Growth Lab: The start-ups community that simplifies your work life

Last January, the Growth Lab platform was launched. As a service from EIT Urban Mobility, the digital product is aimed at those urban mobility entrepreneurs who are tired of losing time looking for opportunities and people to help them solve challenges. Hence, the Growth Lab combines all these opportunities in one place to give you the most valuable resource of all: time.

The Growth Lab community gathers funding opportunities, calls for projects with cities, the latest sector news, connections with peers in the sector, events, educational content and more.

In a few words, EIT Urban Mobility Growth Lab is the first exclusive community for urban mobility start-ups, where the most promising start-ups Europe-wide are selected to become members.

Growth Lab can help you stay focused on your business since its purpose is to simplify the work life of entrepreneurs acting in the urban mobility sector with everything on one platform. Members will:

  • Get free credits and discount offers for SaaS products and Cloud providers  
  • Find curated opportunities for growth (funding, network, business)
  • Continue learning and upskilling via special courses
  • Receive special offers for events and conferences
  • Connect easily to your peers Europe-wide
  • Access selected news & studies

Do you want to check what the platform looks like? Watch this brief intro: https://youtu.be/w_YBjjhlzmU   

By being part of the EIT Urban Mobility ecosystem, urban mobility start-ups will get the first opportunity to join the platform and try it out, free of charge, until the end of April, Starting on 1 May, a paying model will be implemented to monetise the project.

Join now and experience how entrepreneurs can save time, receive curated opportunities, and be in the right place with the right people to connect with: https://growthlab.eitum.eu/  

Why we invested in Walk15 – Counting steps towards sustainable mobility in CEE

Nowadays, the online toolkit for active mobility enthusiasts is abundant and represented by multiple mobile apps having at the core couple of common features: (1) activity tracking; (2) data storage and personal analytics; (3) community building interface; and (4) interoperability with frequently used software. Some of them are aimed at sports fans betting on sophisticated functionalities while the others – to enlarge the total addressable market (TAM) – welcome any type of user. In the past years, in line with public debate on mobility challenges in rapidly growing urban and suburban areas, as well as with the burning issue of global warming, gamification apps for clean mobility gained attention. Since the idea of converting one´s sustainable and healthy choices into benefits is straightforward and building scalable business models in the niché is challenging, the competition is ultimately tough.

Even despite unfavourable winds, many decide to take their ideas and test them in real market conditions. The incentives come from public authorities, ranging from local to governmental bodies, keen on supporting businesses that are clearly citizen-oriented and for the public good. With academia broadly addressing the advantages of such subsidies on health, environment, or local economy, it seems to be a so-called safe bet for public money to be spent. If yes, why is private software subsidized by local authorities not omnipresent and fundamental to short-distance urban commuting? 

The answer is complex and subject to the respondent´s profile, however, the traction due date is clear in two points, namely: (i) increasing motivation threshold and (ii) lack of long-term profitability. The first point refers to decreasing motivation as the value of the reward received by the user is perceived over time as insufficient to maintain engagement. A straightforward solution to this problem is not feasible due to the second observation which is a high percentage of bankruptcies for companies losing access to public aid. Central programmes are usually, and due to various reasons, constrained in time, thus sooner or later every venture working with public bodies is about to face the realities of undistorted market competition.

This bumpy trail has been already half-completed by Walk15, one of the recent investees in EIT Urban Mobility´s equity portfolio. With an impact-driven investment thesis and appetite to be a non-local investor across Europe, entering into new geography intertwined with the unveiling of a vertical that was missing the due date. Why did EIT Urban Mobility decide to join the second part of the walk as an investor?  

To start with, the main reason lies in clear vision. The impact-driven mission of Walk15 is to assist people in the continuous process of shifting their daily habits towards healthier for themselves and sustainability from an environmental perspective. The company, through its step challenge solution, is working with businesses nudging them to have a closer look at the benefits coming from more motivated and cohesive and physically active employees.

The idea – resonating with the mission of EIT Urban Mobility – was framed in a defensible business model, proved at its early stage with market traction growth of 800% in two years. Walk15 paved the way to the successful closure of its first fundraising following the mechanism discussed above, i.e., gaining the attention and trust of public authorities. However, this was only the very first step in order to increase success odds, followed by swift introductions to investors and businesses in the region. To this date, over 1,000 B2B clients have used paid Walk15 services in Lithuania, Denmark, Latvia, Germany and other countries.

