Circular economy is one of the industries Beta-i is focusing on in 2021. Finding new solutions that will reduce or eliminate waste while optimizing resources is a priority. Besides, innovation in this area has a great potential to grow.
SOL Green Capital is one of the examples of this year’s effort for a more sustainable world. This is the Green and Circular economy vertical of Smart Open Lisboa (SOL), a startup implementation program designed to upgrade the city’s life. Smart Cities focus on Green and Circular economy.
Focused on the validation and integration of innovative solutions, SOL Green Capital complements Lisbon’s identity as the European Green Capital 2020. Also, it leverages on collaborative innovation to turn it even more people-friendly, green and sustainable.
SOL Green Capital has been taking applications from startups to work closely with the piloting partners Águas de Portugal, Brisa, Delta Cafés, Galp and SONAE Sierra.
Applications closed on March 7, 2021 with a total of 188 applications from startups in 39 countries. As the eligible solutions should focus on turning the city smarter, greener, and more sustainable, they must also address one or more of the six challenges presented by the program. All challenges were represented in the applications received:
After a first screening of all applications, the pre-selected applicants will be performing an online pitch before the jury. Afterwards, about 15 to 20 startups will be taking part in the Bootcamp of the program.
Only the ones with the strongest fit will be moving forward to the Experimentation Phase. This is where the startup teams will work closely with the program partners who have selected them and work on their pilots, together.
SOL Green Capital’s Bootcamp will take place in April 2021. The Experimentation phase will occur right after, from April to July of the same year.
The third edition of Smart Open Lisboa (SOL), an open-innovation programme connecting some of the most relevant players in the residential and commercial real estate sector with startups to implement innovative solutions in the city of Lisbon, is currently in its pilot development phase.
This means the extraordinary startups that triumphed in the bootcamp are now developing solutions with the SOL Housing partners to be applied in the city of Lisbon.
Let’s meet some of these innovators and the solutions they are bringing!
Louise Rogerson, COO of Howz, has a mission: to improve the living of the elderly population so they can be independent for as long as possible. They developed a solution that measures an elderly person’s home electricity usage via clamps, sockets or from their smart meter and fuse this with data from other sensors. They then build up a pattern of daily behavior. Thanks to machine learning they identify unusual activity or trends and notify the family in case of abnormal activity.
Alfredo AIis a Portuguese startup that was born when its founders needed to find a house and couldn’t find enough real-estate information. They now provide real-estate stakeholders with a time-efficient and objective way to access the market and each individual property.
The third edition of Smart Open Lisboa (SOL), an open-innovation programme connecting some of the most relevant players in the residential and commercial real estate sector with startups to implement innovative solutions in the city of Lisbon, finished the Bootcamp phase and chose the startups implementing pilots in Lisbon.
Where it all starts: the Bootcamp
The SOL Housing Bootcamp happened between 18th and 22nd of March and featured 19 startups selected from a batch of 95 applicants. During this time, the 19 startups had the opportunity to present themselves and to meet the partners, workshop sessions with the Beta-i team, and one-on-one meetings with the partners to really match and aligned their solutions with the partners’ needs.
The one-week Bootcamp is the central piece to the work startups and partners will do in the piloting phase, as Miguel Tânger, Co-founder and Head of Open-Innovation at Beta-i, explained:
The Bootcamp is a critical piece of the whole process because it is where startups and public and private entities meet for the first time, they try to look at the future together and find a way to pilot a solution for the future.
These startups are joining the partners and developing almost 40 pilots in the housing sector to be tested and implemented in the city of Lisbon.
It was an amazing successful Bootcamp, and the partners are interested in keeping conversations going with the startups that were not selected, to monitor their growth and eventually partner up in the future.
SOL Housing has the goal of making city management smarter and upgrade city life for Lisbon’s citizens through practical solutions. It will all culminate on the Demo Day, on the 27th of June, where the solutions found will be presented.
Smart Open Lisboa continues to unite the biggest players in different sectors in Lisbon with the most innovative startups to create a better user experience of the city for Lisbon’s citizens. Rethink spoke with Guillermo Campoamor, CEO of Meep, to get to know their work in the program and the future of mobility.
Meep App is a multimodal journey planner that combines all modes of transportation available in a city into a single app. With Meep, users can plan, book and pay for rides, eliminating the need to use more than one application.
Through the app, customers can choose the best way to reach their destination, according to their own priorities: being able to choose between the cheapest, the faster or the greener routes.
