EIT Urban Mobility is the most active investor in European mobility start-ups in 2023 

With 62 investment rounds in 2023, EIT Urban Mobility is the top investor in European mobility start-ups according to the latest report of Via ID and Dealroom. With one exit, the current investment portfolio contains 127 start-ups and has a total value of €1bn with companies covering 29 European countries. While these innovations cover all aspects of mobility, they all have one common factor: their positive environmental and social impact on the urban landscape.  

Fredrik Hanell, Director of Impact Ventures at EIT Urban Mobility: “Impact investing means looking to the future when making decisions now. This means that we go beyond financial investments to drive meaningful and lasting change in the urban mobility sector. As the European leading impact investor in mobility, EIT Urban Mobility, looks for seeds and pre-seeds companies that already have or can have a net positive impact.” 

Prominently featured sectors in the portfolio include transport electrification, urban logistics, and mobility data management.  EIT Urban Mobility goes beyond the more traditional aspects of mobility by also investing in sectors such as waterborne mobility and behavioural change through nudging and stimulating walking.   

To measure a company’s net impact, and deliver a transparent view across specific categories, EIT Urban Mobility employs the Upright Net Impact Model, a quantification model that is based on a network summarising more than 250 million scientific articles and a taxonomy of over 150,000 product and service categories. According to this model, EIT Urban Mobility’s portfolio scores a 48% positive net impact score, significantly higher than the 40% of the control group of the Upright Benchmark. The start-up companies in the portfolio score especially high on the environmental dimension, +217% compared to benchmark.  Another strong selection point is team diversity and gender balance, resulting in 43% of the equity portfolio being women-led in comparison to the industry average of 18% according to the Report on Women Entrepreneurs in Europe. 

On top of this sustainable impact, EIT Urban Mobility has a dedicated investment budget for European economies that require more support in the sector of innovation. These regions defined by the Regional Innovation Scheme, typically have enormous untapped potential and can greatly benefit from investments in innovation and mobility. By directing resources to these areas, EIT Urban Mobility contributes to economic growth, job creation, and the development of sustainable transportation systems. 

In 2024, EIT Urban Mobility, aims to continue to enlarge the portfolio with an ongoing call for investments and their Investment Readiness Programme. This programme is designed for European start-ups in the field of urban mobility currently fundraising or planning to do so in 2025. EIT Urban Mobility’s investment strategy focuses on creating positive outcomes for both people and the planet while ensuring competitive market returns. 

EIT Urban Mobility commitment with Portugal’s sustainable objectives.

Portugal has been making noteworthy progress in urban mobility in recent years. The country has set ambitious goals and objectives, driven by the motivation to reduce the environmental impact of transportation and create more sustainable cities. One of the primary objectives of Portugal’s urban mobility policies is to reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainable transportation. To achieve this, the country has set a target to have 40% of all urban trips made by walking, cycling, or public transport by 2030. This goal is part of Portugal’s National Energy and Climate Plan, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030.

The motivation behind Portugal’s push for sustainable urban mobility is to create more liveable and healthy cities for its residents. The country’s urban areas are among Europe’s most congested and polluted, significantly impacting public health. By promoting sustainable transportation, Portugal aims to reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality, and create more pleasant urban environments.

Portuguese cities are working towards achieving these objectives. Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon, has been working on making its transportation more sustainable for several years. The city has implemented a bike-sharing program, a car-sharing service, and an electric tram system. It has also invested in a network of bike lanes and pedestrian paths, which has helped increase cycling and walking in the city. Cities like Porto, Braga or Cascais has made significant investments in public transportation.

How is EIT Urban Mobility supporting Portugal’s objectives?

Since 2021, 39 projects have been implemented in the country to promote innovation and foster collaboration in urban mobility, two of which are particularly noteworthy: RAPTOR and #ChallengeMyCity.

Rapid Applications for Transport (RAPTOR) is a competition that swiftly creates and tests solutions to niche urban mobility challenges. Participants compete to provide the most innovative, feasible, and impactful solutions. The RAPTOR programme was implemented in 2022 in the city of Cascais with successful results, helping to solve three challenges identified by the city.  