First pilots and commercial cooperations proved that the company is living up to its values on the field, contributing both to society and the environment. As one may believe, it is not only about the steps that have the power to substitute combustion engine vehicles and help to maintain physical shape. Here is also where the reward programme comes into the picture. Different to many similar initiatives where collected points can be traded for discounts for any type of product/service, only actual steps – not points – can be collected in the steps wallet of the app #walk15. Walk15 supports only local, sustainable, and planet-friendly options. In partnership with IKI (part of Rewe Group), a Lithuanian supermarket chain, the consumer could exchange their steps for a discount on fruits and vegetables. The first-of-its-kind deal with National Railways of Lithuania gave steps discounts on train tickets meaning economic reinforcement of multimodal journeys and integrated mobility schemes, being often declared as insufficiently addressed bottleneck by citizens. On the current lookout for fundraising for an expansion to Germany and having potential customers pipeline in Poland, yet much more potential could be unlocked with scale.

To sum up, a high-level strategy complemented by an actionable plan – two inseparable components all investors are keen to see – played strongly in favour of Walk15 when reaching out to EIT Urban Mobility.  The company´s name – mentioned in previous paragraphs – always refers to the team that is of utmost importance – especially at the early stages where all the efforts are accompanied by high uncertainty of the results. With the core team stemming from the world of professional sport, and later complemented by highly skilled IT and business profiles, it marks all the boxes of well-optimized human assets.

These are only brief highlights of introducing a Lithuanian company to our community. The investment decision process at EIT Urban Mobility is a multi-stage, structured work with further information and literature available at the dedicated website. To wrap up, and recap on the portfolio-building strategy, it relies on such pillars as supporting inclusive teams; playing the role of non-local investor in vulnerable entrepreneurial ecosystems; and promoting technological excellence with impact embedded at its core.

Do you want to know more about the Walk15 mission and its software? 
Visit the company website and LinkedIn.

This article is part of Why we invested? series presenting EIT Urban Mobility equity portfolio.


About the author

Mateusz Kaluza – investments analyst at EIT Urban Mobility, passionate about data and active mobility. Scouting for impact-driven innovations enabling a shift towards citizen-oriented transportation systems. Contact at: mateusz.kaluza@eiturbanmobility.eu

Supporting literature and sources:

Permanently Open Call for applications – Financial support to start-ups

Urban mobility is undergoing one of the most transformational shifts of a generation. A successful strategy in the industry requires the adoption of a comprehensive and coherent approach, centred on innovative ventures that are disrupting this landscape.

This drastic global transformation may account for the potentially disruptive long-term impacts, where the new pace of living, consuming, and behaving in cities create a new paradigm for mobility companies to develop products, services, and technologies in all facets: collective, individual, and goods transport.

While the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the economy, the crisis has also encountered major opportunities for innovation and investments. Examples of drivers underpinning this ongoing transformation are mobility companies with high financial, and environmental impact and growth potential.

In pursuit of leading positive change and business prosperity, EIT Urban Mobility is granting financial support up to €500.000 per company in mobility ventures to accelerate their journey, continue critical innovation and ultimately transform the European urban mobility landscape.

We look forward to receiving your applications for inclusion in the Business Plan 2023-2025.

Call Main Features 


Call for Applications Main Features
Key dates of the call calendar• Call opens: 3 March 2023  

• Cut off dates:

• First cut-off date: 03 May 2023 at 17:00 CET
– Eligibility and admissibility check: May 2023
– Pre-screening and evaluation of applications: June 2023
– Communication of result: June 2023

• Second cut-off date: 07 July 2023 at 17:00 CET
– Eligibility and admissibility check: July 2023
– Pre-screening and evaluation of applications: August 2023
– Communication of result: August 2023

• Third cut-off date: 29 September 2023 at 17:00 CET
– Eligibility and admissibility check: October 2023
– Pre-screening and evaluation of applications: November 2023
– Communication of result: November 2023

