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Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA), the LaunchLab and STARTUP AUTOBAHN announce finalists for the MBSA Innovation Challenge

Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA), the LaunchLab and STARTUP AUTOBAHN announce finalists for the MBSA Innovation Challenge

East London - The nine finalists in the MBSA Innovation Challenge - a unique partnership between MBSA, the LaunchLab and STARTUP AUTOBAHN - were announced today.

These finalists now have the opportunity to present their innovative ideas, tailor-made around specific challenge topics that have been highlighted by MBSA, in front of a judging panel at the Mercedes-Benz South Africa East London plant this Friday, 10 November 2017.

The Mercedes-Benz South Africa Innovation Challenge targeted two streams. It asked interested students and professionals (as a first stream) and existing startups (as a second stream) to pitch their innovative ideas to revolutionise the automotive manufacturing and sales and marketing environment.

Participants in the two streams submitted their innovative ideas as per the specific challenges that were set out by MBSA. The submissions have gone through a vigorous process of selection and the following finalists, all from the startup stream, were announced today for the final pitching opportunity:

  • NumberBoost
  • Matthias Burger
  • GoMetro
  • DroneScan
  • DataProphet
  • Stone Three
  • Vizibiliti Insight
  • FutureFy
  • Bennit A.I.

MBSA will extend the opportunity for the student stream into 2018, to determine who will get the opportunity for incubation support from The Launchlab as part of its Lift-Off Programme.

"We put out this challenge a couple of months ago, as part of MBSA's continuing efforts to drive innovation in all our operations, which in turn will help us improve our production systems and marketing and sales efforts. We are therefore very excited today to announce the finalists that will have the opportunity to present their ideas to the judging panel on the 10th of November for final selection. The submissions that we have received for this challenge have been of very high quality. South Africa has some serious talent. I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate all finalists for making it this far," says MBSA CEO and Executive Director: Manufacturing, Andreas Engling.

The challenges outlined various topics - ranging from big data and machine learning for manufacturing, the digitization of logistics and production, app-based solutions for the evaluation of the condition of pre-owned vehicles, chatbot solutions for manufacturing learning and many more.

"It has been a great privilege to work with a great brand and company like Mercedes-Benz. The local entrepreneurial community has also come to the party to take advantage of this big opportunity to showcase their talents to MBSA. We are happy with the quality of the submissions received and confident that the winners of this challenge, who will be from the selected finalists, will be able to deliver to MBSA's requirements and expectations. We look forward to assisting them through this process," says Philip Marais, CEO of the LaunchLab.

At the end of the final pitching event three category winners will be announced and each winning startup will receive R300 000 to pilot their idea for future use within MBSA. An overall winner will also be selected from the three category winners and will travel to Europe next year to participate in the 2018 STARTUP AUTOBAHN event and gain international exposure.