#ChallengeMyCity is a programme enabling European cities to tackle their most pressing urban challenges by testing market-ready innovative mobility solutions.  Its objective is to test the best solutions through a six-month pilot and evaluates their social, economic, and environmental impact and estimate long-term integration into the city’s mobility strategy, to make mobility more sustainable and accessible for all.

The programme will be implemented in 2023 in Braga, which has just won the European Mobility Week 2022 prize for its remarkable activities in promoting sustainable mobility and continues to take steps towards improving its urban mobility ecosystem. Through #ChallengeMyCity programme, it is seeking innovative solutions to face four identified challenges. A total of 240.000 € will be invested in testing these solutions.  https://portocanal.sapo.pt/noticia/326280

But in addition to these two main programmes, other projects have been developed in the country thanks to our collaborative work, resulting in an investment of more than 1.5 million from EIT Urban Mobility since 2021. The city of Lisbon becomes one of the most illustrative examples, with more of 16 projects implemented. 

As Portugal continues to prioritize sustainable and innovative urban mobility solutions, programmes like RAPTOR and #ChallengeMyCity will continue to play a significant role in driving progress and promoting collaboration.

Why we invested in Dreamwaves? – A spatial audio technology serving vulnerable commuters

Nowadays, a new generation of sector-agnostic VC (Venture Capital) funds is emerging to laser-focus on solutions advocating for inclusivity. This trend follows the political agenda of decision-makers backed by a vast amount of data collected in the past decade. As showcased in multiple studies, they serve researchers and thought leaders when pointing out gaps and deficiencies existing in the current mobility systems. Technological leap with the high pace in which urban areas grow makes them an incredibly attractive, albeit competitive space for solution providers where implementation speed and economic efficiency naturally gain the position of urging priorities.

Although it is true that competition translates into quality and eventually leads to cutting down on emissions while improving the quality of life, so-called smart cities are often overseeing vulnerable groups and minorities with needs that are different from the regular user profile. In this article, a hi-tech software solution supporting the blind and visually impaired will be discussed.

How does Dreamwaves work?  

As an organization bridging all types of stakeholders under the pan-European roof, the special mandate of EIT Urban Mobility is to be vocal about the mobility-related needs of vulnerable minorities and lead the peloton of actors working on safe and inclusive public spaces.

Dreamwaves, an Austrian start-up founded and led by Hugo Furtado, Liliana Calapez, Elke Mattheiss, and Lukas Zimmermann strengthened the company’s equity portfolio with the right tool to work on this agenda. Namely, a software employing augmented reality technology to unlock the unique sound navigation experience to its users, making them feel safe and welcome on the busy streets. With Dreamwaves, the blind and visually impaired can navigate their surroundings with greater confidence and independence, creating a more equitable environment for all.

Why we invested in Dreamwaves? 

What sparked EIT Urban Mobility investor´s attention and dispelled potential doubts? Let´s zoom at a simple 3xT test applied in this case as a part of standard qualification analysis.

  1. Timing

It all started with a spotted opportunity and a multi-billion market that awaited to be unleashed. As he later admitted during one of the off-track conversations, Hugo Furtado – CEO of Dreamwaves – was always a passion-driven entrepreneur centered on new technologies and out-of-the-box innovations. To be crazy or not to be at all. Following the music and gaming industries racing solitary for both hardware and software improvements to take the sound experience to the next level, he already saw a brand-new use case. It later resulted with the thought that it pays off to look right when everyone goes left. And talking about the majority, all of us interact with audio content while commuting or during physical outdoor activities. It is nothing strange considering the fact that – following Eurostat´s data (1) – in 2019 an average commuting time oscillated around 25 minutes. However, as explained with greater detail in different study (2), for one-fifth of the population it could be extended to over 90 minutes per day.

To put it briefly: headphones, of all sizes and kinds, are nowadays an extension of our bodies. Extension that might be more than a source of entertainment, especially for the blind and visually impaired. Dreamwaves decided to be the voice of blind people, making them see the world through their ears.

