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‘Next Big Thing’ – inside an IoT company builder

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In November 2016, the German Government launched the Digital Hub Initiative to create an industry cluster and to develop innovation hubs for selected cities and regions.

A side effect: The hubs provide orientation for serial entrepreneurs and job seekers from abroad. Since Berlin particularly attracts founders from the IoT and fintech scene, the German capital became a dedicated hub for “Internet of Things” – short IoT. The business platform The Factory, the Berlin Center for Digital Transformation as well as the company builders Finleap and Next Big Thing have been selected to shape the hub.

We spoke with Darina Onoprienko, Program Manager at Next Big Thing, short NBT, about IoT and the initiative.

YS: Darina, tell us about yourself and what you do?  

Darina: My name is Darina Onoprienko and I am originally Russian. I came to Germany three years ago to do my masters. During my studies, I did a research on business modelling – and that’s exactly what I am doing now at NBT. I am product manager and my main goal is to help startups develop their business models as fast as possible to prove that the business case works.

YS: What does NBT do?

Darina: NBT means ‘next big thing’ – and that’s literally what we do. NBT is an IT company builder, we build ventures in the IT space. We provide an entire framework starting from the idea to how to go to the market. We have founders or entrepreneurs who either bring in an idea or are passionate about certain topics, and we help them develop these ideas further. Our industry partners bring their knowledge, industry insights and of course customer groups in, so we can cater existing customers. At NBT, we are technology providers and the drivers behind the whole company building process. We focus on new ventures in machine learning and block chain.

YS: Why do you think Berlin – or Germany in general – is a good place for IoT?

Darina: If you look at Industry 4.0, there are a lot of manufacturing processes which can be optimized. Germany is basically the “Face of industry 4.0”. But we are not there yet . Right now, Germany is mainly focusing on transportation, energy, health and smart building. In these sectors alone there is a huge need to use innovative technology and we, definitely, need IoT to bring these industries forward. Moreover, Germany has a strong IT hub developed by research institutions, developed in universities. Our idea is to commercialize the results of their R&D.

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