MAN sets course for the future by partnering up with innovative startups


What do a bioactive glass startup, the inventors of an electric cargo bike, and the developers of an audio software that analyses motor noise have in common? All of them have the potential to bring MAN Truck & Bus a major step forward into the future.

  • MAN is focusing on new customer solutions on the road to becoming a holistic transportation provider
  • As a result, MAN is stepping up its cooperation with innovative startups
  • A startup pitch event brings commercial vehicles giant together with entrepreneurs

MAN Truck & Bus is undergoing a transition from a leading commercial vehicles manufacturer to a provider of intelligent and sustainable transportation solutions. As part of its innovation offensive, the company is focusing on brand new digital customer services, among other things. Working together with international startups has enormous potential – for both sides.

With this in mind, MAN Truck & Bus is breaking new ground: by organizing a pitch event that brought together 18 international startups working in the fields of electric mobility, connected transportation, and intelligent supply chains, the Munich-based manufacturer intends to find and foster innovative concepts for its own business. As part of the event, MAN looked for fresh ideas it can integrate into its existing product, service, and process portfolio or include in the development of new business models.

The first startup pitch event (EIC Corporate Day) took place at the MAN Truck Forum in Munich this Tuesday, March 19, 2019, in cooperation with the European Innovation Council (EIC).

Christoph Herr, Senior Vice President Strategy & Product Management at MAN Truck & Bus, believes this meeting of founders and MAN experts presents a major opportunity: “As far as we are concerned, startups are important partners. We believe that flexible, creative startups can give a major boost to the innovativeness of a big company like MAN and want to find an effective way of working together with them. We have already put this idea into practice with very successful results as part of our CitE truck project and could really imagine being the partner of innovative entrepreneurs more often.”

85 startups from the whole of Europe had applied to take part in the Munich event. 18 of them were selected to present their ideas in front of 150 leading MAN employees and Group partners. Innovative founders traveled from 12 different countries, including Portugal, Belgium, and even Finland. They brought unusual ideas in the fields of electric mobility, connected transportation & new mobility, intelligent operations & supply chain, smart maintenance & inspection, or data analytics & competitive intelligence, all of which MAN Truck & Bus expects to provide fresh ideas for its own business.

Along with developers of pioneering transmissions for electric trucks (Mazaro from Belgium) or innovative battery management systems (Insplorion from Sweden), this also included OneWatt, a Dutch company whose Embedded Acoustic Recognition Sensors or EARS use artificial intelligence to analyze motor noise with precision – so much so that they can identify problems before they even become problems. This can prevent motor damage and downtimes. German startup ONO has devised a futuristic electric cargo bike for the last-mile transportation of goods. Other ideas included optimized route planning (Bestmile from Sweden), robot programming (Cambrian Intelligence, UK), or 3D accident prevention sensors (fastree 3D, Switzerland).

The EIC Corporate Day forms part of the SME Instrument Business Acceleration Services, which are provided on behalf of the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME). This institution was set up by the European Commission to manage several EU programs in the fields of SME support & innovation, environment, climate action, and energy on its behalf. The SME Instrument is part of the European Innovation Council pilot (EIC pilot) that aims to support top-class innovators, entrepreneurs, small companies, and scientists with bright ideas. In this respect, the SME Instrument’s main focus is on innovations that have the potential to create new markets and jobs, generate growth, and facilitate a higher standard of living.