Validate Your Ideas

Our Program

Welcome to our program

At the heart of Start-up Lab is our Incubation Program. It offers funding, coaching, lean processes, a vast network of experts as well as executive attention. Accepted teams get the chance to test and prototype their ideas as well as to pitch for long-term support. Help us shape the future of logistics!

Targets of the program

What are our aims?


  • identify, validate and scale promising innovation projects
  • offer a fast-track opportunity for testing and scaling your ideas
  • provide a safe space in which you can learn and grow
  • give you the means to engage and connect with peers and experts

Why are we running DHL Start-up Lab?

To futureproof our business, we need to keep pace with the speed of innovation

Rather than wait for our business to be disrupted from the outside, we want you to develop the future of logistics from the inside

How to get in

Who are we looking for?

You! If you work for DPDHL and have an innovative idea, you’re more than welcome to apply.

What requirements do I need to meet?

You need to be:

  • An employee of DPDHL Group
  • Ideally have a core team of up to four members
  • Have an innovative idea and the vision and willingness to bring it to life

What sort of ideas are we looking for?

  1. New business models which will build the basis for the future of our company
  2. Use cases for new technologies to radically improve our customer’s experiences or the operational efficiency of our ongoing business

How mature do ideas need to be?

Essentially, all good ideas are welcome. Your project can still be at the idea stage or already exist as a first proof of concept that is being worked on by yourself or your team. As a minimum requirement, you should be able to give a clear description of the problem you are trying to address, explain why your solution is potentially superior to existing alternatives, and provide an overview of the potential market size and a first concept of a sustainable business model. As a point of reference, you can take our application form or the lean canvas.

Promising results from first experiments showing that the problem you are trying to solve is relevant and that your idea is feasible will be looked upon favourably. This is not mandatory, however.

On what criteria will your application be evaluated?

  1. Team: The members have the right vision, motivation, knowledge and expertise to drive the idea forward
  2. Problem Relevance: The idea targets specific customers with real needs
  3. Market Size: Relevant size of the number of potential customers/users
  4. Idea Validity and Superiority: The proposed solution is feasible, viable and potentially superior to the status quo
  5. Strategic Fit: The idea corresponds with Start-up Lab’s areas of focus and Deutsche Post DHL would make a suitable investor for the idea long-term
  6. Unfair Advantage: Deutsche Post DHL has an unfair advantage in the process of bringing the idea to life and to market

Your benefit

What are we offering?

  • Seed funding
  • Intensive coaching
  • A sandbox environment with lean processes
  • Access to internal and external subject matter experts, mentors, and cross-functional groups
  • Executive attention

What is in it for you?

Work on something you love, your own idea, and be responsible for turning it into a new company or business unit

Get to know all the tools you need to be intrapreneur and experience the ups and downs on your way to success

Develop professionally as well as personally through an intense learning experience in a safe space that puts you in the driver’s seat

Create a vast network with people from inside and outside of the Group

How do I sign up?

Just complete this application form




Our incubation program comprises of two phases, which focus on validating different aspects of your project. Each phase includes a structured process, clear deliverables and quality gates that the projects have to pass. After successfully completing Phase 2, the goal is for you to pilot, deploy and scale your validated idea and build a business around it. We still provide active support, but these processes take place in our divisions or outside of our company, depending on the nature of your idea.


Program Phase 1

Phase 1 is mainly focused on validating the business potential of your idea. We support you in identifying your key customer segments, finding out whether the problem you’ve identified really exists and whether the potential is there to build a sustainable business model around solving it. To achieve this, you will be given 4 months and intensive support from us. We will spend three weeks together in person and work together virtually for the remaining time.

Program Phase 2

Phase 2 starts after you have successfully pitched to the Corporate Board of DPDHL. It’s structure is similar to that of Phase 1 but its focus is on building the first working version of your idea and testing it with real users. You have 6 months to also focus on validating more details around your business model, your unit economics, your go2market strategy as well as the long term setup which would be necessary to pilot and deploy your idea successfully.

Phase 2 takes place over 6 months and focuses on helping you prototype and create a successful business model. Phase 2 starts after you’ve successfully pitched your idea to our board.

Deploy & Scale

You’ve made it through the funnel. Taking place outside the program, this is your chance to shape the future of logistics.

Long-term set-ups

Upon graduation from Start-up Lab, Deutsche Post DHL offers two different options for a long-term set-up:

Founding a new legal entity

The teams receive seed investment from deutsche Post DHL and leave the group to found their own
legal entity.

Creating a new organizational unit within the Group

The teams create a new organizational unit within Deutsche Post DHL where they turn their business
model into reality.

It’s important for the long-term success of our company that we nurture the curiosity and creativity of our workforce. The Start-up Lab provides a space where ideas can be transformed into promising growth opportunities.
Jill Meiburg
Start-up Lab provides inspiration and motivation for our team members. To attract and retain the best talent, we need programs that allow them to create and implement new ideas and concepts. Thank you SUL for providing this platform.
Adrian Kumar
By being part of Startup Lab, teams not only get the funding and resources to bring their ideas to reality, but they also get taught how to rapidly validate and develop a solution under the guidance of an experienced Mentor
Gina Chung