Home » Archive News In Brief » News in Brief 2022 » News in Brief 02_2022 » BRYCK, the innovation and start-up centre initiated by the RAG-Stiftung, is launched
Fig. 1. Launched the new innovation and start-up centre: (from left to right) Christian Lüdtke and Philipp Herrmann, the new Managing Directors of BRYCK, and Bernd Tönjes, Chairman of the Board of Management of the RAG-Stiftung. Photo: Nico Kleemann

BRYCK, the innovation and start-up centre initiated by the RAG-Stiftung, is launched

In early 2020, the RAG-Stiftung, Essen/Germany, together with E.ON-Pensionsvermögen, bought the former Colosseum Theatre in Essen. A little later on, Marcus Kruse, managing partner of KÖLBL KRUSE, also got involved in the property. The acquisition of the historic building once known as workshop 8 of the company Krupp was also an investment for the Stiftung, further diversifying its capital assets. At the same time, from the very beginning, the Stiftung was the source of ideas for the property’s re-use. While the new use of the Colosseum is still in the planning stage, the BRYCK innovation and start-up centre is already being launched. In order to give BRYCK an attractive address early on, the RAG-Stiftung has been renting the tower of the FUNKE Media Group since 1st October 2021, and the first innovation partners have already moved in. Bernd Tönjes, Chairman of the Board of Management of the RAG-Stiftung, and the managing directors of the innovation and start-up centre, Christian Lüdtke and Philipp Herrmann, first showcased the plans for BRYCK on 16th February 2022, at a digital press conference (Figure 1).

“Our goal is to get the first players up and running while still working on the planning and renovation of the former Colosseum Theatre” says Tönjes. “We are therefore very excited that BRYCK will now be powering the emerging innovation and start-up ecosystem, building it up and developing it, brick by brick. With the media tower in the Essen city centre and right across from the Colosseum, we have found the ideal location to offer anyone who wants to be part of the innovation and start-up centre both the space and the opportunity for networking and collaboration”, comments Tönjes.

The operator of the innovation centre in the media tower and the forthcoming space in the former Colosseum Theatre will be the newly established company BRYCK. The managing directors of BRYCK are also co-founders and co-partners of the new innovation and start-up centre. Also involved with BRYCK as co-founder and co-partner, alongside the RAG-Stiftung, is Kruse. “In Christian Lüdtke and Philipp Herrmann we have gained two renowned experts and networkers as managing directors for -BRYCK, with excellent knowledge in the fields of innovative business ideas and start-ups. As the idea generators and chief partners of BRYCK, we are now passing the baton to the BRYCK management”, says Tönjes.

Lüdtke and Herrmann are already a well-oiled team whose achievements include establishing the start-up forge and digital consulting service etventure, Berlin/Munich, which was acquired by Ernst & Young (EY) in 2017. In the course of the take-over, the two men were most recently working as EY partners with a focus on innovative new businesses and digitisation.

BRYCK’s main immediate task will be the targeted development of a relevant start-up and innovation ecosystem, including modern co-working offers and novel start-up programmes. The first formats and events, which bring together players from research, development, start-ups, etc. are planned from March 2022. In the long term, with a multitude of offers, BRYCK will act as a magnet for innovation drivers from all over Germany and Europe.

Lüdtke and Herrmann comment: “We are very much looking forward to the hugely exciting task to create something here that will develop international appeal. It is a unique project with extraordinary potential. We are therefore starting with high motivation along with the necessary structured approach; in other words BRYCK by BRYCK!”

The first members to use the space in the tower include – alongside BRYCK itself – start-ups, venture funds, businesses, scientific institutions and educational institutions. What is more, the ground floor houses a public coffee bar.

“In the RAG-Stiftung, we have found a reliable and long-term partner for our property, which will now be a nucleus for an important future project in our region. I am convinced that we will see mutual benefit in this neighbourhood”, says Thomas Kloß, FUNKE publishing director, North Rhine-Westphalia.

Besides meeting profitability targets, the RAG-Stiftung hopes that its plans for the innovation and start-up centre BRYCK will make a significant contribution to the further economic regeneration of the region in the post-mining age. As an example, we can look to UnternehmerTUM in Munich/Germany and StationF in Paris/France. Currently, the plans for the renovation of the former Colosseum Theatre are moving on. This is where the newly formed innovation and start-up centre BRYCK is to eventually find its long-term home, along with all of its partners. The company tasked with the renovation is the Essen project developer KÖLBL KRUSE, whose Managing Partner, Marcus Kruse, got involved at an early stage as co-founder and co-partner of the centre. (RAG-Stiftung/Si.)