Thinking Tomorrow

Lifting up startups to shape the new normal Ended
Thinking Tomorrow is an award to celebrate innovators and very early startup teams. We want to support and accelerate your solutions as society starts on the road to recovery. 

Team Requirements

Make sure to consider the following
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You are either pre-startup (e.g. Hackathon team)
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Or a very early-stage startup (<12 months)
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You have developed a Minimum Viable Product
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You are based in Europe
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You have max. 10 team members
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You have a solution to a Healthcare, Education or Environment problem

Focus Areas



Now is the time for BIG IDEAS.
You've heard it countless times by now. "Unprecedented crisis". "Uncertain times". "Challenging Situation". But what about actually making a difference?

Once the dust of the Corona crisis settles, societies will face new and long-term challenges. Times like this call for the very best from the innovation community and we believe that startups have a huge role to play in the response - in fact that's why you're here. Whether you're a team that just had a bright idea triggered by the crisis, or you're already a young startup, the Thinking Tomorrow award is designed to support your innovation and help you make a bigger impact - even while restriction on our old way of life continue.

The pandemic not only had a dramatic short-term impact but it also threatens to alter our way of life for the foreseeable future. At the same time, it's caused huge disruption to the traditional channels by which startups are formed, build networks and grow as companies to address these same problems.

Thinking Tomorrow is an award for early innovators in the areas of Healthcare, Education and the Environment. Take a few minutes out of your day to apply and you could end up being named as one of our three award winners. That's not all - thanks to our amazing campaign partners, both the winners and a further set of nominated teams will earn rewards including startup funding, startup workshops and more. Read on to find out more...

Award Initiators:

Octorank: is a startup developing startup scouting and startup campaign software. As joint initiators, Octorank can directly leverage both their software and expert knowledge to fuel the fightback against the pandemic.
Capacura: is an impact investor focusing on early-stage-startups. Capacura are initiating Thinking Tomorrow to help more innovators realise their potential and to become an early backer of impactful startups. In their day-to-day business, Capacura support their portfolio startups with up to €500k of equity investment.

About the Award

Thinking Tomorrow is a fully-online startup award to celebrate and support innovators during the fightback against corona. The award is launching to help address clear issues raised by the pandemic: 1. traditional face-to-face channels to build a startup by leveraging networks have been disrupted. 2. The fallout from the crisis is leaving a marked impact on society for the foreseeable future - resulting in challenges but equally fresh opportunities for startups.

Thinking Tomorrow has been developed with a unique combination of a diverse support network and the flexibility of online keeping it accessible for a far greater number of innovators across Europe.

Successful teams will benefit from the support of a diverse network in the startup ecosystem. In addition our partners will be awarding them with an impressive range of benefits ranging from funding to strategy workshops and more.

About the Application

Thinking Tomorrow is seeking solutions to problems in 3 broad areas: education, healthcare and environment. Whether coronavirus has given you an idea, magnified the need for your existing innovation or disrupted the plans you had for building your startup: we want to hear from you. If you meet the team requirements then just submit your details using our 10-minute application form. We want to hear about your team, your idea and your potential to grow.

Every application is carefully evaluated by our team of startup and industry experts. The teams that have the best fit to our evaluation criteria will be recognised and benefit from the brilliant partners and innovation support they're offering.

Thinking Tomorrow Evaluation Criteria:

Every entry from a team that meets the team requirements will be evaluated by our experts according to the following criteria:

1. Problem Relevance: How relevant is the problem to the long-term issues caused by Coronavirus and how much room is there to make an impact.
2. Problem-Solution Fit: How well does the described solution address the relevant problem.
3. Revenue Model: How will you make money, such that this idea can become a business.
4. Timing: How quickly can the solution be developed to meet current needs and trends. 
5. Originality: How original, interesting, exciting  etc. is your innovation
6. Focus Area Fit: How well do the solutions fit to the topics of Healthcare, Education & the Environment.

Award Problem Areas:

We invite participants to address problems in three broad areas. Healthcare, Education & Environment

Healthcare: The pandemic has shone a light on the condition of essential health service, where they are strong and where they have weaknesses. Now is time for a new generation of innovators to develop the future of healthcare.
Education: One of the most significant side effects of the pandemic has been the closure of schools and universities across Europe. Many schoolchildren won't be able to make up for lost time in a traditional schooling system - therefore, how can technology close the gap for the learning that may have been lost.
Environment: Climate change and environmental issues are another great challenge for society which is connected to the corona crisis through e.g. changes in consumer behaviour. How can tech preempt such moves?

Award Partners:

mm1: The consultants for connected business are brining their expertise to offer in-depth startup workshops to successful participants.
Humboldt Innovation: The knowledge and technology transfer centre of Humboldt Universität Berlin
Founder's Institute: The world's premier idea-stage accelerator joins the award with an offer of a startup fellowship for one successful team.*
ambivation: The matchmaker for startup collaborations. Ambivation are bringing their expertise to offer personalised startup mentoring to one successful team.
startupdetector: The company that discovers every new startup in Germany. They are offering matchmaking with their Angel network.
WestTech Ventures: The Berlin-based VC with a focus on seed & pre-seed funding for B2B SaaS companies.
Markburg: The Berlin branding and design agency have offered pro-bono services to create the Thinking Tomorrow brand.
Startupnight: One of the largest innovation events in Europe, they bring a prestigious network and will offer opportunities to be involved in future SUN events.
media:net berlinbrandenburg: The regional home for tech and the games, digital & media economies are our media partner and help us spread word about the award. 

