Pitch your idea for DB StartupXpress

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

We are constantly looking for innovations for our company. Applications for all topics can be submitted at any time. Therefore the DB mindbox StartupXpress runs on a regular timetable. In addition to that there is a special timetable with deadlines for individual topics. Our focus topics are logistics, construction technology, sales & marketing, HR and maintenance. Find more information about the search fields within these topics below.

You want to know about a deadline for a special topic or you already decided to apply, click here.

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Smart Infrastructure

We transport over 7,3 Mio. passengers every day over our 33.000 km of tracks. To keep ensuring the safety and availability of our network, we are looking for ideas which will help us to be better informed about our network every time and to maintain it more efficiently.

Real time information

Knowing the status of every component or machine at all times.

Predictive maintenance

Increase the availability of our rail network by avoiding outtages and failures of our assets and machines.

Wayside monitoring

Increase the knowledge about the trains on our network with the help of stationary measuring sites.

Challenge us

You think you can bring the maintenance of our network to the next level? Send us your ideas!

Intelligent Trains

We operate 25.000 passenger train runs of our high speed, regional and commuter trains and 5.000 freight train runs every day. To improve the availability and punctuality of our trains, we are looking for solutions that will help us to maintain our trains more efficiently and to increase the usage of the trains and components.

Real time information

Knowing the status of every component or machine at all times.

Predictive maintenance

Increase the availability of our trains by avoiding failures and unplanned defaults of our components and trains.

Track monitoring

Increase the knowledge about the tracks with the help of sensors on regular trains.

Other Ideas

You think you can increase the availability of our trains? Apply for the DB StartupXpress!

Innovative Workshops

We carry out the maintenance of our trains and wagons almost entirely ourselves. To improve the quality of the work and the ergonomics of our workers, we are looking for solutions to support or assist our workers. In addition we’re looking for ideas, which will bring the operation of our workshops to the next level by improving the schedule of work and the internal logistics.

Work support

Increase the ergonomics of our hard work and help the workers with the right information at the right time and place.


Reduce the effort to transfer information from one shift to another and between units with modern communication tools.


Knowing the location of all components, assets and tools at every time.

Additional solutions

You can bring our maintenance work to the next level? Apply for the DB StartupXpress!

Modern Tools

Digitization can improve our workforce as well as all of our services. We are looking for ideas which will help our workers, create connectivity at all work places, distribute the information between the stakeholders efficiently, train our workers remotely and give guidance to our workers.


Improve the training, export support and communication with new technologies to create modern work places.


Create an environment to predict future maintenance and to simulate the effects of changing strategies.

Communication Infrastructure

Improve the connectivity everywhere in our network, workshops, offices with new tools.

Challenge us

You think you can improve DB with modern tools? Send us your ideas!

Video, Image and Sensor Data Analysis

We are already collecting a lot of data and want to expand it in the future so that we know more about our trains and routes. We are looking for solutions which help us to analyse our existing data (video, image, laser, sensor data, …) or combined solutions of sensor and analysis to monitor our tracks, trains, passengers.

Material supervision

Detect the condition of components and trains, measure the status of parts, analyse optical control boards…

Passenger flows

Count the number of passengers, measure the density on platforms and in trains, locate passengers on platforms...

Track / Train condition

Video surveillance of our network and trains. Generate a 3D model of the network and trains!

Challenge us

You can increase the knowledge about DB related topics? Apply for the DB StartupXpress!


New Products / Business models

DB Cargo AG - Europe's largest freight railway. With around 4,200 customer sidings in Europe, DB Cargo provides its customers with access to one of the biggest rail networks in the world. We are looking for innovative start-ups that can design new products and business models for DB Cargo.

Market platforms

Expansion of freight exchange platforms for freight trains.

Free capacity exchange

Increase the availability of our rail products for our customer.

New Sales Channels

You think you can bring new sales channels to our network? Send us your ideas!


Increase the network from rail to other transport sites.

New Services

We operate 5.000 freight train runs every day. To improve the services for our customers, We are looking for innovative start-ups that can improve our overall logistics processes with their innovative hard- and software solutions.

Estimated Time of Arrival

Forecast arrival times for goods and freight trains.

Integration in Supply Chain

Linking with customer systems for continuous digitized processes.

Decision support

Increase the support for decisions by customers and/or DB Cargo Sales teams.

Digital consignment note

Reduction of errors (no more paper-based documentation).


Key resources are customer relationships, a high level of customer understanding, motivated and well-trained employees along with efficient use of rolling stock and a premium quality infrastructure. In addition we’re looking for ideas, which will bring the communication with our customers a long the customer journey to the next level.


New focused presentation of information for our customers.

Feedback/ Complaint Management

New innovative tools to improve our products through customer feedback.

Track and Trace

Knowing the location and conditions of all goods, assets and tools at every time.

Additional solutions

You can bring our communication processes to the next level? Apply for the DB StartupXpress!

Modern Sales Tools

Digitization can improve our sales processes as well as all of our services. We are looking for ideas which will help our sales teams, create new products, services or channels to new or … customers.


Enhanced supply chain security and increased efficiency.


Development of new applications through standardized interfaces.


