Ferrovial’s model of open innovation, based on seeking cooperation with external partners that best complement the company’s needs and abilities, identifies startups as one of the key actors in this model, with the objective of accelerating the process of innovation. Ferrovial organizes and participates in various initiatives that encourage collaboration with startups. Among these, the following are particularly noteworthy:
Ferrovial Corporate Day: Ferrovial, along with the European Commission’s SME Instrument Business Acceleration Services, organized Ferrovial Corporate Day in Madrid this past November 28. This is a one-day event where Ferrovial invites startups that have already been funded by the European Commission’s SME Instrument to present their products and/or relevant solutions to Ferrovial’s business units. Twenty startups from nine countries gave their presentations to an audience consisting of representatives from Ferrovial’s 4 business units. The workday was also open to those related to the field and Ferrovial’s partners, with representatives from other companies and institutions such as UPM, Adif, Telefónica, Enel and Enagas, among others, also in attendance. In addition to the workday, more than 50 meetings were held between the startups and Ferrovial’s business units with the objective of identifying use cases for the solutions presented by the startups. In less than one week, 4 pilot projects were signed between Ferrovial and startups that participated in Corporate Day.
Build Up!: Build Up! is the corporate call through which Ferrovial launches innovation challenges for the field of startups at national and international levels. On Thursday, November 22, 2018, the final session of the second edition of Build Up! took place, where 5 finalist startups for this call presented their solutions to a jury of experts. The challenge of this second edition was focused on finding solutions that would drastically reduce the use of LAG (Liquid, Aerosols and Gases) bags at airports. That is, those bags that we have to put liquids in when we fly with carry-on bags. This challenge, proposed by the Centre of Excellence for Sustainability at Heathrow Airport, aims to reduce the environmental impact of these bags, as the number of bags used every year is greater than the number of passengers taking off and/or landing at Heathrow. The winning startup was Austrian startup Goodbag, which proposed a solution that aims to incentivize passengers to act more sustainably through the gamification of the user’s experience. Now, Goodbag will have the opportunity to try out this solution through a pilot project at Heathrow Airport. In addition, this second edition of Build Up! had the invaluable support of the Spanish node of Climate KIC Spain, the largest public-private collaboration in Europe focused on innovation for mitigating climate change, and of which Ferrovial is a main partner.
Ferrovial, in turn, also participates in other open innovation programs coordinated by third parties such as: Smart Open Lisboa (SOL), focused on the validation and integration of innovative mobility solutions; Intelligent Mobility (IM), an initiative associated with Transport Systems Catapult and Wayra UK designed to attract new, disruptive businesses to the United Kingdom’s transportation supply chain; Datacity Barcelona, which aims to take on the challenges of cities and develop solutions for building efficient, sustainable cities; Gamechangers & Cities, a program promoted jointly by UnLtd Spain, Ferrovial Services and the Camilo José Cela University, which has the objective of promoting entrepreneurs that are building the sustainable cities of the future.
Moreover, this year Ferrovial was again present at the most important events and conferences in the world of entrepreneurship in Spain, attending South Summit, 4YFN and Startup Olé. As in previous years, Ferrovial had a strong presence at South Summit. This year, Ferrovial once again had a stand and was also present at practically every stage at South Summit, where representatives from the company participated in round tables and conferences. Of particular note was the presence of Federico Flórez, CIIO of Ferrovial, who moderated a round table on mobility of the future on the main stage of South Summit, which also had the esteemed participation of Alastair Macleod, CEO of Teralytics, Rika Christanto, COO of OnTruck, and Nir Erez, CEO of Moovit. In addition, Ferrovial, together with Amadeus and BBVA, participated as sponsors of a hackathon on TravelTech. A big change this year was that Ferrovial, through Wondo and Zity, was the official Mobility Partner of South Summit. Ferrovial also continued strengthening its relationship with some of the most important regions for startups, such as Europe, Israel, Silicon Valley, and Austin. The relationship between Ferrovial and Atómico, a VC of which Ferrovial is a Limited Partner, is also of note.
The benefits to the company that have come from collaboration with startups in the last few years are now being recognized with Europe’s Corporate Startup Stars prize, confirming the commitment to open innovation through startups. The Europe’s Corporate Startup Stars awards, handed out by the vice-president of the European Commission, Jyrki Katainen, in Brussels on November 22, recognize the commitment that large European corporations have made to innovation by promoting and collaborating with the development of tech startups.