The Founders & Ideas
Do I need an idea to join the Visionaries program?

No, you don’t need an idea to apply to the Visionaries program. We offer 2 options to ambitious entrepreneurs:

Co-founder pool: You can join our program as a co-founder, and we will match-make you with one of our founders with ideas/up-and-running companies.

Idea discovery challenge: We might have the perfect venture case for you in our idea pool! You can choose one or more pre-validated use cases and conduct your case assessment. We will help you sharpen your case with our product and technical team and prepare you to join the Visionaries program.

You can indicate your preference when filling out our application form.

What do you look for in a founder?

We are looking for entrepreneurial talents who want to turn their tech idea into reality. We don’t choose by experience only! We support seasoned industry experts & entrepreneurs, and ambitious graduates at the beginning of their deep tech venture journey - even before the company is founded. Bold individuals, not afraid to fail and eager to learn. Passionate leaders who drive and inspire teams.

Most importantly, we are looking for entrepreneurs who share our values:
- Ownership: You have a rocksteady will to succeed and are fully committed to your idea.
- Entrepreneurial Drive: You have an innovative mind, a bias to action, and are impact-driven.
- Humility & Resilience: You can overcome obstacles and learn from your failures.
- Teamwork & Leadership: You like collaborating, inspiring, and convincing others to join your mission.
- Big Vision: You can easily picture your business's short- and long-term goals.

What type of background are you looking for?

Anyone with a business, engineering, or scientific background and a passion for technology can apply.

Can I apply if I’m non-technical?

Yes! We have a mix of business and technical profiles in each of our cohorts and you can count us in as your technical co-founder. When it comes to your profile we care most about the size of your ambition and your interest and curiosity in tech solutions.

Can I apply for the Visionaries program with more than one idea?

Yes. We're looking for ambitious entrepreneurs who want to leverage deep tech to make a significant impact. Are you passionate about multiple ideas? Don't worry! We will help you figure out which of your ideas to validate.

And should the idea be related to your search fields, or could it be different?

It can also be something else, but it has to be an IoT/AI/DTLT topic with a B2B focus.

The Visionaries Program
What does it mean to be a Visionary?

As a Visionary, you will get the perfect playground to validate your idea rapidly and prototype your product at lightning speed. Together we will set a solid foundation to build and scale your deep-tech venture after the program.

When can I apply to the NBT Visionaries program?

We run two batches per year, and every batch has its application timeframe. In general, applications are opened two months before the start of the program. The next batch starts on the 4th of September, 2023. On this day, we will have the first digital get-together to get to know each other and start forming your vision.

What does the timeline look like?

The program lasts 100 days.

In the program's first 30 days, you will focus on refining your case: we help you sharpen your concept and conduct customer and market research.

In the remaining 70 days, you will rapidly prototype and validate your product idea and business model and test it with potential customers. You will also go through financial modeling and technical assessment of your solution with our in-house staff. We will then work together to secure your first letters of intent and prepare for the Demo Day.

The last day of the Visionaries program is Demo Day: you will pitch your case to the investment committee of NBT, who will then decide if you will receive funding.

How much funding do you provide?

After the demo day and the investment decision, we will incorporate your company as an entity and start building your MVP. We will offer a pre-seed investment of up to €700k in pre-seed funding in cash & in-kind services (in return for 25.1% equity in the venture).You can use the funding for MVP development and Go-to-Market within the next 6 months after program participation.

Can I work on something else during the Visionaries program?

No, our founders need to be 100% committed to the program. Please consider your current notice period, plus the personal and financial investment starting a business requires. The program curriculum is intense, and the timeline is also tight. It is only possible to achieve our program goals with a full-time engagement. In return, we provide our founders with a fixed salary.

Do I need to move to Berlin?

No, we are a 100% remote program with founders joining from all around the world. We are facilitating all of our events and our workshops in a remote setting.

Is there an office space?

Yes, if you are located in Berlin, you are welcome to work at the NBT office at no cost. You will find our office in Tiergarten, Berlin. You will have access to our meeting rooms, collaborative spaces, and a large rooftop terrace overlooking Berlin. You will also be able to join our onsite events and get-togethers.

Do you help obtain visas or work permits in Germany?

Unfortunately not. Our program is 100% remote, and we offer freelance contracts to founders working from abroad.

How do I know who’s in my cohort?

If we make you an offer to join, you will participate in a cohort meet-up and get the opportunity to meet with other founders during workshops and events.

How many Visionaries join a batch?

We usually accept between 4 to 6 founders per cohort. We limit the acceptance number to offer tailored guidance throughout the entire program.

Do I need a co-founder to join the program?

No. During the Visionaries program, we will guide you in all the areas where you need support. We will also help you in finding your perfect co-founder.

You will have the opportunity to participate in matchmaking events and test partnerships with top-tier talents from various industries to find the right person with a complementary skill-set and a shared ambition.

Can I join the program with my co-founder?

Yes, but both founders must commit 100% to the program. If your co-founder is in their job right now, we would instead suggest that only you join the program, and he/she can also support you from the side-line. As soon as we commit to a pre-seed investment, we aim to onboard him/her as part of the founding team.

What support should I expect?

During the Visionaries program, we will support you in developing your company from idea sharpening to prototyping to concept validation. You can validate and start building your deep tech company with us in just 100 days.

Thanks to our vast product & venture knowledge and engineering capabilities, we are happy to act as your technical co-founder and give you an unfair edge from day one. You can expect tailored guidance through hands-on coaching & masterclasses. We have experts in all kinds of hands-on topics such as product & design, marketing & sales, HR & legal, fundraising and engineering. You will also gain access to top-tier talent, advisors, business angels, and industry partners.

Will I get compensated during the program?

Yes, we will give you a freelance or employment contract and pay you a gross salary of €5.000/month to cover your living expenses and to make sure you can fully focus on working on the case. We also offer a testing budget of €5.000. The package is the same for everyone.

Who owns my IP?

You own all intellectual property generated by you before and during program participation. If you have any questions about intellectual property, please contact us at

How do you handle entity incorporation?

The company incorporation happens at the start of the pre-seed stage. The company must be incorporated in Germany.

What happens if it does not work?

All of the IP or all of the rights would stay with you. We don't create barriers or anything else to make you feel bad. So if we decide not to continue, you can take the idea, work with external investors or other co-founders, and execute it. The only thing that we will ask for is a 5% investment right.

I have more questions!

Feel free to contact us at any time, and please use this <a href="">mail</a>.

About Next Big Thing AG
What is a venture studio?

Our venture studio turns tech ideas into reality. We partner with bold founders and offer them the perfect playground to design, validate, build and scale the next generation of startups in the Machine Economy.

What is the culture of NBT?

We’re here for technical inclusion, launching trailblazing businesses, and positively impacting the world. Our comprehensive approach to venture creation brings together people from all different professional disciplines to shape impact-driven businesses collaboratively. We are examples of a culture that values innovation, technology, and an entrepreneurial mindset. You can read more about our values and culture here:

How is NBT different from other venture studios?

We are the technical co-founder you were looking for! As a team of entrepreneurs, we know first-hand that starting a new tech company is hard work. That's why we've created our proven venture studio process that enables you to successfully build your deep tech venture. We help founders start a tech venture from scratch. We also help startups scale and enter new markets, and we help corporates transform all industries by creating new digital businesses.

How many companies do you have in your portfolio?

We currently have 13 successful ventures in our portfolio. You can read more about them here: