IAA Visionary Club: The Startup Special

Startup Special with Kirstin Hegner

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In Munich’s startup factory for the mobility of the future

Everyone’s talking about startup ecosystems – while the Munich Urban Colab offers one. Here, company founders network with partners from industry and the public sector, to work on the mobility of tomorrow. What that looks like is covered by the IAA MOBILITY Visionary Club, in an edition from the heart of the network.

Where will it come from – the disruptive technology that will change mobility for the long term? Who will define how people will be on the move in future: startups, established companies, political decision-makers? “Mobility is extremely complex. No company, no city, no startup can really bring about a change on its own. It doesn’t work that way,” says Kirstin Hegner, in discussion with the IAA MOBILITY Visionary Club in the Munich Urban Colab. She is Managing Director of Digital Hub Mobility at the UnternehmerTUM center for innovation and business creation.

Transformation is only achieved together

So how does transformation work? The answer can be found here, in the Munich Urban Colab, which the Munich City Administration and UnternehmerTUM run as a public-private partnership. In this light, modern building in Munich’s Kreativquartier, startups, established companies, academics, city administrators, and residents develop and test new concepts for the Smart City together. And because mobility is a vital part of that, this is also home to Digital Hub Mobility’s “Future Mobility Space”, an opportunity for mobility cooperations between young startup entrepreneurs and partners from business, academia, and the public sector. “Anyone who wants to work in this area and is looking to be inspired can come here,” says Hegner. Because transformation simply isn’t achieved if you go it alone, but only by working together.

And cooperations are given a massive boost here, because in UnternehmerTUM a heavyweight in the innovation landscape is involved in the Munich Urban Colab. By its own estimates, it is in fact Europe’s leading startup center, with over 50 strong-growth tech startups per year. “We are even called Germany’s startup factory”, Hegner explains. Digital Hub Mobility, operating in the startup center, is in turn part of the Germany-wide Digital Hub Initiative. It is supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and is aimed at strengthening Germany as a base for innovation.

Strong network for strong ideas

A strong network, therefore, enabling key actors for the mobility of the future to network, through its own work and in the Munich Urban Colab. That’s also why the VDA hosted its Future Tech Day in the Munich Urban Colab. Here startups and established business partners met up – in the right place. Because “the purpose of this building is to bring the various players together”, says Hegner.

Incubator, mentors, accelerators – all included

As such, the Munich Urban Colab is more than just a building – for startups, it is a go-to place for various offers of support, ranging from incubators to mentors to accelerators. Because Digital Hub Mobility sees itself as the leading ecosystem for sustainable mobility in Germany, Hegner explains. And it is also a test laboratory: It tests out concepts for citizen-centered mobility in the urban space, including with partners. In the “Digital Mobility Lab”, it is also possible to try out digital mobility solutions and business models. In less than three months, teams can develop prototypes of digital products for testing that solve a real-life problem. There are as many reasons to make your way to Freddie-Mercury-Straße 5 in Munich as there are challenges for mobility. Because this is precisely where people are working on the solutions for tomorrow – together.

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