• Call closes: 1 October 2023
Total EIT Funding allocated to this call The total EIT funding allocated to this call are 3M EUR* **  
*Out of which up to 1M EUR dedicated to support start-ups from RIS countries only. **The total amount could be increased based on the budget availability of the Impact Ventures Area.
Link to the submission portal The EIT Urban Mobility AwardsForce Platform will be available as of 3 March 2023
List of documents to be submittedApplication form is available on the EIT Urban Mobility AwardsForce Platform.
List of documents to take into consideration•        Call Manual
•        EIT Urban Mobility Strategic Agenda 2021-2027
•        Eligibility of expenditure
•        Appeal procedure
•        Project Implementation Handbook
•        Horizon Europe Grant Agreement (specifically articles 16 and 17)
Short summary of the topics to be addressed EIT Urban Mobility – Impact Ventures Funding support programme grants funding support to start-ups offering innovative urban mobility solutions to create a more social and healthier environment in cities.

As an impact investor, EIT Urban Mobility invests in solutions that contribute positively to at least one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to sustainable cities and communities, clean energy, and climate action. Furthermore, EIT Urban Mobility encourages inclusive and gender-balanced teams to apply for this funding on green mobility. 

To stimulate the talent and entrepreneurial mindset in all of Europe, EIT Urban Mobility pays special attention to start-ups incorporated in the 
Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS), where conservative and risk-avoiding policy-making can slow down change and innovation. 

The Funding support programme offering to start-ups includes real product-market fit as well as access to enter international markets faster.
Pre-screening and evaluation criteria applicable to all the topicsFor the applications assessment:

•        Product & Technology
•        Market & Business Model
•        Team
•        Scalability
•        Impact (Environment, Society, Health, and Knowledge)

For the online live-pitches assessment:

•        Alignment with EITUM vision
•        Team capability
•        Impact and financial sustainability
•        Excellence, novelty, and innovation
•        Quality and efficiency of the implementation, including sound financial management

For the final selection:

•        Strategic fit
•        Portfolio fit

Info sessions and contact details 

Recorded webinars and contact details are available to guarantee the maximum support to the applicants during the proposal’s preparation process. 

To help applicants with the preparation and submission of their proposals, EIT Urban Mobility will host one live Call Info Day. It will be focused on the call content, the challenges as well as on the submission and evaluation procedures and the financial aspects. Please find the calendar and the link to register in the table below: 

Type of event Topic covered Date and time (CET) Access to platform 
Webinar  Call Info Day: 
Call calendar, evaluation, scope and challenges of the call, KPIs, EU registration numbers (PIC number), evaluation process, contribution to EIT Urban Mobility financial sustainability, end client role, tips to applicants  
10 March 2023 at 10:00 AM CETThe recording of the webinar will be available here 

Register here for the info webinar and for more information, visit the dedicated website.

In parallel to the call information sessions, all applicants may contact EIT Urban Mobility to resolve any concerns or doubts on the general/technical procedures and call content. These are the key contact details of the EIT Urban Mobility team for questions related to this call: 

Type of contact Email 
Legal, Financial, Administrative and general procedures pmo@eiturbanmobility.eu  
Impact Ventures area investments@eiturbanmobility.eu

The art of acceleration – why is it needed?  

On 20 February, EIT Urban Mobility will launch the call for applications for its thematic accelerator programmes. This year, EIT Urban Mobility expanded its portfolio of programmes with three new themes: Future Mobility, Inclusive Mobility and Smart Mobility. They complement the four continuing programmes: E+ Mobility, Energy & Public Ream, Sustainable City Logistics and Urban Air Mobility.  

The accelerator programmes are run by different consortia of partners, each with their own unique combination of expertise, variation in pan-European locations and networks. The thematic programmes offering to early-stage start-ups includes their participation in Living Labs and business coaching as well as urban mobility-specific expertise such as technology or market validation, product-market fit or market entry strategies. Ultimately, the six-month long accelerator programmes are intended to be a funnel to the EIT Urban Mobility investment arm for the top performers of each programme. 

Scope of the programmes… 

Being linked to most of daily activities and routines of inhabitants, mobility is one of the most complex topics and end-to-end journey requires seamless integration of various components and close cooperation between different stakeholders.  

