DB Holodeck Challenge

We are looking for VR-edutainment specialists to create a gamified and truly immersive VR training module to be implemented in the professional training of “Feinplaner” (Details planner for maintenance procedures).

Help us to set up a VR “Holodeck” room for Deutsche Bahn: inspired by the famous Holodeck featured in Star Trek, our vision is to install a room that is fully equipped with all hardware needed for immersive virtual training. We are now searching for startups specialized in the VR edutainment segment to design and develop a first training module for the “DB Holodeck” that is both educational and enjoyable for our Feinplaner-trainees.


The Vision

We want you to use your VR & gamification expertise and to develop a complete VR training game, including storyline, level designs and all technical implementations.

Selected applicants are offered a look behind the scenes of DB’s training program for Feinplaner. Your solution must teach and illustrate the short and long term implications of “good” vs. “bad” planning. Your training concept can be heavily gamified as long as real life correlations are clearly taught.

An immersive VR training room (DB Holodeck)

Gamified VR training to educate "Feinplaner"

Increase efficiency and productivity of maintenence procedure planning



The department „Production System Maintenance“ of DB Netz AG offers professional in-house training to employees (new employees as well as experienced ones) teaching all skills and requirements needed for the Deutsche Bahn profession „Feinplaner“ (details planner for maintenance procedures). Within the maintenance units at production sites, Feinplaner are responsible for the daily, weekly, and monthly planning the operational resources (employees, tools, and machinery). They plan, control and allocate personnel, vehicles, and appliances to upcoming tasks taking into account guidelines, qualifications, suitability and efficiency aspects with the aim of generating optimal deployment and operation schedules. Therefore, Feinplaner play a crucial role in the maintenance processes and their decisions significantly impact resources and budget of the maintenance department and adjacent departments.



DB Netz AG aims to add a training module to the professional training of the Feinplaner that teaches the part of Feinplaner in the overall maintenance process innovatively and memorably. Specifically, the module shall illustrate the consequences on budget and resources both short and long term when planning incorrectly or suboptimal. This training module shall be realized as an immersive virtual reality (VR) training module in order to achieve an immersive and lasting experience for the user.

The aim of the DB Holodeck Challenge is to identify the best external team (i.e. a startup, company, or a group of experts with the intention of founding a company) with whom DB Netz AG will further develop and implement the virtual reality training module during the time subsequent to the challenge itself.

The DB Holodeck Challenge will be organized as a multi-step process (for details see below). On the final day of the challenge, the winning team will be selected by a jury based on a pitch event. During the course of the challenge, all participating teams will discuss their proposals for business cases and the framework of conditions for a further cooperation, so that the additional overarching goal of the challenge is to set the starting point for the further cooperation between DB Netz AG and the winning team based on the previously mutually agreed business case. The conditions for the further cooperation will be stipulated in a separate contract following the challenge.


Selection process

All applications received will be evaluated by DB. The seven teams with the highest ratings (top 5 teams and two potential replacements) are invited to the kick-off video calls. After the kick-off video calls, the top 5 teams will be invited to participate in the concept challenge week taking place on-site in Frankfurt am Main.

During the concept challenge week, the participating teams worked on-site in close coordination with DB Netz AG to develop their individual concepts for the VR training module. On the last day of the concept challenge week (Friday) a pitch event will be held. The participating teams will present their concepts to a jury of DB employees. The participating teams with the three highest ratings will then be invited to the mockup challenge week.

The mockup challenge week will again take place on-site in Frankfurt am Main. During the week, the concepts developed will be visualized. On the last day of the mockup challenge week (Friday) a pitch event will be held. The participating teams will present their mockups/visualizations to a jury of DB employees. The winning team will be announced after the pitch event.



During the two challenge weeks, we expect a continuous presence on-site in Frankfurt am Main to enable an intensive exchange between the participating teams and the specialist staff of DB. Subsequently, in case of winning the challenge, a presence in Frankfurt am Main is not necessarily required for the further development and implementation of the VR training module. Presence times or other suitable alternatives for the subsequent phase should be agreed upon with DB Netz AG considering the individual circumstances of each team. Likewise, a business model for the further cooperation should be developed and agreed upon subsequent to the challenge weeks.



The compensation for the challenge participation is based on fixed amounts:

  • Each participating team receives a one-off payment of 3000€ for participating in the concept challenges week.
  • Each participating team receives a one-time payment of 4000€ for participating in the mockup challenge week


In addition, each participating team can be reimbursed for travel expenses (transportation expenses, hotel accommodation) of up to 1000€ per team and per challenge week upon proof.


Who can apply?

All creative and imaginative teams with thorough expertise in VR game design and a love for digital training, tech and digitalization.

This challenge is an open contest for all creative founders, VR developers & game designers, as well as established companies.



Application Deadline

Last day to apply for the program


Invitation to Kick Off Video Calls

Invitation of selected teams



via Video Calls


Concept Challenge Week

Top 5 Teams, 03.05.2021 - 07.05.2021


Mockup Challenge Week

Top 3 Teams, 07.06.2021 - 11.06.2021


Announcement of Winner