13 European startups and SMEs took part to a Smart Mobility mission in San Francisco and its sourroundings.
The 13 companies selected after the Open Call 2 of European project MobiGoIn-Action took part to a customised US mission. They were accompanied by 4 European clusters in charge of the project: Mov’eo (leading the mission), Torino Wireless, Media Evolution and Bwcon.
Aiming to internationalise their activities on the American smart mobility market, the European entrepreneurs took part to a business-oriented mission during 4 days. Among the proposed activities: expert presentations, coaching sessions, exchanges with mentors, B2B sessions with US companies, pitch evening in front of US investors and industrials, smart mobility sites visits, etc.
The participating companies
The 13 SMEs came from France, Sweden, Italy, Germany and Ireland.
- CLEM is specialised in electric car sharing, charging station management and car pooling. Clem is a leader in peri-urban and rural areas.
- KNOT is a self-service scooter service which allows people to travel easily on the last mile problematic. The service is managed with a mobile app.
- KSH has developed a proximity detection system for two-wheeled motorcycle helmets and a medical identification system for accidents.
- MOBEELITY has developed an intermodal platform bringing together public and private transport means to optimise daily travels. It uses technologies such as AI and geo-predictive algorithms for better user experience.
- UBITRANSPORT has developed smart transport systems targetting urban and sub-urban areas, as well as schools, outside of major cities. Ubitransport allows operators to manage their bus fleets and commutes to better understand uses and to optimise networks. Travelers can benefit from real time information.
- UCONEKT is a security company which mission is to create a secure environment for people exposing their personal identity. It provides access control, payment and personal identity services. It is meant to be used in the automotive sector with the uBolt.
- APPARKINGSPOT has developed a new concept for renting and sharing parking spaces between organisations, individuals and businesses. A kind of Airbnb for car parking, including sensor technology to monitor the use of garages.
- COSMO CONNECTED has developped security solutions for 2-wheelers (all types) including brake lights connected to the external environment. A built-in fall detector alerts and automatically sends GPS coordinates to emergency services.
- ENERGY ELEPHANT has specialised in energy management for cities and offers a real-time fuel monitoring sensor incorporating AI with automotive sector uses.
- PARK SMART has created a street parking sensor which indicates in real time parking lots availability in monitored areas, integrating video cameras, all with an app.
- STANDARD DEVELOPMENT GMBH has created a sensor-based waste management system that automatically provides data on the fill level of garbage containers. Data is then processed in real-time to define optimal lifting points and routes, before being communicated to collecting trucks.
- TOPP is a graphic design company which has developed Noodl, a platform for iterative design of new products. Customers can prototype, test and develop interfering products with an application available for the automotive sector.
- XMOTION has developed a system for monitoring the health status of vehicles. Using vehicle sensor data, driving behavioral analysis and other key contextual information, xMotion technology predicts the lifespan of vehicle components using a saavy combination of algorithms and AIs.
Among the partners we have met in San Francisco
Throughout the 4 days, the MobiGoIn-Action participants met with plenty of actors in the field of smart mobility, ranging from investors to manufacturers and also municipalities, large groups, startups, experts, etc. These American stakeholders had been previously identified within the valuable networks of French Tech Hub and Silicon Valley Forum. More specifically, they had been targeted based on the expressed needs of the 13 European SMEs, while considering their sectors, field of activities and maturity degrees.
Among the partners met: Alliance Ventures, Autotech Ventures, AXA Lab, Cisco, Conduent, County of San Mateo, DAHER, Ford, Founders Space, French Tech Hub, Get-Next, GrowthX, Hyundai CRADLE, Icebreaker Ventures, Ivy Mobility, KVB Partners, Workshop BNP Paribas, LEGALSV, Off the Grid Ventures, Orsay Consulting, Parsons Corporation, Perkins + Will, Plug & Play, Ride, Ridecell, Samsung Electronics America, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, San Jose City, Silicon Valley Forum, TomTom, Top Funnel, Uber , Urban Radar, Valeo, Capital Ventures, Volta Industries, Wards Intelligence, Zipcar, Zoox.
