Today, the digital hubs bring together more than 350 startups, 150 companies, and 45 universities at a total of twelve German locations. The Hub Agency is responsible for networking as a central office. The initiative, which was founded in April 2017 and co-initiated by Bitkom, aims to promote digital transformation in leading German industries. To this end, large companies, medium-sized companies, and startups are expected to collaborate with scientists and investors in the digital hubs, which are now available in twelve cities. The individual hubs are organized according to sector and/or technology/solution focus. For example, the Internet of Things, Smart Infrastructure and Smart Systems topics are concentrated in Berlin, Dresden, and Leipzig. The digital hubs of Dortmund and Hamburg will address the subject of logistics. Digital hubs in Cologne and Munich handle InsurTech, the latter also mobility. Frankfurt and Darmstadt deal with FinTech and cybersecurity. Ludwigshafen and Mannheim handle digital chemistry and digital health. Healthcare is also the topic in Nuremberg and Erlangen, in Potsdam it is MediaTech, and in Stuttgart the focus is on future industries.
Employees from different companies work together in the individual hubs, for example to develop prototypes for products. Startups settle in other hubs or there are co-working and makerspaces. According to the result of a Bitkom study the need for it is great. The survey shows that more than two-thirds of small and medium-sized businesses, ranging from 50 to 499 employees, have not previously worked with startups. Bitkom President Achim Berg is therefore sure that “digital hubs offer a unique opportunity to bring key digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, 3D printing and virtual reality to the forefront of business.”