History and Milestones

“Concept paper for the creation of new workplaces in Karlsruhe”: the basic idea of CyberForum is hidden behind this title. Dr. Friedrich Georg Hoepfner, who had the idea, founded the first entrepreneur network in Karlsruhe on July 4th 1997 in cooperation with eleven partners from science, research, administration, the economy and financial areas. More than 100 people visited the first InfoMarkt in its first year 

1997: CyberForum founding

The non-profit Association CyberForum  is founded as a public-private partnership on the initiative of Dr. Friedrich Georg Hoepfner and numerous supporters. CyberForum supports business founders and businesses from the beginning. The training initiative for future professions forms one element of this.   


1998: First CyberCongress

The Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe is the location of the first main event highlight CyberForum team organises: the CyberCongress. CyberForum, in the meantime, represents 200 members from the Karlsruhe Technology Region.  


2000: 500 members

CyberForum welcomes the 500th member in February, but then stock exchange speculations lead to the dot-com bubble bursting, whereupon many businesses have to fight to survive - in the Karlsruhe Technology Region, too.


2002: 5 years of CyberForum

The economic crisis reaches its climax, but CyberForum can hold its ground and celebrates its 5th birthday with many members at the InfoMarkt.  


2004: First CyberChampions Award

CyberForum selects particularly successful young businesses with the CyberChampions Award for the first time. Dr. Walter Döring, to this time Minister of Economy,  also attends the prize-giving. 


2006: Buschlinger becomes Chairman

The Chairmanship changes: Elmar Buschlinger becomes the successor of Dr. Friedrich Georg Hoepfner. Martin Hubschneider and Dirk Schwartz complete the Board of Directors.  


2007: First official Managing Director

CyberForum, in time for its 10th birthday, receives David Hermanns as the first official Managing Director. The number of members and event participants increases considerably.  


2008: Buchwald follows Buschlinger

The members elect Hagen Buchwald as the new Chairman. “iRegion. Creating the net economy” is the only IT cluster in Germany to reach the final of the top cluster competition run by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.  


2009: InfoMarkt Anniversary and first EU Project

CyberForum becomes a member of the “Kompetenznetze Deutschland (Competence Networks Germany)”. People meet each other at the 100th InfoMarkt, twelve years after it was founded. CyberForum coordinates its first EU project with the “Knowledge Region”.   


2010: Matthias Hornberger becomes the new Chairman

The software cluster wins the German government’s top cluster competition in January. CyberForum had coordinated the competition for the North Baden region. The 800th member is warmly welcomed in April and Matthias Hornberger takes up his position as the new Chairman in July. 


2011: CyberForum Service GmbH foundation

CyberForum Service GmbH is founded. CyberForum can therefore further increase its range of offers. Furthermore, the state-wide IT business networking is supported by the smart businessIT initiative. 


2012: 15 years of CyberForum e.V.

CyberForum turns 15 and celebrates the occasion with its trailblazers and members. CyberForum welcomes its 1000th member as a type of birthday present to itself.  


2013: Best IT-Cluster

A startup center is created in CyberForum with the CyberLab, with an offer extending far beyond the conventional incubator model. Furthermore, CyberForum is recognized as Europe’s leading IT network.  


2014: Digitale Agenda 2020+ BW

Representatives from CyberForum play a significant part in creating the Digital Agenda 2020+ BW. CyberForum team grows to 31 employees.  


2015: New business location in Baden-Baden

The new branch in Baden-Baden, CyberForum Süd, is opened. In addition, CyberForum starts in cooperation with the FZI Research Center for Information Technology the DIZ Digital Innovation Center Baden-Württemberg, which particularly supports SMEs in their digital transformation. 


2016: Topping out for the IT-Accelerator of Baden-Württemberg

Kickoff for the IT Accelerator of the state of Baden-Württemberg - in the future startups are to be supported even more in the CyberLab. In addition, CyberForum successfully organizes the state convention shareBW with 270 participants. 


2017: Opening of the IT-Accelerators CyberLab and 20 years of CyberForum

In September the CyberLab was opened by the undersecretary of state Karin Schütz and Lord Mayor Dr. Frank Mentrup. From now on Startups from the IT- and Hightechindustry will have access to the 1600 square meters of office space which offers the perfect conditions and infrastructure for their successful development. Subsequently, the CyberForum celebrated its 20th anniversary with partners from business, science and politics as well as numerous guests.


2018: Start-up BW Pre-Seed, karlsuhe.digital & Digital Hub for applied Artificial intelligence

  • CyberForum and the State of Baden-Wüttenberg start the development of Start-up BW Pre-Seed, an Early-stage financing help for innovative start-up projects.
  • The initiative karlsruhe.digital is established with a joint organizational structure consisting of CyberForum and the city of Karlsruhe.
  • CyberForum wins an Award from the BMWI for the Digital Hub for Applied Artificial Intelligence. An initiative coordinated by CyberForum, DIZ | Digital Innovation Center and FZI | Research Center for Computer Science.

2019: First German-French AI-Conference, improvement, growth and Major progress in helping business start-ups

  • The CyberForum is commissioned by the city of Baden-Baden to take over the managment of the ELAN Gründerzentrum.
  • In September 2019, the CyberForum Academy launched offering further education from the network for the network.
  • The first German-French AI conference AIxIA in October 2019 is the first congress of a cross-border project with France.
  • In the same month, the first Bunte Nacht der Digitalisierung with 100 partners and 6,000 visitors was successfully carried out by CyberForum with the help of the initiative karlsruhe.digital.
  • The city of Karlsruhe commissioned CyberForum to build and operate a new Gründer- und Wachstumszentrum, the Smart Production Park (SPP). The SPP financed by the city of Karlsruhe, the state of Baden-Württemberg and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is operated by CyberForum with the cooperation of the Wirtschaftsförderung Karlsruhe.
  • The CyberForum is growing steadily and broke the mark of 60 employees.

2020: Cyberwehr available statewide, Groundbreaking Smart Production Park & other honorary members

  • The Cyberwehr Initiative, a contact and advice center for small and medium-sized companies as well as a coordination center for hacker attacks, goes into regular operation for the entire state of Baden-Württemberg.
  • The groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Smart Production Park and the takeover of Workshop 10 within the Smart Production Park takes place.
  • The board members Prof. Lockemann, Jakob Karszt and Hubert Maier leave the board of CyberForum after decades of service and are appointed as honorary members.

2021: Karlsruher Technik-Initiative is one of Germany’s 10 best ideas, partial handover of SPP/ Move-In Werkstatt10, REACT & CyberLab Accelerator Program

  • Official opening of Werkstatt10 accompanied by the entry of the first startups.
  • Anniversary initiative of the Stifterverband selects the Karlsruher Technik-Initiative as one of Germany’s 10 best ideas for the education system of the future.
  • Expansion of the EXI start-up voucher with the EU initiative REACT with the aim of offering nationwide more start-up advice for women, social entrepreneurs and creative people with a focus on digital business models.
  • Realignment and expansion of the Cyberlab Accelerator program. In addition to the start-up teams with a focus on IT, AI and IT security, prospective start-ups with a focus on smart production can now apply. This means that up to 60 teams are admitted each year.