Case Study: Mercedes-Benz and Startup Autobahn Innovation Challenge 2017

Revolutionise automotive manufacturing and sales in South Africa with Mercedes-Benz South Africa, Launchlab and Startup Autobahn


For automotive organisations constant improvements in managing manufacturing processes, as well as in the sales and marketing environment, are needed to keep pace with global trends.  Mercedes-Benz South Africa, LaunchLab and STARTUP AUTOBAHN are looking for local South African solutions to stay ahead of the curve. Students and professionals stand a chance to receive incubation support, or if you are already part of an established startup, international exposure and a share of R600 000 in supplier development capital.


August 2017 to June 2018


Mercedes-Benz South Africa Limited has a history of over 60 years in South Africa as a committed corporate citizen. The company’s headquarters is located in Zwartkop, Gauteng, from where the Mercedes-Benz, smart and FUSO products are marketed and financed. The company also has a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in East London, where it manufactures various derivatives of the C-Class for export in both left- and right-hand drive to every continent of the world. In addition, Mercedes-Benz South Africa also assembles commercial vehicles at its East London facility.


Mercedes-Benz South Africa is partnering with LaunchLab, supported by STARTUP AUTOBAHN, on various challenge topics in three categories within the manufacturing and sales and marketing space and we are looking for serious and capable entrepreneurs/contractors and students or existing startups and service providers to provide solutions for these topics. They are:


  1. Big Data and Machine Learning for Manufacturing
  2. Smart Operations: Digitisation of Logistics and Production
  3. Sales and Marketing Solutions


Examples include:


Welding Data Analysis, Fault Management App, Chat-Bot application in Manufacturing, Image Recognition app for Quality Management Inspections, Uber Maintenance, Logistics Picking Optimisation, Vehicle Inspection Solution, Used Car Photo Solution, Personalised Offer Generator and a Mobility Platform


The purpose of the information seminar is to give entrepreneurs as much info as possible on what Mercedes-Benz South Africa is looking for so that real businesses can be built and partnered with.




Out of the dozens of entries, Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) selected 9 startups to pitch to their Board of Management and other team members and partners in East London.


Prize money of R300000 to pursue pilots were awarded to 3 of the startups:


  • Vizibiliti Insight
  • Numberboost
  • Data Prophet


Another 5 of the remaining startups are negotiating and launching pilots with MBSA.