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STARTUP AUTOBAHN: Innovation platform for future mobility startups shows first results at EXPO Day

Feb 9, 2017
  • 13 startups present their company and the results following the 100-day sprint of the first programme
  • Wide spectrum of innovative ideas: from multi-touch surfaces to RFID-supported reservation and billing of parking spaces
  • Growing network supports the development of the startup ecosystem in the economically strong region of Stuttgart: Hewlett Packard Enterprise, ZF Friedrichshafen, BASF, Porsche and Murata are new partners of STARTUP AUTOBAHN 

Stuttgart. STARTUP AUTOBAHN - Started in May 2016, the innovation and cooperation platform between established companies and startups has successfully completed the first programme with the EXPO Day at ARENA2036 on the campus of the University of Stuttgart. A big day for the 13 startups Otonomo, Noveto, blickshift, Gauzy, n-join, TruckPad, Free2Move (formerly CarJump), Evopark, Vayyar, Hopon, Argus, 4tiitoo and Canatu: On 9 February, the entrepreneurs presented their innovative ideas centred on the key topics Mobility and Industry 4.0 in front of some 1000 people who listened with great interest. By taking part in the first three-month STARTUP AUTOBAHN programme, as part of pilot projects with Daimler AG, special coaching sessions and with support from mentors the selected startups were able to considerably advance their companies.

The business founders have in particular profited from the close cooperation with Daimler experts as well as intensive mentoring talks with Top Management. A project team of employees from Group Research and the Business Innovation division functioned as bridge-builders between the startups and Daimler. Daimler and the entrepreneurs are working together in more than fifteen pilot projects. The STARTUP AUTOBAHN offering is thus significantly more comprehensive than that of the usual accelerator programmes. Ola Källenius, as the Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development: "We have gained talented founders with outstanding ideas for STARTUP AUTOBAHN. I am sure that we will also be cooperating with some participants in future and will so drive forward the mobility of the future with trend-setting technologies and innovations even faster."

From multi-touch surfaces to RFID-supported reservation and billing of parking spaces

The entrepreneurs from all over the world used the opportunity at the EXPO Day to show their company in the best light to an international audience, to numerous investors and potential partners. Features presented included transparent and flexible multi-touch surfaces (Canatu) plus solution approaches for RFID-supported parking in multi-storey car parks (Evopark) and steering tones and sound via special loudspeakers directly to the ears of the desired listener (Noveto). The intensive cooperation between the startups and the STARTUP AUTOBAHN team is opening doors for further joint activities. So it is possible that long-term collaborations with Daimler and with other investors or industry partners may well come about at the end of the programme.

Development of a new ecosystem Daimler initiated STARTUP AUTOBAHN in May 2016 as an open innovation and cooperation platform for startups and existing companies from the fields of Mobility and Industry 4.0. It addresses both international and local startups and partner companies. The founding members of the initiative alongside Daimler AG are the US partner Plug and Play Tech Center in its role as startup accelerator and Investor, the University of Stuttgart plus the research factory ARENA2036. Through STARTUP AUTOBAHN the aim is for the Stuttgart region to become an innovation hub for Mobility and Industry 4.0 and for an attractive startup ecosystem to be created by pooling innovative partner expertise.

The founding members are therefore delighted to welcome new partners. After Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), further partners now on board are BASF, ZF Friedrichshafen, Porsche and Murata. A common characteristic of all the sponsors is their aim to anchor the pioneering and founding spirit even more strongly in the industrial region of Stuttgart and the local startup scene. This is why Fritz Kuhn, Mayor of the City of Stuttgart, was not just a guest at the EXPO Day, he is also considered to be an active supporter of the initiative.


Following EXPO Day: Selection Day Building on the positive experiences of the first programme, the second Selection Day will take place on 10 February, directly after the EXPO-Day and the candidates for the next programme will be chosen. A good three dozen international startups were selected in advance to this end in the past few weeks from great number of applicants. Ola Källenius emphasises: "Whilst we are interested in ideas, it is above all people with a pronounced pioneering spirit whom we want to support here in Stuttgart, the cradle of the car. And it is only the topic of Mobility that has been set – in the broadest sense. We offer an inspiring environment with lots of space for creativity, a professional mentoring and access to our global R&D network to the founders."

The entrepreneurs are offered the ideal working environment in the form of space in the ARENA2036 research factory at the University of Stuttgart campus. They can use the coworking space as well as the brand-new Hardware Lab at ARENA2036 for three months for implementing their ideas and in the ideal scenario start pilot projects with one or several industry partners in the initiative. The aim is for them to have the courage and the freedom to rethink mobility and production of the future.

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