5 minutes with ... Sep 15, 2022

Five Minutes with… Christian Lohmeier, Managing Director of Bits & Pretzels, Bavaria’s premier founders’ conference

Bits & Pretzels is a three-day conference for founders and enthusiasts from the start-up scene. What started in 2014 as a small founders’ breakfast with just 80 participants is now Bavaria’s leading start-up festival, bringing together thousands of like-minded participants from all over the world during Oktoberfest. After a virtual edition, Bits & Pretzels will reunite its exceptional community of 5,000 creators live in Munich in September 2022. We talked to Christian Lohmeier, Managing Director, about the upcoming festival and his view on the Bavarian start-up scene.

Bits & Pretzels is finally coming back live to Munich in September. What are you most excited about?

At Bits & Pretzels, startups always come first. They are at the center of everything we do. That’s why I am really excited that we offer more support and content for founders than ever before. With ten stages at the Conference, the biggest startup exhibition we have had so far and over 800 investors attending, I truly believe we are a must-attend event for founders. Finally, the startup-scene can meet again and this will be the great reunion that we have all waited for.

The festival brings together people who believe that entrepreneurship can drive positive change. In your view: what are the most important areas where entrepreneurs can act as change agents at this moment in time?

Especially this year, we want to empower the European startup ecosystem and help create new digital champions. For the first time ever, we have a guest country at Bits & Pretzels: France. They truly have grasped the importance of the startup economy as the European chance to stay at the forefront of innovation and to create millions of new jobs. European startups should rise to the level of American and Asian champions, but in the European way. Most European startups care about environmental and social issues as much as about economic ones. That is a unique strength.

It’s 2022 and the Bavarian high-tech innovation ecosystem seems as buoyant as ever: For example, we saw the foundation of the Munich Quantum Valley this year, start-up Isar Aerospace secured a USD 165 Million Series-B round of funding, companies like Celonis, Personio, Flixmobility regularly make the news. What do you think Bavaria as a startup location does particularly well?

Bavaria is truly a great place to live and that is important if you want to find talent. But you also have lots of funds and huge corporates here.

I am totally biased, but there are so many objective reasons to settle your business here. You are in the center of Europe in the biggest single European market and there is so much going on. It’s a decision you can make with your heart and your brain.

The first annual Bits & Pretzels HealthTech Conference took place in Munich this year and was a big success? Why did you choose this topic and will we see other more specialized Bits & Pretzel formats in the future?

Health tech is an exciting field in which the ecosystem is very dynamic and developing quickly. We also believe that technology is the greatest lever to positive change in the healthcare sector. Together with our founding partners, we wanted to create a new home for everyone who has something want to change. There are of course other very interesting fields in Bavaria, such as the life science sector. But with our high-quality standards, you can't have ten events in one year. The HealthTech Conference has been planned for three years, hopefully longer. We’ll have to see if there will be any more spin-offs in future.

5.000 participants from all over the world will attend the festival. What would you like them to take home from the event?

I’d like everyone to leave motivated to get back to work and build awesome things that matter. Hopefully without too big of a headache after our last day at the Oktoberfest.