Increase customer support and develop new tools for our sales teams.

Big Data

You think you can improve DB with modern tools? Send us your ideas!


Big Data

Data helps us to make the right decisions when it comes to human resources. It can help us to find the right candidate and also to develop the skills of our employees. We provide more than 500 professions and are always looking for the right match between people, jobs or projects.

People Analytics

Improve data driven decision making in recruitment or employee development.


Develop algorithms and platforms that help us to match persons, projects and jobs. 

Competency management

Support us by assessing and developing individual and collective skills.

Additional solutions

You can bring data to the next level? Apply for the DB StartupXpress!

Engagement Tools

Collaboration is key to success. Therefore we want to enable our employees to collaborate professionally. Digitization can improve the way we work together. We are looking for ideas which will help our employees to distribute the information and knowledge efficiently and communicate in an modern way. 

Feedback and Participation

Improve the communication possibilities to create modern work places.

Digital Learning

Find tools and methods that allow to learn relevant content when needed.

Knowledge Management

Help us to create, share, use and manage the knowledge within DB.

Challenge us

You think you can improve DB with modern engagement tools? Send us your ideas!

Digital Assistance

Our 300.000 employees have specific and individual needs. We are looking for solutions to support their work and daily challenges. Digital assistance tools can help them to make their work easier and thus to concentrate on  the relevant issues and tasks.  

Health management

Support our employees to retain the physical and mental health.

Time tracking

Measure the time for different activities without the hassle of manual recording.

Workflow Management

Support complex work proceedings with digital tools and hacks.

Additional solutions

You think you can bring digital assistance to the next level? Apply for the DB StartupXpress!

Construction Tech

Construction Logistics

Planning phases are the fundament of a successful construction phase and project completion. Due to high complexity of big infrastructure projects, the early phases take time and require high attention to details. We are looking for solutions to avoid planning mistakes which lead to a delayed start of operation and increased costs.

Technical Risk Analysis

Enabling efficient and predictive risk analysis regarding construction ground, environmental protection etc.

Document Management

Collecting relevant information by digital document and content.

Collaboration & Communication

Make stakeholders participate actively in the planning process and provide and share information.

Challenge us

You think you can bring our construction projects to the next level? Send us your ideas!

Project Progress Analysis

DB is in charge of about 800 construction sites operated at the same time. To keep negative impacts on the availability of our network as low as possible, fast and on-time construction progresses are essential. Observation, analysis and visualization of project progress data to forecast impacts caused by any changes are of main interest to us.

Real time monitoring

Knowing the project progress on the construction site any time.

Predictive analysis

Analyzing data to predict construction progress, costs and deadlines.

Data Visualization

Increase the knowledge about the data through mapping and georeferencing.

Other Ideas

You think you can improve our construction progesses? Apply for the DB StartupXpress!

Construction Logistics

Optimizing and speeding up workflows in the construction phase is crucial to an on-time project realization. Therefore we are looking for technologies which allows us to improve our workflow and data management on the construction site.

Workflow Management

Improve collaboration and communication between stakeholders on the construction site.

Data Analysis

Enabling transparency and optimal utilization by recording and evaluating  logistics,  process and quantitative data.

Additional solutions

You can increase the knowledge about DB related topics? Apply for the DB StartupXpress!

Sales and Marketing

Customer Interaction

DB Regio offers regional transport service for over six million passengers each day. Getting in touch with every traveler to create a good customer experience is our aim for modern passenger transport.


Integrating robots into customer interaction, e.g. as customer guidance and support or travel information on-site.


Having an easy („two-click-“) access and a safe payment, e.g. with blockchain technologies.

Human Machine Interface

Enabling interaction between customers and passenger transport devices, e.g. voice and image recognition.

Other ideas

You think you can bring sales and marketing to the next level? Send us your ideas!

New Services

Our core business focuses consistently on increased customer orientation and, accordingly, on improving product and service quality, not least through new digital technologies and services.


Navigating passengers through their journey using location-based services.


Offering mobile shopping solutions for commuters and travellers.


Creating new entertainment offers for train passengers.

Data-based Services

You think you can improve our Regional Trains with new services? Send us your ideas!

Customer Retention

DB’s ability to attract and retain new passengers is related not only to our products or services, but also to the way we service our existing customers. Generating value as a result of utilizing our products and services creates reputation.

Loyalty Programs

Encouraging train passengers/ commuters and rewarding them.


Comparing train travel with other means of transport, e.g. regarding time, emissions…

Crowd Based Services

Encouraging consumers to become more like coworkers to take over specific services.


Using gamification tools to improve customer engagement, e.g. for marketing campaigns or customer feedback.

Information Management

DB Regio’s core service is to bring millions of passengers in regional transport each day to their desired destination in a punctual, safe, reliable and environmentally friendly way. Help us improving our customer information management by using existing data, specific tools, innovative technologies or smart processes.

Real time information

Knowing the status of every component or machine at all times.


Simplifying and digitizing processes for having consistent standards, e.g. passenger‘s rights.


Getting recommendations considering time, capacity and routes.


Receiving forecasts by using different data sets and giving advice for disposition.

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 Application

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.