Touring IAA Conference in Frankfurt with our 2019 delegation

For the 3rd time this year, the European Startup Prize for Mobility (EUSP) has awarded 10 startups with the opportunity to boost themselves in the European mobility landscape. Since its founding in 2017, EUSP has toured the biggest European mobility events with these promising startups. For this 2nd edition of the prize, the winners are: Einride, OpenAirlines, TWAICE, Karhoo, Cargoroo, Shotl, K-ryole, Geovelo, Blickfeld, and Cityscoot.

Since April, these ten startups have taken part in a European tour of the biggest and most important mobility-related conferences and events around Europe. The tour kicked off at the European New Mobilities Summit in Brussels, followed by Viva Technology in Paris and ITS European Congress in Brainport. For the second-to-last stop on this tour, EUSPM winners stopped in Frankfurt for the New Mobility World (NMW) event of the IAA Conference.

This year’s edition focused on automation, connectivity, clean and sustainable mobility, urban mobility, and Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS). Amidst the well-established German automotive industry, these startups represent a breath of fresh air into the future of mobility. It was at NMW – in its Startup Zone in particular – that we could engage with future solutions. Efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly transportation stood at the core of this event aimed at redefining the way we conceive of transportation.

Startups such as Cargoroo, K-ryole, Cityscoot, Karhoo, Shotl, and Geovelo develop solutions that are helping us choose greener and more effective options for transportation, while startups like Einride, TWAICE, and Blickfeld employ advanced AI technology to fundamentally redefine the way we conceive of mobility. Lastly, OpenAirlines endeavors to optimize air travel, which remains our most-used mode of long-distance transportation.

NMW featured many such cutting-edge solutions, from green initiatives to autonomous driving to AI-dependent traffic safety solutions. Safe to say that our startups in the Startup Zone presented ideas that form part of a greener, more effective vanguard in the mobility landscape.

Six winners have been awarded the Silver Award, which includes exposure from EUSP, networking opportunities, the all-expenses-paid tour of European Mobility events, as well as an official economic and ecological rating. In addition, four winners will be awarded the Gold Award, which includes tailored mentoring from the Boston Consulting Group in addition to the above.

The ten startups were given the opportunity to exhibit their products and solutions in the Startup Zone at NMW, participate in a pitching competition in which one startup could win two exhibitor passes to NMW 2020, and to schedule meetings with prominent ecosystem players at the conference. After long days of exhibiting, the startups were also given access to important IAA networking events to engage with the mobility ecosystem in a more informal setting.

At NMW this year’s EUSP startups pitched in front of an audience that voted for their favorites, where TWAICE was awarded two exhibitors’ passes for NMW in 2020. The pitching competition was followed by a visit from the founder of the EUSP herself, Karima Delli, who toured the Startup Zone to chat with the startups in person and Grégory Merly, the Managing Director of the EUSP.

After another successful event of networking and exhibiting, the startups are now gearing up for the final leg of the tour: Smart City Expo World Congress from the 19th – 21st of November, taking place in wonderful Barcelona.

For more details, please contact:

Grégory Merly

Managing Director of the EUSP

+336 58 88 80 95

Here are the 10 winners of the European Startup Prize for Mobility 2019!

12 April 2019, Brussels – At the end of the Awards Ceremony on 11th  April in Brussels, in the presence of H.S.H. Prince Albert of Monaco, the official sponsor of this year’s edition, the 2nd European Startup Prize for Mobility came to a close, revealing its ten winners for 2019. The programme, which is supported by both the European Parliament and the European Commission, aims to promote European startups that use technology and innovation to develop cleaner, safer and more inclusive mobility in Europe and beyond.

We envisaged the European Startup Prize for Mobility as a response to global mobility challenges.  An increased number of mobility startups took up the challenge this year, reassuring us in our belief that Europe can be the continent for innovation and helping our talent to work towards a better quality of life for all”, says Karima Delli, Chairwoman of the European Parliament Committee on Transport and Tourism, who launched the initiative.

Nine startups were selected from among 571 candidates following an extensive assessment process. For the first time, a European public vote was used to select the tenth winner. This title has been awarded to K-Ryole, a French provider of the first intelligent electric bike trailer. The ten startups won a Silver Prize and will take part in a European tour of five major technology hubs to meet investors and future clients. These are: EUSP New Mobility Summit in Brussels, Vivatech in Paris, ITS Europe in Brainport, New Mobility World in Frankfurt and Smart City World Congress in Barcelona.

Out of the 10 winners, 5 ‘’super winners’’ were selected to win the Gold Prize by a panel of European experts from the mobility sector. The ‘’super winners’’ have won a mentoring programme with Boston Consulting Group and law firms Grimaldi Studio Legale and Parallel Avocats.

European Startup Prize for mobility is strengthening its position as the leading European acceleration programme in the mobility sector. With an increasing number of highly experienced participants who are looking to develop solutions and collaborate with large groups and public organisations, the prize identifies European champions who will deliver value to all stakeholders”, comments Joël Hazan, Associate Director of the Boston Consulting Group, Fellow of the BCG Henderson Institute, and co-founder of the European Startup Prize for Mobility.

“Due to the diversity and maturity of the projects, the second edition of the European Startup Prize for mobility is a strong indication of a dynamic mobility market in Europe. As the prize co-founder and coordinator of the startup selection process, we are delighted to contribute to the revolution of the European mobility ecosystem, which will create the leaders of tomorrow,” explains Jean-François Dhinaux, Via ID Strategy Director and prize co-founder.

