Have YOUR say on railtech!

Rail mobility offers tremendous opportunities for businesses, travel safety and above all sustainability. While Europe is a global leader in the rail sector, the potential for further innovation remains tremendous. That is why the European Commission has announced 2021 as the European Year of Rail.

That is why we, in the European Startup Prize for Mobility, recognise our responsibility and this great opportunity to bring the voices of startups in the rail sector to decision-makers at the highest level. 

Startups are the engine of innovation but they rarely have a place around the table where decisions about innovation are made by policy-makers or even corporations. This is especially true in the field of rail where the incumbent are often state-owned monopolies. We’re here to change that. 

What do startups need from the EU in order to be more disruptive, innovative, and creative in the rail sector? We’re about to find out! 

Introducing: EUSP CrowdTank  

Apart from serving as a ‘ranking agency’ on European mobility startups, an acceleration programme for the best startups,  and a matchmaker between investors and startups, we have decided to also create the first Think Tank of mobility startups; or CrowdTank as we like to call it, since we always develop our proposals in a large-scale collaborative manner.  

Last year, we asked mobility startups what they needed from the EU; we got +400 entrepreneurs to join our co-creation of the first European Mobility Startup Manifesto and we jointly presented the results to the EU institutions in a public event.  

This year, we’re a bit more focused. We’d like to find out how the EU and rail companies can better collaborate with startups specifically in the field of railtech. We are therefore rolling up our sleeves one more time; over the next weeks and months we will crowdsource our startup community, co-creating the European Startup Manifesto on Rail.  

How do we ensure the Manifesto represents our rail startup community? 

Excellent question! By using a very robust design-thinking methodology and a collaborative  stakeholder approach taking place between April and June 2021.

Together with our partners*, we will conduct dozens of interviews with rail entrepreneurs and startups in order to research their needs, priorities, and suggestions. Based on our preliminary findings, we will launch an online survey, inviting startups from across Europe to participate. The findings from this knowledge-crowdsourcing phase will be condensed in a synthesis process over several weeks. Finally, we will organise workshops in order to refine and fine-tune the results with our partners and contributors. The final version will then be available online for other startups to sign and endorse.  

We are very proud to be an official partner and event of the European Commission’s Year of Rail. This will allow us to present the results of this exercise in June to the highest level of the EU institutions, to our partner organisations, and to some of Europe’s largest rail companies.

This will ensure that decision-makers at the highest levels, take onboard the unique perspective and needs of railtech startups. This perspective is critical!  Only by joining forces among policy-makers, rail companies and railtech startups – can we ensure a smarter, more sustainable and inclusive railway system!

The time is now! 

The success of this exercise depends on YOU. No one knows better than you do what you need in order for your startup to succeed. Stay tuned (on our social media and newsletter) for our upcoming online survey. Meanwhile, if you’d like to get involved, feel free to drop us a line and we’ll get you on board.  

This train of innovation is just about to leave the station. Hop on and join us in shaping shaping Europe’s railtech for the years to come! 

* The European Startup Manifesto on Rail is made possible thanks to our ecosystem of partners: The Morph Company, and our co-founders BCG and Via ID who are focusing on the methodology. Thank you also to our rail partners who have committed themselves to active participation throughout the process: GRDF, Shift2Rail, AllRail, EU Travel Tech, Railcoop, RATP Group, and CER.

From entrepreneurship to startup acceleration and back

Hello Jean-Francois and welcome to our blog, this time not (only) as one of the EUSP co-founders but also as a founder and CEO of a new startup. Tell us about the decision to go back to your entrepreneurial life particularly now in the midst of a global crisis.

Thanks! Well you know, I was an entrepreneur when I joined ViaID 5 years ago and during these five years, I felt like an entrepreneur because I had the chance to create and contribute to many impactful initiatives, like co-founding the EUSUP with Karima Delli, founding the Moovelab at StationF in Paris or creating the Mobility Club by ViaID. During the first lookdown, I realised that it was time for me to go back to my roots.

In fact, a crisis offers many opportunity for entrepreneurs, a lot of successful companies were created during past crises, like Uber, Whatsapp, Slack to name a few…

What is AZFALTE offering companies and employees and how does your service compare (and compete) with others  in France and other European countries?

AZFALTE is offering corporate bikes (mostly e-bikes), as a new service that helps companies attract and develop employee loyalty, simply by offering them new means of transport.

This market is already strong in Germany and Belgium but rather new in France. Covid has accelerated the development of this opportunity; reconsigning it is a historical moment, I’ve decided to act on it.

We are starting in France which is a huge market but also quite a unique one: you cannot only rely on bike retail shop because they are not so many compared to countries like Germany.

We therefore developed strong partnerships, especially with ALD Automotive, a European leader of long term vehicle leasing.

