Vianova's "Google Maps" for government goes global
The French start-up now works in more than 40 cities around the world five years after first being funded by EIT Urban Mobility
French startup Vianova has rapidly grown its business in Europe over the past few years and is ambitious to mirror its success in international markets.
Vianova works with local councils and private mobility providers to regulate bicycle and vehicle movements that maximise urban public space, reduce congestion and pollution, and improve safety. Its data platform collates and analyses information to help decision-makers plan and implement policies and interventions that are cost-effective, green, and socially beneficial.
Critical information such as the traffic flows of urban vehicles such as e-scooters, e-bikes, delivery vans, and mopeds, enables local governments to understand the mobility patterns of these vehicles, identify bottlenecks in movement or potential conflicts, and see how those vehicles interact in multi-use spaces.
The data can also be used to set up and manage virtual boundaries to direct traffic flow, a type of service called geo-fencing. Vianova’s geo-fencing technology allows “cities to create, publish and audit regulations on roads and curbsides," Febvre explained.
Speaking to chief operating officer Thibaud Febvre in August 2022, it’s clear that their global goals are on the way to being fulfilled. “For the past 12 months we have been successfully scaling operations in Europe and Australia. We are now looking to expand in North America, Latin America and the Middle East," he said. To this end, Vianova are seeking Series A funding to scale up.
See how Vianova’s data platform works to make planning regulations for mobility operators smoother – Video by: Vianova
And it’s not just geographical expansion on the agenda. “Initially working with local authorities and mobility operators, such as car-sharing, shared micromobility, etc, we are now diversifying our offer to help public transport operators, car manufacturers, logistics services, consultancies and infrastructure owners, such as roads, train stations, energy networks, etc," he explained.
It’s perhaps this growth that led them to be amongst the top ten contenders for the European Start-up Prize for Mobility this year. The mobility-as-a-service startup also works toward broader European goals of sustainability and making mobility greener, and was chosen as one of 20 start-ups to participate in the AI4 Cities 2021 project, an initiative seeking carbon-neutral solutions in the mobility field. And Vianova’s expertise in the tech field has also been recognised – in 2021, it won third prize at the Software Republique Mobility 4.0 Challenge.
After being selected to participate in the EIT Urban Mobility Accelerator in 2020, Vianova quickly carved out a path in the European transport sector, working with local councils in Helsinki and Milan, as well as winning a tender to work with the Brussels local government.
As a tech start-up in the data management field, Vianova is accustomed to dealing with both technical issues and the questions surrounding the use of information, even if for public purposes. The complications of working with large data sets on one hand, and clarifying to stakeholders about how that data can be used on the other, were common themes for the start-up.
“In the past years, we had to make continuous efforts to educate the market on the digitisation of traffic management and enforcement, as well as mobility data-sharing for stakeholders to get more comfortable making data-driven decisions," said Febvre.
It also takes time to build relationships with their city partners and understand how they work. “Typically while working with cities we are often looking to address the pain points of three very different types of stakeholders. The subject matter experts, the technical advisors, and the policymakers. So these different stakeholders sometimes have their own agendas and it can be difficult to navigate through these ambiguous objectives," explained Febvre.
Thibaud Febvre of Vianova and Valentino Sevino, mobility planning area director at the Mobility and Environment Agency (AMAT), Municipality of Milan, talk about how they work together to manage shared mobility services to improve traffic flow and movement – Video by: EIT Urban Mobility
Continued support from EIT Urban Mobility has proved invaluable since the two entities first met at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, 2017.
Apart from total funding of €90 000 through the Accelerator, Grant4Equity, and the ScaleTHENGlobal programme, Vianova capitalised on other opportunities offered by the partnership with EIT Urban Mobility, such as mentoring, training, and networking with industry experts, local city councils and academics through bootcamps and events.
Proven success and accolades in Europe have boosted the mobility start-up’s profile globally and could help Vianova achieve its international goals sooner than expected.
To learn more about Vianova, please visit their website or the EIT Urban Mobility Marketplace. For more information about our accelerator programmes and other support, please visit the Business Creation homepage.