May 02, 2017

April Focus Week at Startup Autobahn: 300 attendees, 6 “Future HMI” startups, Daimler Day & Mentoring

The April Focus Week started off with the Daimler Day. At the OEM’s plant in Böblingen the startups met with Daimler experts from different business units. The goal of the talks was to evaluate further cooperations between the startups and Daimler.

Panu Kause, Co-Founder of FIBRES liked the morning session:

“I didn’t really know what to expect but it turned out to be one of the best sessions yet – I met great people and got honest feedback. Best of all, we arranged follow-up meetings right away.”

After a tour of the production of the S-Class as well as the robot hall, the startups were quite impressed. They were even more impressed when the “theoretic” part was over and they got in touch with some of the end products like a S500 Plug-in hybrid, a S63 AMG convertible, a Maybach and many more – the Mercedes-Benz Driving experience.

“It was an awesome experience to get to know the brand better”

said Panu Kause, and

Achim Leder, co-founder of Jetlite added:

“The Daimler Day really provided us with the opportunity to get to know the right people from the respective business units and discuss possible pilot projects. Moreover it was great to give some initial feedback.”

Wednesday was all about mentoring at ARENA2036 in our newly equipped Startup Autobahn offices. Our mentors and startups discussed wide range of topics from intellectual property, cyber security, strategy, management, brand building and costumer focus to KPIs. In the afternoon Veit Mathauer held a workshop on Public Relations for startups, Innovation PR & Storytelling.

On Thursday, the focus week ended with its highlight: the deep-dive session and the meetup, both focusing on the future of user interaction. In the Legendenhalle in Böblingen almost 300 interested guests from startups, corporates and the Stuttgart ecosystem gathered to listen to some of the potential startups of program #3. Those were:


Affectiva’s mission is to bring emotional intelligence to the digital world with our emotion recognition technology that senses and analyzes facial expressions and emotion. Based in: Boston, USA.


Ultrahaptics is a touchless haptics company that produces technology enabling users to receive tactile feedback without needing to wear or touch anything. Based in: Bristol, UK.


The tapdo hardware in combination with the software allows to assign specific functions to differents parts of a finger. Based in: Münster, Germany.


Thinfilm Media-Screen-Matrix: Digital Signage for Todays World: A wafer-thin, light, highly transparent, cost effective, and highly innovative Thin-Film-Matrix equipped with LED: To provide a thin-film Media-Façade. Based in: Karlsruhe, Germany.


The Actronika’s technology lays on a software powered by algorythms determining the sense of touch as well as on mini vibrotactiles actuators allowing the simulation of the real sensation. Based in: Paris, France.


WayRay is a Swiss-based innovator creating cutting-edge AR technologies for the automotive industry and beyond, in addition to offering unique consumer electronics products. Based in: Lausanne, Switzerland.

In the deep dive sessions, the startups really got to connect with the corporates to introduce their solutions at length. In the evening, they pitched their ideas to an even broader audience.

Besides our corporate and ecosystem partners (Daimler, HPE, Porsche, BASF, ZF, Murata) representatives of Lidl, Bosch, Sony, HELLA, Mitsubishi, Koito, DHL, etc. visited our Meetup on Thursday evening.

On top of that, keynotes from Anke Kleinschmit, Head of Corporate Research & Sustainability at Daimler, as well as Georges Massing, Director of User Interaction at Daimler, provided some insights into the future of human-machine interaction in the car. Also, we had a special guest: Stephan Odörfer of STARTUP AUTOBAHN alumni 4tiitoo. Asked about the value of the program for his startup he was very pleased:

“We got to know a lot of people and they really wanted to work together, that was very valuable to us.”

Almost traditionally the meetup ended with light snacks such as burgers, currywurst and beer as well as a lot of networking.