7 Nov 19

What's up, pitches?

On paper, each of the 9 candidates for the Fleet Europe Innovation Awards and the 9 candidates for the Smart Mobility Start-up of the Year Award had an intriguing proposition. But the 18 rapid-fire pitches on the Smart Mobility stage really made each idea come alive. And that’s not the only thing we learned, yesterday at the Fleet Europe Village. 

Whether they were CEOs or sales agents, each of the people who took to the stage for the two series of pitches – one for each Award – were clearly so passionate about their product that they could easily have talked for much longer than the few allotted minutes. The countdown lent a fascinating urgency to each of the pitches that made it impossible to look away.

Voting system
Adding to the excitement was the voting system. All contestants were hand-picked and evaluated by a professional jury; but their judgment only counts for 70% of the end result. The remaining 30% consisted of votes by the public, via the Fleet Europe Summit website. 

All of which adds up to a winning formula: the power of the spoken word, passionately delivered, proved much more revelatory about each of the products than a written text could ever be. (Sorry, you had to be there!)

But that’s not the only insight we got. While there was some thematic overlap – everybody’s into sharing these days – the two series of pitches definitely had a different feel. And that’s no coincidence. The candidates for the Innovation Awards tended to be established players in the fleet and lease ecosystem. The ones for the Start-up Awards are, well, start-ups: typically small, eager teams with a strong focus on tech. That produced some interesting dichotomies.

User experience
“The Start-up pitches focus on solutions for the mobility issues of tomorrow, while the Innovation ones offer solutions for the problems that their mobility clients face today,” observes Sven Van Rossum, Fleet Europe’s Head of Innovation, member of the jury for the Smart Mobility Start-up Award and presenter of both series of pitches. 

As the pitches for both Awards underlined, the approach between both types of companies can be very different: “Start-ups tend to take an issue – say, sharing – and work towards optimalising usage. But the more established players will take the same issue and focus on improving the user experience.”

What’s certainly true for both Awards contestants, is that they’re both very much focused on how data and technology can deliver the solutions of the future. “It’s not like we’ve had contestants in either category offer radically new leasing formulas, for instance,” says Van Rossum.

So, what were those pitches all about? Here’s a quick-fire overview. 

Smart Mobility Start-up of the Year Award

Autofleet has created the first, truly sustainable Vehicle as a Service (VaaS) layer, providing an elastic supply of vehicles serving any source of demand. “We close the  gap between the demand for ridesharing and the supply of fleet vehicles,” said Adam Simkin, Head of Business Development.

Chargery is a full-service platform for future mobility. “Current shared-mobility solutions are not profitable due to inefficiency in operations,” said CEO Christian Lang. “Our platform optimally combines downtime with the services needed – for instance eliminating hours of processing from the time needed to recharge an EV.”

Chargetrip offers smart navigation for EVs. “Differences in plug types, charging time, charging power and more create barriers to EV adoption. We remedy this by calculating optimal charging station stops for your EV trip,” said CCO Peter Waller.

Fleetonomy’s AI-based platform helps automakers, rental companies and mobility service providers to maximise their fleet potential by enhancing efficiency and increasing utilisation. “Our end-to-end white-labelled platform powers Havn, JLR’s chauffeur service now in operation in London,” said Marketing Manager Ofir Gattenyo.

Meep is a mobile app that encourages a modal shift towards more sustainable travel by integrating all available modes of transport in a city, both public and private, into a single platform. “This is the answer to the problem of inefficient transportation in cities, which will increase as cities grow,” said CEO Guillermo Campoamor. “Be a Meeper!”

Nauto’s retrofittable device assesses how drivers interact with the vehicle and the road ahead and warns them to prevent collisions. “The device recognises eye, head and body movements that could precede a problem, such as yawning, or eating behind the wheel,” said Frank Bunte, General Manager EMEA. “It can also detect policy violations, like smoking or not wearing a seatbelt, and report this to fleet managers.”

Shotl is a mobility platform that empowers transport operators to supply on-demand bus services. “We have great transport options in urban centres, but low-density areas suffer from inefficient transport. Our app can help improve low ridership by up to a factor 15 after one year,” said CCO Gerard Martret. 

Vaigo enables employers to implement smarter, flexible mobility policies by taking on the administrative hassle. “Vaigo is the connection between flexible mobility policies, employers and their drivers,” said CEO Roeland Vanrenterghem. 

xMotion’s fleet maintenance optimisation software and vehicle health monitoring technology help fleets to improve their maintenance and repair activities. “Our software is device-agnostic and works with any existing telematics service provider,” said CEO Thurston Adams. 

Fleet Europe Innovation Award

Sunhill Technologies
PayByPhone Fleet is a solutions for businesses to manage parking expenses and for employees to park on- and off-street with an app. “No more looking for coin money, worrying about prolonging the ticket, and fleet managers and accountants get a direct, digital overview of cost,” said Olivier Ziesemer, Senior Key Account & Business Development Manager.

Arval Car Sharing is a fully digital solution for the mobility needs of companies and their employees. “The Belgian Army – one of our customers – has used this to reduce their fleet size by 35%, from 1600 to 1000 cars, for the same 38,000 drivers,” said Amélie Phélip, Arval Mobility Director. 

The Sixt App integrates rental, car-sharing, ride-hailing and e-scooter services. “It’s live in Germany and we’ll introduce this in the rest of Europe over the next 12 months,” said Stuart Donnelly (pictured, in orange shoes), Senior Director Group Corporate Sales (EU/USA). “We’ll also add routeplanning, an option for mobility budget subscription, more micromobility, and rail content and ticketing.”

Fleetondemand’s Mobileo is the world’s first business MaaS platform. “We’re launching in Europe next year, and we plan to be the first truly pan-European business MaaS supplier,” said Marketing Director Matt Lenton. 

OTA Keys
OTA Keys proposes Keys as a Servics (KaaS), a global solution for use by car-sharing businesses and rental companies with modular software and hardware solutions. “It’s the first mass-produced virtual key system,” said EU Product Manager Bertrand Castillon. 

ALD Move is ALD’s first MaaS app, providing real-time travel insight and advice to improve efficiency and optimise multi-modal mobility. “We interviewed our customers about the future of mobility for building this app, and we’ll continue to involve them to evolve it,” said Niels Onderwater, Innovation Marketeer. 

Back on stage, Stuart Donnelly presented another Sixt innovation: Sixt Flats – a subscription offering various flat-rate formulas, as an alternative to leased vehicles: “This bridges the gap between car ownership and the future of mobility.”

C-Bond Systems
C-Bond is a patented, water-based, non-toxic nanotechnology designed to increase the structural integrity of glass. “In the EU, 15 million windshields are replaced every year. So this product is of interest to fleets, rental companies and insurers,” said Toon Sanders, European agent of C-Bond Systems.

Geotab’s Monitoring EV Performance with Telematics helps fleet managers unlock EV-specific data, enabling them to manage their whole fleet, consisting of electric and/or other vehicles. “EVs need to be monitored differently from other vehicles. But they also need to be monitored together with them,” said Tamás Halbrucker, Solutions Engineer at Geotab.  

Public voting for both Awards closed at midnight. Return to the Smart Mobility stage at the Fleet Europe Village today (7 November) at 5 pm for the announcement of the winners. 

Authored by: Frank Jacobs