About Lab1886 Silicon Valley

Lab1886 is Daimler’s corporate incubator – we develop innovative employee ideas into profitable business models, digital products and services that are tested in proof-of-concept pilots. Through a global incubator network with offices in Sunnyvale in California, Stuttgart and Berlin in Germany, and Beijing in China, Lab1886 accelerates worldwide on the innovative potential of Daimler’s more than 280,000 employees.

“The passion for invention will never die.” Carl Benz

Innovation has always been a key driver behind Daimler’s sustained success. With his patent for a three-wheeled vehicle powered by a gas engine, Carl Benz invented the automobile and completely changed the way people move on January 29, 1886. Inspired by the pioneering spirit of our founders, Lab1886 rethinks the future of mobility and actively supports the company’s transformation from an automotive manufacturer to a mobility service provider. As an integral part of the company’s corporate strategy initiative CASE – short for vehicles that are connected, autonomous, shared and electric – Lab1886 is moving into the next dimension of mobility.

130 years of automotive excellence meet Silicon Valley startup culture

Lab1886 combines the company-wide expertise in mobility with the agility of a startup and has the freedom to address topics that go beyond the core business. The goal is to move faster from an idea to the product or business model.

The incubation of an idea within Lab1886 goes through three phases: In the first phase, Daimler employees from the various business units in North America – from passenger cars, vans, trucks and buses to finance - are free to submit their ideas. Using instruments from the start-up world, an in-house crowd funding platform enables all employees to fund their favorite ideas. The best suggestions from the crowd and other high-potential ideas are then forwarded to the Shark Tank. This is where a panel of experts decide whether to follow through with an idea.

In the second incubation phase, ideas selected by the Shark Tank are tested for feasibility and scalability. The idea initiator is accompanied by an incubation team and receives further support through coaching and mentoring by professionals, their own co-working spaces, workshops, and funding. In this inspiring environment, we work in short innovation sprints to develop new prototypes and design compelling pilot projects. 

Projects that have proven to be resilient and viable during the incubation phase are followed by commercialization. In this final step, the emerging products or innovative services are prepared for global market challenges. If the visionary concept has the potential to become a profitable business model, it will be followed up with a roll-out and transferred to the line organization or a possible spin-off.