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, SNCF, EU Travel Tech, Railcoop, RATP Group, and CER.

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