The Startup Lab is a well-structured acceleration program that helps entrepreneurs to deliver solutions to transport poverty problems at least at Minimum Value Product level.
The HiReach fieldwork confirmed the complexity of problems for population segments with low access to mobility. Such complex challenges require new approaches. The project strategy is to build on innovative components, which do not rely solely on the knowledge base of experts and persons who usually deal with transport issues, but also entail a combination of bottom-up initiatives with new operational schemes and IT applications. The Startup Lab arises here as the perfect background to explore novel, yet viable, business models for small scale, modular and easily replicable mobility services. The ambition is to explore fresh ideas developed by bright entrepreneurs, dully supported by a professional accelerator company. Arguably, startups can disrupt the transportation sector and act as game-changers, by bringing onto the market new transport schemes and practices that make use of recent advances on Internet of Things, cloud computing, mobile, communications and guidance technologies.
The Startup acceleration programme offers mentoring services, technical expertise and financial support to assist the 23 startups that were invited to develop projects that improve the mobility of European citizens facing transport poverty.
These groups include children and young people, the elderly, women, people with reduced mobility, immigrants and ethnic minorities, people living in isolated areas, populations of low-income and unemployed, in urban, peripheral-urban, rural or remote areas.
Impact Hub Vienna is running the accelerator that consists of a one-week bootcamp and 3 months acceleration programme.
- Stage 1 – A selection of top 23 startups was involved in a one-week bootcamp, where they learnt about business model innovation, startup methodologies and tools, get additional product validation, define the value proposition and prepare a business case which was pitched to project representatives. The bootcamp was a competitive arena where only the brilliant and creative ideas can survive to the second stage
- Stage 2 – The best 10 startups, selected from Phase 1, were invited to a highly intensive 3-month follow-up acceleration programme to detail the technical solutions and business model that would make their transport poverty solution viable. During this period, entrepreneurs are offered the chance to use an open toolbox developed by HiReach and gain a competitive advantage for accelerating novel mobility products. The 10 startups showcased at the HiReach Startup Showcase in June 2020.
- Stage 3 (current) – The best 5 startups, selected from Phase 2, are meeting and networking with decision-makers, consultants, customers, investors and industry operators to test-bed their ideas under real-life conditions, providing unprecedented international recognition and a fast-track to entering a huge untapped market. The 5 startups showcased during the virtual HiReach Final Demo Day in September 2020.
A critical aspect for the HiReach project lies in understanding whether the new solutions are effective to tackle accessibility and transport poverty.