Meet the future champions of European mobility:About the European Startup Prize for mobility

Karhoo, global marketplace for Taxi and PHV/VTC – UK – Winner of the Gold Prize
Karhoo is the first global marketplace for Taxi and PHV/VTC. We connect thousands of fleets and their 100s of thousands of drivers to some of the largest customer-facing companies. Whether you are SNCF looking to allow your train travellers to plan their commute from and to train stations across all of France, or wishing to provide your clients with transfers to their hotels in 100s of world-wide destinations, Karhoo allows you, through one contract, one integration and one bill, to accomplish your goals. Karhoo is a positive disrupter, enabling existing actors to transact more widely and efficiently. We believe we provide a responsible path to the new mobilities.
Cargoroo, shared e-cargo bikes – Netherlands – Winner of the Silver Prize
Cargoroo offers shared electric cargo bikes in neighbourhoods of urban environments. Our shared e-cargo bikes are an essential ingredient to the mobility mix of tomorrow and are the solution to moving kids and cargo around town. By doing so we provide a fun, healthy, sustainable and fast alternative to car ownership and city logistics.
OpenAirlines, eco-flying fuel cost killer – France – Winner of the Silver Prize – Winner of the Best Pitch Prize
Air Travel could account for 25% of global warming by 2050 and fuel is the key expense of airlines, representing 30% of their spending. We invented SkyBreathe®, an eco-flying solution based on Big Data that reduces 2 to 5% of fuel consumption without any modification to the aircraft. Using an extensive collection of flight data, Cloud and Artificial Intelligence, SkyBreathe® software provides guidance and a series of recommended actions to help pilots lower fuel use. This digital solution has an already proven impact: last year, it helped 30+ airlines save 100 million of US dollars and 400 000 tons of CO2.
Blickfeld, provider of cutting-edge LiDAR technology for autonomous mobility and IoT applications – Germany – Winner of the Silver Prize
The company has developed proprietary LiDAR technology based on patented silicon MEMS mirrors and commercial off-the-shelf components. The Blickfeld LiDAR product family meets the highest performance requirements at the cost and size needed for mass market adoption. Due to its range of configurable features, the Blickfeld LiDAR technology provides solutions for multiple use-cases. Blickfeld’s team is made up of experienced professionals with renowned expertise in the fields of electronics, optics, MEMS and software. For more information, visit
Einride, all-electric autonomous vehicles services – Sweden – Winner of the Gold Prize
Einride provides transportation as a service, based on all-electric, autonomous vehicles, or “T-pods”. The T-pod (and the T-log, designed for timber) is a no driver cab but can be remote-controlled by an operator when appropriate. No driver transportation means increased loading capacity, greater flexibility, increased safety, lower operating costs, and optimized energy consumption, allowing the T-pod to run solely on batteries, reducing CO2 emissions very substantially.
TWAICE, predictive battery analytics software – Germany – Winner of the Gold Prize
TWAICE supports enterprises across industries with predictive battery analytics software based on digital twins. We empower our customers to develop and use battery systems more efficiently and sustainably while making them more reliable and durable. Precise predictions of battery conditions and aging significantly optimize battery development and use. Exact determination of current condition also enables certification of batteries for reuse and 2nd life. TWAICE was founded in 2018 as a spin-off from Technical University of Munich and is headquartered in Munich. For more information, visit
Shotl, mobility platform for public transport operators – Spain – Winner of the Gold Prize
Shotl is a mobility platform for transport operators, municipalities, corporations and business parks that matches multiple passengers headed in the same direction with a moving vehicle. Shotl is a mobility software (driver and user app and control panel) that helps public transport operators automatically manage and dispatch efficient on-demand transportation services. The solution has been conceived to supplant inefficient bus lines and special transport services that incur very high costs (as people with reduced mobility or PRM), and turn them into new, flexible and dynamic transport services that are able to adapt to demand in real-time.
Cityscoot, free floating electric scooters – France – Winner of the Silver Prize
Cityscoot is leading the European scooter sharing market. The company started operating 150 free floating electric scooters in Paris in June 2016. Since then, it has progressively extended its fleet to 5000 scooters in Paris, Nice, Milan and Rome (summer 2019). The user identifies in the app an available scooter nearby, books it free of charge for 10 minutes, then unlocks it with a four-digit code. The service includes a comprehensive insurance coverage to ensure safe rentals. Cityscoot is the only operator that has developed its own software and hardware technology.
Geovelo, software platform for cyclists – France – Winner of the Gold Prize
Geovelo is a cycling focused software platform, providing a Navigation & Tracking Software that offers features such as real-time GPS navigation, with the possibility to report issues during a ride and check availability of free-floating bikes nearby. The company also provides a dashboard allowing municipalities to access data so as to follow and increase the use of bicycles in the cities.
K-Ryole, electric bike trailer – France – Winner of the Public Vote – Winner of the Best Pitch Prize
K-Ryole is the first painless, electric bike trailer which can carry a load up to 250 kg, securely and without any additional effort, as if there was nothing behind the bicycle. K-Ryole is a breakthrough innovation in city logistics and last mile delivery, enabling a new zero-emission delivery service for congested and polluted cities. It replaces the often-inefficient vans with better suited options for each step in the urban delivery process.

