‡ smart urban pioneers idea contest.

‡ smart urban pioneers idea contest.

Ideate what’s next: The 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) was all about “Experiencing the Future” – and smart has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to introducing pioneering technology, trends, and tweaks like e-mobility, carsharing, or tomorrow’s urban mobility concepts. Visitors could explore the brand’s vision of the future at the international trade fair, me Convention, and at the smart booth.

Focus on future: the me Convention curated by Mercedes-Benz and SXSW

Flanking the official IAA trade fair and events, Mercedes-Benz and SXSW joined forces to host the very first me Convention at Messe Frankfurt’s Festhalle featuring hand-picked experts from the creative, design, and technology sectors.

Over an intense three days, these experts explored our future through a range of spot-on keynotes, workshops, interactive labs, talks, panels, and art installations plus several evening events spread across Frankfurt’s Bahnhofsviertel.

smart not only joined the fact-packed fun with several speakers who shed light on today’s urban challenges – and disruptive, innovative solutions – but also invited the attendees to join the brand at its booth for test drives and a round of ambitious start-up pitches.

As part of the brand’s urban pioneers idea contest, enterprising minds were able to share their ideas for making our urban future brighter and better.

Second round of smart urban pioneers

For the second round of smart urban pioneers, smart once again invited down-to-earth visionaries with lofty ideas to submit their proposals. Following a pre-selection process by the contest’s expert jury, 12 entrants won the chance to pitch their projects to a live audience – in a moving smart electric drive.

Their business ideas focused on either “Urban Living Solutions,” “Urban Electrical Solutions,” or “Urban Environmental Solutions.” The 3-minute pitch parcours were assessed by a jury of experts under the aegis of Head of smart Dr. Annette Winkler.

Expect an intense competition and event: Following the final round, three outstanding projects receive prize money for their business idea – and the winner can expect additional help and valuable feedback as part of the year-long smart urban pioneers support program.

 The results

As winners in their respective categories, Boni, Ubitricity and ResQ Club met for the grand finale which was streamed live on social media. After giving their final pitches and answering a series of challenging questions by the jury, the first prize (20.000 €) was awarded to Boni and the second prize to both Ubitricity and ResQClub (10.000 € each). Additionally, Dr. Annette Winkler announced that smart will support all three start-ups with additional help and valuable feedback via the smart urban pioneers program.

We congratulate the winners and will be following their journeys on smart magazine.


The patron:
Dr. Annette Winkler, Head of smart.

As Head of smart, Annette Winkler has been steering the Daimler AG division for agile city cars since 2010. Born in Wiesbaden, the economics graduate led her father’s construction company very successfully for many years – she was named Entrepreneur of the Year before joining Daimler in 1995. There, she initiated long-term change processes, establishing extensive customer satisfaction measures. In her role at smart, Winkler headed the development of the new car generation including fully electric versions of the entire smart fleet and keeps taking urban mobility to the next level by adding more and more services to the smart car.

The jury:
Our experts.

Conrad Fritzsch vom Daimler AG

Conrad Fritzsch

Daimler AG

Since August 2016, Conrad Fritzsch has been Director of Digital Marketing at Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler AG. As a key driver of the digital transformation, he is responsible for developing groundbreaking digital products and implementing state-of-the-art working modes.
Daniel Deparis from Daimler AG

Daniel Deparis

Daimler AG

After several positions in the automotive industry, Daniel Deparis joined the smart brand and built up a business development team focusing on new business opportunities. He is now leading and coaching the smart lab at Daimler AG. The purpose is to ease life of urban people through digital services around the car. Created as an innovative think tank within Daimler AG, the smart lab develops digital urban mobility services and concepts around the vehicle. Services like smart “ready to drop” and smart “ready to share” are two of the first creations brought to us by the smart lab team.
Journalist Don Dahlmann

Don Dahlmann


Don Dahlmann is a journalist who writes and blogs about topics like the future of mobility, electrification, carsharing, and the economy. From 2012 to 2014, he served on the Grimme Online Awards jury to highlight the gems of the German online landscape. For the past decade, he has also been running the webzine „Racingblog“.
Kasita CEO Jeff Wilson

Dr. Jeff Wilson

CEO Kasita

While Dr. Jeff Wilson serves as CEO at Kasita, an Austin-based company developing beautifully-designed micro homes, the housing innovator is also known as “Professor Dumpster”: For an entire year between 2014 and 2015, Wilson swapped his own home for a dumpster he had modified into a fully sustainable living space.
Scott Wilcox of SXSW

Scott Wilcox


Never one to shy away from the unknown, and after 17 years of keeping the annual SXSW Interactive, Music, and Film conferences and festivals on track as Chief Technology Officer, Scott Wilcox now heads up the SXSW Innovation Group. Here, he not only bridges the gap between emerging trends, future technologies, and promising partnerships, but also takes lofty ideas and anchors them firmly in reality with the latest research and plenty of strategic experience.

Our winners.

Loud Steps by Boni


Urban Living Solutions


Chicago (USA), Istanbul (Turkey), Berlin (Germany)


Making complex venues accessible for everyone.


The Loud Steps app offers guidance and navigation for the visually and hearing impaired to access complex environments. Thanks to features like step-by-step directions and a sign language call center, places like shopping malls or airports are no longer an obstacle.



Urban Environmental Solutions


Berlin (Germany), Helsinki (Finland)


Fighting food waste.


ResQClub is an online platform for food providers like restaurants and bakeries which allows them to sell their surplus food at a reduced price (while it’s still fresh, of course). Almost 300,000 portions have been sold so far, which means one million kilograms of CO2 emissions have not been produced in vain.



Urban Electrical Solutions


Berlin (Germany)


Overcoming the lack of charging infrastructure in cities.


The future of mobility is electric but up until now, there simply hasn’t been enough charging infrastructure. To overcome this challenge, Ubitricity has developed a mobile charging system where the electric meter is integrated into the charging cable, making the associated charging points less complex and easier to install – even in lamp posts!