Lab1886 is an independent innovation lab within Daimler AG. It is where new business ideas, including those outside the core business, are identified, incubated and brought to market maturity. The aim is to proceed faster from the idea to the product or business model. By putting together a portfolio of innovations, Lab1886 helps Daimler AG to secure a sustainable and profitable future. Lab1886 combines the best of the start-up and corporate worlds.
Carl Benz, the inventor of the first automobile, once said: “The love of inventing never dies.” Lab1886 builds upon this heritage and pioneering spirit to shape the future of mobility.
Launched in 2007, Lab1886 has been helping Daimler AG to develop new business models. In the past ten years unprecedented ideas have been transformed into feasible businesses. The most impactful projects realized yet are car2go, moovel and Mercedes me.
The goal of Daimler’s corporate incubator is to move faster from an idea to a product or business model. Lab1886 thus supports Daimler AG in transforming itself from an automobile manufacturer into a mobility provider by exploring new fields outside the core business – focusing on the digital sphere.
To symbolize this new approach, Lab1886 has reinvented the four-pointed star – an emblem patented by Gottlieb Daimler’s two sons in 1909, when the fourth spike was interpreted as “space”. About 100 years later we proudly present the new logo of Lab1886. With narrower prongs, the star has been rotated and now looks like an X, symbolizing the secret, the next level or unknown future – to signify the upcoming changes.
What Lab1886 embodies and offers is the #BestofBothWorlds. The mindset, culture, and working methods of a start-up meet the expertise, knowledge and power of a global company.
Many auspicious ideas exist within the Daimler cosmos. This is why Lab1886 functions as an innovation platform and incubator – as an independent part of Daimler AG. We provide the eco-system to foster projects that help the corporation to master the challenges of the rapidly changing automotive industry as well as the future, and, most particularly, the four megatrends which are poised to revolutionize the automotive sector: connectivity, sharing, autonomous driving and electric drive.
Daimler AG has always been a leading innovator and a true inventor at heart. That is why Lab1886 is constantly searching for unconventional ideas in a disruptive manner. The goal is to move faster from an idea to a product or business model. Promising ideas from individual employees, teams and business units are implemented by Lab1886 and brought to market maturity as fast as possible. Because it is not enough to simply innovate and ideate, it is crucial to accelerate and commercialize. With a network of strategic partners, digital experts, extraordinary skills, high financial stability and a start-up mindset, Lab1886 provides the perfect conditions to develop game-changing businesses.
Innovation is not a matter of coincidence. It follows a defined plan. Driven by the passion to make the unimaginable feasible and infused by the inventor-gene of Daimler AG’s founding fathers, it is important to experiment with conventional knowledge and reconfigure it. The Lab1886 approach is divided into three successive phases: Ideation, Incubation, and Commercialization.
Every innovation process starts with an idea. After it has been validated in-house, it is forwarded to the “shark tank” – an expert panel that decides on how to proceed.
The selected ideas are tested for feasibility and scalability by our team of innovative minds. In co-creation, they develop new prototypes and set up compelling pilot projects.
Projects that have proven to be resilient and viable are commercialized. In this final step, ventures are built and our fledgling products or services are rolled out into the global market.
We know that innovation is a team sport and demands creative, innovative minds who think in a future-oriented way. If you work at Lab1886, you work with the best talents. We also provide our employees with the freedom to develop their projects independently. They can work in flat hierarchies and a creative atmosphere to pursue their ideas with focus and passion.
Lab1886 has also created an inspiring physical work environment. Our office spaces are places where people come together to learn, ideate and create.
To keep its finger on the start-up scene’s pulse and at the same time be in close proximity to Daimler and Mercedes-Benz facilities, Lab1886 has positioned itself at four locations around the world. We are currently operating in Stuttgart – the heart of the automotive industry, Berlin – where you can feel the buzz of the European start-up community, Atlanta – the rising star of the start-up world and Beijing – China’s metropolis and trade crossroads.
Many of the numerous projects developed by Lab1886 have become successful standalone businesses and have left their footprint in the automotive industry. The impact of these products and services like car2go, moovel, or Mercedes me underline the status of Lab1886 within Daimler AG. Recent Lab1886 milestones include the investment in Volocopter, a fully electric autonomously flying air taxi, and Mercedes me Flexperience, a fully digitalized car-on-demand offering.
Not least because of its innovative projects, Lab1886 was ranked among Germany’s leading innovation labs in 2017 and received Capital Magazin’s “Best Company Builder” award in 2018.
Some of our success stories