Credit: Michele Spagnolo / Slash Prod

Founded to support startups that develop innovations in terms of sustainable mobility, the European Startup Prize for mobility is a leading public-private initiative launched by Karima Delli, Chairwoman of the European Parliament Committee on Transport and Tourism, and co-founded by Boston Consulting Group and Via ID. Supported by both the European Parliament and the European Commission, as well as by major partners such as ADP, GRDF, Europcar Mobility Group and RATP, the programme rewards the best European innovations in terms of sustainable mobility, by providing them with visibility, a network of qualified contacts and the skills necessary for their development.

Why is everyone talking about MaaS?

The arrival of many new players in the mobility sector has disrupted the balance established over the last decades. These new offers are transforming users’ requirements and their mode of travel in the city. The diversity of mobility services can lead to greater complexity for the user who needs to find the best route alternative and have to switch from one application to another depending on the ≈ chosen operator.

Mobility as a service makes a shift of perspective from the mobility system towards the user. MaaS is a continuous process of aggregation with multiple layers of services and functionalities. It simplifies the shift between different modes of transport for a single trip offering a smooth transition from information, booking to payment.

MaaS is not a new concept… It is important to clarify the difference between MaaS and existing concepts of multimodality and intermodality:

At Via ID, we define MaaS as an aggregation process including a plurality of mobility services and different levels of functionality ranging from information, itinerary, payment, booking to multimodal subscription.

MaaS is a hybrid ecosystem composed of digital elements (platforms, applications) and physical infrastructures (vehicles, roads, parking spaces, stations, etc.).

Why is everyone talking about MaaS?

MaaS is a way to tackle complexity and simplify urban experience. Dense cities offer multiple modes of transport (shared mobility, on-demand, self-service and traditional transport).

Dense cities offer multiple modes of transportation (shared mobility, on demand, free floating and traditional transportation). The arrival of new entrants in this sector lead to more complexity for the user whose dream is to get access to the most convenient modes with the tap of a finger. It will thus be able to choose its modes of mobility according to criteria such as price, travel time, quality of service or safety.

For cities, MaaS represents an opportunity to solve congestion, pollution and parking problems. Cities perceive MaaS as a strategic way to optimize their operations at a reasonable cost. MaaS platforms give the opportunity to combine existing mass-transit schemes with a growing variety of private services.  Public authority should demonstrate their ability to renew the regulatory framework to keep control over transportation management and to lead to an overall optimization.

For traditional operators, MaaS is a strategic pivot. Public transport operators are over specialized over one vertical. They were not initially conceived to become aggregators. Regulatory developments should allow them to exploit their full potential to aggregate multiple services and change their positioning to be more user-centric.

For startups, MaaS is a great market opportunity. Startups developed two strategies to position themselves over MaaS. We can mention startups such as Uber, which already benefit from a high level of traction regarding its critical mass of users. Its leader position in ride-hailing allows it to diversify its assets in order to offer more services and become an aggregator.

Other startups such as Whim or Ubigo are starting from scratch and must set up agreements with the various players in order to reference their solutions on their application.

“MaaS is the new paradigm for the cities of tomorrow.”

Yann Marteil, Chief Executive Officer of Via ID

Today, we identify 3 levels of MaaS aggregation from the simplest to the most complete:

Level 1: Information platform
Level 2: Aggregation platform
Level 3: Subscription platform

At Via ID, we don’t believe in a winner takes all scenario. Different offers via different actors will be set up on a local level (region) depending on the constraints of each territory and the current offers. This plurality will require significant supervision from the Mobility Organizing Authorities, who will have a very important role to play.

MaaS should be seen as a complement to our current uses, whether we are used to public transport, our private car or any other form of soft mobility. The main challenge remains to successfully convert users in order to create value for each actor, whether public or private.

On Tour with #EUSPforMobility

For the 2nd year in a row, 10 of Europe’s most-promising mobility startups will win the European Startup Prize for mobility (EUSP) – a unique accelerator program aiming to facilitate new market expansion for high-impact mobility solutions throughout the European Union.

Officially launched in 2017, EUSP was co-founded by Karima Delli, Chairwoman of the European Parliament’s Transportation Committee, Boston Consulting Group and Via ID, and remains the leading public-private initiative driving ecological & socially-sustainable mobility in Europe.

In 2018, the EUSP team supported the following Top10 European mobility champions: AddSeat, AppyParking, Atsukè, Bestmile, Cargonexx, Cocolis, Klaxit, Whim (MaaS Global), DiniTech (NRGKick), Tracefy & Voltia.

EUSP’s 2019 program is scheduled to begin in Brussels during the European New Mobilities Summit on April 11th where this year’s Top10 startups will be announced & invited on stage to pitch the jury who will determine the 6 winners who will get the Silver Award which includes: tickets & travel to each of the 5 events + demo/exhibition stand + pitching opportunity + private workshop with access to local ecosystem experts + pre-booked bizdev meeting with targeted prospects, politicians & investors + individual sustainability ranking by Carbone4 to facilitate contract negotiations

The remaining 4 winners will be invited to accept their Gold Award which includes everything listed above as well as: special support from EUSP co-founders & 2019 partners via customized business coaching & legal mentoring

NEW this year will be the addition of a Public Choice Award winner, granted to the startup (from the Top10 finalists) that received the most amount of votes via social media!

Before embarking on this year’s 2019 Tour, let’s take a quick look back at the events from last year — including program highlights & special shoutouts to our incredible list of ecosystem influencers that made each city memorable 😉

Latitude59, Tallinn (Estonia) :: May 24th-25th, 2018

Shortly after announcing EUSP’s 1st-edition winners during the Awards Ceremony in Brussels, our first stop on the 2018 Tour was Latitude59. In Tallinn, our EUSP startups enjoyed personalized introductions to local Baltic, CEE & Nordic ecosystem actors as well as pre-booked meetings with other potential prospects during the 2-day conference.

