GFA Startup Learning Expedition 2023 – A Cross-Border Success Story


In recent years, the surge of interest in Industry 4.0 technologies has led to a proliferation of new companies dedicated to cutting-edge innovations. Established businesses across various sectors are investing heavily in digital infrastructure, seeking collaborations with startups to stay at the forefront of technological advancements. The GFA Startup Learning Expedition 2023 was conceived in response to this evolving landscape. The expedition encompassed visits to innovation clusters, industry clients, venture capitalists, and startup fairs in France and Germany, fostering connections between startups, industry, and academic experts.


  1. Expand the Horizon:
    The expedition aimed to facilitate cross-border development and business for startups, providing insights into the multifaceted industry of the future.
  2. Build New Relationships:
    Networking events offered startups dedicated opportunities to connect with vibrant ecosystems, fostering collaborations between startups, researchers, and industry leaders.
  3. Enhance Knowledge and Expertise:
    Through meetings with academic experts, startups were supported in addressing technological challenges. The expedition aimed to contribute to future joint (EU) projects.


In early 2023, through a competitive application process, 8 German startups from the TUM ecosystem, 6 startups from the IMT ecosystem, and 4 startups from Inria were selected for the GFA Startup Learning Expedition.

Vivatech 2023 in Paris (June 14-17)

The journey commenced with a visit to Vivatech 2023 in Paris. During this experience, startups showcased their innovations at the French-German Tech Lab, with 3 startups winning pitch awards. The startups engaged with investors, industry professionals, and participated in high-quality side events. Vivatech, a leading tech conference, provided an ideal platform for startups to gain visibility and make valuable connections.

Munich Ecosystem Visit (Sept 24-26)

The French startups, as part of the reciprocal program, joined us in Munich for a three-day mission. They participated in the Bits & Pretzels founders festival on the first day. On the second day they visited the Munich Urban Colab, where they joined a program with keynotes and presentations from industry, academia and VCs. In the evening we invited the startups to attend a networking dinner by La French Tech Munich. On the last day they immersed themselves in the Bavarian culture at Oktoberfest, where Bits&Pretzels organised a networking. The expedition facilitated lasting connections, collaboration opportunities, and insightful discussions.

Paris Ecosystem Visit (Nov 30 – Dec 1)

The German startups returned for an additional program in Paris, where they visited the French unicorn Mirakl on the first day and gained insights into successful public relations and marketing. Afterwards, they explored the Campus Cyber at La Défense where we organised  presentations regarding the French Market, multiple opportunities to expand. We planned as well keynotes from industry partners and a reverse pitch session with Venture Capitalists. Later, they were invited to visit the Télécom Paris Incubator at Station F and ended the day with a nice networking dinner. The second day we invited the startups to the French-German law firm Klein-Wenner in the center of Paris. Klein-Wenner gave invaluable insights on legal aspects in France and after a lunch with further discussions and networking the startups were left to attend one on one meetings on their own.

The GFA Startup Learning Expedition 2023 was a resounding success, providing startups with unparalleled opportunities for expansion, networking, and knowledge enhancement.

We already plan our next GFA LEX for 2024. Stay tuned!

Participating Startups