Welcome to Corporate Startup Labs and Hubs Made in Germany

In our new series we give you an overview over different ways how German corporates are fostering startups. Today: These are the most important corporate startup labs and hubs ‘Made in Germany’.

Promoting young founders has become a trend among German enterprises. Nearly every major corporate enterprise, with a reputation to uphold in Germany, has since developed their own support program or at least participates in some way in driving the development of young entrepreneurial talents. In our new series, during the next weeks we intend to provide you with an overview of the numerous options available, and how German enterprises use these to promote startups.

To begin, we direct our focus on the individual company-managed labs and hubs, in other words the innovation and creative centers that provide startups with spaces for the interdisciplinary exchange of information, knowledge and ideas. Unlike accelerators or incubators, this does not include any financial support – startups do not, for example, give up any company shares.

One insight is absolutely obvious: Berlin is and remains the hub for hubs.

Lufthansa Innovation Hub

Established in 2014, the Lufthansa Innovation Hub spotlights – what else! – updating outdated flight booking processes and working on digital offers in the travel sector. The program of the Berlin-based Innovation Hub additionally includes the development of innovative eCommerce and consumer apps. First products like the app Time2Gate, which provides travelers with options for car sharing, taxi or public transportation at their destination, are already on the market. hub.lh.com

IBM Innovation Space

Although it first opened in the German capital in late 2015, the focus here is particularly on topics like cloud, Big Data, social and mobile, which are the main players at the innovation center of the IT giant. Established as a think tank for startups, it is intended as a network to connect experts and founders within the scope of workshops, hackathons and meetups. developers.ibm.com

SAP Innovation Center

Around 150 young researchers from 20 countries and 18 disciplines are searching for new applications, solutions and business models at the SAP Innovation Center in Potsdam. Unlike the competition, the largest European software manufacturer refrains from designating a specific field of research. From productivity-promoting enterprise tools to digital traffic solutions for the Smart City and further to database software for medical facilities – the scope covered by the Innovation Center in Brandenburg’s state capital is huge. icn.sap.com

VW Mobility Lab Berlin / Data Lab Munich

“In the medium term, more than 600 programmers, data scientists, design concept experts and cloud architects will work in our labs in Berlin, Munich and San Francisco,” announces Volkswagen CIO Martin Hoffmann confidently in a Group report published in March 2016. The goal: the participating startup labs should teach the Wolfsburgers the digital business. As a result, in Berlin they are currently busy working on a digital mobility platform, to which external partners can dock on and cooperate to develop software solutions. In Munich, the focus is placed on the enterprise-wide mass data volumes to develop concepts and solutions for topics of future relevance to the automotive industry, like Connected Car or the Internet of Things. volkswagenag.com

Spielfeld Digital Hub

The Berlin enterprise and strategy consultant Roland Berger joined forces with the credit card magnate Visa for this Berlin-based innovation hub. Since 2015, founder teams are able to work on their future-fit digital FinTech concepts in a 1000 square meter space in Berlin-Kreuzberg. The defined goal is to develop as many innovative concepts as possible to reach market maturity. The startups are supported with the expertise stemming from the networks of both partners. spielfeld.com

Deutsche Bank Lab

Even one of the largest German banks has invested in its own innovation lab in recent months: Berlin’s Deutsche Bank Lab has consequently joined the ranks of enterprise innovation labs in London and Silicon Valley. The focus in Germany is placed especially on the innovation of the private customer segment. Here, startups are working to create digital investment tools guides or new authentication processes for online banking. deutsche-bank.de

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