The challenges of Mobility in San Francisco
Over the past 10 years, San Francisco (and its immediate surroundings) has experienced significant changes, most of which have impacted mobility. Since 2010, there has been an increase of +5,000 residents and +175,000 jobs, exceeding all expectations. The city has now 883,000 inhabitants and 720,000 jobs spread over an area of 49 square miles. Historical records.
As a result, the city is facing major transportation challenges, including increased demand for transportation, soaring infrastructure needs and a skyrocketing congestion.
All of this within the context of a greater variety of available transportation options (bike sharing services, kick-scooters, electric scooters, TNC like Uber and Lyft, electric / connected / autonomous cars, etc.)
The city has promoted sustainable transportation modes such as public transit, cycling and walking. To achieve its climate change goals, and as part of its new Transit First Policy, SF has invested heavily in sustainable transport with the objective of reaching 80% of the overall transportation by 2030.
In this context, and to better cope with ongoing mobility challenges, a report was published by the SFMTA on 28/01/2019, eximining recent trends in the transportation sector :
Public transport: slight increase
Over the past few years, the city has invested heavily in public transport: faster “Muni” bus lines, networks better adapted to the demand, development of the ParaTransit network for the elderly and disabled, renovation of BART/Caltrain networks etc. As a result, the use of public transport has slightly inscreased (+5% compared to 2010), in contrast to the period 2000-2010, which bucks the current national trend (experiencing an overall decline).
Decreasing since 2015 (partly due to lower fuel prices). In 2019, large public investments are planned on mobility infrastructures to buck this trend.
Even more present than before. Congestion has increased. The total number of vehicles registered in the city has increased by 6% (due to population growth and despite the fact that the registration per driver ratio is slightly going down). But it is especially the road traffic entering the city that has increased by 27% and which accounts a soaring congestion. Furthermore, Uber and Lyft represents 15% of all trips to SF (45,000 active drivers), accounting for about half of the total car increase (the other half is related to the increase in population and employment). The city is struggling to reduce the amount of cars.
New forms of mobility (supported by the city)
The transportation options in SF have changed a lot in just a few years. New technology-based services have reshaped the transportation landscape and the role of the city within the regional economy. SF is acting as a trail blazer in the testing of new mobility services, being fully aware of the opportunities in terms a safe and sustainable urban mobility. Here are some of the mobility forms primarily supported by the city:
– Free-riding electric bikes: growing. Notably with the record-breaking of Ford GoBike in early 2019 and the Uber Jump which has recently received official clearance to double its fleet.
– Free-sharing electric kick scooters: Bird and Lime were banned from SF in June 2018 as a result of many controversies, and especially because they did not ask for the municipality authorization beforehand. The city then changed its mind by opening a call for applications for companies to operate as part of a pilot program. To everyone’s surprise, two local startups, Skip and Scoot (625 scooters each), won the call in front of Uber, Bird, Lime and Lyft.
– Free-sharing vehicles: There are currently 202 authorised parking spaces for Getaround, Zipcar, Maven and U-Haul. On average 19 unique users each month.
– Free-scooters and electric scooters: One license holder, Scoot, which has a fleet of approximately 550 vehicles serving approximately 2,000 average trips on weekdays.
– Suburban shuttles: The city supports some employers who provide private shuttles for the transportation of employees living in SF and whose workplaces are outside the city. But the failure of Chariot (Ford) in early 2019 illustrates the difficulty of making this type of shuttle profitable nowadays.
Thanks to all the SMEs that participated in this mission and to our partners who for their valuable insights and knowledge! This experience was unique for the European companies involved and some of them are now considering cooperation with US partners (commercial, technological, etc.) .
As a cluster, Mov’eo has also developed lasting relationships with both service providers and local ecosystems met. To be continued…