The HiReach Startup Lab has supported several promising startups to tackle transport poverty. 10 startups, out of 23, had the chance to evolve, receive mentorship and establish partnerships with real-life hosts, that paved the way for validation tests in pilots in different EU regions. To help startups wishing to embrace new challenges and policy makers and investors supporting them, a transferability and scalability analysis was conducted. In a nutshell, transferability can be understood as a process in which knowledge – i.e.: business model – about a given arrangement – i.e.: startup – in a setting – i.e.: a market – is used in the development of an arrangement in another setting. On the other hand, scaling-up refers to the ability of a business model increasing the customers and, consequently, the revenues, above the costs incurred in serving the new customer-base.
Startups typically aspire to score high in both parameters. They are designed to grow fast and to conquer new markets. To help them adequately evaluate their potential and make that step, 7 prototypes of business models were inferred from the 10 startups that have participated in the acceleration phase of the Startup Lab. The development of the prototypes of business models was based in an iterative methodological approach. A prototype of business models is regarded by the well-known author Alex Osterwalder as a “thinking tool” to heuristically support and guide the actual development of the business model by the interested stakeholders. Stemming out of the joint transferability and scalability analysis of each prototype of business model, a consolidated analysis has shown that the opportunities for grow are varying:
Prototype 1, the Inclusive journey planner, was designed to reduce digital exclusion, by allowing people with specific needs to easily interact with online platforms and make it easier for people fulfilling their daily mobility needs. Scalability and transferability for this business model are both regarded as low. Prospects for transferability however increase when analysing the market of peripherical EU regions, where the baseline for multimodal travel planners is low or none.
Prototype 2, the Audio mobility assistant, was designed to promote the autonomy and independence of people with disabilities and to increase the convenience, safety and security of multimodal journeys among visually impaired citizens. This is the business model with highest scalability and transferability potential, capable of prosper in such contrasting places as Romania or Luxembourg.
Prototype 3, the Carpooling for commuters, was designed to facilitate daily mobility needs, particularly reducing the burden of caretakers. The potential for scalability and transferability is medium. The former is facilitated under the B2C business model and the latter is leveraged by the absence of significant laws or rules which could raise obstacles for implementation (the carpooling market is open).
Prototype 4, Mobility & transport poverty consulting & services, was designed to provide onboarding services for customers, especially big employers located in rural or isolated areas. This consultancy-like business model was regarded as entailing no room for scalability and a very low level of replicability potential to areas suffering from mobility poverty (with the exception of heavily industrialised areas).
Prototype 5, Data analytics platform, was designed to enable businesses and cities to leverage data, make data-driven decisions and improve their mobility in order to act more effectively on the transport poverty domain. Although the value proposition is high, findings from the scalability analysis have shown that the potential to grow is reduced due to the resistance to change of public bodies. This conclusion is aligned with the transferability assessment, which found several obstacles, mainly due to traditional administrative procedures that usually hinder the introduction of innovative ways of collecting, sharing and analysing information and data.
Prototype 6, Delivery of goods, was designed to serve people that cannot go directly to the stores, especially elderly people, citizens with reduced mobility or those who live in rural and deprived areas. There is a high demand for these services, particularly during the Covid19 restrictions. The repeatability of the value proposition of this solution was regarded as very high only among the same country. This conclusion is also consistent with the transferability analysis which found that the potential to entry in new countries is limited. Moreover, this business model might come across with conflicts between key stakeholders, as a result of diverging material interests, which is expectable as the BM developer need to interplay with multiple actors (pharmacies, which may be organised together in associations, but also couriers that materialise the delivery).
Prototype 7, Multisided platform for shared services, was designed to provide reliable transport in the form of a demand-responsive transport service, serving especially people living in rural and deprived areas. The scalability of this business model is low due to the dependency on the policy and procurement processes of local public authorities and market fragmentation. The transferability potential is however fairly high, with findings suggesting that this is the business model with highest value proposition for both the market of the study areas and other deprived settings around Europe. The main drivers that facilitate the replicability of this market segment is the presence of a progressive mobility agenda from the transport regulators.
You may find more information in our deliverable here.