#bytevaria Oct 10, 2018

Hello air taxi, to the next Bits & Pretzels please!

It was over at the weekend, the 5th season in Bavaria. The Oktoberfest closed its tents for 2018. The initiators of Bits & Pretzels recognised a few years ago that, as an international crowd-puller, the world’s largest folk festival is a good springboard to attract young start-ups to Bavaria. In the meantime, the event has succeeded in becoming a permanent fixture on quite a few calendars. As it offers interesting insights into the most diverse themes in the start-up and digital sector, for example, on mobility this year.

The fact that the festival is now so established after 5 rounds in the meantime, is shown by the names of the major companies who were represented with their own stand and sometimes their own programme for the first time this year. Google, who runs its development centre in Munich, was also present, as were Microsoft, KPMG and Audi. This change is definitely an advantage for start-up companies. As a result, there is an opportunity to sound out whether you can tie up your product or service with potential partners or customers directly on site.

Motto? Diversity!

Diversity (the American civil rights activist and #MeToo founder Tarana Burke delivered the opening speech) was the motto of this year’s Bits & Pretzels. And the programme was also diverse again. As a result of the huge number of themes, everyone was sure to be able to take their own personal insights home with them.  The theme of mobility dominated for me this year.

Three things I was able to learn about mobility at Bits & Pretzels:


1.    Diversity is also called for with mobility.

I already knew this beforehand but I became really aware of one thing at Bits & Pretzels: the mobility of the future consists of far more than just cars. We’re going to get from A to B by air taxis, travel in city centres or short distances using small electric cars and use sharing and on-demand models more. If we do want to use the car from time to time, we won’t even have to drive it ourselves. As thanks to autonomous driving and artificial intelligence, the autopilot will take us safely to our destination.

2.    Software is becoming an ever more important topic.

It won’t just be traditional car manufacturers who define the vehicle market in future, as players from other sectors are already entering the market today. Buzzword, cross-industry innovation: when VW explained at Bits how it’s going to turn itself from a pure hardware manufacturer to a software supplier, the other way round doesn’t seem unrealistic either. Perhaps we will be travelling or being driven through the region in a Google car in the foreseeable future. Thanks to the maps function, the vehicle at least already knows the way anyway!

3.    Sustainability is the key, in mobility too.

It’s not just a full-coverage charging network that is necessary for us to complete our journey using alternative drives but first and foremost a fast and intelligent battery management system in the vehicle. As who fancies spending hours “filling up”? By the way, electromobility does not stop at long-distance travel: buses are also going to drive electrically in future. As sustainability is a topic that is becoming more and more important.

One person who must know how to pick up speed was invited as a speaker: the former Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg. And what would a top sportsman be (even though he’s no longer active) without a vision:

Welcoming an international delegation to Invest in Bavaria

We accompanied an international delegation through Bavaria, not by air taxi (yet) but by more or less traditional transport, for our “Bits & Pretzels Innovation Tour”. Representatives from accelerators and incubators from more than 10 countries were present. Besides Bits & Pretzels, the programme also included visits to the Bavarian start-up ecosystem’s hot spots.

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