Validate Your Ideas
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!
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
You! If you work for DPDHL and have an innovative idea, you’re more than welcome to apply.
You 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.
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
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.
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.
Phase 1’s onboarding week sees you take part in in-depth lean start-up workshops, create a roadmap for the upcoming months, set goals for your time in our program, meet the relevant experts as well as potential executive sponsors for your idea.
During weekly coaching calls with your individual Start-up Lab coaches you will align on your learnings, next steps and the overall roadmap.
Midway through each phase we hold an intense one week working session, in which you participate in clinics on selected topics and have the chance to work face-to-face with your coaches, drive your idea forward and set the stage for productive upcoming weeks towards the board pitch.
During weekly coaching calls with your individual Start-up Lab coaches you will align on your learnings, next steps and the overall roadmap.
During Graduation week you will get the chance to pitch in front of the Corporate Board in order to convince them of your project.
Earlier in the week we will align with you on your long-term asks and support you in creating the perfect pitch.
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.
You’ve made it through the funnel. Taking place outside the program, this is your chance to shape the future of logistics.
Upon graduation from Start-up Lab, Deutsche Post DHL offers two different options for a long-term set-up:
The teams receive seed investment from deutsche Post DHL and leave the group to found their own
The teams create a new organizational unit within Deutsche Post DHL where they turn their business
model into reality.
The Start-up Lab supports DPDHL Group employees and departments in testing and scaling ideas around new logistic products, services and business models, as well as new technologies within the ongoing business o2f our Group. The goal is to make it easier to start new innovation projects throughout our company. The program, which is managed by Corporate Development, offers funding, coaching, lean processes, a vast network of experts as well as executive attention for the ideas. Accepted teams get the chance to quickly test and prototype their ideas as well as to pitch for long term support in front of the Corporate Board in order to help DPDHL shape the future of logistics.
The logistics industry is rapidly evolving because of new technologies and changing customer needs. To achieve our vision of being the global logistics leader in a digitalized world, we need to leverage these new technical capabilities to optimize our core business by improving our operations. Also, we need to make our core smarter by exploring new business opportunities in logistics leveraging our key assets and capabilities. We strongly believe in the power of transforming our company from within. That’s why two years ago we created the Start-up Lab program to support innovative ideas from inside our Group that help make our vision a reality.
You can find more information on our myNet page (just search for “Start-up Lab”) or on our website at www.dhlstartuplab.com.
Also join the “Start-up Lab & DP DHL Intrapreneurs” Yammer Group to receive the latest information on methodologies, approaches and the Start-up Lab program .
Additionally, the Start-up Playbook will give you a taste of the tools and methodologies to defy outdated business models and design tomorrow’s enterprises. You will find it on myNet if you search for “Startup Playbook”.
Last but not least, the best way to stay up to date to everything around Start-up Lab is to subscribe to our Newsletter here .
For the fourth batch of Start-up Lab, we are looking for innovative ideas that address relevant problems and needs, either of our customers or our operations. Regardless of whether your idea drastically improves our operations or explores new products, services and business models, it should have the potential to be scaled across multiple regions or divisions of our Group. If you and your team have the curiosity and motivation to succeed, it does not matter whether you are still in an ideation stage or have already begun working on the idea as part of an ongoing project.
We are not looking for incremental innovations to already existing processes, products & services, ideas which are not within or adjacent to our core business and which are not leveraging our key expertise or assets, nor for ideas which only apply to one specific region.
If you have an idea that is relevant to DPDHL but does not fit to our requirements you might consider applying for the internal ideas management program “YourIdea”. Please check myNet for more information.
Start-up Lab is a global program open for applications from all DPDHL Group employees with an entrepreneurial mindset from all around the world, no matter which division they are working for.
All DPDHL employees from all parts of the world are invited and encouraged to apply. However we ask for your understanding that the language for the Start-up Lab application and further process will be English.
A team (of up to four members) is preferred, but not mandatory. This is because typically a team is required to complete all the tasks to turn an idea or concept into a proof of concept, minimum viable product, or pilot. In case you believe you need more than four team members, please explain your case. Applications by individuals are also fine, however you should explicitly describe the plan on how you intend to realize your idea and we encourage you to start looking for additional team members to join you on your intrapreneurial journey going forward.
The most important skill we are looking for at the beginning is your motivation to learn and make your idea a success. In case you are successfully implementing your project we jointly try to add the right team members for you to build a kick-ass team!
If you and your team have the curiosity and motivation to succeed, it does not matter whether you are still in an ideation stage or have already begun working on the idea as part of an ongoing project. Nevertheless, you should be able to define the problem and how you aim to address it. At the time of your application, if you have already developed a proof of concept and can explain this in your submission, this is looked on favorably. However all good ideas are welcome!