Due date, the following programmes have been actively helping entrepreneurs to validate their ideas, strengthen business models, and equip them with soft skills for successful commercial kick-offs:  

(1) Sustainable City Logistics Accelerator – urban logistics is a hot topic in mobility agendas worldwide. The rapidly increasing e-commerce demand and pressure to limit traffic in cities to meet climate goals contribute to this. To meet sustainability goals, new goods transportation methods must be developed and implemented. UnternehmerTUM GmbH, along with an international consortium of partners with experience in logistics, support start-ups with resources to develop and implement innovative freight transportation and management interventions. 

(2) E+ Mobility Accelerator – a rapidly growing sector that is changing the way we move around, providing us with alternative, sustainable, and affordable transportation options. This programme has a specific focus on mobility & energy, micro-mobility, and shared mobility thematic fields. Given the importance of the topic with mobility being tied to global energy markets, strong consortium of TIER 1 industry players, research centres and SMEs led by Technical University of Catalonia (UPC) is supporting selected start-ups.

(3) Energy & Public Realm Accelerator – as cities become increasingly dense and populated, it is important to consider how energy is used and how public spaces can be made more efficient and accessible. This acceleration programme led by Zone Cluster seeks start-ups to contribute to better living spaces by addressing energy and mobility related aspects. Thus, addressing social and environmental well-being. The aim of the accelerator is to work closely with local communities to define and embrace the most frequent bottlenecks.  

(4) Urban Air Mobility Accelerator – involves the use of vehicles that are able to fly and are powered by electricity or alternative fuels, as well as systems supporting their operations. We are at the very beginning of a mobility revolution with the inclusion of air transport systems. Nevertheless, sustainable adoption of urban air mobility solutions will rely on very specific use cases which require time critical transports, for example the use of drones for transport of medical goods, rescue operations in remote areas or traffic surveillance. With the advancement of technology, urban air mobility is quickly becoming a reality and is gaining a lot of attention from the public, industry, and government. Toulouse Metropole with its well-established Urban Air Mobility (UAM) ecosystem became an EIT UM hub for this acceleration programme. 

…and new Thematic Accelerators at EIT Urban Mobility 

Thanks to the continuous evaluation of market trends as well as demand side monitoring, EIT Urban Mobility decided to launch dedicated programmes and focus on three new verticals, namely:

(1) Future Mobility Accelerator – with the rise of electric and autonomous vehicles, the potential to better manage traffic flows, reduce emissions and improve the overall quality of life in cities is huge. This programme is open to all cutting-edge and high-impact technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI)-driven platforms, blockchain, 5G, vehicle-to-everything (V2X), Internet of Things (IoT) or edge computing that could be applied to the sector and leverage on their advantages. Led by North-West Croatia Regional Energy Agency, cooperation will be stretched over 3 countries (Croatia, Slovenia, Latvia) with 5 more partners: VEFRESH, North-West Croatia Regional Energy Agency, Innovation Centre Nikola Tesla, ABC Accelerator, LMT, and Poslovna Inteligencija.  

(2) Inclusive Mobility Acceleratorincreasing awareness of inequalities embedded already in urban design, high-level planning and systemic solutions makes public debate shifting nowadays towards identification of mobility patterns that should be re-designed to serve the whole society. To address range of the existing issues as well as to ensure that developed innovations are inclusive, Impact Hub Vienna as a lead partner, together with Ocean Strategy Unnipessoal Lda and Punkt vor Strich GmbH, will be working with entrepreneurs with the aim to create a frontrunning incubation center for inclusive mobility. 

(3) Smart Mobility Acceleratorimplementation done in close cooperation with ecosystem stakeholders is pivotal for any innovation to succeed and grow exponentially in its first phase. Following that belief, EIT Urban Mobility is delighted to host an ¨accelerator of accelerators¨ – a consortium founded by 3 leading start-up accelerators: DriveTLV in Israel, MobilityXLab in Sweden, and Start-up Autobahn powered by Plug and Play in Germany. The consortium will create an impactful transcontinental collaboration between leading mobility stakeholders and start-ups thanks to proven and in-house tested methodologies, and with access to facilities, experts, and direct channels of engagement with key corporations and investors. 

Outlook for 2023 

All seven Thematic programmes will be launched on 20 February, with the deadline of 21 April. All the submissions should be delivered via AwardsForce. If you would like to be reminded of the call opening, please fill in the following form.