Kicking-off EUSP’s first on-site workshop was Kadri Simson, Estonia’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure who shared critical insights into why Estonia remains so attractive to new / expanding businesses.

We’re proud to have connected our EUSP startups to: Arnaud Castaignet, Head of Public Relations at Estonia e-Residency; Egita Polanska, Program & Partnerships at Startup Wise Guys; Anu Oks, Managing Director of EstBAN; Toomas Seppel of Hedman Partners; Simona Frazzani, Associate at Grimaldi Studio Legale; Martin Gorosko, Head of Tallinn Technopol & Karl Aru, Expansion Manager at Taxify.

IFA Next, Berlin (Germany) :: September 3rd-4th, 2018

After the summer break, we took off in the direction of Berlin for the 2nd stop of the 2018 Tour to attend the infamous IFA Next where we learned how to better understand, negotiate & then navigate the German Tech startup ecosystem. Congrats again to Thomas (Atsukè) for winning the “Best Pitch Award” during the show!

Attending the inaugural Shift AUTOMOTIVE conference (within IFA Next) we were inspired by Karima Delli who presented a keynote address before welcoming Ben Boutcher-West (AppyParking) along with the other panelists to join her on stage for a debate about the issues surrounding self-driving cars & their ability to (re)gain our trust.

Proud to have connected our EUSP startups to: Dirk 0. Evenson, Director of New Mobility World; Tanja Kufner, Partner at MHP /; Urs Rahne, Partner at BCG Digital Ventures; Alexis Hue, Partner at Via ID; Christoph J. Stresing, Deputy Managing Director and Head of Public Affair at BVK; Dr. Norman Röchert, Partner at Taylor Wessing Law Firm; Juergen Mayntz, Head of Business Development at High Mobility & Franziska Ehrhardt, Project Manager Transport/Mobility/Logistics at Berlin Partner.

ITS World Congress, Copenhagen (Denmark) :: September 18th-19th, 2018

The 3rd stop of this whirlwind 2018 Tour was to Copenhagen to check out the 25th ITS World Congress, hosted by our partner ERTICO which kicked off with a workshop on Danish and Scandinavian startup and mobility ecosystem.

The pitch at the ITS Forum in front of potential investors and decision makers gave the startups a unique opportunity to show and explain the latest technologies and services.

Proud to have connected our EUSP startups to: Jacob Bangsgaard, CEO of ERTICO-ITS Europe; Christian Bering Pedersen, Technology & Data Lead at Autonomous Mobility, Alexander Frederiksen, cofounder of Donkey Republic; Yan Yang, Head of Investment at Copenhagen Capacity; Carlien Roodink, Smart Urban Mobility for DG Move/European Commission and Mikael von Dorrien, Senior Innovation Advisor at Nordic Innovation.

AUTONOMY, Paris (France) :: October 18th — 20th, 2018

The 4th stop on the 2018 Tour was Autonomy, where the EUSP delegation got the chance to introduce themselves and present their winning mobility solutions to both Elisabeth Borne, French Minister of Transport and Mounir Mahjoubi, State Secretary on Digital Economy.

EUSP startups then pitched in front of an international mix of investors and potential business partners. Given the continued growth of the French Tech investment ecosystem along with ever-increasing international attention, the timing was perfect for strategic exchanges with key industry leaders during this event in Paris.

Proud to have connected our EUSP startups to: Ross Douglas, CEO at Autonomy; Mathieu Dunant, Head of Innovation at RATP; Jean-Marc Zulesi, MEP at Assemblée Nationale; Jean-François Dhinaux, Head of Innovation at Via ID; Julie Gozlan, Head of #FrenchMobility; Matthieu Pichon, consultant at BCG; Arthur Millerand, lawyer at Parallel & Henri Capoul, French Director at Taxify.

Smart City Expo World Congress, Barcelona (Spain) :: November 13th-15th, 2018

With this 5th & final stop on the 2018 Tour, our EUSP startups were on fire: knocking out their on-stage pitches and confidently taking advantage of their privileged exhibition opportunity to attract even more attention from the event attendees.

We truly enjoyed organizing the Mobility Innovation Workshop at WayraHQ and connecting our EUSP startups to local Spanish ecosystem influencers including Mario Brassesco, Investment Associate at Encomenda; Oliver Grimm, Executive MD at SEAT/JustMoove; Inês Oliveira, Program Partnership Manager at Wayra España; Josep Sole, Venture Maker at OneRagtime; Jordi Torrent, Head of International at Barcelona Tech City and Xulei Xu, CEO & co-founder of NEXT Electric Motors.

Catch us at any of these upcoming 2019 Tour events

Interested in meeting us at one of these events and/or participating as a speaker at one of our on-site workshops?

Speakers for this year’s private EUSP workshops are already being confirmed so please don’t hesitate to comment below or email us directly so we can get you on the list before it’s too late 😉

Article originally published on Startup Sesame’s Blog.

Can Europe compete with the best mobility startup ecosystems?

Together with Karima Delli, European deputy and chairperson for European Parliament’s Transport Committee, and ViaID, BCG has co-founded the European Startup Prize for Mobility (EUSP) in 2018. With the award ceremony for the second edition fast approaching, it is a good time take a step back and analyze the European mobility startup.

