From the travel planner to the address system
Investment in digital mobility
Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures finances and develops new data-based business models. In addition to the technology focus on Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), the main focus is on market change, to show founders and technology partners their ability to establish future-oriented customer solutions in the three fields of mobility, logistics and smart cities. Boris Kühn, one of the two managing directors of DB Digital Ventures: "We invest in start-ups which are active in these areas with a digital business model and a certain disruptive potential. These startups do not have to be closely linked to our core business. The start-ups are not only gaining venture capital, but also get access to experts and data. Through the exchange with startups, we are accelerating the innovation and growth potential of our entire company."
In order to promote start-ups and new data-based business models, DB Digital Ventures is expected to provide € 100 million of risk capital by the end of 2019. Deutsche Bahn has invested in these start-ups through minority interests:
The mobility platform Qixxit is a travel planner which intelligently connects various modes of transport and providers and finds the best routes. Qixxit compares trains, flights and busses. This way, travelers arrive cleverly, comfortably, quickly and conveniently at their destination. Qixxit was founded in 2012 by Deutsche Bahn. Today, the international team of travel-inspired experts in Europe's start-up capital Berlin is working independently on the most customer-friendly intermodal travel planner for long-distance connections in Germany and Europe.
The new version of the travel platform app can now be downloaded from the iOS and Android stores and can also be accessed at www.qixxit.com.
Founded in 2013, the British company what3words has divided the world into a grid of 57 billion square meters of 3x3 meters. The coordinates of each of these squares are assigned to unique three-word addresses. With the help of what3words, sites can be communicated and found in a precise and simple way. This means that there is an address for every place worldwide, even where no house number or postal code exists. Courier services in Europe and the US use what3words already today to deliver goods more quickly and precisely. In logistics, Deutsche Bahn is also trying to use what3words. DB also sees great potential in the development of autonomous vehicle fleets in public mobility, since what3words allows an exact navigation.
The Deutsche Bahn headquarter at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin is the first company building in Germany with an official what3words address. Head of DB Richard Lutz and what3words-CCO Clare Jones unveiled a lettering with the three-word combination "lebendig.webseiten.auflösen" on August 28, 2017. The main entrance of the headquarter can easily be found by using this three words.
Founded in 2012, Talixo is a smart booking platform that brings passengers and vehicles together in a new way. Because taxi and car services are highly organized and available worldwide, and billing can be complicated and complex, the start-up bundles various taxis and limousines for customers. With Talixo, a taxi or limousine can be booked just as easily as hotels or flights. The platform already provides mobility on the last mile in 91 countries and 560 cities. Talixo ensures the same high standards of quality and safety all over the world. Booking and invoicing are carried out using a uniform system.
Founded in 2011, Connected Signals, located in the north-west of the United States, observes and analyzes the red and green phases of traffic lights and, thanks to the intelligent processing of this information, is able to optimally control traffic - whether for individual cars, autonomous fleets or entire cities. The company uses real-time traffic data and artificial intelligence to network vehicles and urban infrastructure. As a result, congestion can be avoided and the risk of an accident can be reduced. The data prepared by ConnectedSignals are already used by automotive manufacturers in the USA to display the duration of the respective traffic light phases in current vehicle models.
The German company CleverShuttle, founded in 2014, is a service that provides efficient, affordable and environmentally friendly door-to-door mobility within urban centers. The first German-licensed ridesharing service brings passengers with similar route wishes and is therefore up to 40% cheaper than a taxi. An algorithm enables intelligent pooling and routing. The cars are powered by an environmentally friendly electric or hybrid drive in Berlin, Leipzig and Munich. Since September 8, 2017 vehicles with climate-friendly hydrogen drive are used in Hamburg for the first time. On May 17, 2018, the ridesharing service started in Stuttgart. Since autumn 2018 CleverShuttle operates in Dresden and Frankfurt. CleverShuttle is especially attractive for train-travellers who want to travel comfortably and environmentally friendly to the station or from there home.
Photo gallery CleverShuttle
The California company wants to change the way people get from A to B and helps car rental companies, car clubs, cities and transportation companies implement new mobility services. Ridecell offers a smart software platform for running carsharing services and carpools and for autonomous fleet management. End-to-end integration and automation ensure that Ridecell customers can launch mobility services quickly, run them efficiently and generate revenues through business growth.
Headquartered in San Francisco, Ridecell was established in 2009 and has already facilitated 20 million journeys. It employs a team of over 100 experts in the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia. It supports mobility services including BMW's ReachNow, Volkswagen's OMNI and the carsharing service GIG operated by the American Automobile Association (AAA). Ridecell also powers dynamic shuttle services for university campuses, such as Georgia Tech and UC Berkeley, and for transportation companies such as SouthWest Transit.
By investing in Ridecell, DB can offer all of the ways to use car fleets – rental, ride hailing, carpooling and carsharing – on a single platform. This increases the capacity utilization of fleets and allows cars to be better distributed based on customers' needs. Talks are currently under way with ioki and other divisions so that DB products can benefit from the Ridecell platform.
The New York startup GoKid makes life easier for parents around the world. GoKid runs a carpool platform for driving children to school, sports and other after-school activities safely and on time. Reliability and trust are especially important when it comes to transporting children. GoKid helps families, friends and neighbors organize carpools. Routes are optimized and drivers must have their own children in the car. The app lets parents track when children are picked up, what route the driver is taking and when they arrive at school or practice.
GoKid has already organized over 100,000 trips. Parents save time and money and help protect the environment, and the carpools reduce rush hour traffic. Using GoKid to take children to school costs communities around 90% less than school buses.
GoKid could be added to mobility services such as ioki and CleverShuttle, making them even more appealing. DB has held an interest in GoKid since May 2018 through Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures GmbH.
The startup won 2018 the transportation category of the accelerator pitch event at the renowned South by Southwest (SXSW) festival and was 2016 one of twelve startups in the Techstar Mobility Class.
The free app is available for iOS and Android and can be downloaded at www.gokid.mobi.
The cyber world is changing at a rapid pace. Mobility is becoming more digital every day, connecting more and more data. Californian startup Trillium from Sunnyvale is helping mobility companies to keep pace with this development. The IoT cybersecurity company specializes in data backups for vehicles and vehicle fleets. With comprehensive security concepts, Trillium offers protection against cyber attacks to ensure secure, confidential and anonymous handling of all data in vehicle and fleet management. DB has held an interest in Trillium since June 2018 through Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures GmbH.
DB Digital Ventures, Deutsche Bahn's venture capital arm that funds new digital business models, has invested in a Canadian satellite communications company. By investing in Kepler Communications, DB is banking on innovative technology for fast and secure data transmission.
The Toronto company, which has 20 employees and was established in 2015, is building a global communications network that will offer connectivity for bulk data transmission and IoT applications at any time and in any place without the need for cellular carriers. Kepler plans to launch 140 small satellites, which are about the size of a lunch box, into low earth orbit. Its IoT solution will enable global positioning and allow transmission of data, such as information about the condition of freight being transported through multiple countries by train or truck. Beginning in 2022 Kepler's satellites will allow containers that are in transport to communicate almost in real time via sensors. The benefits for logistics customers include higher quality along the supply chain and seamless consignment tracking, even in areas where there is no cellular network.
Coord is headquartered in New York City and was founded in 2016. The company operates a mobility data platform that facilitates the interoperability of shared transport services and urban infrastructure. Renowned companies such as Google, Zipcar and Mozio are invested in Coord, since October 2018, the German railway. Coord's API suite helps integrate transport options into smartphone apps, enterprise software, and autonomous vehicles.