Moonshot thinking and start-ups' bright ideas at ITS World Congress

Start-ups crucial to mobility in future - crowd puller at congress - H2 accelerator for start-ups announced
14 October 2021
Love Lupe Infinite at ITS

A delighted Michael Westhagemann, Senator of Economics, remarked on "all the creative minds" at the opening of the Startup Area at the ITS World Congress underway in Hamburg until Friday (October 15, 2021). "Hamburg is a great experimental field for innovations. This is where the future of mobility is being shaped," he noted. Start-ups and new business models are among the focal points at the congress and proving a crowd magnet. 

Founders pitching ideas

Industrial experts, companies and start-ups in the transport sector are coming together at the congress under the motto of "Experience Future Mobility Now". More than 400 exhibitors from over 100 countries are presenting their latest developments at the world's largest international industry congress. Fifty start-ups from all corners of the globe including several founders in the Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg are forging contacts with investors and experts and pitching their business models to expert audiences in the Startup-Area.

Ideas for mobility of future

The winners of this year's Future Hamburg Award, Breeze Technologies and Infinite Mobility, are also presenting their successful business models at ITS. To coincide with the motto of intelligent transport, the start-up award focused on smart solutions in mobility and logistics for the city of tomorrow. 

Robert Heinecke, CEO of Breeze at ITS
© Lukas Betz
Robert Heinecke, CEO of Breeze Technologies

Breeze Technologies scooped the top Future Hamburg Award 2021 thanks to its cloud and artificial intelligence-generated decision-making tools for controlling air pollution and reducing CO2 in inner-cities. The win garnered international recognition and attention. Participating in ITS, as part of the award, has paid off, according to Robert Heinecke, founder and CEO of Breeze: "The leading experts for transport and mobility are here. The quality of air is important especially in the transport industry. You can see here that Hamburg is at the forefront of innovative logistics."

60 pitches in five days

Norway's Infinite Mobility, another winner of the Future Hamburg Award 2021, develops lightweight, solar-powered vehicles for urban mobility making for new solutions to short inner-city journeys. The company's solar tuk-tuk is cost-effective, safe and saves space and should help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals of poverty alleviation, climate change and sustainable cities and communities.

"Our technology breaks with the current status quo in mobility and for many investors is moonshot thinking. Many experts here at ITS are interested in our solution," said Love Lupi, founder and CEO of Infinite Mobility. Around 60 companies focusing on the future of mobility are pitching on stage in the ITS Startup Area this week.

Future of mobility now up to young people

Although the organisers of ITS may have assumed that start-ups would learn from experts and companies, that is apparently working both ways. Last year saw the emergence of the Young Mobility Community based on the premise that the future of mobility is up to young people, according to ITS. Hundreds of schoolgoers and students then took part in all kinds of projects and collaborations. "Mobility is important for many young people. Transport offers must be environment-friendly, diverse and available on demand," said Andrea Weidinger, of ITS Hamburg 2021 GmbH. "The young perspective on mobility is indispensable for our future."

H2 Accelerator for start-ups

Start-ups need an inspiring and creative environment, proximity to science and research, capital and suitable funding opportunities. Hamburg offers ideal conditions with its start-up ecosystem and not least thanks to Hamburg Invest's Startup-Unit. That goes hand in hand with the keener focus on a sustainable economy and green hydrogen throughout the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. However, start-ups in the oft capital-intense sector need suitable offers and schemes, according to an ITS panel on the H2 Startup Accelerator, an initiative of the Open Innovation Platform Plug and Play, Fraunhofer, Shell, the City of Hamburg and others. The goal is to create an open, innovative start-up ecosystem focusing on the hydrogen sector. The H2 Accelerator promotes the founding and development of start-ups and their technologies at the interface between research, industry and other institutions.


ITS World Congress Hamburg 2021

The leading ITS World Congress on intelligent transport is underway in Hamburg under the theme of "Experience Future Mobility Now" until Friday (October 15, 2021). The Hanseatic city and its partners are presenting the latest trends in digitalisation, mobility and logistics. Emphasis is on networked transport and smart logistics of the future. Visitors can glimpse the future on the free public day on October 14, 2021. Those interested must have registered earlier. The city has earmarked 42 out of 200 ITS projects as anchors that are particularly important for achieving its objectives. These so-called anchor projects include the Hamburg Electric Autonomous Transportation (HEAT) autonomous shuttle bus  and the cycle traffic counting network with thermal imaging cameras. The ITS World Congress is part of the strategy adopted by the senate in 2016 through 2030.