We’ve seen many cities transforming their urban planning as a result of the crisis, with bikes lanes suddenly in the limelight, even in countries where there was traditionally lower use of micro-mobility. Do you expect that ‘Bike is the new normal’ would continue in the coming years after the crisis? Or is there a risk that we return to our old habits?

“Bike is the new normal” is the baseline of AZFALTE! And yes, we do believe that we have reached a shifting point! The current Covid crisis has a strong impact which I expect to last over time, we are in winter time now and we still have a lot of bikes on the road, this new world is here!

You’ve been mentoring and advising startups for many years (through EUSP and other accelerators) but was there anything you’ve learned from the EUSP startups that you’ve seen that you’ll want to apply at AZFALTE?

Oh yes, I’ve done this job, and sometime I still do this job, because it also gives me energy, and I learn from every entrepreneur, every team.

What I have definitely leaned is that it’s rarely the best idea that wins. It is rather usually the best team, so I spend my time to build the strongest team!

What are the next main objectives and milestones that AZFALTE is aiming at?

We aim at leading the French market through exponential growth by next year. As soon as this is done, we’ll look at other market; I maintain the EUSP moto: “Europe is my playground”!

All that’s left is to wish you best of luck in our European playground!

Introducing: Hygen

Hi Mario, thanks for this blog interview and congratulations for your special distinction at this year’s edition! Can you tell us about your participation in the EUSP?

We are thrilled to be among the best European start-ups according to the European Start-up Prize for sustainable mobility of its 2020 edition. This year GRDF awarded its special distinction to Hygen and we hope to obtain a bit more media exposure and maybe it will help us to secure the next round of funding we require.

Let’s start by better understanding what it is that you do at Hygen. Can you give us your short pitch?

Hygen is an ambitious innovative Latvian SME, dedicated to the development and commercialisation of proprietary refuelling technology for the G-Mobility market, a gaseous fuel vehicle fuelled by compressed natural gas or biomethane and hydrogen in the future. To enable refuelling natural gas-powered vehicles from the existing gas grid, a compressor/charger system is required. Existing state-of-the-art systems, based on mechanical compression technology, can be costly, require frequent servicing and could be unreliable is the system is not maintained correctly.

Hygen’s patented liquid piston compression technology, the only solution of this type in the world, allows a dramatic reduction in the number of moving parts needed for gas compression. It is therefore significantly reduces the total cost of ownership by lowering scheduled and unscheduled service and increasing reliability.

The technology can be applied for different gases such as Hydrogen or Synthetic Gas and for different application from small home appliance size up to large, high capacity mobile refuelling systems.

Given the unique technology you have developed and the huge demand for low-carbon energy, hy is it so hard for you to find investors?

It’s well known that in general there are much less investment sources in Europe than in the US. The start-up ecosystem is not very mature and varies from country to country.

To begin discussions with a VC about series A funding, you must have a fully developed product that’s on the market and selling well.

Selling well means you have annual revenue of at least 1M EUR.  However, it’s very difficult for a hardware start-up to obtain revenue growth while still developing and improving its product, establishing production and a distribution channel.

The leap over the “Death Valley” is therefore almost impossible for many European hardware start-ups. Even the most fortunate ones land with broken limbs.  With a success rate of 2%-3% in the EU SME funding programmes  itfeels like winning the lottery. Startups therefore turn to all other funding sources like self-funding, friends and family help, Angel investors, start-up accelerators, partnering with manufacturers or customers, yet,with varying degrees of success.

Unfortunately, there are no good B2B crowdfunding platforms in the EU like StartEngine, so that is not an option we can explore.

We are currently looking to secure half a million euro for a successful market rollout. Our technology is also well suited for the upcoming necessary hydrogen infrastructure. However, in order to proceed the development of our technology towards this new solution, it will take even more support and investment.

How do you see the lack of funding impacting the innovation ecosystem?

Every start-up is first looking for the customer’s pain point in order to find a suitable cost-effective solution. Innovation increases productivity and thereby increasing the profitability of a company. Strat-ups provide much of the innovation necessary for modernisation and growth. Can you imagine what a world without start-ups would look like? What products and services would disappear?

If we think about it, innovation brought the world to its present state of affairs; it is also necessary to help us get out of this mess.

Before we conclude, let’s mention the big elephant in the room; the role of gas in the energy transition. I’m sure you have strong opinion about it…

Thanks to our current investors, Innoegergy and Spanish gas company ENAGAS, we are able to continue establishing many new demonstration pilot projects. However, it’s very difficult to move against political and hyped up trends. For whatever reason, biomethane is still not considered as a carbon neutral mobility solution, everything is focused on electromobility. and who knows if it’s right. Biomethane is a renewable energy source with very low carbon footprint; when applied as a fuel, it allows gas vehicles to run not only carbon neutral but also carbon negative if the biomethane is produced from waste.  In spite of many different prizes and awards we are still struggling to build the bridge to our own sustainability. We remain confident however that once the right funding arrives, our technology can disrupt the current energy market and provide tremendous contribution to the energy transition.

