His projects at university gave Jakob Sturm the chance to develop his ideas for energy self-sufficiency even further. He contributed to TUM’s Ikarus-Project, for example, working on the construction of an electric car. Then, in 2015, Jakob met TUM alumni Felix Harteneck and Clemens Techmer at a “Makerthon”—an UnternehmerTUM event aiming to develop fit-for-use software and hardware right at the event itself. Felix Harteneck, who was studying Management and Technology (TUM-BWL) at the time, had founded his first startup enterprise right out of high school and had thus already established business connections with investors, top managers, and entrepreneurs. Clemens Techmer, who like Jakob was pursuing a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, was a Manage & More and Climate Kic fellow as well as the recipient of the innovation award at TUM’s Chair of Communication Networks.
The parking industry’s most innovative solution
Three veritable high achievers had thus found each other and they went straight to work right there at the Makerthon. At the end of the event, the three presented their idea: an energy self-sufficient sensor with a lifetime of 25 years whose data would provide information about parking space occupancy. In terms of sustainability and efficiency, Jakob Sturm and his colleagues would thus outshine even established industrial corporations and automobile manufacturers. That is why they went and got a patent on their energy self-sufficient sensor right after the event.
In order to leverage their pole position and to win market shares in the highly competitive and trend-setting smart-parking market, the three alumni had to found their start-up as quickly as possible. While still in their last semesters of their degrees at TUM, they took advantage of the diverse courses and offerings of UnternehmerTUM, and that is where they obtained the support and the network they needed to found their start-up ParkHere that very year.
It has been just over three years now since the founding of their start-up company and the three young entrepreneurs can already look back on a number of substantial accomplishments. They have won prize after prize, and their sustainable parking solution was able to prevail over competitors from renowned industry titans in several cities in both Germany and Switzerland. In 2017, the parking sensor went into serial production. Since 2018, the three entrepreneurs have been occupying their own large offices with production and final assembly space in an industrial park in Munich’s Westend. “The demand for our product is always on the rise. There is a huge market all over Europe”, Jakob Sturm says proudly.
Jakob Sturm and his colleagues, whose company now comprises more than 45 young employees from all over the world, are already planning to take it even further. They are developing new products allowing them to capture the entire process from searching for parking spaces to accessing and paying for them. Serial production for these products is already under way, as are the corresponding patent applications.
Bacelor in Electrical and Computer Engineering 2014, Master 2016
Jakob Sturm studied Electrical and Computer Engineering at TUM from 2011 to 2016. He discovered his affinity for the Spanish language while backpacking through South America. That is why he spent a semester abroad at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in Spain in 2014.
He founded the start-up company ParkHere together with TUM alumni Felix Harteneck and Clemens Techmer (Master’s in Electrical and Computer Engineering 2016) in 2015 and has been in the position of CIO ever since. His responsibilities include the sensor’s and the other hardware’s information technology.
The TUM spinoff company has won several awards for its environmentally friendly digital technology. It won the BMWi’s IKT Innovativ Preis in its founding year 2015; it won the Pioneers Festival in 2016, the VDE-Award in the economics category in 2017 as well as the Intertraffic Innovation Award in 2018.
Jakob Sturm lives in Munich with his girlfriend. He rides his electric motor scooter to work, and uses the train to get to business meetings. He devotes his spare time to his passion: playing soccer.