2. Technology

In principle, the whole concept of screen- and hands-free navigation offered via waveOut can be stressed in three steps. Once the destination is selected and the journey kicks-off, virtual waypoints are being placed in the real world around the user. On the fly. The goal is to reach them and to make it happen, the user must hear them. That is when the sound is activated. It can be compared to a phone call when the ringtone allows us to locate the device. The closer we are, by nature the louder becomes the sound. The same law applies to the Dreamwaves´ software. As soon as the checkpoint is reached, the next waypoint is placed, and the voice switches its location. Again and over, following the beat of a gentle drum until the doormat. Or one´s favourite bookshop.

As simple and naïve the above may sound, the way-finding solution enclosed in the app requires the latest augmented reality toolkits, global positioning advances and machine learning methods behind the scenes. Additional challenges lie in the accuracy that in the busy streets full of static obstacles and dynamic objects must be ultimately reliable. Understanding the state-of-the art of computer vision methods to determine the location of the user in real time helps to overcome this barrier.

Connected to the multi-object environment but being a separate problem class is omnipresent noise pollution. As the solution is hardware-agnostic, meaning that no special upfront investment in wearables is required, it is crucial to ensure that the best experience is provided, even with some quality being lost. This trade-off is a fair price for making the solution truly open and accessible to everyone.

3. Tests & Testimonials

While Dreamwaves is changing the way people understand and sense their locations, the competent and interdisciplinary team navigate itself company´s growth by hearing to the group of early-adopters and tech geeks. Hundreds of individuals were involved in the design and testing phases, with the others feeding engineers with further, post-launch testimonials.

The best thing we ever heard from a user was: “It’s a bit like seeing. The fact that I constantly can hear the direction I have to go to is a great advantage!”. This made us really proud, and also gave us the feeling that we are in the right direction. On the tough days, thinking about this and other pieces of feedback, really keeps us motivated and going!” – said Hugo Furtado, the CEO of Dreamwaves.

Besides feedback, interactions are constantly feeding the team with new ideas, because the real beauty of every journey lies in additional opportunities being unfolded on the way. For Dreamwaves, these are cavernous cycling and travelling markets where hundreds of millions of users are looking for tricks to make their lives easier and their urban trips saver. Is there anyone out there who didn’t manoeuvre the bike with one hand while staring at phone maps?

Future Mobility: amplifying the voice of inclusivity

Accompanied by the story of Hugo, Liliana, Elke, and Lukas this is the space to reflect all the barriers that still must be overcome to eradicate the gap between the blind or visually impaired and the rest sensing the surrounding with sight. With its first step and team efforts, Dreamwaves points to the direction we should look at technology. Its proper incorporation into urban and suburban areas can significantly enrich the existing toolkit, making the lenses through which smart cities are defined adjusted to the needs of commuting minorities. Only then we will be entitled to call streets inclusive and open spaces.

Do you want to know more about Dreamwaves’s mission and its solutions?

Visit the company website and LinkedIn. You can also further explore their product via EIT UM Marketplace.

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 shift towards citizen-oriented transportation systems. Contact at: mateusz.kaluza@eiturbanmobility.eu

Supporting literature:

Why we invested in ProperGate? – The smart solution to deal with logistics of complex construction sites and suppliers

When thinking about the scope of urban mobility, there is always a vertical that pops into our minds and this is city logistics. However, what fits within the concept of logistics is never too obvious. Construction tech is a rapidly growing industry that has the potential to transform the way we build and manage our cities, and yes, it’s an industry directly related with urban logistics.

EIT Urban Mobility has made a ground-breaking investment in ProperGate, a Polish construction tech start-up that has become the first successful investment in Poland for the organisation.

How does ProperGate work?  

ProperGate’s innovative platform aims to digitize and streamline the construction logistics management process, reducing the time, cost, and environmental impact of construction projects. With ProperGate’s platform, builders and suppliers can track and manage their deliveries to construction projects in real time, identify and address issues more quickly and efficiently, and reduce the need for paper-based documentation.

ProperGate addresses the needs of all potential customers in the construction supply chain, from real estate developers and investors to subcontractors and suppliers, all having a customized profile to sign up for within the platform. And yet its direct customers are not the only ones to benefit from the results of the solution, as the use of ProperGate’s innovation indirectly contributes to the development of the professional construction sector by adding tools and methods that will have to be acquired by young professionals.

