City of Hamburg searching for most innovative startups

International founders can now submit their applications for the Future Hamburg Award conferred by the City of Hamburg. With this startup award, Germany’s leading economic hub aims to support innovative solutions for the city of tomorrow. Innovative startups from around the world are invited to submit their projects until 31 March 2021 at

Sustainable cities

All companies whose business model has an impact on sustainable cities and is related to logistics, mobility or green hydrogen are eligible to take part. At an international level, the Future Hamburg Award also serves as a bridgehead between Europe and the United States. The winning startup-team will be invited to Silicon Valley to gain fresh impetus for their sustainable innovations and subsequently put their ideas to the test in Hamburg – the real-world laboratory for digital mobility.

Mobility and sustainable energy

Now in its second year, the Future Hamburg Award will be honouring innovations for the city of tomorrow, because cities, as hubs of business and mobility, are facing similar challenges worldwide. At the same time, cities are centres for pioneering ideas and thus an ideal place for trying out smart solutions. Therefore, this year’s Future Hamburg Award is looking for business models aimed at redesigning cities to make them more liveable, while also enriching economies and communities in metropolitan regions. The focus of the award is on mobility and sustainable energy.

Innovative power of cities

“The solutions to some of the most pressing issues of our time can actually be found in logistics and mobility – especially in combination with green hydrogen,” explains Hamburg’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Michael Westhagemann. “With the Future Hamburg Award, we would like to make a sustainable contribution to the innovative power of cities. The world’s best startups will have the opportunity to test their business models on-site a real-world lab in one of Europe’s most innovative cities,” adds Dr. Rolf Strittmatter, CEO of Hamburg Invest and one of the initiators of the award.

Startups from the fields of logistics, mobility and hydrogen can submit their projects until 31 March at .

Proof of concept

Startups from across the globe can submit their projects via the award website between 28 January and 31 March 2021. To be eligible, participants are required to have a digital, sustainable business model and at least one proof of concept. All submissions will be evaluated by a jury panel comprising international experts that includes Ralf Belusa (Managing Director at Hapag Lloyd AG), Jörg Debus (CIO & Chief of Staff at Shell Global), Gunnar Froh (Founder & CEO at Wunder Mobility), Clare Jones (CCO at what3words) as well as Markus Sontheimer (CIO and Member of the Board at Schenker AG).

Strong partners

Plug and Play Tech Center, the renowned international innovation platform, is the main partner of this year’s award programme. With a network of more than 30,000 startups and 400 companies, Plug and Play is one of the leading players in the international startup sector. Saeed Amidi, founder and CEO of the Silicon Valley-based Plug and Play Tech Center, sees great transformation potential in this collaboration: “I think Hamburg can show the world what a smart city would look like, because in Hamburg business and society are working together closely to jointly shape this transformation process. Therefore, I am delighted to support the Future Hamburg Award with our international network.”

Six-figure investment

Other major partners include e.g. the Hamburg-based venture capitalist “Am Hafen Capital” as well as the homePort by the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA). These two big players from Hamburg’s financial and logistics sectors will each support one startup when testing their innovative business models at the RealLab HH. Am Hafen Capital is providing a six-figure investment for this purpose, while the HPA is making its test site exclusively available to the relevant startup. Moreover, the winning team will be able to take part in Plug and Play’s accelerator programme in Hamburg and Silicon Valley. During its four-week stay in Silicon Valley, the winning startup will also have the opportunity to build an international network.

Innovation experts

Acclaimed innovation experts from Hamburg and abroad will be serving as ambassadors for the award, among them Harald Neidhardt, founder of the Futur/io Institute, Johannes Berg, Managing Director of Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg, and Andrea Weidinger, Director of the ITS World Congress. Other supporters include Katja Diehl, mobility activist and host of the “She drives Mobility” podcast. “Hamburg is my home port, and it fills me with pride that my city will not only be host to the 2021 ITS Congress, but also to international startups that are changing the world of transport for the benefit of the environment and the people – because that’s the ultimate aim of such technologies: to facilitate inclusive, climate-friendly mobility,” Ms Diehl explains.

More about the Future Hamburg Award:

Written by: Editors Smart City Hub.
Header image: Future Hamburg Award 2019.

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