Thank you very much, congrats again, and best of luck in the future!

The European Investment Bank’s commitment to green mobility innovation at a time of crisis

Hi Marc, great to host you on the EUSP blog!

Many of us know about the work of the EIB but how is your institution reacting to the current crisis in its investment strategy?

The Covid-19 crisis had a massive and abrupt negative impact on the European economy. As the bank of the European Union, the EIB plays a key role in supporting it with a particular focus on innovation, climate, smaller and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and infrastructure. The Bank quickly reacted to the crisis and in March adopted an immediate response package of up to EUR 28bn in support of SMEs. It then developed the Pan-European Guarantee Fund (“EGF”), which was endorsed by the European Council. The EGF is a EUR 25bn guarantee fund that will enable the EIB Group to scale up its support for mainly small and medium-sized European companies, providing up to EUR 200 billion of additional financing. On top of these extraordinary measures, as the largest multilateral lender worldwide, we keep financing projects and companies in line with the existing mandates and policy objectives of the European Union.

Now let’s talk a bit about our community. How do you engage with startups in general and with the EUSP startups in particular?

The EIB is also the climate bank of the EU, and as such developed various programs to finance the energy transition. Start-ups play a key role in the development of new ideas, technologies and business models to tackle this issue. We designed last year together with the European Commission a dedicated envelope for smarter, safer and cleaner transport, the Future Mobility facility. This facility is particularly well suited, both in terms of eligibility and risk appetite, for new mobility startups at growth stage. Our objective is to support companies with decarbonising solutions in their expansion and to provide them with “dry powder” through tailor-made financing instruments. We have a number of tools in the Future Mobility box including subordinated loans to quasi-equity financings.

We act as a silent investor and our presence as financial partner has a signaling effect that can help catalyse further financing. This often proves to be very beneficial for eligible mobility startups.

This explains indeed the nature of the mutual interest between the EIB and the EUSP. This week, we are taking our partnership to another level by holding a joint pitching day between EIB experts and some of of the EUSP winning startups. Maybe you can tell us what drew your interest at the particular startups which were invited*?

We are looking for promising and innovative companies at commercialization or deployment stage, with a sound business model, strong shareholders and a clear solution to decarbonise transport in the EU. This covers for instance car sharing, mobility as a service, deployment of electric vehicle charging stations as well as many other activities. We expect companies we invited to pitch to check our eligibility criteria and we are looking forward to meeting them. However, during our screening, we came across plenty of very interesting start-ups that unfortunately do not fit our requirements yet and thus cannot receive our support, but we hope to hear from them as soon as they are ready (details of the Future Mobility program can be found here).

Finally, what advice can you give to these start-ups and to all clean mobility startups who are struggling to find financing during this crisis?

Start-ups had to react very quickly during this crisis, both on the operational side and to be able to attract financing to keep the boat afloat and navigate the storm. In these uncertain times, it is even more important for them to be able to show the potential of their markets and the resilience of their business models.

It is also paramount to wisely choose their investors and industrial partners, because trustworthy partners are invaluable assets when facing adversity. Through the European Investment Fund the EIB Group enables a wide range of partners to provide access to finance for start-ups and smaller businesses. You can find these partners and further financing options here: https://www.eif.org/EIF_for/sme_finance/index.htm.

*In order to respect the confidentiality of the process, we cannot disclose the names of the participating startups at this point.

What ‘drives’ EIT InnoEnergy in smart & green mobility?

 Hello Luis, can you tell our readers a bit about what “drives” EIT InnoEnergy?

The way you phrased your question perfectly fits the topic of mobility! 🙂

With the climate crisis changing the face of the earth at an ever accelerating pace there is this immediate urgency to drive forward the green transformation of our economy and society overall. With that, huge business opportunities go along as the necessary decarbonisation across industries opens the doors for new technologies and innovations. At EIT InnoEnergy, we help early and growth stage start-ups but also SMEs and corporates turn innovative ideas in the field of sustainable energy – which prominently includes mobility and transport – into commercially successful and scalable solutions – through investments, by leveraging our huge partner network, technology co-development, sales support and many other services. 

Can you give us some facts and figures?

In the 10 years since our inception, EIT InnoEnergy has supported over 380 start-ups as of which over 330 are selling. Our overall investments exceed 550 million EUR and span across a wide field of areas – from all types of renewables and energy storage to mobility and transport. 

In that time, we have built a massive international ecosystem of partners from diverse industries, the political space, the investment side, universities and research and of course, innovators and entrepreneurs. That ecosystem  represents one of our core strengths in enabling commercial success for our portfolio companies. We are particularly proud that, as of last year, we have the first unicorn in our portfolio with NorthVolt, a swedish battery cell manufacturer that was founded by two former Tesla managers. And there are many more highly promising startups with unicorn potential in our pipeline.

