Take part in the UP21@it-sa Award!
May 1 - June 20, 2021

Background Stage
Young people celebrate their success in front of a laptop

Take part in the UP21@it-sa Award!
May 1 - June 20, 2021

The most important start-up award for cyber start-ups in Germany, Austria and Switzerland enters its fourth round.

Nominated by the jury – voted for by the audience

From May 1st to June 20th, 2021, cybersecurity startups can once again apply for the most prestigious award in the DACH region. Our renowned jury nominates ten start-ups from all the applications. They will then face the professional audience, experts and investors, which decides who wins the UP21@it-sa Award: during the online voting on the startups’ video clips and on September 9th, 2021 live at the UP21-online pitch event. If you want to win, you must convince with your overall package of your team, innovation, and business model. The physical award ceremony will then (as of today) take place on October 14th, 2021 at it-sa 2021! 

Main prize worth €10,000 

The best cybersecurity startup in 2021 will win 5 days of coaching and mentoring from Digital Hub Cybersecurity and the IT Security and Safety Cluster, specifically tailored to the startup’s needs, and receive special conditions for its participation in the Startup Area at it-sa 2022, overall a total worth of 10,000€.   


Platform Presence

All nominated start-ups can present themselves free of charge at it-sa365 with the Company & Product Package.

UP21@it-sa Award  –  Presented by

Digital Hub Cybersecurity | IT Security and Safety Cluster | NürnbergMesse

UP21 Initiators Logos

Take your chance now and apply from   May 1, 2021!

Who can participate?

Start-ups from Germany, Austria and Switzerland that deal with IT security or data protection are eligible to participate. Prerequisite: Your company must already have been founded, have customers and is no more than five years old.


How to apply:

Simply download the application form, complete it and upload it here together with your pitch presentation (max. 15 slides) and - optionally - a video, between May 1st and June 20th. The video can be up to 60 seconds long. You can upload a total of 10 MB.

In the table you can see what content your pitch presentation should contain.

Chart Contents Pitch Presentation

Why participate?

The UP@it-sa Award and its virtual match-up offers cybersecurity start-ups a unique platform at Europe's leading trade fair for IT security to attract attention and win new customers and partners. Show us why you are so passionate about your project!

Exciting contacts!

Use the virtual match-up for discussions and networking with Europe's cybersecurity industry. Establish valuable business contacts.

Attract attention!

The ten nominated cybersecurity start-ups will once again be part of it-sa365! You will be presented on the UP21@it-sa Award platform and homepage, in our various social media channels, a video and in a brochure both on- and offline.

A prize that will help you get ahead!

In the end, the winner of the competition will not only hold the UP21@it-sa trophy in their hands, but also be awarded the main prize of a 5-day coaching and mentoring session by Digital Hub Cybersecurity and the IT Security Cluster, tailored to the startup’s needs.

Together with you, we will determine the topics that will help you move forward. Tell us what you need and with you we will work out the best coaching program for you. Almost everything that a successful cyber start-up needs will be coached and trained:

  • Development and expansion of sales strategies and processes
  • Marketing insights and research
  • Preparation of investor meetings and concrete investor contacts
  • Internationalization
  • Analyst relations
  • Organizational development
  • Technical feedback
  • Communication and marketing strategies

Special conditions!

You will also receive special conditions for participating as an exhibitor in the Startup Area at it-sa 2022.



The timeline at a glance

UP21 Timeline

the former winners

Mirko Ross, asvin - Winner of the UP20@it-sa Award

Mirko Ross | Managing Director, asvin GmbH

"The UP20@it-sa Award is a special award and recognition for asvin. The award has attracted international attention and has an impact far beyond the German-speaking region. Up20@it-sa has sent a positive signal to customers, partners and investors: asvin is one of the best cybersecurity startups in DACH area!" 


IDEE - Winner of the UP19@it-sa Award

Daniel Schellenberg | COO IDEE GmbH

Against eleven competitors, the Munich-based company IDEE was able to prevail in the pitch for the UP19@it-sa Award. After a short pitch and the networking phase with investors and representatives from the IT security industry, the company received the UP@it-sa AWARD.


IT-Seal,  Winner of the UP18@it-sa Award

Alex Wyllie & David Kelm | IT-Seal GmbH

“Dear entrepreneurs, cybersecurity will shape our future and your innovations will be part of this future!
My clear recommendation: Have the courage, seize the opportunity and show your colours at Europe's largest trade fair for cybersecurity and at the UP21@it-sa Award! We look forward to welcoming you to the cybersecurity community.”


The Jury 

Simon Hülsbömer

Simon Hülsbömer

Senior Project Manager – magazine, COMPUTERWOCHE

“I am looking forward to UP21@it-sa - once again, the competition will inspire us with exciting start-ups. The experiences of the past three years have shown: We can expect strong founders, great projects, innovative ideas, and entertaining pitches. A lot of good reasons to be there.”
Oliver Küch

Oliver Küch

Director Marketing and PR, Fraunhofer SIT

"Strong cybersecurity start-ups are very important to us at Fraunhofer SIT and ATHENE, and, from a technical perspective, we see great potential here in Germany. We are therefore pleased that the UP@it-sa Award will be precisely honoring the start-ups in the DACH area and thus provide exciting insights into a growing innovation community. It will be worth your while to participate!" 

Sandra Wiesbeck

Sandra Wiesbeck

Managing Director, IT Security and Safety Cluster

"IT security is a race between security researchers and hackers. This requires fresh ideas like those brought by the participants of the UP@it-sa Award. That's why the IT Security Cluster e.V. supports the award as a consortium partner of the Digital Start-up Initiative Oberpfalz (DGO)."

Jury, Andreas Bechtold

Andreas Bechtold

Senior Vice President Corporate Development, Infinigate Holding GmbH

"Innovative, new solutions are an important driver towards more cyber security in companies of all sizes. We know the requirements and expectations for new players in this market and are happy to support start-ups in assessing the commercial aspects as part of up@it-sa."

Mirko Ross, asvin - Winner of the UP20@it-sa Award

Mirko Ross

Managing Director, asvin GmbH

"The UP21@it-sa presents the best cybersecurity startups in the DACH area. I am looking forward to presentations of the best founders in the UP21@it-sa finals!" 

Sebastian Artz

Sebastian Artz

Information Security & Security Policy Officer, Bitkom e.V.

"The strengthening and strategic use of our already excellent IT security location must be a core concern in the upcoming years. It is important to understand cyber security as a key technology and to bring together the innovative spirit of science, business and start-ups. The UP21@it-sa Award contributes exactly to this and I am looking forward to being a juror this year!"

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UP21@IT-SA-AWARD - Supported by:

Bitkom e.V. | ATHENE | Digital Hub Initiative | Fraunhofer SIT | Infinigate Holding GmbH | StartUpSecure ATHENE

UP21 Initiators Logos

Media partner


Logo Computerwoche

Questions? Suggestions?

Contact for questions about the award:

Ute Richter, Managing Director Digital Hub Cybersecurity,


Lena Kreß, Project Manager Digital Hub Cybersecurity,

Contact for questions about sponsoring and the participation as a user on it-sa 365: