The first six teams for the new start-up incubator at Volkswagen‘s Gläserne Manufaktur in Dresden have been chosen: the start-ups Smart City System from Nuremberg, LoyalGo from Dortmund, Tretbox from Berlin and Ekoio from Leipzig were declared winners on Thursday evening following a pitch competition at the factory. They will move into the Gläserne Manufaktur in summer, together with the start-ups Geospin from Freiburg and from Dresden. There they will be able to develop their ideas for the market with support from Volkswagen experts and financial support from the state capital, Dresden.

“We are excited by the vast amount of innovative power demonstrated by these young entrepreneurs,” stated Lars Dittert, site manager at the factory. “This shows that, with the newly established incubator programme, we are on the right path for Volkswagen. The goal is to swiftly implement innovative mobility ideas in Dresden.” Nearly 50 mobility start ups applied. Over the course of eight hours, 14 entrepreneurial companies from Romania, Spain and Germany presented themselves in 30 minute sessions in front of eight judges.

The chosen start-ups were:

  • Smart City System: the company has developed a sensor system that detects, in real time, whether a parking space is occupied. The system helps to navigate to free parking spaces and reduces the level of traffic within cities caused by long and tedious searches for parking spaces.
  • LoyalGo: these young creators want to promote the expansion of charging stations for electric vehicles together with local dealerships. To do this, they have developed a bonus system for dealerships, financed by adverts on the charging stations (so-called “digital advertising pillars”).
  • Ekoio: telematics start-up Ekoio has already developed an intelligent driving assistant that can, for example, provide drivers, insurance companies, carsharing companies and fleet customers with important data on driving behaviour and use a bonus system to reward efficient driving. One of their goals is to reduce fuel consumption.
  • Tretbox: the company is developing a new type of electrical cargo pedelec that provides weather protection and can carry goods. Above all, the vehicle is intended to deliver parcels across short distances and can drive autonomously.
  • Two months ago, big data analysis specialist Geospin from Freiburg was chosen, as well as small bus provider from Dresden, who is developing a new concept for corporate carsharing.

“The six start-ups will further enhance Dresden’s status in the mobility sector and reputation as a place of innovation,” said Dr Robert Franke, member of the judges panel and head of the Office of Economic Development (Amt für Wirtschaftsförderung) in the state capital of Dresden. “With the new incubator programme, we are sending a strong signal from Dresden to entrepreneurs and investors.”

The entrepreneurial teams will move into the Gläserne Manufaktur in summer for six months. After three months, the teams must show their first results. If these are convincing, the start-ups will develop their ideas in Dresden until they are ready for the market. At the end of 2017 and start of 2018, more teams will move into the factory. The incubator programme is aimed at students and researchers interested in establishing new projects. An important part of the programme is the financial support the teams will receive – EUR15,000 (US$16,878) each. The Gläserne Manufaktur will also offer support from mentors and coaches, an attractive work environment in the factory, a high-quality IT infrastructure, contact with Volkswagen’s researchers, developers and decision-makers, professional counselling from the Development Bank of Saxony (Sächsische Aufbaubank, SAB), project management, proximity to the start-up scene, and financial and personal support from the state capital of Dresden.