Start-up Lab is intended to support ideas and early-stage projects, not mature businesses. Hence, you are not required to submit a detailed business plan and this is also not expected. However, make sure to include your long-term vision.
If you want to apply, all you need is
The language for the application is English. In case you can only apply in another language or need language assistance, please contact the Start-up Lab team at StartupLab@dhl.com.
Please reach out to our team at StartupLab@dhl.com as your first point of contact (e.g. if you are unable to send your application, unconventional formats, language problems, etc.).
Applications for the fourth batch of Start-up Lab need to be submitted by 31 October 2019. Shortlisted teams will be notified in November 2019. For the accepted teams the Start-up Lab program starts in January 2020.
Once the application phase for the next Start-up Lab batch has ended and all applications are handed in, a committee of cross-divisional experts from all divisions of DPDHL together with the Start-up Lab core team will evaluate all ideas and jointly decide which ideas will be shortlisted. The shortlisted teams are then notified and invited to the first phase of Start-up Lab starting in January 2020.
The criteria will include, but are not limited to:
The lead team member, as specified in your application, will be notified via e-mail or telephone.
Every team that applied to the Start-up Lab will get a notification whether it is selected to the program or not. Please understand that we are unfortunately not able to support all applying teams.
The accepted teams will join the first phase of the Start-up Lab program, which lasts about 3 months, starting with the onboarding in January 2020. During this period team members will remain in their current position and there is no need to relocate. The Start-up Lab is a part-time program. The Start-up Lab team will agree with the line managers of the team members on the exact amount of time the team is able to dedicate to the Start-up Lab idea (starting with a minimum of 20% (1 day per week)). The Start-up Lab will support the teams with coaching, expert feedback, a safe-environment to learn in, quick decision-making, executive attention and seed funding.
The first phase of Start-up Lab starts with the Onboarding to kickstart the team’s Start-up Lab journey. The teams will receive coaching and an introduction to the Lean Startup approach. The tools and methodologies introduced here will help the teams to quickly validate their idea, the problem they are trying to solve as well as the market size of their potential solution. At the end of the first phase of Start-up Lab the teams will share their results with the Start-up Lab as well as key stakeholders in the divisions of DPDHL, who will then jointly decide which teams will get the chance to present their ideas in the global finals in order to be accepted to the second phase of the Start-up Lab.
Your current position will not be affected by participating in the first phase of the Start-up Lab program. There will be no changes to your salary and other benefits, your contract stays untouched whilst you are participating in Start-up Lab. In case additional support or a temporary replacement for the day-to-day business in your current role is necessary, this can be arranged on an individual basis. If this is the necessary, please indicate this in your application. In case your team is selected to the Start-up Lab program, these arrangements would be aligned with your line manager.
Once you have decided to apply to Start-up Lab you should let your line manager know about it and align with him or her whether you will get to dedicate at least 20% of your working time to your Start-up Lab project in case you are selected to the first phase of Start-up Lab. Your application does not mean that you can directly start at Start-up Lab as you still have to go through our selection process but it is important to inform your line manager about your interest to join us. If your idea is selected to Start-up Lab, we will closely align with you and your line manager on your time and resources spent within Start-up Lab in order to limit the impact on the ongoing business.
There is no requirement for relocation.
Participation in Start-up Lab is on a project-like basis and should be done during your normal working hours. We will help you to come to an arrangement together with your line manager to determine the specific working conditions (e.g. full time or at least 1 day a week aka 20% of your working time).
It is likely that many of the ideas submitted would be related to an employee’s existing work area. In that situation, the program will actually help those teams be more successful. However, if temporarily covering your position by somebody else in the short term is required, then please indicate this in your application. If your team is selected, then we would discuss potential arrangements with your line manager.
After the first phase of the Start-up Lab program comes to an end the team’s progress and results will be evaluated. Based on this there are the following options:
Start-up Lab is not about taking an idea away from employees but finding innovators within our company and supporting them in turning their ideas into reality. If an idea is successful in the long term and creates new revenue, cost reduction, profit and/or customers for DPDHL, it is important to make sure that the employees that had the idea and put their hard work into it benefit from its success. We want you to lead this journey to succeed and grow together with your idea. Many Start-up Lab alumni now are managing directors of their new business unit or product managers of the new products they created. If you have questions around this topic feel free to contact us for more details.
If the team invalidates their idea (through customer interviews, etc.) we encourage the team to share what they have learned as well as their experiences – through presentations and documentation of the learning. To quickly realize that an idea is not feasible in a market is to be seen as a success, not as a failure. The startup environment is a ‘fail smart or scale fast’ environment in which learning from projects that didn’t work out is crucial for the success of future projects. We would like to encourage this mentality not only within our program but for all DPDHL Group employees.
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.
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.
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