Attentive has been in Beta-i’s ecosystem for a long time – they were winners of the Fall Edition of Lisbon Challenge in 2015. Since then, they have grown their company and took advantage of Beta-i’s network and events – just like Lisbon Investment Summit.
ReThink: What first attracted you to attend Lisbon Investment Summit the first time around?
Daniel Araújo: We were part of the Beta-i community even before the first edition of the Lisbon Investment Summit, so when we heard about it we were very excited about having an informal gathering of many of the key European investors interacting with early-stage Portuguese startups. Since that first edition, Beta-i always brought a nice element of surprise, in the content and in the venues, that kept the event’s unique positioning untouched.
RT: What did you enjoy more in your experience at LIS?
DA: I’d highlight the vibe that you feel among all the attendees – positive, open, constructive. There’s always a lot to talk about around the content of the panels, and the event feels designed to leave some room for casual interactions. This makes it incredibly fruitful. Did I mention that everyone seems to be having a great time? 🙂
RT: How did your attendance at LIS impact your business?
DA: Every year, participating in LIS allows us to strengthen and reinforce our connections to the ecosystem, especially around investors. We’ve got several investors that we meet only at LIS, despite us participating in other events across Europe and the US. We also got to meet many partners of the Portuguese ecosystem, which have supported us in so many different ways over the years. I get asked many times by early-stage founders how to kickstart their network, and my invariable answer is: go to the Lisbon Investment Summit – network and absorb the great content.
RT: You recently announced your latest investment round of $1.2M, led by Mangrove Capital and Indico Capital Partners. Did Beta-i or LIS help you get in touch with your investors, or in some other way?
DA: Beta-i and LIS are intrinsically linked to our company’s first steps, so they played – actually, they still play today – a very important role in our development and growth. Not only did the event kickstart our network when we were starting, but we also refined and tuned our pitch, improved the way we communicate our vision and contributed to us getting access to TechStars. After meeting several dozens of investors, Mangrove, Indico and we were incredibly aligned on our vision for what Attentive can become. Moreover, they have an incredible track record, which will surely help us as we grow.
RT: Why do you think Portuguese startups are so relevant and able to attract foreign investment?
DA: There’s a very combination of benefits that Portuguese startups can and should take advantage of, several of them have been shown repeatedly at #LIS: English-speaking, global ambitions, strong universities, and talent. In the last few years, as investors started to come for LIS and the Web Summit, they have built a local trust network that gives them the confidence in our talent. I’m pretty sure that will only increase over the next editions of LIS!
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.
The circular economy has been gaining momentum in recent years. The urgency created by the impact of consumerism on the planet’s environment has created urgency in governments and consumers to support and make the necessary infrastructure available.
So far, the development of tech has been focused on supporting and improving the traditional solutions that already exist and enable circular economy: waste collection, sorting, and recycling.
However, new developments and advanced technologies can and will bring the next level of innovative solutions to enable an (almost) complete circular economy.
Augmented reality can be useful to in several levels of the circle. This tech can help several activities performed become more efficient, reducing its costs. It’s also useful in the prototyping processes by visualizing design prototypes in 3D, and testing and redesigning manufacturing processes, reducing or eliminating entirely the use of some raw materials.
In real life:
Scope, a Canadian firm specializing in AR solutions for industry, has developed a software tool called WorkLink that can transform traditional paper-based work instructions into Smart instructions, It uses animated, intuitive, 3D computer-generated imagery that overlays on top of the real world.
Internet of Things
Internet of Things (IoT) systems can be an enabler of circularity, offering assistance in the process of resource recovery. Smart objects can give info about their location, status or need for upgrade. IoT can also be used in predictive maintenance (determining the condition of in-service equipment or machinery in order to predict when maintenance/servicing should be performed) to maximize product life span and reduce costs.
In real life:
San Francisco and London have installed solar-powered automated waste bins that alert local authorities to when they are full; creating ideal routes for trash collection and reducing operational costs by 70 percent.
Big data play a big role in making industries and supply chains more efficient. It can be very useful for route optimizations, reducing risk, streamlining manufacturing and making supply chains more transparent, by enabling businesses to make decisions based on accurate data-driven insights.
