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VINCI AUTOROUTES LAUNCHES CONNECTED MOBILITY START-UP ACCELERATOR

VINCI Autoroutes is launching a connected mobility start-up accelerator to support innovative entrepreneurial initiatives in the travel, commuting, road safety and environment sectors. The first three start-ups selected are receiving support from VINCI Autouroutes employees, all experts in their field. Start-up Wever, for instance, unveiled an urban car-share trial aimed at students in the Alpes Maritimes, south of France, on 7 October 2015. With this accelerator, VINCI Autoroutes is strengthening its open innovation strategy to invent, with its partners, the connected motorways of the future.

09 October 2015
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An open innovation strategy to design new digital services
VINCI Autoroutes added structure to its innovation strategy in September 2013 by creating the VINCI Autoroutes Lab. Working with regional mobility players in an open innovation approach, its goal is to identify promising start-ups and test with them their new applications under full-scale, real-life conditions on the motorway network. This innovation strategy has now taken a further step forward with the creation of the VINCI Autoroutes accelerator.

A dedicated support programme to accelerate project development
Start-ups joining the VINCI Autoroutes accelerator benefit from a programme of support for their development over successive six-month periods, with three main objectives:
- to have their project checked by VINCI Autoroutes accelerator mentors, experts in their field;
- to develop pilot tests under real conditions on the motorway network;
- to facilitate establishing contact with VINCI Autoroutes’ business and institutional partners with a view to finding development opportunities.

Each start-up is supported by a VINCI Autoroutes expert and may benefit from business premises, free of charge, near Nice or in the Paris region. New start-ups will be recruited regularly by VINCI Autoroutes.

The VINCI Autoroutes accelerator is already supporting three start-ups identified at the VINCI Hackathon held in Nice in April 2015.
- Wever: an urban car-sharing social network which, patterned on public transport lines and stops, puts passengers and drivers with similar interests in touch with each other in real time so that they can optimise their mobility journey experience;
- The Little Extra: a service that converts time spent in public transport into money by getting passengers to participate in product surveys in an entertaining way and enabling them to win prizes;
- BabbleCar: a connected vehicle social network that enables vehicle occupants – complete strangers – to communicate via their number plates.

Positive results already
Wever, a young start-up in Nice, is the first to test a themed, short-distance car-sharing service targeted at an especially receptive public for this type of trip: students.

According to Olivier Alamo, VINCI Autoroutes director of marketing and services: “The goal of the accelerator is to give start-ups access to our business expertise and provide them with the best conditions for testing their services on our network. A test under real conditions with our 2 million customers a day can give start-ups very concrete, credible references to move forward with their development. For VINCI Autoroutes, it’s a means of exploring new digital services and new uses, particularly the economy of sharing, in an open innovation approach that is agile for partners and customers alike.”

For Thomas Côte, CEO of start-up Wever: “Support from the VINCI Autoroutes Accelerator is a unique opportunity since working alongside a major French industrial group gives us huge credibility. The business expertise of the VINCI Autoroutes mentors helps us refine our strategy and the scope of our trial. The possibility of testing our services on VINCI Autoroutes customers is also a great opportunity to bring our daily car-sharing service to the attention of a wide public. Lastly, the premises provided by the VINCI Autoroutes accelerator at Mandelieu were very timely, coming along just when we are almost doubling the Wever workforce.”