Volkswagen's incubator program goes international: six new start-ups move into the Gläserne Manufaktur
- Experts in ride-pooling for kids, pay per app at filling stations, recording of vehicle histories, innovative route planning, early booking of charging stations, and detection of potholes in the road were selected
- Start of the third startup class in Dresden
- From innovate idea to market readiness in six months
The start-up program in the "Future Mobility Incubator" at the Gläserne Manufaktur is striking out in new directions. For the first time, Volkswagen has only selected international start-ups, at pitch competitions held in Tel Aviv, Prague, London, Riga, and Hanover: CarPay-Diem comes from Luxembourg, Zouzoucar from France, carVertical from Lithuania, ToporAuto from Russia, Make My Day from Israel, and Go To-U from Ukraine. They are now working at the Gläserne Manufaktur where they are able to develop their ideas to market readiness with support from Volkswagen and the city of Dresden’s business development team.
The teams presented ideas and concepts for the future of mobility at the pitch competitions. Six founding teams convinced the jury of eight experts – and are now moving to the state capital of Saxony. The selected start-u ps are developing digital solutions in the following areas: ride-pooling for kids, quick payments at filling stations, the recording of vehicle histories, smart route planning, an innovative booking system for e-vehicle charging stations, and the detection of potholes in roads.
"This time we have only selected international start-ups – and found fresh, innovative ideas for mobility in Europe and Israel. Starting in September, we want to develop these concepts to market readiness with our experts," said Kai Siedlatzek, Chief Financial Officer at Volkswagen Saxony. Lars Dittert, head of the Transparent Factory, added: "Dresden is increasingly becoming the gateway to the East. That's why we paid particular attention to our Eastern European neighbors when we selected the startup companies".
"Our clear focus in this third start-up group is especially on producing benefits for the customer. The aim is to make mobility more convenient, secure, and economical," says Dr. Nils Kristian Hueske, Head of Customer Experience Strategy & Innovation for the Volkswagen brand. "Volkswagen vehicles are turning into personal devices on wheels. We are currently building a new, holistic mobility experience on the 'One Digital Platform' – we were guided by this strategic approach when selecting the start-ups."
The start-ups in detail:
Zouzoucar from France: This start-up is developing a novel ride-pooling app for kids. Via the app, rides to school, extra-curricular activities, or birthday parties are pooled together. The kids are driven around by people they know and trust, thus offering a safe and secure transport solution for little ones. The aim is also to avoid parents driving unnecessarily, and to save costs and especially time.
CarPay-Diem from Luxembourg: This start-up is developing a platform that can be accessed via any mobile app or a connected car to activate fuel pumps at filling stations and make payments from inside the vehicle. At the same time, the filling station can send the driver targeted promotional offers that are designed to encourage him or her to enter the filling station. The CarPay-Diem platform is already compatible with more than ten thousand filling stations in Benelux countries.
carVertical from Lithuania: This start-up offers a blockchain-based solution in which as much information as possible about the history of a vehicle can be gathered from various sources (leasing and insurance companies, private owner) in a register. This allows vehicle owners to display a confirmed, tamper-proof history and thus increase the value of their vehicle. For example, it states whether the mileage of the vehicle is correct or if any accidents have been recorded.
Make My Day from Israel: This start-up is developing a digital, personal in-car assistant, which searches for the optimal route for the driver, while integrating tasks such as charging for electric vehicles or daily shopping activities into the route planning. This is intended to save the user both time and money.
Go To-U from Ukraine: This start-up intends to further develop its innovative booking system for e-vehicle charging stations during its time in Dresden. Go To-U connects drivers of electric vehicles to hotels, restaurants and cafés that have a charging facility. The e-vehicle driver can use the platform to book the charging station at the most convenient time – and also reserve a table in the restaurant or a hotel room, where the driver can also pay for charging the car. Companies can use this for marketing purposes.
ToporAuto from Russia: The young founders are developing a service for monitoring and analyzing the quality of road surfaces using acceleration sensors and GPS data of cars. This data can then be used by road traffic departments of local authorities, car manufacturers, and digital map providers.
The incubator program
The incubator in Dresden is aimed at students and researchers interested in establishing new projects. Each start-up receives financial support totaling €15,000 as part of the incubator program. The incubator has been around since August 2017. The Gläserne Manufaktur offers the following support as part of the start-up program:
- Contact with researchers, developers, and decision-makers at Volkswagen
- Pilot projects at Volkswagen, the state capital, Dresden, and other partners
- Support from experts, for instance, from the SpinLab (the HHL Accelerator program of the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management)
- An attractive working environment in the Gläserne Manufaktur
- IT infrastructure
- Proximity to the start-up scene along with financial and personal support from the state capital, Dresden, for housing.