Looking at the numbers, Europe is currently behind on the international mobility startup scene. The number of world champions created in the European Union is fairly low. It has five time less unicorns than the US, and is below Israel, a country 60 times smaller. Analyzing the key pillars that made the success of the US and the Israeli mobility startup ecosystems, we can understand why Europe is not competing at the same level as its rivals, and realize the improvements that have been made in the last couple of years.

The US and Israel created successful ecosystems based on common pillars

Israel and the United States are role models when talking about mobility startup ecosystems.

Israel managed, in a matter of years, to revolutionize the field of smart transportation. It counts roughly 600 startups focused on autonomous vehicles and smart mobility, 3rd in the global ranking for number of autotech and mobility companies, in a country with a population similar to New York City. It is the birthplace of some of the biggest successes in the field, namely Mobileye (sold for over $15 billion to Intel in 2017), Waze (sold to Google for $1 billion) or more recently Via.

The US, with a particular focus on the Silicon Valley, has always been at the forefront of the transformation mobility is experiencing. This relatively small 67-kilometer corridor between San Francisco and San Jose is responsible for the emergence of the most dominant companies around the world like Uber, Convoy or Lime.

These two countries think of mobility as a global infrastructure, rather than a collection of separate services. To manage that shift towards infrastructure, they articulated their ecosystems around common pillars. They understood the need to have a strong focus on tech, the benefits of private/public partnerships and smart subsidies, and the necessity to address a global market with appropriate business models. To top it all off, they managed to attract massive private funding, allowing startups to develop on their own, without the need to fully depend on large corporates.

Focus on deep tech

An ecosystem that wants to succeed in the mobility field needs to have a strong focus on tech. Revolutionizing smart transportation requires a cross-pollination across various subsectors in technology (hardware, software, sensors and analytics…) that can only be achieved in an environment fueled by tech culture. The best mobility startups are first and foremost tech startups. For instance, one third of Uber and two third of Via employees are engineers.

Skilled individuals is one part of the equation. The Silicon Valley has top-class universities, like Stanford or the University of California, among the most funded and repetitively in the top 10 global rankings. Same goes for Israel with the Technion. They provide individuals with knowledge in tech and applied research, form communities of expertise and interpersonal networks constantly exchanging and helping each other, driving innovation in the region.

Coexistence with large corporates is the second part. In both ecosystems, corporates work alongside startups and universities to innovate. They have R&D centers in the area where they invest heavily, benefiting to the whole community. To illustrate, Israel is #1 in OECD rankings for R&D investments as % of GDP.

Private and public cooperation and smart subsidies

The US and Israel have strong and increasing public private cooperation. Public authorities have understood that they cannot resolve every issues on their own, and have to work with companies offering innovative, rapid and flexible solutions.

Los Angeles is a very spread-out city and had troubles solving the first and last-mile that makes it challenging for people to get to and from public transit stations. Rather than searching for a long and costly solution on their own, they partnered with on-demand shuttle-based service Via as part of a pilot program to give people rides to busy public transit stations.

Along with those partnerships, they also offer smart subsidies to finance experimentations. They provide substantial funding to allow projects at scale, bringing real value and learnings. The Israeli government is currently building a MaaS experimentation in Tel Aviv, again with Via, offering ~$1200 a year to 100K citizens (a total of over $100 million in funding) if they agree to reduce their use of personal car and favor on demand shared transport through a dedicated app. This will allow the startup to gain experience on the MaaS, and potentially roll out the concept internationally.

Global addressable market and sharp business models

To become world leaders, startups have to think global from the start. With 8 million inhabitants, the Israeli market is too small for ambitious entrepreneurs, so from scratch startups are made to scale and their products are aimed for global use. And with 330 million inhabitants, the US market is large enough to create a potential world leader within the national borders, and quickly after start the internationalization process.

Along with this global thinking, Israeli and US startups also build sharp business models. They seek to mix tactical innovation, putting a stake in the ground with fast-proven business models, and strategic innovation which are essential to building a transformative vision. The transformative vision translates into human centric business models, with the purpose of changing the way people behave. Autofleet for instance aims at changing the behaviors of PHV drivers, by having a new vision with a business model where drivers are paid hourly rather than on a per ride basis. Waze is doing the same with their new short distance carpooling service, organizing focus groups with customers to understand the triggers that makes people carpool and using these insights to adapt their business models.

Attract private funding

Funding is obviously a key pillar in the success of an ecosystem. It provides startups with the ability to expand, experiment, and innovate. Being well funded gives startups the time to develop on their own, be agile with regards the business model and find the best formula to succeed.

The US ecosystem is by far the most funded with $13.5 billion raised by mobility startups in 2018, in front of the EU with $2.6 billion and Israel with $310 million. However, looking at those numbers with respect to the GDP of the regions, Israel comes on top with the EU still far behind.

Europe on its way to replicate those ecosystems, and the European Startup Prize for Mobility is here help

When we started the European Startup Prize for Mobility, our ambition was strong: in a fragmented European market, where talent and funding are scarcer than in the US or in Israel, we wanted to uncover future global leaders and help them scale fast. Analyzing Europe today using the key pillars of the US and Israeli ecosystems, we see where efforts needs to be made, and the achievements that have already been done.

Regarding the focus on tech, Europe is building a handful of tech hubs in its national capitals to try and recreate Silicon Valley like environments. The Plateau de Saclay, located in the south of Paris, is a great example of this kind of initiatives. The project is articulated around two goals; build a university regrouping 14 secondary education establishments and 280 research labs, and incentivize the installation of R&D centers from large corporates. This new university will have the strength to become a global reference in the academic world, and the coexistence with corporates should create a favorable tech environment for the emergence of startups.

