Bosch Software Innovations
Software Innovations · Startup Harbour
Startup Harbour
The incubation program for founders in Berlin

Startup Harbour

Boost your startup with Bosch’s extensive funding program and build on your strengths with the knowledge of our experts!


When is the application deadline?

Applications must be submitted by May 26th, 2019. The application phase started on March 1st, 2019.

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How long does a batch last?

Batches run over a period of five months. Month one concentrates on validating your business idea and verifying the technical feasibility of your proposed solution. Then, over the next four months, we will run tailored bootcamps and deep dives to help you further develop your idea. Participants will also be able to take advantage of an array of mentorship opportunities, both internal and external, to support and challenge them on their journey.

Does my idea belong to Bosch afterwards?

Bosch has no desire to “steal” ideas from you or use them purely for its own advantage. The incubator program is designed to put you in contact with the people you need to take your idea forward together. It remains entirely up to you how closely you want to work with Bosch.

How do I know if I am eligible to take part in the program or if my start-up is already too advanced?

Your start-up should not yet be commercially active to any significant extent. In other words, you shouldn’t be making any big money as yet. If any of the team members have previously received EXIST or any other start-up grant, your start-up is not eligible. You can already be a legally established entity, that is no problem. However, you must not have attracted more than 200,000 euros in investment. If you meet all these criteria, you can take it that your start-up is not too advanced to benefit from this program.

Can I apply for this program on my own?

Our program places great emphasis on teamwork and we work on the assumption that any good, innovative idea will attract smart people. Our program is focused on early-stage start-ups, and that is why we pay particular attention to the team and the people behind the idea. While we don’t screen applications just because they have a single founder, it does make things more difficult. We look for great, balanced teams who have a full range of skills. We strongly advise you to seek co-founders who balance your skillset. We are able to offer funding to teams of two to four people.

What conditions must I meet to apply?

To apply to the Start-up Harbor program, there are two types of requirement. One has to with your idea and team, and the other has to do with the conditions required by the financial sponsors. Here is a summary:

1. Your idea must be an innovative, technology focused and science-based solution.

2. Your idea must meet at least one of the focus areas defined for the current program.

3. You must be able to show at least the beginnings of a prototype.

4. You must be registered as a resident in Berlin. If that is not the case, you would have to register as a resident in Berlin before the beginning of the program.

5. All team members must work full time on the start-up venture for the duration of the program. Secondary employment activities are permissible; however, they must not endanger the success of the venture and must be agreed in advance.

6. It does not matter whether or not you have founded start-ups in the past. The important thing is that your venture is not yet commercially active in any significant sense..

7. You must not have previously received EXIST or any other start-up grant.

8. Your venture must not have attracted any more than 200,000 euros in investment over the past three years (de-minimis rule).

Do I have to be resident in Berlin?

Yes, you must – and this applies to all your team members as well. The funding comes from the state of Berlin, and that means that only people officially registered as residents in Berlin can receive financial support. However, this is not required to submit your application; it is something you can do once you have been accepted to the program.

Is there a limit on team size?

Yes, there is. The program funds teams of between two and a maximum of four people. If you happen to have a larger team, regrettably only four will be able to take part in the program.

Where will we work for the duration of the program/Do I have to be on site with Bosch the whole time?

You will be granted exclusive access to the Bosch IoT Campus in Berlin for the duration of the program. You are not required to attend, but we strongly recommend that you make use of the site. The campus offers valuable facilities, and you are close to your mentors. All modules, coaching sessions and similar events take place on site. For these, your attendance is required.

Can I work alongside my participation in the program?

We don’t want anyone to go hungry. We are happy to approve limited amounts of secondary work subject to discussion, so long as this does not endanger the success of your venture. This is something you would need to discuss with us individually.

Is there a fixed program?

Yes and no. Every month we’ll run a one-week long bootcamp that focuses on all the important areas to develop your venture. In month one, for example, all teams go through a process to validate their business idea. During this time, our coaches and mentors are on hand to assess your individual training needs. Together, we will tailor a training and coaching plan to give you the support that you need. The plan is supplemented by weekly Deep Dive Sessions and meetings with your mentors to ensure you make the greatest progress possible.

Do I have to stay in Berlin when the program ends?

No. It’s your company, so live wherever you want to. Considering the network you will build here and the partnerships that you may form, it might be an option to relocate completely to Berlin.

Can I stop by your office to say hello?

Please don’t stop by our offices without an appointment. This is not a good example of persistence on your part and it will negatively influence your application. We are happy to consider taking an appointment, so please contact us instead.