Jury Member, Co-Founder and Coach at pureEdge, and Circularity Manager at BMW AG.

This evening has been an inspiration for me. It’s fantastic and the first evening of the kind that I have been to, and it has been great for networking. Most special for me has been to meet really inspiring people with young and fresh ideas.

Christian Wondratsch, Senior Advisor Private Wealth Management at ODDO BHF

The first thought when you approached me with CIRCULAZE, I thought interesting idea, but who am I going to meet there? Is it specific for me? And now the reason why I think it’s still an amazing idea is that its not specific for one industry. … Here today is a super big broad mix and that’s what makes it interesting and inspiring.

Corina Kurscheid, Global Marketing Director Personal Care WOMEN at Beiersdorf

As a partner, there’s a commitment to circularity and to building a Circular Economy. We are marketing driven investors, so marketing is very important to us, and you all are creating a mission to create more awareness around circularity and the Circular Economy. … As a partner getting on board and helping this come to life is joining this mission.

Xavier Sarras, Founding Partner 4P Capital, Purpose VC Investor, and Experience Economy Expert

A big thank you to all those who attended, and we are already looking forward to CIRCULAZE NIGHT 2023.