Startup Challenges

An Octorank Startup Challenge is the #1 format to solve your business challenge with startups.

Hero illustration

How Do Startup Challenges Work?


Challenges steps

Set up the challenge


Set up the challenge

Challenges steps

You choose a topic, timeframe, industry and region for your startup challenge. E.g. you are looking for drone or AI solutions to improve your transportation capacities in China within 12 months.


Challenges steps

Launch the challenge


Launch the challenge

Challenges steps

You announce your startup challenge via the Octorank platform and we make sure you receive hundreds of startup applications. All startups upload their pitch decks, a video or other required information to the Octorank plattform.


Select startups


Select startups

Challenges steps

After the application deadline, you can use the Octorank platform manage and evaluate all startup applications, share them with internal decision-makers. You select the best startups to solve your challenge and implement the solution together.

Case study

With the "Digital Challenges", the chemical group BASF defined six startup challenges touching various business units with the overarching topic of "digitization" and conducted them via the Octorank platform. Very specific problems were posed, e.g. in the areas of machine condition monitoring or AI damage recognition. In the end, a selection of suitable startups were identified for an initial proof-of-concept phase.

Your Advantages

Solve real business challenges

Octorank’s Startup-Challenges are the ideal format to assess a large number of startups and technologies a in a short space of time and implement solutions for real problems.

Promote your brand in the startup ecosystem

To build a credible reputation as an innovative partner you need to break new ground in communication. With visible startup challenges, you position your brand as an active participant in the startup ecosystem.

Make innovation a reality

With Startup-Challenges you have the opportunity to pilot and implement new innovations with extreme pace and agility in exactly the problem areas you define. The same projects, conducted with internal resources, would usually require mountains of R&D budgets and entail much higher risk.

The Platform

Octorank has a customised platform for startup challenges. From one location, you're able to create your challenge with all relevant content and to choose between hundreds of startup applications.

Create a Startup Challenge

Use our intuitive admin interface to configure your challenge yourself, e.g. deadlines, colors, graphics and texts.

Storing and searching startups and filter through

After receiving your first applications, you can conveniently file, share, keyword and search startups.

Evaluate Startups

Create a deal flow in which startups in different phases are evaluated according to different criteria.

Challenge create screenshot
Challenge store screenshot
Challenge evaluate screenshot

Additional Services

Concept Creation

Octorank helps you create a concept for how your challenge should run from beginning to end. You benefit from our years of experience with startup challenges.

Design & Copywriting

We'll be happy to create a corporate design for your challenge, select images and write the corresponding texts and speeches.

Marketing- & PR campaign

In order to raise awareness of your challenge in the startup ecosystem we can carry out a small or extensive creative PR and marketing campaign - mainly via online channels such as Google, Facebook or LinkedIn.

Startup Scouting

A startup challenge can also be combined very well with our offers of Startup-Scouting and direct approach.

Documentation & Reporting

During the application phase and at the end we create statistics and reports for your internal communication.

Kick-off- & final event

For a better personal exchange and to round off your startup challenge, we also offer to organise suitable Startup events. You benefit from our broad network for the selection of suitable locations or keynote speakers.

For whom do we offer Startup Challenges?

Our customers are frequently those who deal directly with startups and startup investments. Sometimes our clients' goals are more broadly to drive innovation or technology in their company. We help them expand their scope of work to the startup ecosystem. E.G:

Icon check
Head of innovation
Icon check
Innovation Manager
Icon check
Startup Coordinator
Icon check
Head of Technology Scouting
Icon check
Chief Information Officer
Icon check
Head of R&D
Icon check
Chief Technology Officer

We offer Startup Challenges for different organisations with different needs:

Icon check
Icon check
Medium-sized companies

Our Industries

There are no limits to the areas which startups can inject with innovation. Here is just a selection of industries we at Octorank have already worked with.


Challenges for the Automotive Industry

Few industries have encountered as many disrupters as the automotive industry. It’s clear that autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles and new models of vehicle ownership are going to continue shaking up the industry but less clear which steps the established players need to take to stay ahead.

Solutions from Startups

Startups are bursting with innovations that are fit for the future of the industry. Digital platforms are being used to revolutionise the damage repair space - from diagnostics through to repair. Next generation green vehicles using hydrogen fuel-cells emit nothing but water and are being launched with subscription models. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence and automation are combining in areas as diverse as safety, fuel efficiency and routing.


Challenges for the construction industry

Construction firms face difficult market pressures such as rising material costs and at the same time are being disrupted by trends such as modular construction. A further challenge is the need to reposition for a future with more sustainable building and perhaps a transition towards a circular economy.

Solutions from Startups

The startup world is reacting to the challenges of the construction industry. State-of-the-art technology is being used to optimise material choices on an individual project basis. New recycled materials with higher performance and lower cost are becoming a reality. Additionally, digital & AI solutions are beginning to leverage automation to revolutionise project management.


