For the fifth year in a row, Henkel dx Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Henkel's consumer goods business, organized the Xathon in Berlin. While the concept has evolved into an open innovation challenge, the focus on empowering female entrepreneurs or female-led startups has remained. “Surveys show that only 20% of startups in Germany are founded or co-founded by women and only 22% of AI professionals globally are female. That is exactly where the Xathon comes in and aims to raise awareness of this imbalance. The Xathon combines tackling real business problems from Henkel in the field of AI with an effort to support female entrepreneurs in order to promote gender diversity in the tech startup industry”, explains Michaela Bessell, Head of Venture Ecosystem and Partnerships at Henkel dx Ventures.
Oct 30, 2023 Düsseldorf, Berlin / Germany
Startup Filestage wins Henkel's Xathon
- With the Xathon, Henkel pursues the goal of promoting women in the tech startup industry
- The startup Filestage convinces the jury with an AI-based solution to optimize packaging label management
- Filestage wins a proof of concept with Henkel worth 25,000 euros
“At the Xathon this year, we are focusing on the pioneering spirit of female entrepreneurs and female-led startups in the field of AI for the consumer business. Because it has become a business-critical core competence not only to apply technologies – first and foremost artificial intelligence – but to also build them oneself. Today's world is characterized by rapid technological change, in which an open exchange between creatives and technology experts is the breeding ground on which innovation grows. That's why collaboration with startups is an important pillar in our digitization strategy, alongside our internal innovation power and far-reaching strategic partnerships,” says Michael Nilles, Chief Digital and Information Officer at Henkel.
A total of six startups from around the world made it to the final pitch round at the Xathon on October 27, where they presented their solution proposals for specific business challenges from Henkel. The startups were evaluated by the expert jury according to criteria such as scalability, innovative strength and market understanding. “The startup Filestage was able to convince us with its strategic fit, diverse team set-up, customer-centricity and possible integration into existing platforms. We see enormous potential in jointly tackling the regulatory challenges in the area of our packaging label management in the consumer goods business and making them more efficient, especially by reducing time consuming process steps. That's why we are very much looking forward to our collaboration," says Kerstin Nix, Head of New Product Introduction Marketing & Product Innovation dxC at Henkel.
Filestage has won the implementation of a proof of concept with Henkel worth 25,000 euros at this year’s Xathon. The startup offers an AI-based platform where files such as documents, images and videos can be shared, commented on and approved in one place to simplify and speed up internal company approval processes.
Michaela Bessell, Head of Venture Ecosystem and Partnerships at Henkel dx Ventures and Michael Nilles, Chief Digital and Information Officer at Henkel.