Why have you partnered with the European Startup Prize for Mobility (EUSP)?

First of all, EUSP and EIT InnoEnergy share the same goal and mindset in supporting European start-ups and founders in the mobility sector to create sustainable  impact. In the context of mobility and transport, we define impact along three different dimensions that we call the “3 Ps”: Planet, People and Profitability. All the investments we do have to create impact in all of those areas. More info can be found in our investment roadmap for that thematic field on our website.

With those common goals in mind, there are significant synergies between our organisations that we can leverage. For instance we collaborate closely with the same decision-makers on a European level. One example: Your recent mobility startup manifesto – condensing the input of more than 400 mobility start-ups into 22 actionable strategies and recommendations for smarter and greener mobility – was handed over to the Vice-President of the EU Commission Maroš Šefčovič. We at EIT InnoEnergy coordinate the industrial workstream of the the European Battery Alliance that was launched by Mr. Šefčovič in 2017.

Since EIT InnoEnergy joined the EUSP as partner of the Day after programme can you tell us the concrete reasons for that?

The economic turmoil caused by Covid-19 is particularly challenging for founders and start-ups. Extended sales and investment cycles, everything has slowed down or in many cases been called off. At EIT InnoEnergy we have worked very closely with our portfolio start-ups and invested several million EUR to help them cushion the hardest blows. Nonetheless, we also keep our eyes open and look for new start-ups in promising fields of sustainable innovation, such as mobility overall and micromobility in particular. Our joint pitching event as part of the EUSP Day After programme promises to be an efficient way to do so.

You have selected 5 startups from the EUSP community for the  EIT InnoEnergy/ EUSP  pitching day; Donkey Republic, Dott, Knot, Pony and Zoov. Can you explain this choice? 

The ongoing trend towards urbanisation will lead to two-thirds of the world’s population living in cities by 2030 who will be responsible for 70% of global emissions. Low to zero-emission micromobility solutions are therefore key for coping with that monumental challenge. More sharing-based micromobility services mean less cars, lower emissions, less congestion and noise and more space. Or in other words: a better quality of life.

At the same time, we’re currently seeing tremendous traction for start-ups especially in the field of last-mile logistics.  Online shopping for groceries and household goods has seen skyrocketing demand with growth rates of +50% since the COVID-19 imposed lockdown. And even if those growth rates may not sustain long-term, they will remain at a level we wouldn’t have thought possible 9 months ago. That is a huge business potential just lying in front of us.

Therefore, when looking at the three dimensions of  impact – planet, people and profitability – focusing on micromobility startups is a perfect fit.

And why have you chosen exactly these specific start-ups?

At EIT InnoEnergy we’re pursuing a cluster and partnering strategy. We’re already cooperating with several start-ups in the space of micromobility, e.g. Ono, Gleam, GetHenry, Kumpan Electric and Ducktrain. Additionally, we are working closely with large corporations who may be ideal  partners in terms of supply chain or for joint production projects as well as potential customers.

The five start-ups chosen for the pitching day have the potential to enrich our existing portfolio in that field. There are so many potential win-win-win-…situations for all of us.

Therefore we’re really looking forward to meeting the founders of these five promising companies at the pitching day. 

Thanks for the interview!

Who are the mobility startups in Europe?

After 3 years of activity with 500 to 600 startup candidates per year, we have now seen a critical mass of European mobility startups . Our co-founders at Via ID, crunched the accumulated data and provide us with insight on Europe’s up-and-coming mobility technologies, business models, and start-ups*:

EUSP: a growing proportion of innovation in European mobility solutions

With 36 countries represented compared with 18 last year, innovation in mobility solutions is playing an ever-increasingly important role in Europe The gap between the TOP5 countries with the most start-ups is narrowing, with the proportion of French, German (+64% compared with 2019), Spanish, British start-ups increasing all the time. What’s more, the Israeli start-ups have entered the leader board, given the opening of the EUSP to the  Horizon 2020 programme. It’s also worth noting the increasing importance of start-ups from central and eastern Europe (16% of eligible start-ups, outside Germany) and the Baltic nations, particularly Estonia and Lithuania (TOP12 and 13 of the countries with the most start-ups).

Mobility, an entrepreneurial impetus that is growing all the time

With more than 550 candidate start-ups this year and a slight drop in the age of eligible start-ups compared with 2019 (3.27 years old on average and teams of 12 candidates), the EUSP reflects the feverish mood of the European entrepreneurial landscape in mobility solutions. 

The ecosystem, boosting growth and expertise

Depending on the country, start-ups need more or less time to develop. In part, this can be explained not only by the favourable cultural (and legislative) environment, but also by the sectors that they deal with. However, since the first EUSP event (2017-18), the growth rate of start-ups by nationality has not changed significantly. 

