Celebrate Successes: The Scaleup Program Cologne returns in 2024!

Last year, KölnBusiness and nlmtd embarked on an exhilarating journey, guiding five startups towards international expansion in an intensive 8-week program. Now, we’re gearing up for another round of transformation in 2024 as the signups were opened recently. As we’re in full planning mode to get geared up for another exhilarating program it made all the more sense to quickly look back at our journey from last year.

A quick retro on our 2023 process and startup heroes!

Dozens of applications

From dozens of applications, 13 were qualified and eventually 5 were selected for the final program. Criteria for selection included scalability, maturity, and impact. The startups’ product market fit, the track record of the founders, and whether the startup achieves a revenue of at least €500,000 were also considered. 

5 selected startups

After qualification, 5 selected startups remained: 


The Oater

The Oater proudly offers the oat drink machine: the machine for fresh and sustainable oat drink with barista quality for professionals. 

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Speekly is the largest UGC platform in the Netherlands. Through the platform, you can easily and quickly order authentic advertising videos or make product videos yourself. 

Ontwerp zonder titel (5)


Niostem has developed the first device that reverses hair loss in 6 months thanks to a scientific breakthrough with stem cells. 



Pagopace produces and sells contactless payment rings that look cool, create a wow factor when used, and ensure secure payments. 



Lumoview digitizes buildings from the inside out with a measurement that takes only 2 seconds per room, providing exact floor plans, 3D models, and 3D visualizations. 

Increase impact

The selected startups are all beautiful, sustainable, and promising organizations that can use an expert panel of founders and investors to increase their impact internationally through this program. 

The 8-week Scaleup Support program in practice: 

  1. Kickoff Meeting in Cologne 
  2. Evaluation of each startup  
  3. Pre-scaled foundations 
  4. Selection of target markets 
  5. Go-to-Market plan 
  6. Growth plan 
  7. Basics of international fundraising 
  8. Closing event 
  9. Progress discussions 

What nlmtd offers for the selected startups

Customized growth plans

Each startup has its own unique challenges, so part of the program is flexible and tailored to the specific needs. The support is not generic but effectively addresses the unique context of each startup. This can be focused on a product/market combination, but also a financing need or trade choice. 

Business connections 

Given Cologne’s reputation as a hub for key industries and large companies, several startups have been selected. Our specific recruitment approach for these entities, our dedicated network, and expertise support these startups in their growth ambitions. 

Continuous development 

Scaling is a multi-year process, so support does not end with the program. For example, the final presentation was in December, but regular check-ins are organized from three and six months after the program. A community of former participants is also formed so they can learn from each other and connect founders and growth partners. 

Building an ecosystem

nlmtd has a strong track record in building ecosystems and a deep-rooted belief in the power of sustainable partnerships. The personal connections of the team and the global reach of partners enable us to introduce Cologne startups to international markets and find customers, recruits, investors, and partners worldwide. 

KölnBusiness: economic growth and employment 

From Cologne Business, the program stimulates regional entrepreneurship. The program contributes to economic growth and employment and aims to build a local ecosystem separately. 

Learning from each other

The 8-week growth program offers tremendous value in itself, but a lot of knowledge is also exchanged between the different startups during the physical meetings during the program, and continued thereafter. 

How the 5 startups experienced the program…

5 reasons for growth and development of the startups

nlmtd has ensured that the startups have obtained a clear and sharp strategic direction. In addition, concrete steps have been taken towards scaling and international expansion. We have achieved this through: 

Refinement of the value proposition

By focusing on the most profitable and recurring customer profiles, a clear direction for growth has been obtained. The program has helped them sharpen their USPs and communicate the message more effectively to the market. 

Strategic roadmap 

The program resulted in mapping out the key activities and priorities for 2024, before they can scale up in 2025. With a clear plan for the next 12 months and the ongoing support of the program, the startups are better prepared for the challenges ahead. 

Networking opportunities 

The value offered by the mentors and the ecosystem, facilitated by the program, are crucial for setting up long-term success, ranging from partnerships in the supply chain and production, finding a go2market expert who takes marketing capabilities to a higher level, to fundraising to realize their ambitions. 

Tailored support 

The program is not only generic but also specific: focused on the unique challenges of each startup. This personalized approach has enabled them to leverage their strengths while also addressing both their soft and hard challenges. 

Drivers for scaling 

Through the guidance of the program, the startups have learned to prioritize and focus on the key drivers for scaling. This has led to achieving numerous goals within months. 

Evaluation results

The selected startups have experienced significant value from the program for the development of their business. This has already emerged in the reviews described above. The ‘hard’ figures are also positive. 

Evaluation of the program 

The assessment ranges from 0 = low to 5 = high 

Mentor 4.1 

Networking 4.0 

Communication 4.8 

Organization 4.7 

Total score 4.3

Register for the 2024 program 

Do you want to participate in the Scaleup Program Cologne in 2024? Startups can register from June 2024. It is a tailor-made program, you get guidance from international and local top mentors and you can benefit from a global network. 

More about the scale up program here The Scaleup Program Cologne 2024.

Want to know more? We worked on this!

Thijs Sprangers

Thijs Sprangers

Timo Richardson

Timo Richardson

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