By 2030, more than 60 percent of the world’s population are expected to live in metropolitan areas. And more inhabitants, vehicles, and transport of goods mean more closely interwoven interactions. The less space available, the more efficiently it has to be used to make cities that are both functional and liveable.
A place for innovators and new thinkers
To find solutions to these problems, we need new, groundbreaking ideas. But compared internationally, Germany is gradually losing its role as an innovation pioneer. Timon Rupp is trying to change this in the mobility sector again through The Drivery. With an underlying network idea and by providing the technical infrastructure, he supports start-ups in developing and testing their new concepts: from e-scooters and autonomous vehicles to new insurance services for tomorrow’s mobility.
Right at the beginning of our conversation, Timon says, “Single offices are more of a status symbol, but they don’t really contribute to work efficiency. The synergies, the networks that come from co-working are simply irreplaceable.” But don’t think that The Drivery is just another co-working space because there are already so many in Berlin. What makes it special: Not only do people from a wide range of mobility sectors work here under one roof, but spacious event areas are also available and used extensively. In 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, there were more than 100 events alone, some with several hundred participants. “We do a lot of matchmaking here. We bring people together who can help and support each other and in the end, everything is sped up.”
“Oh, look! There goes an autonomous street sweeper.”
The Drivery also seeks contact with decision-makers as early as possible. “We have learned that politicians tend to be very grateful if you get them involved early on,” says Timon. Political processes take a long time, which is why it is even more important to approach politicians with technologies and innovations. And contact with the surrounding area, the neighbors in Tempelhof, is also appreciated here. People who stand in front of the windows with interest and say, “Oh, look! There goes an autonomous street sweeper.” Timon wants them to experience the “new appliances” — as he calls them. That reduces fear and accelerates social acceptance. In the future, after the pandemic is over, they want to put even more emphasis on this.
Innovation, not without sustainability
In response to my question as to whether mobility start-ups consider sustainability early on or if scalability is more important, Timon confidently answers, “A really good, successful start-up can’t afford to simply leave sustainability and ecology out of the equation.” And he says that is fundamental. A start-up that doesn’t operate sustainably won’t get any money from investors.
If you’d like to learn more about how technological innovations can be pushed forward in Germany, then listen to our entire conversation. Among other things, Timon talks about how much Asia is ahead of Germany in some respects and what we can learn from that. You’ll also have the chance to learn how the start-up scene can benefit from more input from older folks — in other words, from more age diversity. The latest episode is available on Spotify, Apple, or wherever you listen to podcasts.