Tuesday, November 15, 2016

DB tech startup unit to foster digital innovation

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GERMAN Rail (DB) announced on November 15 that it has established a new wholly-owned subsidiary to intensify co-operation with tech startups and develop data-driven business models.

DB says the creation of DB Digital Ventures will simplify the participation of external companies in the implementation of its digitisation strategy.

The new company has been allocated around €50m in venture capital over the next two years. “We will invest in startups that have significant potential for growth and innovation in addition to a strong startup team,” says Mr Boris Kühn, managing director of DB Digital Ventures.

In addition to its work with external partners, DB Digital Ventures will seek to support so-called ‘intrapraneuers’ – employees within DB with ideas that may benefit the business.

“Startups, as well as DB colleagues with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, need a high degree of freedom and an appropriate support network to transform their ideas into market-ready prototypes,” says Mr Manuel Gerres, DB’s head of new digital business. “Under the umbrella of DB Digital Ventures, external and internal startups will find a new home at DB.”

DB is also planning to expand the DB Accelerator, which supports startups and new companies with three-month workshops, mentoring, and €25,000 in startup funding. After four rounds of funding, more than 400 domestic and international startups are now involved in the DB Accelerator.

The programme will now be expanded with as part of partnership with a new sponsor. DB says the aim of this collaboration is to speed up the implementation of new technologies, strengthen the programme financially, expand its range of competencies, and widen DB’s startup and mentoring network.

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