„How can we detect, prevent and eliminate air pollu-tants to make home a safer space for consumers?“
With this Key Question tesa came to us, trusted our expertise and within two months we came back with answers.

Executive Summary

When B2C meets innovation

In 2021, we launched the open innovation challenge „Innovative Solutions against Indoor Air Pollutants“ together with tesa.The goal was to come up with innovative products and business models-that empower consumers to improve the air quality in their living spaces. The Challenge was a real success, since the large number of dif-ferent submissions gave tesa an overview of specific technologi-cal applications and the state of the art in the field of air pollutants. Through the interviews, the solutions could be further validated. At the end of the challenge, the best solutions were adapted to tesa‘s specifications, thus laying the perfect foundation for joint business mo-dels between tesa and the best teams.

About tesa

Getting to know our client and setting up the goals

With 4,900 employees allocated in more than 100 countries, tesa is a global, innovative front-runner of self-adhesive solu-tions in two main markets: direct industry and trade markets. Among others, trade markets includes “General Industrial Mar-kets” and “Consumer and Craftsmen (C&C)”.The C&C business has been served for decades with all kinds of adhesives tapes and the iconic brand position of „tesa“ has been achieved not only in Germany.The portfolio has already been successfully extended to so-lutions well exceeding the adhesive tapes solution. Therefore, from user perception, tesa does not only stand for adhesives but for clever, reliable and high quality solutions helping to improve, decorate, arrange & protect homes and to achieve better results at work and in daily life.Wanting to further extend and grow their solutions portfolio and brand promise around pro-tection, the company was looking for innovative solutions that not only facilitate consumers’ daily life but that also make them feel good and safer at home.


By tapping into the immense interdisciplinary knowledge of architects, physicians, scientists and engineers and sup-porting their journey to develop and communicate their ideas, we were able to establish a community of collaborating innovators.






taking part


Final Teams


Projects accelerated

Our strategy

Ensuring success by setting the pillars

To encourage quality contributions, the partcipants were not only rewarded with a variety of incentives, such as a 7,500€ prize pool, job and cooperation opportunities and the chance to win tesa as a long term partner. We also made sure the Challenge framework specifically targeted tesas needs trhough an individually customized setup.

The Challenge

The Challenge started and so did our scouting process. We tracked down the most promising High Potentials amongst our network of Students, Young Professionals, Researchers and Start Ups cover-ing a large and diverse variety of disciplines to ensure a broad spectrum of expertise. The project was split into different phases.

Qualification Phase

February 4 – April 6, 2021

Free Workshops

February 25 & March 09, 2021

Interview Phase

April 26 & 27, 2021

Calling the Finalists

April 29, 2021

Elaboration Phase

April 29 – June 07, 2021

Announcement of the winners

June 07, 2021

To enhance understanding of possibilities to innovate, we developed six tracks according to the Key Questions, that were proposed to the participants. The tracks could also be combined while elaborating innovative approaches.






Submission criteria

We set different criteria the submitted ideas should reach.

Industrial Solutions


Innovative Technology

Consumer Empowerment

Comprehensive Solution

Challenge Reviews/What participants say

Es lohnt sich die Augen offen zu halten für Neues, denn diese Challenge hat mir viele Softskills beigebracht, die man so in der Universität nicht lernen kann und ungemein wichtig für den beruflichen Werdegang sind.

Tim RabeFinalist, Wirtschaftsingenieur Student

The winners

Finalists were selected by a jury of experts based on the following criteria

  • Innovativeness of the solution (25%)
  • Business potential (25%)
  • Integration of Tesa product (30%)
  • Team complementarity (20%)


UbreatheX is a plant-based air purifier that eliminates dust pollution and captures gaseous & biological pollutants from the house. With Its patent pending ‘Breathing roots’ technology, UbreatheX absorbs the air from the surrounding and pass it through the soil of the plant and then through a UV chamber to destroy toxins. UbreatheX also provide biophilic benefits such as support cognitive function, physical health, and psychological well-being.


The use of climate friendly and mobile air cleaners equipped with algae (so called Alwes©) can reduce air pollution under the limits without wasting energy with an odd machine. Alwes, a wall decor , reduces the CO2 footprint instead. It includes an algae mat behind a glass which is supplied with water from a backside tank. The algae slightly warm up the air going out on top generating suction for incoming air. They survive for 0,5-1 year and are replaced via subscription.


The InCleair™ Ecosystem identifies air pollution sources using real-time pollutant data from its sensors deployed in different rooms. It then determines multiple options to prevent & remove them beyond using only purifiers e.g. “Hang wet towel in the bedroom to increase humidity”, “Vacuum bedroom floor”, “Turn on house air exchange” etc. and communicates it to the user using its mobile app. The ecosystem can be expanded by connecting certain 3rd party IoT-enabled devices e.g. air exchange thermostat. Without the user creating special automations, the ecosystem controls these devices to tackle air pollutants across the home better than using multiple standalone air purifiers in different rooms

Justin Gemeri

Co-Founder, ekipa

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