The country where start-ups are most mature is Israel, followed by France and Germany. This is where the local ecosystem is most mature and positive towards mobility solutions (cooperation of public/private agents, proactive legislative landscape) and a culture of “mobility” has been historically strong. These are also countries with a high concentration of tech expertise and subjects, which is a  key factor of success/foundation stone of smart mobility solutions. In Europe, the fastest-growing start-ups are the German ones (3.1 years old and almost 15 employees on average). This reflects the “rocket internet” culture that is freeing up significant resources, which are rapidly devoted to the application of an identified business model. As for the British start-ups, they are developing leaner business models with fewer staff members (3.3 years old and 9 employees on average in 2020), which essentially focus on mobility services.

Start-ups, which are breaking even more quickly

The most spectacular acceleration concerning the start-ups of the TOP50, which are now attaining a critical size of 29 people in under 4 years, compared with about 15 employees on average, after a period of 5 years of activity, in 2019. This reflects the increasing maturity of the mobility sector and an increasing focus of agents and capital on the right issues at the right time. 

Supremacy of service-oriented platforms and start-ups, growing importance of electric mobility solutions and micro-mobilities

Mobility platforms and services are the big winners of the topical leader board, representing 29% of eligible start-ups. 

Start-ups develop where new needs emerge and where problems can be resolved by innovation

The rapid growth of new mobility solutions (car sharing, car pooling, etc.) – still strongly represented two years ago – has boosted the need for mobility facilitators and multimodal solutions: This has freed up space for MaaS and its components, the aggregation of services, demand-responsive transport, etc., which provide solutions in this area and simplify the user experience in coping with these new offers.

This phenomenon is itself amplified by the rapid growth of micro-mobilities and shared mobility solutions which represent 18% of the eligible start-ups, i.e. suppliers, operators, aggregators, infrastructures and their associated services, which are flourishing everywhere in Europe.

What’s more, the effects of changes in public policy in support of the electric mobility sector and in favour of the energy mix is becoming evident, with 17% of the eligible start-ups belonging to this category. 

Finally, the self-driving car (6% of the eligible start-ups) and aerial mobility (2%) are still modest in terms of volumes, revealing the more complex obstacles to entry in terms of R&D, long-term financial resources, technology and regulation. 

Hybridisation of business models

The exclusive B2C and B2B models are being overtaken by multi-agent approaches that incorporate the public sector client as a foundation stone of mobility systems: Only 2.5% of start-ups claim to focus only on private individual customers. What’s more, 63% of start-ups sell their solutions to public institutions (among others). 

This is the reflection of a sector – urban mobility solutions in particular – that has been significantly subsidised in the past, and which still needs public support in most cases, despite the work done to reinvent itself that has indeed been done.  

Mobility solutions that are increasingly aiming at “subscription-based” consumption. For more than 31% of start-ups, this is their main source of revenue. A model that reflects the rapid growth of Mobility as a Service and the objective of switching from possession to use that has been observed in many sectors. 

*Analysis based on 375 start-ups from the EUSP 2020

For more information about this analysis, contact Sophie Bailly, Partnership Manager at Via ID.

Meet the EUSP2020 top 50 startups!

Following weeks of rigorous scrutiny by our 50 evaluators, we have now shortened the original list (of 550 applicants) to our top 50 performers! This list gives an overview of the future of mobility, bringing together Europe’s best startups; those who hold the promise for new, green, connected, inclusive and sustainable technology. They come from all mobility sectors and are about to revolutionise transport as we know it!
Here they are in alphabetical order:

