In the Lab1886, around 25 employees will contribute to the development of new business ideas and innovative projects by the end of 2018; further personnel expansion will be dynamically geared to current requirements. With excellent universities and colleges in the surrounding area, the new location offers “perfect conditions for innovation”, according to the car manufacturer. In addition, more and more companies from the technology and digital industries are settling in Atlanta. The capital of the state of Georgia is one of the upcoming hotspots of the start-up scene.
As part of its CASE strategy (Connected, Autonomous, Shared, Electric), the Lab1886 supports the manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz cars in its transformation into an integrated provider of mobility solutions.
The development of a new business model within the in-house incubator of Lab1886 takes place in a three-step process: In the first phase, Daimler employees and business units can submit their ideas. These should preferably come from the broad spectrum of all areas around the topic of mobility. Instruments from the start-up world, such as crowd voting, funding and pitch in the shark tank, are used to make the selection for the next phase. On the basis of defined criteria it is examined whether an idea has the potential for a new product or business model. The Shark Tank is staffed by members of Daimler’s top management and external venture capital experts.
In the incubation phase – the second phase of the innovation process – the selected projects are piloted and developed to market maturity. The idea providers are supported, for example, by professional mentoring, support of specialists in complex work steps, use of co-working spaces and workshops, financial support, an inspiring working atmosphere and the development of new prototypes.
In the third phase – commercialization – the “young” products or new services meet the challenges of the global market. If an idea or product has potential for a future business model, it is rolled out. The innovation process ends with the transfer to the Daimler organization or a spin-off.
The designation “Lab1886” represents a reference to the year 1886 – at that time the automobile inventor and Carl Benz had a vehicle with an internal combustion engine patented. This vehicle is considered the ancestor of today’s automobile.