Results of SNCF Accelerator Season 1
In a few weeks we will complete our first group of companies accelerated in cooperation with SNCF Réseau. We are pleased to say that of the 5 companies in the group (one internal team and four external teams) all have been a success.
In the beginning of this message, we will provide an update to the current season and then make our call for season 2. In a follow-up post, we will describe our goals for season 2. If you are interested in the new projects, please do not hesitate to e-mail either me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org or the general contact: email@example.com with your comments and questions. We have an application, but we are OK with discussing it with you beforehand. We can give a very quick indication if you are a strong candidate and explain what exactly we are looking for in candidates. We do not want to waste your time. We will tell you if there is little chance of success before you dedicate too much time to the application process.
We have a great group of startups who were fun (sometimes challenging) to work with on these projects. It was the first time SNCF Réseau had run a program like this – so we all had a learning curve and now have a smoother operating project. This was in a large part due to the success of the Season 1 startups and the efforts of their project managers in SNCF.
The goal was to match startups to problem sets within SNCF Réseau. The companies were accelerated at Tektos and we worked closely with the Innovation department at SNCF Réseau to help the startups create a product, or modify an existing product, for use within SNCF. Each company received a small sum of money at the start, 5 000 Euros, training at Tektos and office space, without cost, at Tektos for six months. The companies also had access to the Tektos network in London and America.
Two of the companies are in advanced negotiations to make more than one enterprise sale to SNCF. The internal team from SNCF has redefined a process and has the project plan to significantly streamline their operations. A fourth team has just completed an advanced prototype which significantly improves their existing product. The fifth team successfully completed their project – however, the value proposition might not be high enough to make it a viable product. This is not a problem for the team, as they determined other industry partners where the value proposition is high enough.
In particular, we had the following companies in Season 1:
Ermeo – A company which has a mobile solution to improve maintenance with visual guides.
NFC Interactive – have a number of solutions using NFC, BLE, beacons, custom hardware and mobile delivery
Ubimix provides interactive maps which use drag and drop tools for either diagrams or pictures
Data Nova provides high level machine learning solutions to complex problems.
One very good aspect of this program was the pairing of a startup with the internal team which is the potential customer. Each division within SNCF spent time explaining their needs and worked collaboratively with the startups. It took a little while to change the relationship from large company to independent software vendor (ISV) to partner. After that transition, it was easy to see the value added possible for both participants.
We will start our second season at the beginning of April. We are looking for 4 startups to work on areas of innovation for SNCF in IoT, sensors, data analysis, converting processes to mobile and managing complex mission critical processes. The problem sets will be described in our next article. Stay tuned.