1AC BiodeWe are developing the world’s first standalone AC (Alternating Current) batteries instead of DC (Direct Current) and special electric circuits for e-mobility and energy storage.
2AddVolt AddVolt developed a Plug-in Electric system that electrifies the refrigeration unit allowing cleaner, quieter and cost-effective deliveries.
3AutofleetThe first Vehicle as a Service platform for fleets, enabling large global fleets to optimize existing operations and dynamically leverage unused vehicles to launch new services.
4BaseTracK“Virtual Rails” infrastructure with all-weather vehicle automation. We provide up to 20% of fuel economy, safe Public Transport, simple and affordable Autonomous Driving in closed areas, and even more.
5BluedotAirbnb of charging stations for electric car users. Bluedot app connects all charging stations into a single network, enabling owners to share and monetize them.
6BusUpBusUp allows travellers to book on-demand buses for commuting. Users setup their own routes in the web-platform and app. BusUp solves a need in medium-distance travel in suburban and exurban areas.
7CaaresysCabinCaare® – Vehicle occupancy system. The system detects each seat occupancy state and able to count a number of the passengers in the cabin. CabinCaare provides a cost reduction and efficiency.
8CARGOMETERCargometer is measuring, weighing and barcode scanning the freight directly at the loading gate on the moving forklift. This results in increased profit and stops shipping air.
9ChargeryChargery is a full-service-provider for the future of mobility. With the combination of intelligent software and a broad variety of services we enable highly efficient operations for shared mobility.
10ChargetripChargetrip offers Smart Navigation and Predictive Route Planning specific for Electric Vehicles, as an API based SaaS platform. We eliminate EV adoption barriers for fleets and private drivers.
11Cyclope.aiCyclope.ai is a high-tech software company specialized in Artificial Intelligence applied to video analysis and image processing to better assist road operators and traffic supervisors.
12Donkey RepublicDonkey Republic offers the best bike and ebike sharing service in the world. Thanks to our focus on affordability and sustainability, and respecting city space, we created the future on 2 wheels.
13DottDott is an European micromobility operator, designed for responsibility and sustainability. Our mission is to open-up cities with clean mobility for everyone. Starting with e-scooters and e-bikes.
14DUCKTDUCKT is world’s first universal & dedicated micromobility infrastructure solution. We dock, lock & charge anything electric, low weight, low current and shared in one stop solution. 
15e-troFit® GmbH With its modular conversion kit e-troFit® is able to electrify almost every type of commercial vehicle. By using existing ressources e-troFit® becomes the most sustainable and economic solution.  
16Ecov2020Tackling the ecological and social challenges of our time, Ecov’s mission is to turn every private car into an innovative and decentralized public transport system.
17Evelity by Okeenea DigitalEVELITY is the first guidance app designed for people with disabilities. It provides a real time turn by turn navigation in complex venues and around. App interfaces and routes are adapted. 
18FAIRTIQThe simplest way to everyday mobility for everyone, everywhere. That’s the idea behind FAIRTIQ, the easiest way to buy a ticket for public transport with the best and fair price every time.
19GreenrailGreenrail is a composed sleeper made with an outer shell obtained from a mixture of elts (End of Life Tires) and recycled plastic and with an inner core in prestressed concrete.
20Humanising AutonomyReal-time vulnerable road user behavior analysis and intent prediction software for accident and near-miss prevention in urban environments. 
21HYGEN SIAHYGEN’s superchargers can fuel Gas Powered Vehicles anywhere in just few minutes. Connected to regular gas grid our systems transform existing grid into a global distributed bio-CNG fueling network.
22IomobIomob is building a plug and play Mobility as a Service marketplace for rail operators and transit authorities in Europe and beyond. Iomob is adding social distancing to our intermodal algorithms.
23IoT.bzhOEMs become mobility providers while cars turn  “PCs on wheels”, so Operating Systems becomes a key mobility stake. We develop a cybersecured OS platform for new connected cars but also boats.
24KardinalKardinal offers a real-time tour optimization solution to assist Logistics players in managing their field operations. The gains are cost optimization, better QoS and reduced CO2 emissions.
25KNOTUniversal docking and charging stations for scooter sharing – with an open API it can be integrated to any existing scooter sharing solution.
26LiveLink MotorLiveLink is a startup that designs and develops IoT solutions for application to road safety and Smart Mobility, focused on develop an eCall device for motorcycles.
27MeepMeep is a mobile app that encourages a modal shift towards more sustainable travel and a behavioral shift towards a multi-modal, improved mobility. 
28MO.Point – Sharing ServicesMO.Point develops mobility solutions for city quarters and real estates and operates electric sharing vehicles such as E-Bikes, E-Cars or E-Cargobikes as one-stop-shop around the corner.
29MOTIONTAGMOTIONTAG makes mobility intelligent by describing and understanding real-world mobility through data-driven services.
30NewsightNewsight develops 3D CMOS sensor chip for high quality, low power vision solution for longer distances at an affordable price point, making it accessible to ADAS applications for automotive mass market.
31NÜWIELNÜWIEL is a Hamburg-based startup that has a mission to change current urban mobility patterns by developed a new-generation e-mobility solution to move heavy goods in urban areas.
32ONO- Better Last mile deliveryONO’s mission is to dramatically improve traffic and air pollution in cities by replacing gas guzzling delivery vans with a more flexible, safer, better designed and more fun transporter.
33MOPRIM – Personal Mobility FootprintsEnabling behavioural change in urban mobility by harvesting sensor signals from smartphones to teach machine learning algorithms for automated Transport Mode Discovery and CO2 footprint evaluation.
34Playcar – PlaymoovePlaymoove is a mobility all-in-one platform. The dream behind the project was to create a tool to cover all the aspects of Smart Mobility, from the management operations to the IoT connections.
35PonyPony is a french micromobility operator providing shared bikes & escooters. Our business model allows anyone to purchase a vehicle and share it with other people. 
36R-PUR R-PUR has developed the most efficient mask in the world, combining 3 technologies: a filtration quality unique in the world, high quality materials and a mobile application.
37SATAVIA SATAVIA is a data analytics and AI company based in Cambridge UK helping the aviation industry to make flying cheaper, smarter and greener. 
38SensefinityCreating the Internet of Cargo where cargo assets autonomously orchestrate to reclaim 1 Trillion USD yearly lost in supply-chains.
39SharingOS-MaaS PlatformSharingOS is a global mobility sharing platform that enables effortless, plug-and-play and sustainable solutions for partners to thrive in mobility sharing markets worldwide.
40SkiprSkipr’s unique integrated solution (a MaaS application, a payment card and a dashboard) provides companies with smart mobility tailored to their needs and policies.
41Sono MotorsA truly affordable solar powered electric car, made for sharing, with a fully carbon emission neutral manufacturing process and a unique business model combining hardware (Sion) and software (goSono).
42Toogethrit is our mission to simplify mobility and empower the new generation of travellers. We create communities through smart technology for ride-sharing and effortless parking. 
43TrafiFounded in 2007, Trafi works shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the most complex cities in the world such as Berlin, Rio de Janeiro, and Jakarta to turn sustainable movement into a city-wide habit.
44TRANSITION-ONETransition-One converts thermal cars into modern cars: electric, connected and affordable. The retrofit is one of the answers to decarbonize our mobility in the face of the climate emergency in Europe.
45TruckstersRoad freight transport using artificial intelligence and a driver relay network.
46UbitransportUbitransport offers innovative real-time management and optimization solutions for public transport networks. They are 100% smartphone and cloud-based, powerful and accessible to all territories.
47UFTWe provide software for demand responsive transport to some of Europe’s largest public transport authorities and private fleet operators.
48Unifly NVUnifly’s platform integrates drones into the airspace safely, connecting authorities with drone pilots to approve and manage drone flights. We also made an electronic license plate for drones.
49ZeeloZeelo is a bus-sharing company, providing smart transportation services for commuting, schools and events; bookable via a mobile app. We use data & technology to commute people safely and conveniently.
50ZoovZoov is the first electric bicycle-sharing service in the world that naturally integrates into public areas thanks to its multi-awarded compact and easy to install parking system.