* eligibility for Founder's Institute Fellowship requires teams to pass a psychometric test. Graduation of the FI includes a 4% equity commitment. 


€5,000 cash grant from Capacura

Cash Grant

€5,000 cash grant from Capacura
One team will be awarded a no-strings attached cash grant from campaign initiator Capacura. 
Hosted by mm1

Startup Coaching Sessions

Hosted by mm1
mm1 will be offering in-depth coaching sessions to 3 nominated teams. Sessions will include business modelling, product development, digital tech and more.  
Hosted by Humboldt Innovation

Innovation Training & Coaching

Hosted by Humboldt Innovation
Humboldt Innovation are offering the opportunity for 3 nominated teams to receive 3 coaching sessions from innovation experts. 
With Founder's Institute

Founder's Institute Fellowship

With Founder's Institute
The world's premier idea-stage accelerator join the campaign with an offer of free entry (usually costing €900 per team member) to their startup program* for one successful team. 

* subject to Founder's Institute criteria being met. 
Hosted by Capacura

Virtual Strategy Workshops

Hosted by Capacura
8 top-performing teams will be invited to individual 90-minute virtual strategy workshops with the VCs at Capacura. 
Hosted by Ambivation

Personalised Startup Mentoring

Hosted by Ambivation
One nominated team will be offered a course of dedicated mentoring sessions delivered by Ambivation - experts in startup collaborations. 
Hosted by Startupdetector

Angel Matchmaking

Hosted by Startupdetector
3 nominated teams will receive pitch-deck polishing support from Startupdetector who will then share these with 10 Angel Investors in their network. The angels will reply either with contact details for further conversation, or constructive feedback to help enhance the pitch, if they don't fit.
Hosted by WestTech Ventures

VC Engagement Coaching

Hosted by WestTech Ventures
The three overall winners will receive mentoring from WestTech on the topic of "how to engage with VC investors". 
Get expert, tailored advice

A premium network

Get expert, tailored advice
Every participant has the chance to benefit from getting their ideas seen by our wide range of award partners. Even if your team isn't nominated for one of the major benefits, our partners will be looking out for any teams that they can offer tailored startup advice. 

Project terms

Access the project terms(PDF) here.

Frequently asked questions

Does my team have to be a startup already?

NO! The award is designed for early-stage innovators who may - or may not - already have founded a startup. What our jury is looking for is excellent ideas: we want to help those ideas grow. If you're not at startup stage yet, then we expect that you could envisage taking that step in the near future.

Can I apply as an individual person?

The award is for innovation teams who are ready to start building their startup. If you're on your own for now - try to get a co-founder or two before applying!

How will teams be evaluated?

Our evaluation criteria are detailed in the briefing above. Applicants are first screened to determine whether the basic requirements have been met. Then, our jury evaluates each team according to the evaluation criteria. At the end of this process, jury-nominated startups are allocated a reward (or rewards!) based on best fit.


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    Thinking Tomorrow Launches 2020-05-20 14:00 CEST
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    Final Application Deadline 2020-06-19 23:59 CEST
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    Final Decisions Shared 2020-07-09 18:00 CEST

The Winners

Zero Waste Era


Kids Circle




Our Decision Board

Ingo Dahm Managing Director, Capacura // Head of Decision Board
Ingo is managing director at Capacura where he leads the way in using digital processes to discover and lift up startups that can make a big impact. 
Ina Dahm Chief Unicorn Shepherd, Capacura
Ina is an expert in managing and coaching across various companies. Now she is on the lookout for the next generation of European unicorns that she can help to grow. 
Martin Peters Senior Manager, mm1
Martin brings his extensive consulting expertise across strategy, product development and innovation and translates this knowledge into supporting startups with meaningful solutions to challenge the status quo. 
Katja Brunner Startup Coordinator, Humboldt Innovation
At the Humboldt University Startup Factory Katja helps early-stage innovators reach the next level by developing their ideas into startups. 
Ferdinand Mühlhäuser Director, Founder Institute Berlin
Ferdinand supports mentors and helps to build some of the most successful startups which pass through the Berlin branch of Founder's Institute: The World's Premier Idea-Stage Accelerator and Startup Launch Program. 
Christoph Baier Managing Director, Ambivation
At Ambivation Christoph helps make connections between companies & start-ups for collaboration & open innovation.
Cem Ergün-Müller Head of Digital Open Space, Deutsche Telekom
Cem is the founder of Startupnight, one of the largest and most intense startup events of Europe. Every year helps bring about countless connections between brilliant startups and  partners. 
Nadja Pahl Startup Coordinator, startup:net
At Startup:net berlinbrandenburg Nadja builds bridges between startups and investors, the old economy, politics and institutions, universities and businesses.
Fabian Leipelt Principal, WestTech Ventures
Fabian is a Principal at WestTech Ventures, a pre-seed and seed-stage VC in Berlin focused on investing in B2B SaaS and Enterprise Software startups.

About Thinking Tomorrow

Capacura is an impact investor focusing on early-stage-startups.. Octorank is a startup developing startup scouting and startup campaign software. Together Capacura and Octorank launched the Thinking Tomorrow award in order to combine their expertise to fuel a shared vision: helping society through startup innovation.

Contact Information

Toby Chelton
Lead Startup Scout

All Partners

Highlighted Startups






Kids Circle


Medicalcooling LTD


SunCrafter GmbH


Zero Waste Era