In real life:
DHL has a Big Data Business Platform that supports all its activities. It uses data collected by sensors, on top of getting data from the financial industry, public authorities, retailers, SMEs, and its own research. DHL uses the technology for route optimization, strategic network planning, operational capacity planning, risk evaluation and resilience planning, customer loyalty management, and environmental intelligence (statistics on pollution, traffic density, noise, parking spot utilization, etc.)
Platform Economy refers to digital marketplaces. Amazon, Alibaba, etc, already changed the way consumers buy industrial products. It’s a concept that can be applied to help implement what is called ”Industrial Ecology” – the concept that the waste of one industry can be the input of another one.
In real life:
Organix an online marketplace for organic waste. It links organic waste producers with biogas operators to facilitate energy recovery from such waste.
Product as a Service
This is a business model in which manufacturers retain control of the product throughout their lifecycles – instead of selling the products, they lease them to costumers. This means that the responsibility of disposing of the product at the end of its lifecycle shifts from the consumer to the manufacturer. It also opens the possibility of recycling or refurbishing the product to give it a longer life span.
In real life:
DriveNow is a sharing service that offers a fleet of the latest BMW and Mini vehicle models. Users can locate a car and unlock it using an app, use it, then park it again.
Famous for its use in Fintech, Blockchain represents trust in transactions, since there is no third-party intervention. It can be leveraged by the circular economy too: blockchain technology can be used to make supply chains more transparent by tracking products from the manufacturers to the shelf. This access to information can help customers be informed about how the products were made and shipped, empowering them to make environmentally friendly decisions.
In real life:
Provenance uses blockchain to make supply chains more transparent, It builds a traceability system for materials and products. It gives consumers information about suppliers by tracing the origins and histories of products.
Circular Economy is all about closing the loop, but unfortunately, not everything can be recycled back to a raw material state to be re-used. Upcycling enables creative re-use of products for different purposes (without breaking them down). Companies can find alternative inputs for their products, and customers can find ways to re-use their products once they’ve reached the end of their lifecycles.
In Real Life:
Samsung has introduced Galaxy Upcycling, which is a program that enables the embedding of IoT in old smartphones to be used in households. On their website, they suggest ideas for using the phones, and they offer the software and the hardware (sensors). For example, the device could be used to monitor fish tasks, check conditions, and give food to fish while the owner is away.
Smart Open Lisboa is the open-innovation programme of the Lisbon Municipality that is bringing innovation to the city in several different verticals. The last edition was focused on the mobility vertical, and brought several startups who are successfully working with programme partners to implement pilots in Lisbon. Let’s get to know some of the on-going projects!
Eccocar wants to make your fleet more efficient
One of the programme’s startups, Eccocar, is implementing a pilot in partnership with Ferrovial and Lisbon’s Municipality to help increase the efficiency of their fleet with a car sharing principle. They hope to show their success by measuring KPI’s like management time (the time spent by the user booking the vehicle), fleet usage time, driver per car and fuel consumption. By digitizing the fleet, they hope to reduce costs, make better use of the cars and maintain the same level of service while reducing the fleet.
See the video below for a full explanation of the project:
Wall-i is creating sensors for better experiences
In partnership with Metro de Lisboa, Wall-i is installing visual sensors in key locations inside Metro stations around Lisbon.
The sensors create a heatmap to get more accurate data about the flow of users in the station, helping managers make better decisions. The sensors are also installed in entrances to detect and reduce fraud in the ticket validation gates.
This startup is also testing weather sensors all over the city, this time in partnership with Lisbon’s Municipality, to collect better environmental data in key points of the city: measuring things like CO2 level, humidity, temperature, noise level, etc.
This product is just one of many developed by this innovative startup. Get to know them here:
Shotl is changing the shuttle business
Another startup featured in this open-innovation programme is Shotl, who is trying to modernize the shuttle service.
Their mobility platform matches multiple passengers headed in the same direction with a moving vehicle. This service is especially thought out for suburban areas with less public transportation connections, and for passengers with reduced mobility, who are often confronted with fewer solutions and access.
In SOL Mobility, they have partnered up with Carris, the main bus provider in Lisbon, to implement their model in order to create an on-demand bus service for people with reduced mobility.