Urban Mobility Berlin India (UMBI)

The Urban Mobility Berlin India (UMBI) project aims to connect German and Indian actors in addressing the challenges of climate-friendly urban mobility in India. Bringing together innovative companies, public institutions, and private actors in close long-term cooperation, the project bridges the key players in the urban mobility sector – both in the innovation hubs of Berlin and the fast-growing markets of India 

Through UMBI, we’re aiming to:  

  • Identify solutions to India’s urban mobility challenges in line with climate action 
  • Enable the entry of innovative European companies into the Indian market  
  • Provide Indian companies with the connections and know-how to thrive in European Markets 
  • Bridge the key players in the urban mobility sector between Berlin and India  

From the 8th to 15th May 2023, a fully-funded visit to India took place with the goal of tackling complex mobility challenges on ground. The visit consisted of a week long innovation sprint format with the intention of developing solutions to three distinct mobility challenges, which involved multiple coaching sessions, mentorship hours and jury feedback from industry experts and potential customers/partners.

Challenges addressed: 

  • Handling Freight with Finesse

    The highly fragmented urban freight sector in Bengaluru suffers from lack of data on types of freight vehicles, loads carried, routes taken, travel duration, demand for parking, and various other such basic data points. As a result, efficient management of freight flows through the already congested city roads has become a challenge, leading to avoidable delays for freight movement.  

    Government agencies are hence in need of tools and solutions that can capture data with minimal manual intervention, to derive analytical insights for planning and regulation of urban freight. UMBI aims to deliver on this front.  

  • Creating a Gender-inclusive system

    The perception of safety in public transport in India influences educational attainment, labor force participation rates, and decisions to opt for less climate-friendly, private, and car-based modes of transport for women and transgender persons. Currently, there are no tools and processes to collect gender-disaggregated data, creating a gap for transport authorities in understanding mobility patterns and special needs, and taking steps to make transport more gender-inclusive 

    UMBI aims to deliver tech-based solutions that can facilitate all genders to commute with a better sense of comfort, safety, and security in India, by making public transport more sustainable, inclusive, and accessible 

  • Decarbonizing Transport with Hydrogen

    In India, the road sector is responsible for 90% of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions resulting from transportation. One way to achieve broad decarbonization of this segment is by switching to hydrogen-fueled vehicles. In addition to being produced with a low carbon footprint, hydrogen is a versatile energy carrier, making it the ideal fuel for the purpose. Hydrogen-powered vehicles, with their high performance and convenience offered by fast refueling times, can complement electric vehicles, and compete with the conventional internal-combustion-engine (ICE) varieties 


    UMBI aims to support startups with the pilot implementation of hydrogen-powered technology in the mobility sector, in order to achieve decarbonization of road transport in India.  

The innovation sprint offered participants:

  • All expenses paid exposure trip to Bengaluru, India for all participants (for one representative for business) based outside Bengaluru, inclusive of travel, accommodation, and daily allowances  
  • Coworking and business spaces during innovation sprint in Bengaluru, India 
  • Opportunities for market entry into European and Indian markets  
  • Potential pilots with well-established entities and corporates  
  • Access to the extensive AsiaBerlin and GIZ networks in India 
  • Dedicated mentoring to support further development of the solution and preparing for market entry 

Participants were chosen according to the following parameters:

To qualify for the Urban Mobility Berlin India project, your company should  

  • Be based in either Europe or India (Preferably Berlin-based/Karnataka-based) 
  • Select one of the three key challenges to address
  • Have the capacity to undertake the Innovation Sprint in Bengaluru, India
  • Propose a strong product-market-fit for the Indian market
  • Demonstrate commitment to making an impact in the Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) sphere

Innovation Sprint Recap

Get to know the founders who took part: 

Throughout the week, the founders took part in a series of user interviews, expert workshops, and business coaching! Below are some of the highlights: 

  • Kicking off the Innovation Sprint was the Honorable Consul General of Germany to Bengaluru, Achim Burkart, emphasizing the need for disruptive innovation in mobility and its role in combatting the climate crisis. Under the guidance of the Sprint Master, Suyog Sunil Risbud from Futuring Now studio, the participating startups embarked on a transformative journey. Following the presentations by the challenge owners, Directorate of Urban Land Transport and Entoo, discussions were sparked regarding the challenges from different perspectives as the founders exchanged insights with private and public sector stakeholders. Throughout the week, our partners Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and NSRCEL played a pivotal role in facilitating fruitful discussions.
  • While Anjula Gurtoo, a distinguished professor and Principal Investigator in the ‘Institutionalizing Gender SMART and Gender Astute Mobility’ project shared her insights on creating a gender-inclusive system, Abhijit Lokre, Founder and Partner at The Urban Lab, brought his expertise in traffic and transport planning to address the intricacies of handling freight. With such invaluable guidance, the startups honed their skills and refined their solutions, poised for impactful change.
  • The freight challenge teams engaged directly with urban transport stakeholders such as Directorate of Urban Land Transport, while the gender safety challenge teams prioritized inclusivity by interviewing a range of diverse daily commuters. Alongside, the clean tech challenge teams immersed themselves in industry visits, such as to Entoo, gaining firsthand knowledge of the challenges faced by the private sector. With the guidance of industry experts, the startups refined their ideas, unveiling the potential for transformative impact.

At the end of the week, the teams presented their solutions to a jury that comprised experts from the private and public sectors along with support organizations. The winners of the pitch competition were:

For reflections and insights from the UMBI innovation sprint, with a specific focus on the role of development cooperation in the 21st century, check out this article.

Meet Our Challenge Owners

Directorate of Urban Land Transport  

The DULT has been set up by the Government of Karnataka, India, in 2007 under the Urban Development Department (UDD) with the objective to coordinate planning and implementation of urban transport projects and programs. The Directorate is responsible for overseeing all the urban land transport initiatives in Karnataka. 


Entoo is a first and last mile logistics company that partners with marquee clients in the e-Commerce, e-Grocery, food tech and FMCG space in order to deliver goods to customers on electric vehicles. The company is aiming for the vast adoption of clean mobility solutions in India.  

More information about the challenges can be found here:

Challenge One: Handling Freight with Finesse (0.08 MB PDF)

Challenge Two: Creating a Gender Inclusive System (0.08 MB PDF)

Challenge Three: Decarbonizing Transport with Hydrogen (0.07 MB PDF)

Program Partners

Urban Mobility Berlin India (UMBI) project connects German and Indian actors in climate-friendly urban mobility space, to jointly develop solutions for identified challenges and to set impulses for improved mobility in India.  

The UMBI project was established in 2022 by the Berlin Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises in cooperation with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, supported by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the Bund-Länder-Programm (BLP), and is implemented by enpact e.V. as an integral part of the startup platform AsiaBerlin. 

It is cooperating in India with the bilateral program “Promoting India’s transformation to sustainable and climate-friendly e-Mobility”, commissioned by BMZ and implemented by GIZ and  the develoPPP programme ‘Green Urban Mobility Innovation Living Lab’ with the partner Bosch Limited in Bangalore, India.  ‘Green Urban Mobility Innovation Living Lab’ is a joint venture of Bosch Limited and GIZ India, the Living Lab aims to develop sustainable, inclusive and smart mobility solutions through an industry-led multi-stakeholder platform for innovation, collaboration and prototyping. The project is part of the Green Urban Mobility Partnership (GUMP) between India and Germany. 


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