smart launched its ‘urban pioneers idea contest’ in 2016, looking for the most innovative visions for the urban future. At the me Convention, 12 start-ups were invited to a second round of the competition, focusing on living, electrical and environmental solutions for urban spaces. While being driven through a parcours in a smart electric drive, each contestant had three minutes to pitch his/her idea to the jury led by Head of smart Dr. Annette Winkler.
In the final, the category winners met for a last pitch. The first business model presented was Loud Steps by Boni, a beacon-based navigation system, allowing people to easily navigate complex venues for visually impaired and deaf people. Loud Steps helps venue owners to drive traffic to specific points of interest and also to ensure safety. It already is available in some venues and has partnered with various NGOs.
The second contestant, Berlin-based Ubitricity, wants to solve the problem of lacking charging stations for electric vehicles. It has developed a mobile charging infrastructure that can be set up at lamp posts within half an hour and provides an intelligent charging cable allowing users to control their electricity payments. The start-up has successfully implemented its solution in parts of London.
ResQClub, the third competitor, is a Helsinki-born app connecting restaurants with surplus food to hungry cost-aware customers, trying to change the fact that up to 25% of food in restaurants is being wasted. With the ResQ app, users can locate a restaurant nearby that offers their extra food and can pick it up for a cheap rate. After initial success in Finland, ResQClub is currently expanding e.g. in Europe.
After challenging the contestants with tough questions the jury awarded the first prize to Boni (20.000 €) and the second prize to Ubitricity and ResQClub (10.000 € each). Furthermore Dr. Annette Winkler announced that smart is aiming to support all three start-ups an individually fitted version of the “urban pioneers support program”.