On February 21, 2019, the time had come: During Startup Autobahn’s EXPO Day #5, the startups of program 6 were officially presented – and we’re excited to be amongst them!
Startup Autobahn is the ultimate international startup platform in Baden-Württemberg
Startup Autobahn is an innovation platform launched by Plug and Play (PnP) together with Daimler, the University of Stuttgart and ARENA2036. They aim to connect established companies with startups through pilot projects, which shall eventually promote innovation culture in the “Ländle”, as we call our state. In addition to the obvious focus on software and tech, they also give hardware-oriented projects a stage.
Not “just another” startup accelerator
Startup Autobahn is not your typical startup accelerator. The underlying platform concept supports exchange and collaboration between startups and corporates – but also between startups and startups, or corporates and corporates – within a positive atmosphere on neutral ground in order to embrace digitization across companies and value chains.
Stuttgart’s success story
A total of 28 partner companies conducted over 230 pilot projects with 132 startups in the past 2.5 years. There’s hardly any other accelerator-program that has such a track record at scale – certainly not when it comes to attracting paying customers for startups and implementing real projects.
The international startup event par excellence: Startup Autobahn’s EXPO Days
At the end of the 100-day program, Startup Autobahn cordially invites to the so-called “EXPO Day”. This year, more than 1,000 participants from 41 countries were welcomed to the fifth EXPO Day in the heart of Stuttgart. The program consists of a mix between international keynote speakers and the presentation of startups with their respective pilot projects, and regularly attracts founders, decision makers and innovation managers from across the world to Stuttgart.
My take-aways from Startup Autobahn’s 5th EXPO Day
I joined Neohelden in March 2019 – and was invited to participate in this event to prepare for my upcoming role in the team and to get a feeling for the startup and tech ecosystem in Baden-Württemberg. The magnitude of innovative ideas, creative minds and recently hatched startup-projects was truly impressive.
In the lands of inventors and tinkerers
The common mentality of “understatement” often makes us look tiny on international stages, but we do not need to hide. “No hat, lots of cattle”. We shouldn’t shy away from international comparisons – both in terms of startup-ecosystem and corporates.
Plug and Play: Californian driver of innovation with an example par excellence from Germany
Saeed Amidi is CEO of Plug and Play Tech Center and has invested in more than 600 startups. “His” startups have raised over $ 5 billion in funding. In his view, Stuttgart as “one of the world’s leading automotive and high-tech regions […] offers the ideal conditions for startups”.
Startup Autobahn has created a magical place where “Talent, Tech, and Speed” meet “corporates” – to an extent that is truly unique. In addition to the world-renowned corporates, Plug and Play now wants to also focus on German SMEs, the so-called “Mittelstand”, and spread innovation there as well.
Partnerships at eye-level with project partners
What I am most impressed with, however, was the partnership between corporates and startups. Within pilot projects, startups and project partners are truly collaborating, so that a classic customer- or supplier-relationship turns into value-adding sparring and honest feedback. Especially in our case, working with Dimitrios Papadopoulos, digitalization evangelist at Daimler AG, and Felix Köppenkastrop-Lüker, startup scout responsible for connecting startups with Daimler departments – whom I got to know during the event – results in a mutually beneficial partnership at eye-level. Together with MB /developers, they enabled us to participate in Startup Autobahn program 6; a big “thank you” from all of us Neohelden 😀👍
This partnership and friendly atmosphere were created by design: Philipp Gneiting describes the objectives of the Startup Autobahn as follows: “We want to accelerate development processes without breaking the startup mentality. For the foreseeable future, Daimler will not act as an investor, but as a project partner, providing resources and managers as mentors. The startups continue to act fully autonomously”. This is not just visionary words, but daily practice at Startup Autobahn. The Siemens blog hit the nail on the head when describing Startup Autobahn as the place where “David and Goliath shake hands”.
What’s to come: Startup Autobahn Program 6 with Neohelden
We are both honored and proud to be part of Europe’s largest innovation platform and look forward to the next 100 days with Startup Autobahn and our project partners. At this point, we would like to sincerely thank our past and future companions and partners: You may save the date for the next EXPO Day in July 2019 – featuring us!