DB StartupXpress

About DB StartupXpress

A digitized world opens opportunities to create tomorrow’s standards going beyond today’s limitations. The DB StartupXpress focuses on startups that allow us to get to know and test new technologies or business models for railway infrastructure (tracks, stations, energy) or our services in mobility and logistics.

We are looking for

technologies, applications, materials or business cases that have the potential to bring Deutsche Bahn to the next level and support DB business units and corporate departments with their digital transition. In addition we give topics of special interest a focus and an application deadline. 

Why participate?

We are offering a unique opportunity to test and fast-track your ideas and products inside Deutsche Bahn. We offer funding, coaching and mentoring, seats in our coworking space as well as access to our DB network. Deutsche Bahn can further support the development of a special solution and be one of your customers.


  • 3 month program
  • 25k € zero equity taken
  • seats in our co-working space


  • access to the world of railway
  • access to unique data sets
  • access to DB business units


  • dedicated startup-manager
  • internal & external coaches
  • cooperation with betahaus

Improve our World

Engineering: e. g. predictive maintenance, energy management
Digitalization: e. g. live monitoring, schedule simulation
Business: e. g. passenger services, cargo services

Q & A

What might be interesting for you...

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What is special about the DB StartupXpress and what are the differenced to other startup programs?
  • direct collaboration with a department of DB  (developing a prototype together)
  • top level support from DB management
  • close technical mentoring by DB experts
  • strong support by a startup manager from DB mindbox
  • during the three-month program, you can not only work with trains, tracks and train stations, you can also work with buses, scooters, warehouses, containers or even our customers 






Why should I apply for the program?
  • you will be able to test your prototype on our railway system, directly on our railway tracks, existing customers or at the stations to prove your proof-of-concept
  • build your own network inside DB, either within the railway industry or other variety industries
  • open an unique key market
  • collaborate with the largest mobility provider in Europe 
  • free and stylish working space beside the Spree river, along with its own train station 
  • financing of 25.000 € with zero equity taken







Which stage should your startup be in order to participate in the program?
  • it is the main goal of the StartupXpress program to test your idea inside Deutsche Bahn with a proof-of-concept
  • prior experiences tell us that a MVP or first prototype should be viable for development and testing within the three months of the program 



Are there any official restrictions for the participation in the program?
  • your team must coonsist of at least two people
  • your startup has to be a registered company



Is the team required to move to Berlin and be present in in DB mindbox at all times?
  • prior experiences showed a direct correlation between regular presence in DB mindbox and the success of the startup 
  • for successful pilot testing, it is essential that the startup, DB mindbox and the DB business unit work closely together – the best way to do this is to be regularly present
  • depending on the business unit you are collaborating with, being on-site the business unit’s office could also make sense
  • we understand that every company has the need to support their own customers, any concession will therefore be discussed on a case-by-case basis





What are the next steps after my application? How does the startup selection process work?
  • after application, your documents will be reviewed by the DB mindbox team, if necessary you will be asked to provide additional documents
  • DB mindbox and the business units will then coordinate and select the most suitable teams for the challenge and invite them to our selection day / pitch event
  • unselected teams will be added to our contact list for possible future collaborations
  • once selected, the team has to sign a contract with DB mindbox, defining the case that the team should further develop and test inside of DB 
  • after signing of the contract, you can then move in and become part of DB mindbox and begin the accelerator program 
What is included in the three-month Accelerator program?
  • official introduction to the DB group
  • coaching by external experts
  • mentoring by top level decision makers
  • technical support by experts from the supporting DB departments 
  • prototype development for application within DB 
  • mid-term presentation of the current status and next steps of development 
  • prototype testing
  • presentations to internal and external decision makers
  • final presentation on the demo day
What happens after the three-month program?
  • at the end of the program, you are required to present your development results 
  • it is important to note that collaboration between DB and the startup depends heavily on the perceived success of the prof-of-concept
  • all stakeholders will then evaluate the results and make decisions about the continuation of collaboration 
  • if further collaboration is secured, your team will have to optimize your prototype and prepare for pilot testing 
  • after a successful pilot testing, it might be required to obtain a certificate or operation permit from our regulator
  • actual roll out and application of product/sercive will then begin




Current Programs

StartupXpress Program

We are always looking for innovations. Apply for our DB StartupXpress if you have a solution that supports the digitalization of Deutsche Bahn! All your ideas are highly welcome.

The Future of Maintenance part II

This time Deutsche Bahn is looking for innovative startups that could improve overall maintenance processes with their innovative hard- and software solutions to boost availabilities, reduce machine downtime, increase maintenance work quality or offer new services to maintenance workers.