Excellent Results: The First Class in the Start-up Incubator

The first class of the Gläserne Manufaktur start-up Incubator can look back on a successful time in Dresden. Follow-on projects are in place for almost all of the six founders. And some of them wish to stay on in Dresden.

The “Future Mobility Incubator” at the Gläserne Manufaktur has proven to be something of a small job-creation engine for Dresden. Scarcely had the first class successfully concluded its program at the end of February when some of the founders declared: “We would definitely like to stay in Dresden”.

Two such founders are Sebastian Schramm (30) and Tarek Mian (31) from the start-up LoyalGo, which was originally founded in Dortmund. “The 200 days in the Volkswagen Incubator really helped us immensely. Now we want to stay in Dresden,” says Sebastian, whose company equips charging stations for electric cars with display advertising. In addition to the charging stations on the Gläserne Manufaktur grounds, LoyalGo has also refitted one at Dresden’s Kunsthofpassage art center. “We have quite simply noticed that Dresden provides the best conditions for our undertaking. At the moment, we’re looking for new offices,” says Tarek. The space shouldn’t be too small – the company has already increased from two to six.

So far, we’ve digitalized 70 parking spaces on the Manufaktur grounds and 300 in Dresden. Thorge Harms, Smart City Systems
Good connections to business development

Thorge Harms (24) of Smart City Systems tells a similar success story. “We regard our time in the Incubator very positively. Together with our mentors from Volkswagen, we developed our business model. It was also helpful to be in contact with the Dresden business development department, as this enabled us to try out our insights immediately in the city,” says Thorge. Smart City Systems developed a sensor system that enables better utilization of parking spaces. The sensors are adhered to the ground and are weather-resistant enough to stay in place for up to five years. Using a parking app, data is evaluated and enables an overview of free parking spaces. “So far, we’ve digitalized 70 parking spaces on the Manufaktur grounds and 300 in Dresden,” says Thorge, who brought his company to Dresden from Nuremberg and who now, not least due to the proximity of the Volkswagen Incubator, wishes to establish an additional place of business in the Saxon capital.

Follow-on projects after the time in the Incubator

For Richard Vetter (30) and Gregor Wendt (30) of “Carl und Carla”, there’s no need to move. As a Dresden-based company, they had the home-field advantage from day one. Nevertheless, moving the company offices to the Incubator was something of a quantum leap for the firm. “Although we’d already had the idea of corporate car-sharing, it was only here that we were able to implement it and move forward effectively,” emphasizes Richard. Gregor adds: “Contact with the Volkswagen commercial vehicle department has been particularly helpful for us. Even after our time in the Incubator, we will have a follow-on project.” Carl und Carla makes it possible to rent commercial vehicles while they are already being rented. Times in which the vehicle would currently sit unused can therefore be put to more effective use. As the control unit used to coordinate the car-hire customers has to be retrofitted on existing vehicles, it would make sense to integrate it from the outset in new vehicles. “Together with the commercial vehicles unit of Volkswagen, we are implementing that now,” says Gregor.

Volkswagen also wants to pick up the idea from Geospin. “We’ve looked into when start-stop automation in vehicles makes sense and when it doesn’t. The background is that until now, it has also kicked in at places like roundabouts, where it is not necessary,” explains founder Sebastian Wagner (30). As part of the Incubator program, he contacted the Data:Lab in Munich and was granted access to data from a fleet of 200 vehicles in Germany and abroad. “Through the collaboration with Volkswagen engineers, we succeeded in evaluating the data and improving the automated start-stop function,” says Sebastian with pride.

Crash tests for app development

Immanuel Rebarczyk (33) and Thomas Kuwatsch (41) of the Leipzig-based start-up Ekoio had a somewhat more dramatic starting point. Their project, after all, is a matter of life and death. “If I drive into a ditch and no one sees it, then no one comes to help. For this reason, the so-called eCall law will come into effect from April, which requires all new cars to have an emergency call system. Because not every car has one, however, we have developed an app-based retrofit solution.” The solution has various escalation stages. “First the emergency call goes to family and friends. If no one picks up there, emergency rescue services are notified,” explains Immanuel. What sounds simple at first is by no means easy to implement. On the contrary. “We carried out numerous crash tests at the University of Applied Sciences and spoke with staff from the Volkswagen Connect department,” says Thomas. Wherever they turned, they were met with open ears. “There really was a great atmosphere in the Incubator. The people in charge really took great care of the start-ups,” concludes the founder.

The symbiosis of the old economy and the new economy was enriching for all of us. Lars Dittert, site manager of the Gläserne Manufaktur
Old economy meets new economy

“Many thanks for the wonderful time,” says Beres Seelback, too, of the Tretbox company. Over the 200 days in the Incubator, the prototype for their so-called Cargobike concept really came together. It effectively combines the bicycle and the car and could be used for tasks such as delivering packages. Next year the founders aim to begin series production of the pedalec-like electric vehicle and are optimistic that the project will be a success. With so much innovative verve assembled in one place, it’s no wonder the site manager of the Gläserne Manufaktur, Lars Dittert, also looked back on the inaugural class with pleasure. “There are only winners. And we also experienced a cultural transformation here. The symbiosis of the old economy and the new economy was enriching for all of us,” says the Manufaktur head with pride.