Stay tune to our list of top 10, later this month!

550 startups shaping the future of mobility !

The application process of the European Startup Prize 2020 edition was closed at the end of April 2020. That does not mean we were idle. While our 50 evaluators are working hard to look into all the applications, we were interested in learning more about this year’s demographics; who are the EUSP 2020 startup candidates? Here are some of the interesting facts we learned about them. 

What do you do?

When applying, startups had to flag the main sector they fall under (even if they could be in the overlap between a few). As you can see from the above info-graphics, almost a third belonged to the Mobility platform and Services sectors. Clean energy and E-mobility came second with close to 16%. Micro-mobility, Connected Vehicles and Data, followed with just over 10% of our startups, each.

Where are you from?

This year was the first edition which allowed participation, not only from EU Member States but also from all countries which are part of the EU Horizon2020 R&I Programme.  As in previous years, all EU countries were represented but we were very proud to see that the new eligible countries were well-represented as well, including Norway, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Belarus.

We were delighted to see that Israel, another new eligible country, was so well represented that it make it to our list of top 5 countries, manifesting its very vibrant innovation ecosystem. The UK is unfortunately no longer in the EU, but it also maintained a strong position in the top of our most represented countries.

How mature are you?

The participating startups of this year’s edition constitute diversity in terms of their  funding  stages. As seen below, almost half of the startups who applied, are at their seed funding phase. Significant amounts came even before seed phase (22.3%) or already at Serie A level (23.3%). Finally, those at Series B were the smallest, yet significant group of 7%. 

This gives us an interesting overview of the hundreds of startups who joined our community this year. But of course, that’s just the beginning of our joint journey.

Our evaluators will finish their work soon and we will reveal the top 50 startups in early June. Until then, stay safe, and stay tuned for more news on the future of mobility!

Triggering innovation in rail

Shift2Rail is a proud member of the 2020 edition of the European Startup Prize for Mobility. We had the honour and pleasure of asking the institution’s Executive Director, Mr Carlo Borghini a few questions about rail, innovation, and the current crisis.

How is S2R triggering innovation in the rail community?

Shift2Rail is about bringing people with different backgrounds, interests, experience, and perspectives to work together and co-create new operational and technological solutions that will change how rail is running and the services provided.

Innovation is triggered by the need to deliver such a transformation: on the one hand, the railway operating community sees its capacity to meet clients’ expectations eroding and, on the other hand, the supply industry sees global competition as more aggressive and, in some cases, unfair.

The meeting point of these two counterparts is Shift2Rail, and together with the research and scientific community, innovation is created, moving away from evolutive maintenance and looking to new challenges! Creativity and innovation can happen in Shift2Rail because different mindsets and competences, that would otherwise never have worked together, are joined to achieve a common R&I goal.

How is S2R engaging with startups in general and why did it choose to join EUSP in particular?

We decided to join the EUSP to ensure we engage with startups more and more! One of the major limitations we currently have is the lack of tools to attract startups and engage with them as much as we would like! Fortunately, most of our members bring into their work with Shift2Rail the startups with which they are already connected. However, increasing our engagement with startups in the future by adopting an agile approach to input their creativity and disruption in an overregulated system of systems, will be an important challenge to address in the next programming period.

