Dresden, 09 February 2018
Launch pad by the River Elbe
Volkswagen in Dresden fosters start-ups
Jakob Bodensteiner smiles radiantly. The young entrepreneur proudly holds up a "golden ticket". This is the symbolic entry ticket for him and his colleagues from "Keysurance.de" to Volkswagen's Transparent Factory in Dresden. For six months, the founders of the company will move into an office in the "Future Mobility Incubator". As a member of this scholarship, they can develop their idea about the mobility of the future to market maturity.
Handing over the Golden Ticket for the Dresden incubator (from left): Marco Weiss, Gläserne Manufaktur; Robert Franke, business development, city of Dresden, Simon Bumm, Keysurance.de; Christoph Hohmann, Volkswagen; Jakob Bodensteiner, Keysurance.de, and Quirin Seemüller, Keysurance.de.
This is the symbolic entry ticket for him and his colleagues from "Keysurance.de" to Volkswagen's Transparent Factory in Dresden. For six months, the founders of the company will move into an office in the "Future Mobility Incubator". As a member of this scholarship, they can develop their idea about the mobility of the future to market maturity.
Beneficial for both sides
The company's idea is based on linking the customer data of car sharing companies, car hire firms and other mobility providers. They collect, amongst other data, the amount of Kilometers driven. This way, it is expected that young car buyers will be able to obtain less expensive car insurance because they can demonstrate driving experience without having owned a vehicle. Bodensteiner and his colleagues now intend to improve their software with an additional telematics solution.
At the end of their six months in Dresden, the result may be a possible participation by Volkswagen. This is only one of the options for company founders who have been selected for the carmaker's support program. At any rate, they all have the opportunity to contribute their ideas to future Volkswagen vehicles. "We give start-ups access to the product so that they can test their ideas directly in, on or with a car," says Kai Siedlatzek, Managing Director of Volkswagen Sachsen responsible for Finance. The carmaker also benefits from the creativity and vitality of the young entrepreneurs.
Die Gläserne Manufaktur: production facility of the e-Golf1 and a sought-after adress for start-ups
Highly coveted tickets
Each year, only twelve companies are selected for the incubator. People who want to join the incubator must apply with a fascinating idea for the mobility of the future. If young entrepreneurs are actually selected, the main thing is for them to develop a well-functioning business model. To achieve this objective, Volkswagen not only provides financial support and fully equipped workplaces but also the specific assistance of experts from a number of different departments of the company: marketing, material development and strategic planning, just to name a few . At the incubator, the young entrepreneurs can concentrate on their idea and their own core competence. "We take care of everything else," offers Kai Siedlatzek.
Tickets for the Transparent Factory are highly coveted. It is not only the initial support of €15,000 that attracts new companies, but rather the support available from mentors and especially contacts within the company, which are extremely valuable for start-up founders. The services provided by the city of Dresden are also useful – the city pays the young entrepreneurs' rent.
"Volkswagen provides us with our introduction to the world of business," says Thorge Harms. In the summer, the 24-year-old was among the first to join the incubator in Dresden. Since August, he and his colleagues from Smart City Solution have been working on an intelligent parking solution. They have not only developed software but have also made a mobile phone-sized parking sensor. It provides real-time information on whether a parking space is available. Although this may sound simple, it is a revolution in parking space management.
Young engineer Thorge Harms presents the parking sensor.
In the near future, the "smart paving stone" will be able to guide the driver direct to a vacant parking space using a mobile phone, avoiding many unnecessary kilometers of driving. The first pilot projects are already up and running. Via Volkswagen, the five young entrepreneurs are meeting professionals from a variety of different departments. This has led to considerable progress with their project.
The image bonus for the company, which was only established at the beginning of the year, is also very important, says Thorge Harms. "The fact that we are working together with Volkswagen acts as a seal of approval," the young engineer has found during contacts with customers.
Time and opportunity for inventors
The inventors of "CarlundCarla.de" are currently also working at the incubator. The start-up from Saxony has developed a system for renting Volkswagen Transporters – the founders' favorite vehicle.
Martin Wesner (left) and Richard Vetter from „carlundcarla.de"
They started four years ago with a T4 which they rented to friends and acquaintances. In the meantime, the seven founders have developed a franchising concept which is already working successfully in seven cities. Renting, unlocking the vehicle and invoicing are all handled by a mobile phone app.
In the incubator, Richard Vetter, one of the founders, is now working on a long-cherished idea. He wants to enable craftspeople and other small firms to hire out their vans overnight and at the weekend. "During our hectic everyday business, it would not have been possible to develop this idea. It is only here, at the incubator, that I've found the time and opportunity," says Vetter.
1e-Golf: Electrical consumption in kWh/100 km: 12.7 (combined), CO2 emissions in g/km: 0 (combined), efficiency class: A+.