Looking at the indicators for the 2019 applicants to the European Startup prize for Mobility, we are proud to see many more tech startups, offering real product and technology differentiation. We find a balanced split between service (Software, platform / marketplace, apps) and product (IoT, vehicle, hardware / equipment) startups, yet many of them fit into both categories, integrating a data collection program or proprietary software in their physical products. This will allow them to be real game changers and encounter far more success.

Public private partnerships in Europe is still in its early days. Few projects exist and they are very local. European mobility players must work in closer cooperation with public authorities to put their innovation capabilities at the service of cities development. The BCG is working to carry this idea across Europe and change the state of minds of public authorities to develop these win/win partnerships.

Same observation can be made for smart subsidies. The total amount is already fairly low compared to Israel and the US, and more importantly it is diluted between too many projects. This prevents the launch of pilots with appropriate scale that could have real impacts and learnings.

Thinking globally remains a challenge for European startups. In terms of size, EU countries are in a grey area between the US and Israel; large enough to peacefully develop but too small to learn how to scale. Startups have difficulties to benefit from the full EU population potential due to the fragmentation of markets, with different languages, cultures or payment methods. They often end up being MVPs in local markets, and can be leaders in their country but totally unknown in the neighboring one. The European Startup Prize for Mobility’s primary mission is to help the expansion into this high potential European market. By giving the best startups the opportunity to travel across the continent and pitch at prestigious mobility events, it gives them the visibility they need to conquer new geographies.

The BCG mentoring is also there to help startups find the sharpest business model. We have, for some times now, encouraged startups to turn to B2B business models and are delighted to see that 75% of 2019 applicants have a B2B approach (vs. 60% in 2018). We will continue to work along this year’s laureates to help them develop scalable, profitable and human centric business models.

Funding in Europe is the hardest pillar to tackle. It is usually the positive results of the above mentioned pillars that tickle the interests of private funds. The lack of funding pressures startups into early exits, selling to large corporates. European entrepreneurs have the belief that their success is measured by the speed at which they can cash out. But once they are bought by corporates, they often suffocate under the weight of hierarchical processes preventing them to reveal their full potential. The European startup Prize for Mobility aims at giving startups the confidence that they can succeed on their own, despite less favorable funding conditions than their US and Israeli rivals. We provide business connections to sign new contracts and partnerships, and a mentoring to strengthen their businesses and attract private investors.

Bolt is an example many European entrepreneurs should follow. Since its launch in 2013, the startup expanded in 30 countries across Europe and Africa by spending less than $100 million. Due to lower funding than their American rivals, they had to developed different skills, focusing on operations and cost management. In comparison, Lyft recently stated in its IPO filing that they had net losses of $911 million in 2018 and that profitability might never be achieved. Using their monumental financial capabilities, they have valued growth over profits for years. But it might not be the right way to go. Indeed, if we take a closer look at the IPO, public markets do not respond very well to this unprofitable growth strategy, with the stock dropping 12% on its second day of trading, below its initial IPO price. European startups might be on a slower but steadier track to success.

Europe has fought for international relevance on the mobility startup scene for the last few years. We now have more and more ingredients to compete at the highest level: A focus on tech with initiatives to create favorable environments, an entrepreneurial mentality that shifted towards the exterior world, and the ability to circumvent funding difficulties. With initiatives like the European Startup Prize for Mobility to help, we believe Europe has what it takes to replicate the recipe of the US and Israel ecosystems, or better yet invent its own.


Bio-gas, an ally of tomorrow’s sustainable mobility

A diversified and cleaner mobility

In 2030, mobility will definitely be more diversified than today. The ways we power our vehicles, whether it is on roads, rivers or rails, will be broader to include electricity, hydrogen, bio-methane (called bio-NGV for bio-natural gas for vehicle), and hybrid systems.

Bio-methane and consequently bio-NGV are locally produced from organic matter and waste through anaerobic digestion, a mature technology that is spreading in many European countries.Bio-NGVcan decarbonize mobility, especially in long distance and heavy-duty transportation, since it generates 80% less CO2than traditional diesel. It alsoimproves air quality, as itreduces fine particle emissions by 93% and nitrogen oxide emissions by 50%. What’s more running on bio-NGV avoids pollution from rare-earths mining.

Bio-NGV will be part of thepower mix that is needed to provide quick, efficient solutions to different types of transport in a low-carbon society.

Green gas mobility is already starting

Green gas as a fuel is well represented at every level of mobility compared to other alternative fuels. Car-makers, like Seat, Volkswagen, Volvo and Fiat, already sell NGV cars and vans on European markets. Many cities, like Milan, Lisbon, Barcelona, Stuttgart, and Paris have chosen NGV to fuel part of their bus and refuse collector fleets. Major food retailers, like Carrefour, Monoprix, and Sainsbury’s already have their goods transported on gas- or bio-gas-fuelled lorries.

This NGV can be – and sometimes already is – replaced by bio-NGV, since bio-methane production is increasing in the EU. 550 plants are already plugged into the gas networks. Gas grids can be an easy channel for a massive deployment of gas refilling points, as they are already extensive – 2.21 million kilometres of network in the EU – and written off. GRDF fully supports this trend in France, where almost 100 biomethane plants are in operation.

On-going research and development will lead to new possibilities in water and rail transportation. GRDF is considering how to green regional trains through NGV and bio-NGV. A pilot project in which GRDF is involved shows bio-NGV could also beneficially power barges in hybrid mode with electricity, slashing air pollution and CO2emissions compared to diesel engines.

