When it comes to cybersecurity, the Ruhr metropolitan area plays in the Champions League (Sponsored)

The Ruhr region is considered one of the leading IT regions in Europe. In addition to the outstanding research institutes it has to offer, it is also the place where startups come together with successful cyber security pioneers. It’s no surprise, then, that the well-known Max Planck Institute chose the city of Bochum as its new location. Within this innovative ecosystem context, the Matchmaker.RUHR is instrumental in bringing established companies and startups into contact with one another. 

The Ruhr metropolitan area has long established itself as an important location for IT security in Germany and Europe, and this became even clearer last year. The Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Security and Privacy opened in Bochum in 2019. “It was the highest recognition the IT region could receive,” says founding director Prof. Dr. Christof Paar. “The Max Planck Society took great care in examining which German university was best positioned in the field.” In doing so, they could not fail to take notice of the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) and the renowned Horst Görtz Institute (HGI), which Christof Paar had headed for several years. “One insight from the analysis was that the HGI is one of the world’s leading academic institutions for scientific publications on the subject of cybersecurity.” 

Researchers, the private sector, and policymakers work hand in hand

For decades, the Ruhr region has been developing into an epicentre for innovations in the fields of security and data protection, and this extends well beyond just research, says Paar. He himself has experienced how well the partnerships between researchers, private enterprise, and business development organizations work in the region. In 2004, he founded the company ESCRYPT, which had its origins at the Horst Görtz Institute. The company today is part of the Bosch Group and successfully develops security concepts for embedded systems, in particular for cars. Currently, a new company headquarters is being built on the site of the former Opel factory in Bochum, where up to 2,000 people will one day work. “This is a textbook example of successful structural transformation in the Ruhr region, with high-tech jobs being created in a former industrial zone,” says Paar.

Pitch event at the Eurobits Security Summit

Startups are key players in the IT sector, and they often get their start in the region’s universities. Business incubators and networks offer them support and many event opportunities. One of these is the Eurobits Security Summit, which is happening soon (Nov. 30 to Dec. 1). At the Cyber Investor Days Finals on December 1, 2020, 15 European IT security startups will be pitching their ideas live in front of international investors on the Matchmaker.RUHR digital platform. In integrated speed-dating slots, top start-ups will meet potential investors for one-on-one video chats. You can register now at Matchmaker.RUHR.

The ecosystem also includes business incubators and VC funds

ESCRYPT is by no means the only success story in the cybersecurity sector. VMRay, Physec, Emproof, XignSys, and AWARE7 are all university spin-offs from past years. In the Ruhr metropolitan area, a functioning ecosystem that facilitates the growth and development of IT startups has been established, including the Eurobits Competence Center, business incubator Cube 5, and venture capital fund eCAPITAL. Leading IT security companies such as secunet (Essen) and G DATA CyberDefense (Bochum) are also important players in the region. The digital matchmaking platform ‘Matchmaker.RUHR’ was also newly founded this year.

Matchmaker.RUHR brings startups and established companies together

Matchmaker.RUHR lets startups know about companies that have contracts to award or which are looking for startups as project partners. The algorithm suggests new potential business partners for startups and companies each week and keeps them up to date with business news. Numerous players from the cybersecurity sector are already involved, such as AWARE7, XignSys, and Eurobits. “One of the strengths of the Ruhr region is the many initiatives and networks for start-ups and companies,” says Rasmus C. Beck, Managing Director of Business Metropole Ruhr GmbH. “With Matchmaker.RUHR, we are now digitally linking important players in the region with each other and around the world for the first time. In view of the travel restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic, this is the right move at the right time.”

To learn more and sign up, visit the Matchmaker.RUHR website.