What is your current vision of the post-Coronavirus road transport world? What will be the main changes and trends (e.g. individual modes of transport vs public; the risk on shared mobility, etc.)?

There is great uncertainty concerning the post-Coronavirus world. Through R&I we can experiment with different technologies, processes and innovations that could provide the best solutions for addressing different possible scenarios.

During the Coronavirus pandemic rail freight has deployed its means and really delivered, showing rail’s impressive potential to serve the logistic value chain. The post-Coronavirus era will inevitably carry with it the reactions to a major shock (e.g. health safety, fear, short term solutions, etc.). Shift2Rail’s service-oriented approach is all about rethinking rail mobility and transport, to deliver sustainable and resilient  systems, by building upon digitaliation, automation, robotics, supercomputing capacity, etc. We expect a great contribution from startups in helping us to achieve this!

What advice can you give to startups working in the railway sector today in light of the crisis?

It is tough, but do not give up: together with the H2020 Research and Innovation family we are doing everything we can to ensure that activities continue to move forward and opportunities remain available. The railway has demonstrated the important role it can play and opportunities for further engagement will come!

Be fast, do not be afraid to knock on the door of what appear to be big institutional bodies, but especially remember to knock on the door of Shift2Rail: we are working to ensure that the best R&I results hit the market, and when we can go fast, we will!

What is your main message for EU and national decision makers for supporting the industry during these difficult times? What would you call on them to do?

As a small EU institution, technically a body, we are ensuring we do more, together with the EU decision makers, to get through these difficult times. We have not and will not stop, and are all fully committed and operational to ensure resources are available, calls are processed and we come out stronger. Shift2Rail is all about working together, and it is only together that we will make it!

What current or upcoming work is S2R involved in that could be interesting for startups?

One of the topics in our current 2020 Call for Proposals is about aspects of non-traditional and emerging land transport technologies, and this certainly could be an area startups could be interested in working with us on. Remember, the deadline to apply is 27 May! We are also busy preparing for our next programming period 2021 – 2030. Help us shape it by telling us how you would like to work with us, by writing to communication@s2r.europa.eu!

Thank you Shift2Rail for your trust and for being such a committed partner of this year’s edition!

EUSP startups fighting COVID19 (from confinement)

During these unprecedented times of the Coronavirus, we are obviously all thinking about our health, our families, our business continuity and our economy at large. Yet, some companies have managed to reach out and adapt their services to the particular societal needs of the hour. We are extremely proud of some of our past EUSP winners who have shown agility and leadership in tackling the current situation, even from confinement. Here are three examples of startups from our two previous editions who are providing dedicated mobility service for essential workers during the crisis:

Free-floating e-scooters platform, CityScoot, has launched a feature called CityHelp for caregivers in Paris and Nice. The feature offers caregivers in these respective cities 30 minutes every day for FREE. This allows caregivers who do not own their own vehicle to avoid public transport and commute on their own. If you happen to know a caregiver in one of these cities, invite them to register here

On-demand shuttle mobility platform Shotl, has launched a new innovative product that helps cities adapt their fleets to facilitate the mobility of – and only of – essential workers. The product permits buses to avoid unnecessary stops, limit their capacity and restricts access only to authorised passengers. This idea could also feed into the debate of the lockdown exit strategy, in which we will probably see a gradual release based on criteria which governments will be determining.

Finally, Karhoo, typically a B2B marketplace for taxi services, has just offered the British and French governments to use its platform in order to provide critical staff with access to state-sponsored transport service. Once again, by ensuring that high-risk populations avoid public transport, we can slow down the spread of the pandemic. And even if they own their own cars, driving after an endless shift at the hospital is not necessarily the best idea. The least we can do to thank them is to send them home comfortably to get some rest. 

But the challenge is not just about helping essential workers commute; it’s also about ensure essential goods reach their destinations. Cocolis is a peer-to-peer delivery service, active in France. The company is currently recruiting volunteers volunteers to transport urgent materials to hospitals, nursing homes, and people in need, using its sharing platform. If you want to volunteer or ask for help, join their dedicated request platform.

All of these initiatives are a testament that our startup community is not only thinking about their own survival but also about contributing and showing solidarity during these difficult times. We applaud their innovation and their support for front-line essential workers across our societies. While our startups are looking for solutions for the health crisis, we are looking at how we can support our startups during the economic crisis of the day after. That is why, this year for the first time, we will create investment opportunities for our startup community from both EU institutional funds and private ones. 
This could also be another reason for you to apply for this year’s edition (if you haven’t already). Apply by the end of April and show to the world how your innovation can disrupt mobility, making it smarter, cleaner, and more inclusive – whether at times of crisis or normalcy.

Written by Yash Das Sharma & Dan Sobovitz