The BSH Future Home Accelerator Powered by Techstars welcomes its latest member: Johann Romefort joins the program as Managing Director on the Techstars side. Here he tells us more about his personal background, his role in the program and what his vision of the Future Home looks like.
Johann, you are the new Managing Director of the „BSH Future Home Accelerator Powered by Techstars“. What are your key tasks? I manage the accelerator on the Techstars side. Together with my team at Techstars, I source startups to participate in the program and lead the selection process. I also recruit mentors from my entrepreneurial network all over Europe and will myself be a lead mentor to all the startups. Besides this, I am the main connection to BSH, which means I’m supporting BSH through the whole process, taking care of training the BSH mentors and I’m helping establish a good collaboration between the startups and BSH beyond the accelerator.
What is exciting about the Future Home Accelerator? The last few years have seen key enabling technologies such as AI and IoT moving into our homes, from voice assistants to machine-vision-powered security cameras and other smart thermostats. Usage is also evolving: more and more people order their groceries from an app or remotely control their home from their phone. Yet the whole ecosystem is fragmented. We will see some convergence happening in the upcoming years - devices will start communicating with each other and data platforms will become key. AI will start to learn your preferences when ordering products for your kitchen or will recommend you a new great recipe to try - all that while securing your home from intruders, feeding your cat, and cleaning your home while you’re away. The “home” is ripe for disruption both from human and technological aspects - The Future Home Accelerator is the perfect program for startups with an ambition to reinvent the habitat of tomorrow, changing how millions of people will live their life at home. During our first year we’ll have a strong focus on the kitchen, the central part of the home. As an amateur cook myself, I’m very excited to see innovations in this field!
What can startups expect from the collaboration with you and within the program? The BSH Future Accelerator Powered by Techstars leverages both the strengths of BSH, which is the European leader for home appliances, and the powerful network of Techstars. Startups will therefore benefit from the guidance and mentorship of industry experts and from an unprecedented access to market. They will also have access to a network of mentors which will accompany them during the program and beyond. As Managing Director, I will personally mentor startups, but first and foremost make sure that they have access to all the resources they need during the program to build great companies. During the program the startups will get a lot of feedback on all aspects of their companies - through one-to-one meetings, workshops, and of course through the Mentor Madness month.
What experience do you bring to the Future Home Accelerator? With a background in software engineering, I have been in the tech industry for almost 20 years and I started with building prototypes for various startups. In 2007, I co-founded Seesmic (acquired in 2012) in San Francisco. After riding the startup roller-coaster, I moved to Munich where I gave myself the mission to shake up the local tech ecosystem. I am not only a hands-on technologist but also have a passion for building communities. As a Tech Evangelist at Stylight, I organized 200+ tech events and meetups, including DAHO.AM – The Pure Tech Conference – with 1400 attendees this year on topics such as Mobility, Blockchain, AI and IoT. I like to #GiveFirst by mentoring young startups, to share my knowledge as a public speaker and as a community builder.