In this series of articles, we talk with Skyports’ partners and investors about their background, their role within the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) eco-system and how they view the future for Skyports. This week we speak with Boris Kuehn, Managing Director of Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures GmbH | Head of Mergers & Acquisitions | Deutsche Bahn AG.
1) What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a racing car driver or stuntman.
2) What is your greatest achievement, inside or outside of work?
Watching my two daughters grow up day by day and being part of their journey.
3) What do you do at DB?
I am Managing Director of Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures and also Head our Corporate Venturing activities – in a nutshell I deal with how Deutsche Bahn can improve by working with and investing in start-ups as well as collaborating with other SME’s.
4) How does your role working for Deutsche Bahn compare with your finance background?
Before joining Deutsche Bahn‘s Mergers and Acquisitions Department in 2004 I used to be an investment banker in Frankfurt and London. I‘d say the financial toolkit is an essential puzzle piece in my daily dealings; however, adding an overarching strategic perspective is what makes my job even more exciting.
5) What role is Deutsche Bahn playing in Advanced Air Mobility?
As the railway is Deutsche Bahn’s core business it may seem quite “odd” to some people that DB have a role to play in Advanced Air Mobility. At DB we still need to decide on our role and involvement, but what we know for sure is that we put our customers first.
We want our customers to enjoy traveling every day and for many, taking the train is only part of their journey. We are looking into different modes of transportation and how we can integrate that into the existing network, and it is likely that will include air taxis in the not too distant future.
6) How are DB thinking about integrating Advanced Air Mobility into its business model?
Priority number one is providing a smooth journey for our passengers. Deutsche Bahn own the most mobility hubs in Germany and our train stations already connect different modes of public and private transportation. In big cities they are located right at the centre and serve as a transfer point. We are currently in the process of assessing the feasibility of integrating vertiports in our train stations.
7) How do you work with Skyports on a day to day basis?
I appreciate the high professionalism of Skyports, the pragmatism and the rapid decision making. Skyports is always direct and straight forward in a friendly manner. We work and support each other on a number of projects. As a strategic VC we try to support Skyports not only financially but help them with our diverse set of expertise, such as engineering.
8) Where do you see Skyports role in the AAM ecosystem?
To bring AAM to life it is important that all participants work efficiently together. I see Skyports’ service as a crucial part of the eco-system. For passenger transportation the vertiport is a key part of the customer experience. The operators of a vertiport have a big responsibility as they need to work with every stakeholder.
9) What is your go to Karaoke song?
Anything by Phil Collins…yep, I am old-school. Although 90s Hip Hop is definitely a close second 🙂