Renault to support automotive startups in tech incubator

15 March 2022

tech incubator

Carmakers are looking to startups for the latest innovations in the realms of energy, new mobility services, and connected vehicles. Renault Group has launched a startup tech incubator, dubbed Software République, along with five other companies to accelerate mobility-related projects.

Over 18 months, participating startups will develop projects with at least two members of the incubator, which will provide these young companies with additional resources and mentoring that Renault said was a tailor-made support programme.

Apart from the French carmaker, five other companies helped launch the startup tech incubator, including Atos, Dassault Systèmes, Orange, STMicroelectronics, and Thales. Pitched as an ‘open innovation ecosystem for sustainable, secure and intelligent mobility’, the project was launched in Paris.

It gives startups access to 15,000 experts, specialised resources, testing capabilities and data assets. The on-demand mentoring includes guidance on the market and competitive analysis, finance, business plans, human resources, pitches, and presentations as well as user experience and interface. The young companies will also benefit from independent legal counsel that covers support on legal and fiscal matters.

The shortlist

The first group of startups focus on a variety of fields, including smart mobility, charging, and software. UK-based Angoka is part of the tech incubator programme, with the company wanting to protect the future of smart mobility and smart cities. It was launched in 2019 and provides hardware-based solutions to safeguard critical machine-to-machine communication integrity and data provenance. The aim is to create trusted connections, regardless of the network. The startup’s smart technology promises to heighten the cybersecurity and safety of devices, vehicles, and networks.

Another company that made it onto the shortlist is Geoflex, which describes itself as a cutting-edge cloud service operator that enhances GPS/GNSS-based applications to 4cm positioning on land, at sea and in the air. It provides universal hyper-geolocation to cars, trains, ships, drones, and smartphones. Based in Paris, the company said the market it addresses will grow from €23 billion in 2020 to €42 billion in 2025.

Cybersecurity, connected vehicles, charging

Parcoor was also among the winning startups. It develops innovative embedded threat detection solutions, which are deployed on devices to ensure cybersecurity and autonomous, real-time detection of potential threats. Its services are based on what it calls a novel approach that combines system core data monitored in real time and machine learning algorithms.

Active in the field of connected vehicles, Vianova is a newcomer that develops road safety algorithms, which it says will benefit both cities and drivers, helping identify dangerous incidents on the roads or areas of high risk. The company has five offices across Europe and is backed by RATP, Contrarian Ventures and Rebel Group.

Infrastructure and charging services for electric cars is another topical area that Wattpark, ‘the Airbnb of chargers’, wants to address. The startup gives owners of charging stations the option to share and rent their plugs, helping users locate charging points, also making it easy to connect and pay for the service. The company says it offers the first-ever bookable charging points that can be reserved and monetised, helping to operate an EV charging network ‘powered’ by the community.

Other carmakers are also eager to back startups. Last year, Ford partnered with Newlab, a multi-disciplinary technology centre focused on future mobility projects. It supports a new programme, centred on technologies, product collaborations, and business models backing cleaner transportation. It selected five startups to participate in the inaugural cohort of its Mobility Studio, piloting new electric tech.

More recently, Polestar joined forces with Swedish innovation hub MobilityXlab to foster collaborations between promising tech startups, hoping to drive change in the automotive industry. Polestar said the partnership will help it work with innovators to bring value to its car business.