Incubator and accelerator programs

Support for start-ups

The innovation platform STARTUP-AUTOBAHN and the accelerator program Let US elevate! at the University of Stuttgart support and encourage students who are interested in starting their own company.

Let US elevate!

The main aim of “Let US elevate!” is to promote a start-up culture at the University of Stuttgart. “Let US elevate!” brings students and custom-fit innovative ideas from university research together, introducing students as early as possible to the idea of starting their own company, as well as teaching business skills and encouraging interdisciplinary thinking. This approach is intended to strengthen perception of the University of Stuttgart as a problem-solver and innovative partner for the industrial sector.


STARTUP AUTOBAHN is a joint project of Daimler AG, the Startup Accelerator and Investors Plug and Play Tech Center, the ARENA2036 research campus, and the University of Stuttgart.

STARTUP AUTOBAHN is an innovation platform that provides an interface between leading industrial companies and young technology companies. At the heart of the six-month programs, business partners and start-ups work together on an equal footing in order to assess the potential collaboration between the parties, test their technology, and achieve the ultimate goal: a successful implementation ready for production. STARTUP AUTOBAHN is not a typical start-up accelerator, but provides an entire ecosystem for successful collaboration. This promotes a change in the cultural mindset and the exchange of best practices in a neutral environment, in order to advance digitalization across corporate structures and value chains. 

In May 2016, Daimler, Plug and Play Tech Center, and the University of Stuttgart founded STARTUP AUTOBAHN as an open innovation platform with a global reach. Since then, many other partners have joined together to implement innovations.

Saeed Amidi

Stuttgart is one of the world’s leading automotive and high-tech regions and therefore provides the ideal conditions for startups.

Saeed Amidi, CEO of Plug and Play Tech Center

In the past 14 years, Plug and Play has built the world’s largest innovation platform that brings together start-ups, companies, and investors. The main goal is to promote and catalyze technological progress and related innovations. Plug and Play is now active at 26 locations worldwide - including the United States, China, Germany, Singapore, and Mexico. With more than 2000 funded start-ups and more than 280 corporate partners, it is the ultimate start-up ecosystem in many industries. Their success stories include those of Dropbox, PayPal, SoundHound, and N26.

Since 2016, STARTUP AUTOBAHN powered by Plug and Play has worked with 220 start-ups on more than 320 pilot projects in the fields of mobility, production, and enterprise. To this day, more than 60 projects have been implemented with the corporate partners, making STARTUP AUTOBAHN the most successful innovation platform in Europe. 

An exciting success story is what3words. The company’s algorithm labels a 3 meter by 3 meter square area with a unique address - worldwide. As a result, every delivery entrance, parking space, and house is given a unique address and can be precisely located. Thanks to the successful cooperation within the framework of STARTUP AUTOBAHN, what3words was implemented, for the first time, in the infotainment system of the new Mercedes Benz A-Class in 2018.


This image shows Sascha Karimpour

Sascha Karimpour


VP Corporate Relations DACH, Plug and Play Germany

This image shows Hannah Boomgaarden

Hannah Boomgaarden


Senior Program Manager

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