Challenges facing the Chemical industry

The chemical industry has had to wrestle with a combination of rising costs and cooling demand for core products. Macro pressures such as global trade wars mean that it’s more important than ever for established companies to find new ways to position themselves and leverage core capabilities. One imperative for future success will be to get ahead in terms of advanced analytics and data technologies.

Solutions from Startups

Many innovations to support the industry are originating from the startup world. New microcapsule technology is one example that should enable countless possibilities for producers. New processes are lowering the cost of green fuel creation and finding new methods of extraction - such as a process to remove silica from geothermal fluids.


Challenges facing the energy industry

The problem of rising greenhouse gas emissions compounded by accelerating energy demand from China and India results in constant scrutiny of the energy industry and it’s plans for the future. Elsewhere, opportunities are presenting themselves, such as the rising possibilities around energy vectors like hydrogen.

Solutions from Startups

Some of the solutions from the startup world are tackling new energy sources such as ocean waves, geothermal vents or superconductors. Elsewhere, data-driven technology is used to analyse performance and increase energy efficiency. Other startups deliver technology to expand capacity through energy storage innovation.

Health and Biotech

Challenges for Health and Biotechnology

The enduring reality of modern healthcare is that every success adds to the pressures of a significantly aging population. Ever rising costs put continuous strain on healthcare providers and the populations they serve. Meanwhile, biotechnologists face their own challenges of the high risks faced in taking R&D all the way to market and ultimately convincing the public of their safety and efficacy.

Solutions from Startups

Despite the challenges in these spaces, startups are delivering solutions for an optimistic future. Biotechnology innovations are enabling personalised healthcare as well as medical treatment on the genetic level. Gene editing will allow preventative measures to become more accessible and effective than previously possible. Additionally, artificial intelligence is extending capabilities in numerous areas including diagnosis.


Challenges for the logistics industry

A key problem faced by the whole industry is of rising transportation costs, driven by fuel prices and inflation, and this punishes any inefficiencies. There is also the double-edged-sword of huge amounts of data to manage. This can be a great asset to leverage but also brings layers of complexity which when combined with wide ranging regulations are also challenging for the industry.

Solutions from Startups

There are already a number of startups that are bringing data management platforms to market, helping the industry derisk against macro fluctuations and leverage artificial intelligence to guide decision making. Meanwhile, others are finding ways to redefine the ways that deliveries are completed, using technologies such as drones to reduce the costs of reaching remote areas.


Challenges facing the manufacturing industry

Despite attention often being drawn elsewhere, the manufacturing industry still accounts for around a quarter of jobs across the world. However, some projections warn that many developed manufacturing areas could face labour shortages in the future. At the same time, global competition continues to become more fierce, particularly as China expands its output within more advanced production.

Solutions from startups

Automation is clearly a crucial part of the industry’s future but it has not always been easy to implement. The startup world is producing an increasing number of innovations that leverage technologies such as robotics, advanced sensors and artificial intelligence to make automation a reality. Other innovators are working with blockchain to deliver trust at every level in supply chains.

Finance and Insurance

Challenges facing Finance and Insurance

Financial services have seen a wave of fintech innovations sweep the industry, however, this has brought some of its own challenges. Now institutions must invest heavily in state-of-the-art cyber security to defend against cyber crime. Secondly, many of the fintech innovations are competing directly with established products, forcing the market leaders to rethink future business models.

Solutions from the startup world

An opportunity for players in the industry will be to find early stage startups and build partnerships. Some of these young companies are producing innovations that leverage artificial intelligence to offer better products at competitive prices. Others are finding ways to open up untapped corners of the market, such as young adults.


Challenges facing the electronics industry

The electronics industries challenges for future readiness mirror those in related industries such as manufacturing and telecommunications. While the transition to Industry 4.0 is happening, leaders want more confidence about which areas to invest resources in order to best leverage assets such as big data or 5G connectivity.

Solutions from startups

The innovators in the startup world are designing the building blocks of future electronics production. Some focus on industrial applications such as advanced connected sensor systems, driven by data analytics. Others have put their attention on consumer electronics innovations such as e-cigarettes, smart home devices and personal robotics.


Challenges facing the telecoms industry

Massive opportunities such as 5G also present huge challenges including regulation, adoption and investment. Smart cities will be another transformation of the future - but this will require an acceleration of innovation especially involving cyber security.

Solutions from startups

Some of the startups in the space are extending network possibilities such as by enabling improved performance in low-power and wide-area locations. Others are seizing upon the opportunities of 5G to provide next level experiences such as in music streaming.


Thomas Paschkowski

Octorank designed the “Digital Challenges” startup program and accompanying campaign with us and launched it in the startup ecosystem. Through this, Octorank made a significant contribution to exciting a huge number of startups worldwide about our BASF topics. As a result, we are conducting pilot projects with very capable startups with the aim of a global rollout with BASF.

Thomas Paschkowski
Digital Innovation Developer | BASF

Launch Startup Challenge. Request our pricing.