Open innovation will make it come fully true

Bringing together different stakeholders will be the catalyst for innovations that will transform mobility. GRDF is committed to facilitating the design of new solutions. We thus have an open-innovation approach to co-develop products and services with partners of our eco-system (start-ups, innovative SMEs, clients, etc.) and to share the created value.

GRDF is the main gas distribution system operator in France. GRDF distributes gas each day to more than 11 million customers to ensure that they have gas when they need it, regardless of their supplier. It builds, operates, and maintains the largest distribution network in Europe (200,750 km).

Why can’t we get away from the car?

What will the car of the future look like? The question has been asked and answered many times already. Two things are for certain: it will most definitely be autonomous, shared and electrical. It will be connected, for sure — it already is. It might even fly, just like in any self-respecting science-fiction movie (it has actually left the realm of science-fiction already, as startups like e-Volo and Lilium, and giants like Airbus and Uber alike, develop their own flying vehicles). But the question remains: can this 21st-century version of a 19th-century innovation truly solve our mobility issues? What is it about the car that makes it irreplaceable, condemning us to keep reinventing it rather than just doing away with it?

Imperfect solutions

Cool as they are, these innovations cannot be the main answer to our sustainable mobility problems. Electric cars are, arguably, the most environmentally-friendly solution when there are on the road — but there are a wealth of concerns associated with the way their batteries are produced (as shown by French journalist Guillaume Pitron in his investigation La Guerre des métaux rares, published in 2018), powered (with coal, renewable energy, nuclear energy?) and reused. While they are recyclable, the sheer number of batteries and the pace at which they accumulate could pose serious problems, as writes The Guardian: “The electric vehicle boom could leave 11m tonnes of spent lithium-ion batteries in need of recycling between now and 2030 (…). However, in the EU as few as 5% of lithium-ion batteries are recycled.” Of course, the recycling industry for this particular product is likely to develop in the coming years. Bloomberg Businessweek also reports that several car constructors are already engaged in finding an aftermarket for these batteries, which retain about 50 percent to 70 percent of their power capacity upon removal. But that still doesn’t make the electric car the all-green solution it’s made out to be.

Autonomous cars are supposed to be safe and able to reduce traffic jams. According to a National Science Foundation study, “having a single self-driving car on the road can reduce congestion by influencing the traffic flow of at least 20 human-controlled automobiles around it,” writes USA Today. When they will be able to communicate with all the vehicles around them, congestion could become a thing of the past. But that is only one part of the picture. As suggests a June 2018 report by the World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group, self-driving cars could actually make urban traffic jams worse. The study, which focused on the city of Boston, found that self-driving cars could lead to a 5.5 percent increase in traffic in the city’s downtown. The reason? “While there will be fewer cars on the road overall, congestion will increase because commuters will likely choose the new vehicles over public transportation,” as sums up the MIT Technology Review. Large cities have been facing the same issue with the development of ride-hailing services: Uber, Lyft and the like have massively contributed to urban congestion because people prefer them to taking the subway or the bus. In San Francisco, they accounted for about 50 per cent of the increased congestion between 2010 and 2016, according to the TNCs & Congestion study, led by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority and the University of Kentucky.

Is the car the best we can do?

Then, there are the flying cars, which are still in the prototyping and proof of concept phase. Their conceptors claim that electric flying taxis will simultaneously allow to cut back traffic and move around in a sustainable way. But the problems posed by electric car batteries will surely apply to these vehicles as well, along with the fact that, for know, these batteries cannot sustain a useful flight duration. “A combination of the regulatory environment and the public’s perception of risk makes it unlikely that flying cars will become ubiquitous anytime soon,” writes Quartz. And when they do, there will be a handful of infrastructural and safety questions to navigate.

In short, no solution is perfect. That’s usually how solutions are: imperfect, and not good enough, but still better than sticking to the status quo. What the efforts deployed to fix the car seems to point at, though, is the fact that we cannot imagine a world without them. Of course, for intermediate distances and in rural areas, they are practical to the point of being  indispensable. But for the needs of city-dwellers, who already represent 55 percent of the world population and will reach 68 percent by 2050, is the car really the best we can do? Is sitting in traffic jams the price to pay for the luxury of being taken from your exact origin to your exact destination? The race to invent the car of the future proves that, to some extent, we haven’t yet fully understood that the solution lies less with technological innovations than it does with usage. The real driver for change is therefore more quiet, less spectacular: it involves carsharing and carpooling, all sorts of soft mobility and intermodality and, above all, the idea that accessing beats possessing. It’s not a shiny flying car, but that’s the stuff of the future.

Mobility as a Service: What’s in it for car dealers?

VEHO, a Finnish car dealer group, might have found the answer!


Over the past few years, Helsinki has been hitting the world’s newspapers headlines with its remarkable progresses in the field of sustainable mobility.

Building on the concept of Mobility as a Service (MaaS), a Finnish start-up, called MaaS Global, designed a new service making all private and public transportation options existing in the city available into a single mobile-app called WHIM.

Much like ordering movies on Netflix or music on Spotify, WHIM aims to fulfil customers’ mobility needs with its service either via a monthly subscription scheme or on a ‘pay as you go’ basis, with no longer the need to rely on car ownership.

Maas Global, and his CEO/Founder Sampo Hietanen, are considered the world ambassadors of MaaS, and for this they have been winning several start-up contests across the globe. Most recently they won the 1st edition of the European Startup Prize for mobility.


