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Spin-off of Freie Universität Berlin Wins Special Prize for Digital Education

German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Presents Award in Digital Innovations Competition at CeBIT Computer Trade Fair to dataX Academy Learning Platform

№ 058/2017 from Mar 22, 2017

A spin-off of Freie Universität offering innovative teaching of data competence won a special prize for digital education from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy at the 2017 CeBIT computer trade fair. The two company founders, Leo Marose and Stefan Berntheisel, accepted the 10,000-euro award at a ceremony on Tuesday in Hannover. With their learning platform dataX Academy, Marose and Berntheisel are responding to what experts say is an increasing importance in dealing with huge volumes of data – big data. With their new platform, they want to convey data competency in a completely new way – interactively and based on realistic scenarios.

Scientists say the demand for experts in fields such as big data, so-called machine learning, and artificial intelligence is growing rapidly, while there are few opportunities for further education in these fields. "To stay competitive, companies are collecting more and more data, but they often do not know what to do with it all," says former strategy consultant Leo Marose and adds, "We quickly realized that there is a huge market slumbering here." In 2016, together with the IT system architect Stefan Berntheisel, and an EXIST founding grant from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Marose started the dataX Academy as a spin-off of Freie Universität Berlin. The idea behind the start-up: students learning to become data scientists and data engineers need to learn how to deal with complex data sets not only in theory, as up to now, but also in practice. To help fill this gap, dataX Academy provides online courses with real data sets along with a programing environment. The users can then solve realistic exercises, for example, they have to find out where in New York there is likely to be the greatest demand for taxicabs. "For this task alone, there are more than 1.1 billion real data elements available," says Stefan Berntheisel. Other exercises come from fields such as marketing, geography, or logistics. The courses are designed in cooperation with experts, and the participants are able to solve realistic problems. "We always provide the entire technical infrastructure for the learning environment," says Berntheisel and adds, "This is a good and cost-effective way for companies to provide training in data science for their employees." The courses cost between 79 and 300 euros.

The scientific mentor of the start-up is Tim Conrad, a professor of computer proteomics at Freie Universität Berlin. The founders are also supported by the Incubator of Profund Innovation, a service facility for supporting the transfer of knowledge and technology, which is based in the Division of Research at Freie Universität. With their concept, Marose and Berntheisel recently won the first prize in the initial round of the 2017 business plan competition in Berlin-Brandenburg and the Startup Award at LEARNTEC 2017, the largest trade fair for digital learning in Europe.

Press Contact

Leo Marose, Tel.: 0163 7788742, Email: leo.marose@datax.academy

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Other Awards for dataX Academy

  • Winner of 1st place at LEARNTEC 2017


  • Winner of 1st place in the business plan competition in Berlin-Brandenburg


More Information about the Special Award for Digital Education