Startup adVANce

Born to grow.

This is not an accelerator nor an incubator, but a co-development partnership program.

This is your opportunity to work with Mercedes-Benz Vans and help you turn your transport idea into reality.

We will support you as a fair partner, granting you up to €500,000 to co-develop your prototype with shared IP rights. We won’t claim any of your company shares and you can stay in your familiar surroundings.

The goals of the Startup adVANce Challenge are:

  • To develop and produce hardware and software prototypes that satisfy the future needs of customers in the field of “Last Mile Transportation of Goods and People”.
  • To create new long-term partnerships with the most innovative startups that will last beyond the challenge.

Because of our fair and transparent practices, the European Commission is endorsing Startup adVANce. The challenge is sponsored by Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.

We thank you for your application! 

Unique insights


Shared IP rights

Up to € 500,000 grants
per startup

No shares in return

Fair partnership

Tomorrow’s supply chains will be different and more efficient than today – with mobile cargo space being an integral part of it. This development creates opportunities for far-sighted entrepreneurs. Join the challenge and choose your individual track. Which is your future in last mile transportation?


Stay updated and do not miss any important deadlines. You can download the Startup adVANce calendar below.

Start of the Open Call

Open Call for Phase 1 (Alignment Phase): Apply for Phase 1 with your product ideas.

Deadline for the Open Call, 23:59 (CET)

Apply for Phase 1 (Alignment Phase) with your product ideas until January 15, 2017, 23:59 (CET)!

Start of the Selection for Phase 1

External evaluators will select max. 80 startups for Phase 1 (Alignment Phase).

Daimler Meet Up Notice

Selected startups receive an invitation to the Daimler Meet Up. The workshops take place in February/ beginning of March 2017.

Start of Phase 1 (Alignment Phase)

Daimler Meet Up (Workshops with Daimler AG) & further Idea Refinement by each startup.

Daimler Meet Up (workshops) / Hand-in signed NDA

February/ beginning of March 2017: 2-day workshops with selected startups and Daimler AG.

Idea Refinement by participating Startups

After the Daimler Meet Up the startups have the opportunity to rethink and refine their product idea.

Start of the Phase 2 Call

Call for Phase 2 (Concept Phase). Apply with your refined idea and a first draft of the concept for cooperation!

Deadline for the Phase 2 Call 23:59 (CET)

Call for Phase 2 (Concept Phase). Apply with your refined idea and a first draft of the concept for cooperation!

Start of the Selection Phase 2

Selection of 10 startups for Phase 2 (Concept Phase).

Phase 2 Selection Notice

10 startups will be informed about their selection for Phase 2 (Concept Phase)

Hand-in the signed Cooperation Agreement, 23:59 (CET)

The selected startups for Phase 2 (Concept Phase) need to return, by May 5, 2017, 23:59 (CET), a duly signed copy of the Cooperation Agreement.

Start of Phase 2 (Concept Phase)

Startups elaborate concepts in cooperation with Daimler AG.

End of Phase 2 (Concept Phase)

At the end of Phase 2 a “ready-to-go” concept is elaborated that can be used to build the first rough version of the prototype.

Start of the Phase 3 Call

Apply for Phase 3 (Prototype Phase) with your elaborated concept.

Deadline for the Phase 3 Call 23:59 (CET)

File your elaborated concept until July 23, 2017.

Start of the Selection Phase 3

Max. 5 startups will be selected for Phase 3 (Prototype Phase)

Phase 3 Selection Notice

Max. 5 startups will be selected and informed by August 15, 2017.

Hand-in the signed Agreed Prototype Plan 23:59 (CET)

The selected startups for Phase 3 shall return, by August 24, 2017, 23:59 (CET), at the latest, a duly signed copy of the Prototype Plan.

Start of Phase 3 (Prototype Phase)

Startups develop and produce prototypes in cooperation with Daimler AG.

End of Phase 3 (Prototype Phase)

The level of maturity expected for the end of Phase 3 is a product that is ready for the field test run.

Thank you for your application!