2017 Integrated Report – Departure into a new era

Equity investments and partnerships for more digitalization and innovation

DB Digital Ventures

Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures (DB DV), a company we founded, invests in internal and external data-driven business models in order to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digitalization. Its purpose is to intensify cooperative ar­­rangements relating to start-­­­ups and to simplify equity investments in other companies. In addition, employees of DB Group are able to turn their own business ideas into reality through DB DV, as founders of their own start-­ups and under ideal con­­ditions. By 2019, about € 100 million will be available for targeted start-up funding and new investments. In the year under review, DB DV expanded its portfolio to five investments. Three additional start-ups were added to the existing equity investments in qixxit and Clevershuttle:

  • the global address system what3words,
  • the US start-up Connected Signals, which networks light controls, and
  • the booking platform for taxi and limousine ser­­­vice providers Talixo.

Bahntower is the first corporate building in Germany with a what3words address

The three-word combination “lebendig. webseiten.auflösen” refers to the corresponding 3 x 3 m square within a worldwide address system developed by the British start-up what3words. The advantage: by entering the three words on the website or in the what3words app, visitors can find their way to the building more easily and quickly.


In August 2017, we launched the open innovation platform BEYOND1435 to promote mobility innovations. Together with industrial partners Alba Group, Siemens AG, the SBB, Bombardier and TUI as well as international partner Plug and Play, start-ups are to be devel­­­­oped and scaled up in the long term. The BEYOND1435 program also provides em­­ployees with the necessary degree of freedom and support to set up a start-up company under the umbrella of DB DV.

DB mindbox

The mindbox is a coworking space and central place where DB employees can exchange ideas and cooperate with start-ups. The central funding program, DB Startup­Xpress, identifies promising start-ups and tests their ideas together with DB Group’s business units. The start-ups should be able to implement their digital solutions quickly in cooperation with our business units.

Well over 800 start-ups from about 30 countries have applied for eight rounds of start-up funding since 2015. With more than 20 start-ups, we are now working on concrete improvements to the integrated rail system throughout DB Group. Examples include the customer experience at the station, predictive maintenance in infrastructure and vir­­tual reality for employee qualification. The new stimuli and digitalization ideas from outside are intended to make our products and services more efficient, flexible and reliable.