The 100-day rally through the Neckar Valley.
Ready for Take-off.
Innovation is a gamble. The history of mobility is full of examples where well-trodden paths have been abandoned: the balloon flights by the Montgolfier brothers, the drive by Bertha Benz or the journey to the moon by Apollo 11. STARTUP AUTOBAHN is a logical continuation of these developments. The accelerator combines the best from Silicon Valley with incomparable technical expertise and the best German hardware skills.
Innovation combines what already exists, creating new relationships and changing what was already known. The collaboration between Stuttgart University, the Plug and Play Tech Center and Daimler AG is one such innovation. It is the elementary basis for an unparalleled innovation centre in the heart of Stuttgart: the ARENA2036. Here, pioneering technological developments mature in just 100 days. From here, more young companies take a step towards the future.
The accelerator has been such a success that potential partners are welcomed with open arms and STARTUP AUTOBAHN has already been able to gain new members after just a short amount of time. Alongside sports car manufacturer Porsche, car parts supplier ZF Friedrichshafen, IT company Hewlett Packard, chemical group BASF and Japanese electronics manufacturer Murata are also now taking part. It may well not have been possible to forge these links without STARTUP AUTOBAHN; an achievement that can no longer be overlooked.
“The commitment from Daimler is exceptional,” confirms Saeed Amidi, founder of Plug and Play. And just a few days ago, the Accelerator was the talking point at the Baden-Württemberg Innovations Symposium, among others with Winfried Kretschmann.
Innovation creates a change in perspective, as well as solutions. Our understanding of mobility is undergoing change. Self-driving cars or even flying cars seem only a matter of time to us. Cars are accelerated almost silently by alternative engines. The capability for seamless communication enables new services. Our vehicles will be the “third place”: a natural living space alongside the workplace and home. And STARTUP AUTOBAHN creates the conditions for this unique attitude to life to come true.
From the 300 applicants presented in mid-2016, 13 start-ups got through to the finals. 13 companies and corporate identities that continue to enthuse us with innovations even after 100 days: 4tiitoo, Argus, Blickshift, Canatu, evopark, Free2Move, Gauzy, HopOn, n-Join, Noveto, otonomo, TruckPad and Vayyar.
We value their derring-do. We love their innovations: flexible multi-touch surfaces from Canatu, intelligent glass from Gauzy that converts panes into digital displays, smart factory solutions for Industry 4.0 from N-Join, technology that controls sound waves to the precise nanometer from Noveto, cyber-safety concepts from Argus or 3D-sensor technology from Vayyar.
Those named here are just some examples. All STARTUP AUTOBAHN’s start-ups supply valuable technology and components for tomorrow’s mobility. Some of them may end up turning into “unicorns”. But what is important is: they don’t just grow in Silicon Valley but of all places here in Stuttgart, the birthplace of the car, too. It is therefore not surprising that the Expo Day drew in over 1,000 spectators to the ARENA2036 halls. They also include well-known greats such as Ola Källenius, Dr. Michael Steiner (Porsche AG), Olaf Koch (METRO GROUP), Carsten Maschmeyer, Wolfgang Tiefensee and many other potential investors.
Gentlemen, please start your engine.
Since it started, the Accelerator has initiated ten pilot projects and enabled funding worth USD 30 million. At the end of the Expo Day, the second round of STARTUP AUTOBAHN gets going. A good three dozen founder companies from all over the world present their ideas in front of a jury, who then select the best approaches. Whoever convinces them is then allowed over the next three months to move into an office in the ARENA2036 and make a start on the next 100-day rally through the Neckar Valley.