After a successful first seasonUnibail-Rodamco, the European leader in commercial real estate, has selected six new startups for its UR Link support programme, in partnership with NUMA. They will thus be able to develop and test their solutions in the Group's shopping centres. The Group is accelerating this open innovation strategy by investing €15 million in two funds managed by Partech Ventures, whose objective is still to transform retail.
Convinced of the need to work in open innovation, Unibail-Rodamco launched the UR Link programme in 2016. It offers start-ups access to the Group's shopping centres and their nearly 800 million annual visitors, as well as personalized coaching from Unibail-Rodamco experts, entrepreneurs and mentors from the NUMA innovation ecosystem.
For this second season, UR Link wants to focus on solutions to make shopping centres livelier, more sustainable and better integrated into their environment. This project is in line with the Group's new CSR strategy, "Better Places 2030", which aims to reduce its carbon footprint by -50% by 2030.
Operating in a wide variety of promising sectors - eRH, commerce, robotics, carpooling, etc. - the six selected startups work on themes as diverse as urban agriculture, urban mobility, social networks and "living together":
-• Transaction Connect turns buyers' credit cards into a loyalty card;
-• Spoon designs autonomous and intuitive robots shaped to meet the needs and habits of each customer ;
-• Karos, a pioneer in "short car sharing", puts mobile, big data and machine learning technologies at the service of daily mobility by transforming private cars into public transport networks;
-• Under the Strawberries designs, implements and manages organic production systems for edible plants in urban areas;
-• Kairos Fire allows to build consumer profiles according to the places visited.
The teams of these six startups will be housed for this new season in the Mixer, Unibail-Rodamco's collaborative innovation centre, inaugurated last September at the Group's headquarters.
"With this accelerator, Unibail-Rodamco is pursuing its innovation strategy by intensifying its collaboration with high-potential startups. It is also a winning partnership between Unibail-Rodamco employees and these young entrepreneurs. The Group is accelerating the transformationof its assets and invent the business of tomorrow through this co-innovation process." explains Matthieu Nicoletti, Director UR Link.
A successful first season for UR Link: 5 pilots launched in several of the Group's centers and proposals for large-scale deployment
During Season 1, which took place between March and July 2016, UR Link teams accompanied 5 startups selected from over 150 applications received: Amano, deliver.ee, Dress in the City, My Pop Corner and Visibilishop.
Each of these startups benefited from tailor-made support and was associated for four months with a pair consisting of an employee and a member of Unibail-Rodamco's management teams.
In May 2016, five operational pilots were launched on the Forum des Halles, 4 Temps and Parly 2 sites, generating significant revenue for the startups and enabling them to test their service with tens of thousands of customers in the centres.
Espace Click & Services aux 4 Temps - La Défense
Following these four months of acceleration, partnerships are being developed for large-scale deployments within the Group's assets in France and Europe. Dress in the City will thus be deployed in around ten centers in Europe by the end of 2017.
Acceleration of the Group's open innovation strategy
By creating UR Lab in 2013, then UR Link in 2015, Christophe Cuvillier, Chairman of the Management Board of Unibail-Rodamco, wanted to accelerate the Group's innovation strategy in order to invent the shopping centres of tomorrow and strengthen its leadership.
UR Lab's vocation is twofold: to anticipate the innovations of tomorrow's business, and to continuously infuse a culture of innovation within the Group. Unibail-Rodamco thus aims to develop the best products and services for its customers, partners and teams in collaboration with designers, startups, developers and researchers. Numerous innovations are currently being deployed within the Group in catering (The Dining ExperienceTM), fashion (The Designer GalleryTM), services (4-Star label, Click & Services, customer comfort (washrooms, rest areas).
To accelerate this transformation, an open innovation strategy must be developed through strategic partnerships. The Group has just invested €15 million in two funds managed by Partech Ventures, one of the leading European venture capital players, with offices in Paris, Sillicon Valley and Berlin. Partech Ventures is notably known for having invested in LaFourchette and Sigfox. Thanks to this investment and the expertise of Partech's teams, the Group intends to accelerate its innovation strategy with startups and build winning collaborations with them.