All this sounds very nice, but, how can car dealers (whose main activity is to sell cars) fit in this picture? This is where VEHO gets in! Veho is a Finnish automotive company operating also in Sweden and in the Baltic countries. Veho was established in 1939 for the distribution of Mercedes-Benz in Finland. Mercedes-Benz is the core of the company even today. Veho’s future goal is to offer more and more sustainable mobility solutions.

Kenneth Strömsholm / CEO, Veho: “In the future we want to measure our success, not only in the number of vehicles sold, but in the number of KMs travelled by VEHO’s customers. In the rapidly changing market and growing competition, customer loyalty is also a key factor. We are also committed to build everything we do, now and in the future, on sustainability”.

This is why, back in 2016 Veho became a shareholder of MaaS Global. The benefits stemming from this partnership with MaaS Global are twofold. Veho is not just an investor but Veho and MaaS Global have also been developing new kinds of mobility solutions involving cars as part of a big ecosystem made of different kinds of transportation modes.


You are a family man, you need to replace your old family car and you plan to do it with a car loan that you can reimburse monthly.

You also have 2 driving-licenced children, who increasingly put pressure on you to get access to the only family car during the week-end, but they are still students, and therefore do not generate any income yet. In this case VEHO-GO really has the answer for you. By adding some euros more to your monthly rate, you get a tailor-made mobility package including a few days a month of car-rental service + full access to the public transport network (buses, underground, bike-sharing), that both your children can use, without having to buy a second car.


New mobility concepts are coming up everywhere while experts keep announcing the end of car ownership. Car dealers will have to deal with these developments as their traditional business model is going to be affected.

Although this is of course not a one size fits all approach for all the car dealers in all EU countries,VEHO is surely an impressive example how a traditional dealer can adapt to the changes ahead of us.

CECRA, established in 1983, is the European federation bringing together national professional associations, which represent the interests of motor trade and repair business and European Dealers councils. CECRA represents on a European scale 336,720 motor trade and repair enterprises. Together they employ 2,9 million people. CECRA provides representation to its members within the European Institutions with the aim of following-up as well as influencing the decision-making process.

For more information: Bernard Lycke Director General:

Why the suburbs can be a hotbed for mobility innovation

At first sight, it looks like the car is still reigning supreme on the suburbs of Europe and Northern America, with no intention to stop. In the United States, where the suburbs developed in parallel with car ownership, each household owns 1.93 vehicle (the highest rate in the world). In Germany, 70 percent of the people who live in rural and periurban areas drive to work, says Siemens, even though half of these commutes are less than 10 km long and could be covered by bike. In France, the current yellow vest movement has highlighted just how many people rely on their car to go about their day: 80 percent of the population uses one every day. It is even the preferred mode of transportation to go take the train, according to studies conducted by SNCF Gares et connexions: half of train riders arrive at the station driving their own car.

The case for transit-oriented development

The main reason for this preference is how fragmented other options are: even though there are trains, buses, shuttles and car- or ride-sharing options in the suburbs, people tend to still use their car for the totality of the trip if the first or last mile problem isn’t solved. This is in fact the strongest case for multimodality and Mobility as a service (MaaS) that one could make: our best efforts don’t mean much if we don’t help people go exactly from point A to point B.The good news is that the suburbs have what it takes to invent mobility solutions that work for periurban areas and cities alike. As write researchers Pierre Filion and Roger Keil in The Conversation, “an important, underrated aspect of suburban infrastructures is their tremendous importance for how the entire urban region functions. Suburban infrastructure (…) also supports metropolitan and higher-scale purposes.” In China, the satellite city of Tianfu District Great City, outside of Chengdu, is designed “to be self-sustaining and environmentally conscious”; part of that is that “everything is supposed to be so close that you can walk anywhere within 15 minutes,” explains a Popular Science article. Tianfu is an example of transit-oriented development (TOD) which “could serve as a model for the modern suburb.” But even in “older” suburbs, there’s plenty of room for experimentation. Suburban train stations, in particular, are the one place where mobility hubs can truly happen. There, we can test how it truly works to transfer from the metro to the train to your own bike or a free-floating electric scooter or an electric shuttle or a ride-share, depending on the options at hand at the very moment you need them.

Mobility as a Service also belongs in the suburbs

Of course, making that process seamless requires dialogue and cooperation between all the actors involved in local mobility. In the city of Toronto, the Transit Commission is working with smaller surrounding authorities in order to allow users to use a single travel card across the whole network. That move towards MaaS is being embraced by a growing number of cities, such as Helsinki, where an eponymous start-up first started operating before expanding to Belgium and the Netherlands — MaaS Global was among the winners of the European Startup Prize for Mobility’s first edition in 2018. In France, the upcoming loi d’orientation des mobilités (LOM) will require regions and associations of municipalities to “ensure that citizens have access to territorial continuity in their commutes.” That will most likely imply a tight private-public collaboration. As MaaS Global’s co-founder Sampo Hietanen tells The Guardian, “No transport provider has enough supply density to provide the same service as owning a car. If you want to tap into the 85 percent of the market owned by the car, the only way is to have everything combined.” And the suburbs and periurban areas are where the bulk of this combination will have to happen if we are to set free from the monopoly of the individual car. “Having to deal with severe infrastructure inadequacies, suburbs offer fertile ground for infrastructure experimentation and innovation. (…) We thus expect the future of urban infrastructures to emerge from the suburbs,” write Pierre Filion and Roger Keil. We will also be watching closely.

Read more:

Solving the Cooperation Paradox in Urban Mobility”, BCG, 2018.