"smart urban pioneers" at NOAH16 in Berlin: Finalists of the idea contest start crowdfunding campaigns

Jun 10, 2016
  • Head of Global Mercedes-Benz Brand, Design & Special Media Communications

Stuttgart/Berlin. Right on time for this year's NOAH Conference, which took place on 8 and 9 June 2016 at the Berlin Tempodrom, the "smart urban pioneers" idea contest initiated by smart entered the final and decisive phase. Each of the three finalists has launched their own campaign on the popular international crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. In the race for the final ranking are the projects Cabin Spacey and Urban Affairs 2016, both from Berlin, and myLike from Munich. The aim is to reach a pre-specified funding target within four weeks with the help of the crowd, i.e. people from around the world, in order to turn their ideas into action. smart is additionally supporting the three finalists with prize money totalling €50,000.

In addition to the start of the crowdfunding, "smart urban pioneers" was also included in the conference programme. For example, Christian Vollmann, patron of the competition and himself a pioneer of the start-up scene, used his speech on the main stage in the auditorium with an audience of around 3,000 representatives from the old and new economy to draw attention to the competition, its final projects and the start of the crowdfunding. Furthermore, a panel discussion with the expert jury provided the audience with first-hand know-how for founding their own company. Finally, the three finalists presented their projects personally in short elevator pitches and appealed for project financing through their freshly launched crowdfunding campaigns.

Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, also dealt with current topics at the conference. In a discussion about the future of mobility his sparring partner was Travis Kalanick, co-founder and CEO of UBER. For the Daimler boss, the "smart urban pioneers" competition is a successful example of how the smart brand promotes innovative projects that enhance the quality of life in the city.

The crowdfunding campaigns on Indiegogo can be found on a separate competition landing page and will run until 7 July 2016: https://www.indiegogo.com/campaign_collections/smart-urban-pioneers.

Then the final ranking of the "smart urban pioneers" will be determined and the winner chosen. The rankings will be decided by an assessment in which the weighted verdict of the expert jury, the number of votes in the voting and the success of the crowdfunding campaigns are taken into account. Regular updates on the implementation status of the winning projects can be found in the international online brand magazine smart-magazine.com.

"smart urban pioneers" – unique idea contest for even more joy of life in the city

The competition was launched by smart in December 2015. The aim was to identify innovative ideas and projects from Germany, Austria and Switzerland which improve the quality of life in the city. More than 40 urban visionaries took part and submitted their proposals by the end of January 2016. A panel of renowned international experts assessed all the projects, focussing on their potential for creating added value for cities and their residents. In the second phase of the competition in March 2016, the top ten projects picked out by the panel were voted on by the worldwide online community, with more than 200,000 votes cast for favourite projects. Three projects emerged from this as finalists:

  • Cabin Spacey – minimal housing from Berlin
    Cabin Spacey reflects the growing demand for urban living space offering maximum quality of life, resource efficiency and flexibility. The micro-apartment module is equipped with a bathroom, kitchenette and bed. The smallest unit comprises just under 20 square metres. The housing module is easy to transport, simple to install and can be connected to existing infrastructure in next to no time. In this way, urban wasteland, car parks and roofs can be put to use as living space.

    All preparations for realisation of the project are finished. The model for the urban micro house has been completed, material suppliers and the first free spaces for the implementation are ready. Now it is hoped that Cabin Spacey will become reality: with the help of crowdfunding and the support of smart, Simon Becker and Andreas Rauch plan to build the first prototype, laying the foundations for a new way of living in the city.
  • Urban Affairs 2016 – Urban Art from Berlin
    With events held at three separate locations, Urban Affairs, a new kind of urban art festival, aims to reclaim for cultural uses urban spaces which have been lost to the public. The programme ranges from art exhibitions through performances, readings and discussions to workshops. Each day of the festival will focus on one topic: city, space, people. Together with the public and local residents, another aim is to develop and realise projects that make urban living more attractive while countering the gentrification trend.

    The first festival took place in 2008. With the Workshop Edition 2016, made possible by the "smart urban pioneers" crowdfunding and the support of smart, founder Jochen Küpper and his team want to bring art and culture to the city at four different locations in Berlin (Mauerpark, ZK/U, Marienburger Höfe, Teufelsberg), leave behind a lasting legacy and involve local city residents even more strongly than before.
  • myLike – social networking from Munich
    myLike is the social network for the gems of the city. The user saves their favourite places and shares them with friends or establishes groups to exchange recommendations with like-minded people. The app promotes social networking and encourages people to discover the city anew. Hotels, companies and media can also use it as a mobile concierge to give their customers insider tips as a means of improving their customer service.

    The app from Munich has already completed the first major development stage: the Beta version is ready and has been thoroughly tested. myLike founder Uwe Hering and his team will use the crowdfunding and the prize money from smart to implement the findings obtained in the test phase and launch the app on the market.


Projects financed through crowdfunding platforms such as Indiegogo work with reward-based funding. Reward-based means that there is a reward, which is often creative in nature, for the capital provided through crowdfunding. The rewards or perks are generally oriented to the amount of financial support provided. Contributors are often promised the finished product in return for the capital, akin to classic pre-financing. However, crowdfunding is based solely on trust. The reward is not contractually agreed.

The NOAH Conference

Since the first event in 2009, the NOAH Conference has developed into a leading event for the internet and digital industry in Europe. Every year more than 2,000 decision makers and investors obtain insights into the latest concepts and have an opportunity to network and make business contacts. Known for its focus on profitable business models and data, the event also offers opportunities for interaction, inspiration and entertainment. In the eighth year of the event the NOAH conference is inviting participants to attend two events with different themes:

  • NOAH Berlin is organised together with Axel Springer and offers a unique discussion platform for representatives of established companies and their disruptive challengers in various industry disciplines.
  • NOAH London (10 and 11 November 2016) focuses on bringing investors together with companies and helping service providers to find relevant customers.
Idea contest smart urban pioneers@NOAH16: Panel discussion with patron Christian Vollmann (middle) and jury members Ana S. Barros and Frank Schmiechen
Idea contest smart urban pioneers@NOAH16: Project patron Christian Vollmann
Idea contest smart urban pioneers@NOAH16: Panel discussion with patron Christian Vollmann (middle) and jury members Ana S. Barros and Frank Schmiechen
Idea contest smart urban pioneers@NOAH16: Elevator pitch by Jochen Küpper, Urban Affairs
Idea contest smart urban pioneers@NOAH16: Elevator pitch by Uwe Hering, myLike
Idea contest smart urban pioneers@NOAH16: Elevator pitch by Simon Becker, Cabin Spacey