Not Just End Up in a Drawer


With the "Startup adVANce" challenge, Mercedes-Benz Vans is starting a global search for innovative partners. Companies anywhere in the world can apply up until January 2017. The goal is to work together to make transport even more efficient.

It is a large-scale challenge. Anybody offering intelligent solutions for the transport of the future can take part. Mercedes-Benz Vans is investing one million euros in this challenge. Because good ideas should not just end up in a drawer. It is about establishing long-term partnerships with the startups. Without constriction. Without exchanging support for shares in the company.

We are looking for people and young companies that are able to work with us to transform innovative ideas quickly and successfully into initial working prototypes.

Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans

The future of transport: three categories, one goal.

From automated shelving systems to van sharing

Specifically, Mercedes-Benz Vans is searching for promising technology solutions in three areas: Connectivity/Internet of Things, Cargo space optimization, and Mobility concepts. In the first area, the main focus is on hardware and software – whether for the networking of vans or for real-time exchange between goods and vehicle. Cargo space ideas can range from automated shelving systems to innovative loading and unloading solutions. Last but not least, we are looking for sophisticated mobility concepts or sharing solutions which ensure better vehicle capacity utilization, for example.

Developed with participation of startups: the Vision Van Showcar. One example is Matternet, a US-based developer of autonomous drone logistics systems.

Profit for both sides

Interested startups can apply now by simply completing an online questionnaire by January 15, 2017. Independent experts will select up to 80 of these applicants. After a idea refinement phase, the ten best startups will then devise their concepts, each with €10,000 funding.

The most impressive concepts will make it through to the prototype phase – the final. A maximum of five teams will then transform their ideas into working prototypes, which will subsequently undergo testing. As well as providing €900,000 of funding, Mercedes-Benz Vans also offers the participants its know-how: Resources, contacts, experience, expertise. Both sides – startups and major corporation – are to profit from the partnership, which can be based on any number of approaches after the challenge phase. Be it a classic customer relationship, as a strategic partner, or through a shareholding in the startup. The initiators are open to anything in this respect.

Interested startups can find more information about “Startup adVANce” here. Submissions must be received via the online portal by January 15, 2017

Sep 22, 2016
Nadescha Vornehm