Take part, because your project matters

The 2022 edition of Vivatech, Europe’s biggest startup and tech event, was a great success and a wonderful experience for our law firm. Today, we are delighted to organize once again THE CHALLENGE 2023, the exciting competition aiming to award, at Vivatech 2023 (June 14 – 17, Paris), the two most innovative startups in the field of digital innovation coming from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and South Tyrol and planning to develop their business in France.

The challenge


If your start-up meets the participation criteria listed below, send us a presentation of your company and business project before May, 15th 2023.

Project evaluation

Our jury, composed of Franco-German experts from the world of serial entrepreneurs, investors and advisors of tech start-ups, will evaluate your projects and select two start-ups presenting the most innovative and pioneering ideas.

Pitch at Vivatech in Paris

The two selected start-ups will be rewarded during a prize-giving ceremony at Vivatech and will have the opportunity to hold a pitch about their projects at the French German Tech Lab.

Travel costs

Travel costs for the participation of the selected start-ups at Vivatech will be covered by our law firm up to a maximum amount of 1.500 euros per start-up.

one-day workshop

The two winners will also benefit from a one-day workshop during which our lawyers will establish a “diagnosis” of the economic and legal situation of start-ups in the French territory and illustrate the appropriate actions that can be implemented in that context.

Participation criteria

Our competition is open to start-ups, which:

operate for at least 3 years

in the field of digital innovation


are registered

in the German (Handelsregister), Austrian (Firmenbuch), Swiss (Handelsregister) or South Tyrolean (Handelsregister Bozen) company register

have a business project in France

to be realized within the next 18 months.

Application form

Applications must be submitted by filling in the below form before May, 15th 2023, midnight.

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The jury

Andrea Vaugan

Andrea Vaugan

Andrea is a Franco-German expert on digitalization, digital transformation, digital marketing, European corporate expansion (mainly young companies but also SMEs and larger corporates), European start-up and scale-up ecosystems, entrepreneurship, and intercultural communication and management. She is an entrepreneur and leads for-impact projects to fortify the technology sector in the European digital industry. She is the founder of the boutique consultancy Wyngs that helps European start-ups and scale-ups grow in Germany and France, Co-Founder & Secretary-General of the European Champions Alliance and Venture Operating.

Andréas von Kaenel

Andréas von Kaenel

Andréas believes in entrepreneurship and innovative solutions for a more sustainable economy. With an engineering plus MBA background, he had the chance to work in multi-cultural environments in France, Switzerland and Germany. He assumed executive positions in the industrial sector, participating in the last one to the scaling up of the solar industry. Currently, he is part of a great team at Cortexia providing new and innovative solutions to the environmental sector.

“Klein Wenner’s challenge at Vivatech 2019 opens a highly skilled – and supportive – professional network for doing business in France. For Cortexia, the network was instrumental in finding investors and opening our branch in Paris.”

David Capitant

David Capitant

David is a professor of public law at the Panthéon-Sorbonne University in Paris. He is lawyer of Counsel at klein • wenner, where he advises and represents his clients in the field of public law contracts and supports organizations in their corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies.

He is President of the European Champions Alliance, an association supporting and developing start-ups and scale-ups in Europe, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Continental Law Foundation, the Board of Directors of GIP Justice Coopération Internationale and the Scientific Committee of the Paris Bar School.

Pascal Werner

Pascal Werner

Pascal Werner is Director of Investment at the SGPI (Secretariat General for Investment), in charge of the investment funds.

In this capacity, he has been responsible for the mobilisation of investments in the framework of the Investments for the Future Program (Programme d’investissements d’avenir (PIA)) since its launch in 2010.

The Investments for the Future Program promotes investments in innovative companies in key sectors such as digital, health and clean technology sectors. By participating in the financing of French startups, this Program encourages private stakeholders to get involved and invest as well.

Thibaud Le Séguillon

Thibaud Le Séguillon

Thibaud Le Séguillon is a French entrepreneur and business executive who is CEO of Industrya, a VC Fund associated with John Cockerill, a Belgian industrial group. From 2011 to 2018. Thibaud served as CEO of Heliatek a German startup where he helped to lead the company’s growth and expansion in the solar energy industry. Under his leadership, Heliatek raised €150 million and established strategic partnerships with a range of global companies. Prior to his work at Heliatek, Thibaudheld executive positions at various companies in Shanghai (5 years) and in the US (11 years) in the high-tech electronic sector.  

Thomas Rettenwander

Thomas Rettenwander

Thomas is a senior business development leader with vast international experience gained in Austria, France, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, Spain and the UK.
He has a track record in Finance and Tech, with a strong focus on innovation in the insurance industry.

Based in Vienna, Austria, he joined Wefox as Head of Affinity in October 2022 to grow the affinity business in Austria, the DACH region and beyond.

Tina Waedt

Tina Waedt

Convinced of the European Values and that cooperation is the only solution to be stronger, more efficient and successful, Tina made of it her vocation also in her professional life. At the French-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce she is responsible for the creation and animation of the biggest French-German industry Network. Accompanying companies – industrial global players, SME’s and of course startups – to a new market, bringing them together with potential partners and introducing them in the local ecosystem are the key tasks of her work. This is her contribution to foster the European sovereignty by creating together with her partners projects like the French-German Tech Lab during Vivatech this year.

William Zanotti

William Zanotti

William is a public accountant who spent 27 years of his professional carrer at EY, where he was involved on a part-time basis with international bodies in the management of internal IT innovation projects in addition to his activities as an auditor.

He co-founded Digilence, a consulting firm that assists managers of SMEs and mid-cap companies in structuring and managing their transformation process and is Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the start-up Keenturtle.

Our mission, our vision

We help young entrepreneurs to successfully realize their projects

A team of lawyers with an international perspective

klein • wenner is a multicultural law firm created by the association of two independent law firms and long-standing partners, KGA Avocats and Wenner.

klein • wenner comprises men and women who come from different European countries and have received an international education. Thanks to the multicultural profile of our team, we are particularly focused on the needs and specific features of foreign companies, mainly from the German-speaking market.

A vision focused on the evolution of the digital culture and the start-ups' ecosystem

The constantly increasing interest of our lawyers in the various sectors of the digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, cybersecurity, big data, etc., is the main driving force behind our involvement in the CHALLENGE project.

Our mission

Our mission is to support the success and development purposes of young entrepreneurs by facilitating their understanding of the French legal system. In this way, we contribute to the promotion of Franco-German business relations.

Our work approach

We listen, we do everything necessary to understand the challenges and difficulties of our clients, we offer them concrete and pragmatic solutions that are the result of our knowledge, know-how and experience: that is the core of our daily activity.

Your success, our ambition