SOL Mobility Piloting
For their SOL Mobility pilot, Meep partnered up with Carris, Emel (specifically Gira, the bike sharing component) and CML (Câmara de Lisboa) to aggregate all transportation resources into a single app. Lisbon locals and tourists would be able to plan their daily routes using bicycles and buses. The Meep app would display real-time information for both the bus stops and bike stations so users will have the opportunity to combine both modes of transport in a single route, based on their preferences. Through this pilot, they hoped to improve the mobility ecosystem, making public transportation more attractive and increasing the accessibility of the city by creating routes that no one has previously provided.
RT: What were your goals in joining SOL Mobility?
GC: Our primary goal with SOL Mobility was to create a feasible pilot in Lisbon that would become a successful product deployment, integrating all transport operators in the city. We recognized that the participating partners in the program are key players in the mobility ecosystem who could, therefore, help us establish a network in Lisbon, and make it possible to deploy Meep as efficiently as possible. A very important component to our goal was to be able to adapt Meep to the local market. Thanks to the insights and mentorship we received through SOL Mobility, we managed to quickly adjust certain features within Meep to accommodate the unique characteristics of the city like creating a custom button through which users can apply their monthly pass.
RT: How was developing the pilot along with the partners?
GC: Developing the pilot with the partners added a valuable perspective to our experience in deploying Meep. We were able to observe and learn from the developments along the path to launch, especially changes and needs in integrations. For example, at the beginning, Carris and Gira were the first to jump onboard as principal partners, while Camara de Lisboa joined as an observer. As we made progress and our positive impact on the city spread, other partners outside the SOL mobility program like ecooltra and emov joined the platform. We also saw some partners, who had expressed interest from the start, have to opt out due to technical difficulties.
RT: What is the impact you believe an app like Meep can bring to the city of Lisbon?
GC: All features of Meep aim to improve city life and travel by decreasing the use of private cars and making transport more accessible, user-friendly and ecological. Through more efficient, integrated travel, Meep will reduce travel costs and conserve much-needed time for Lisbon residents. Further, by creating previously unexplored routes, remote areas will become more connected and therefore more livable. Meep will also make life easier and more mobile with in-app ticketing and payments – the next step in deployment. As we continue to develop, we hope the platform will serve as a mobility marketplace within which users can interact with the information in the platform and with each other, giving the city of Lisbon the most accurate and updated user behavior and data with which it will better serve the people.
RT: Are there any first results of success you can share?
GC: Thus far, we have seen Meep users in Lisbon use the app to create endless combinations of different transport modes between buses, bikes, motorcycles, metro (Gira) and scooters. We are growing fast, and more and more people are choosing Meep as their preferred transportation app. Since our recent launch in November, we have more than a thousand active users per week. For now, they are mostly younger techies who want a better way to move around.
RT: What are the next goals for Meep?
GC: Next goals for Meep in Lisbon are to add kick-scooters to the platform and to progressively integrate payments for current operators.
We are also actively increasing the area that Meep covers in Lisbon so that we can connect to other municipalities. We believe this is important for current and potential Lisbon Meep users because many of them commute back and forth on a regular basis.
We are excited to see how the app progresses in the city, and how we can use the data to advance city living and tourism.
Mobility as a Service
Meep believes they are an integrating part of a new business model – Mobility as a Service – that is rising to meet the new challenges of mobility in the cities.
The pressure of population growth, pollution, and traffic in the cities demand that we re-think how transportation services are currently provided and used, to streamline one of the most important parts of city living: getting around.
We can’t wait to see where Meep and Lisbon’s mobility solutions go next, and we’re also very excited about the startups on SOL Housing, the new vertical of Smart Open Lisboa, that kicked its Bootcamp this week – read about it here.
Smart Open Lisboa (SOL) is an ambitious initiative that aims to involve startups and their innovative solutions in contributing towards a better, smarter and more efficient city. Its third edition gains steam, as the Bootcamp phase of SOL Housing kicks off today in Lisbon. The Housing vertical is dedicated exclusively to solutions for smart cities focused on the value chain of the commercial and residential real estate.
The Bootcamp will happen between 18 and 22 of March, in Beta-i’s headquarters and it brings 19 selected startups from the applicants batch to meet the program partners.
Started in 2016, Smart Open Lisboa, now in the SOL Housing vertical, is turning the city of Lisbon into a laboratory of experimentation, with utilities and companies working with startups to solve problems and make the citizens’ lives easier.
The program is backed by the city hall (CML) and it partners up with several major players in the market. Together they are making Lisbon an entrepreneurial city, making an investment into upgrading city life.