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German Automaker Porsche Announces First Innovation Contest for Blockchain Start-ups

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by Polina Chernykh · 3 min read
German Automaker Porsche Announces First Innovation Contest for Blockchain Start-ups
Photo: Basheer Tome/Flickr

The participants of the competition will have the opportunity to win EUR 25,000 and take part in the three-month “SpinLab – The HHL Accelerator” program.

One of the leading sports car producers is going to hold Porsche Innovation Contest, a competition for startups focused on developing distributed ledger solutions. The companies can already start sending their applications which will be accepted till May 15, 2017.

“Porsche aims to obtain external input on the disruptive potential of the blockchain transaction system by collaborating with the start-up scene,” the company said in a press-release. “The central question is to what extent the application of this technology in the value creation chain of the company makes sense. Moreover, other forms of potential long-term collaboration will be investigated.”

Porsche offers EUR 25,000 as an award and a chance to participate in an accelerator program called “SpinLab – The HHL Accelerator”.  It is a premium accelerator program in Germany supported by HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, one of the major entrepreneurial universities in Europe.

Located at an abandoned Leipzig’s cotton mill, SpinLab helps innovative startups to grow their businesses by providing mentoring, individual coaching sessions, and an access to the accelerator’s infrastructure, including office space and technology. Furthermore, the center is located closely to the Porsche plant in Leipzig.

Besides, the startups will be able to leverage an international network of major investors, established market players, and successful business founders.

The project is Porsche’s first foray into the blockchain sector. The company, however, is not the only automaker that is looking to embrace the new technology.

Earlier this year, Daimler joined the Hyperledger project, an open source collaborative effort aimed at advancing cross-industry blockchain technologies. As the company stated at the time, it views blockchain as a promising technology that will continue to grow in the near future.

In January, Daimler bought bitcoin payments processor, PayCash Europe, to launch its own mobile payment solution called Mercedes Pay. With the new service, the company plans to expand its foothold within the digital payments sector.

“’Mercedes pay’ is a fundamental component of our mobility and digitization strategy. Daimler’s new payment system underscores our ambition, as a leading provider of digital mobility services, to make the products and services we offer even more appealing,” said Bodo Uebber, Member of Daimler’s Board of Management.

In an effort to further enhance customer experience, Jaguar partnered with oil giant Shell to enable car drivers pay for fuel without leaving their vehicle. The companies introduced a new cashless payment app that will accept payments via PayPal, Apple Pay and Android Pay platforms.

Another major vehicles manufacturer Ford allows its clients to use its virtual wallet FordPay to pay for services such as car parking or car sharing using their mobile phones.

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