Why we invested in ProperGate? 

Construction site logistics can be a significant pain point not only for the constructors but also for the surrounding city and the people that live in it.

Give it a thought; the usually limited space around an urban construction site can make it difficult to manoeuvre large construction vehicles and equipment, leading to potential safety hazards and logistical challenges for the delivery of materials and supplies; in already densely populated areas, heavy traffic around the construction site can cause more delays and disruptions than normal and often become a significant source of disruptive noise, having severe effects in the health and well-being of citizens. On top of all these challenges, construction sites also contribute to polluting the city, with negative environmental impacts ranging from air and water pollution to soil contamination. Therefore, managing construction site logistics effectively is crucial to minimizing the negative impact of construction on the surrounding urban environment.

The onboarding of ProperGate into EIT Urban Mobility’s equity portfolio is testament of a threefold purpose: First, as its first successful investment in a Polish registered company, EIT Urban Mobility proofs to have fruitfully taken measures to ensure that funds are directed towards the RIS[1] region; second, as EIT Urban Mobility’s first investment in the construction tech industry, the KIC shows its commitment to explore and boost the endless potential of the urban mobility meaning; and finally, by supporting the gender-diverse C-level team that leads ProperGate, EIT Urban Mobility is also backing its mission of promoting female entrepreneurship.

Do you want to know more about ProperGate’s mission and its solutions?

Visit the company website and LinkedIn. 

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

[1] Regional Innovation Scheme


This is an article of the series Why we invested in? Written by Anna Burgués, RIS Officer at EIT Urban Mobility.

Why we invested in YUP? –  The (R)evolution in Micromobility Infrastructure

With the boom of new personal mobility devices (PMDs) in recent years, E-scooters are now one of the fastest-growing micromobility solutions in Europe, which has a unique potential to develop a world-leading ecosystem promoting sustainable urban mobility, with unparalleled potential to create new jobs, reduce air pollution, accelerate the transition toward climate targets. 

A new digital, green, and equitable economy fosters tremendous investment opportunities in both private (e.g., renewable energy installations or electric vehicle charging stations) and public facilities (e.g., digitalisation of electricity and mobility systems). To address this, Barcelona-based YUP is breaking the barriers for better safety parking & charging infrastructures, much needed to cover increasing micromobility vehicles demand. YUP aims to revolutionise the micromobility smart infrastructure, becoming the first European one-stop-shop provider for cities and corporates. 

How does YUP work?  

Through an iMaaS business model, YUP offers infrastructure network within cities and companies that has now secured more than 170 new customers during the first 24 months. Thanks to their sound financial management and a top-notch team, YUP has already reached financial break-even.  

Beyond the value that YUP already brings to the urban mobility landscape through charging stations, lies a colorful roadmap of products and features for both municipalities and corporates with high high-performance capabilities.  

The concept of home is a hard one for YUP. With more than 170 projects and 2.500 units delivered during the last 2 years, YUP has one key market: Spain. Currently, more than 40% of their business comes from Spain, and another 60% from 3 other international markets: France, Germany, and Greece. 

With a vast experience designing and manufacturing micromobility innovative charging solutions, YUP has the ambition to become European leaders in smart infrastructure development for cities. 

Following the acquisition of Zicler in 2022, YUP is planning to double their team in 2023 (recruiting the positions of C-levels and other key positions) and expand/ scale to 5 countries and preparing the expansion in USA, with the goal to deliver up to 10.000 new units and double the number of new clients (split between B2B and B2G). 

Why we invested in YUP? 

This is why, as an impact-driven investor, we believe that EIT Urban Mobility shall add value to its portfolio companies in many forms.  

Capitalizing on the network effects, EIT Urban Mobility has supported YUP on leveraging real sales opportunities through the largest European mobility network for YUP to scale more quickly and gain new consumers at little or no cost. 

The second component of our collaboration is that YUP has detailed plans for what they want to build and execute next and why. In our capacity as the largest European mobility ecosystem, EIT Urban Mobility will play a pivotal role in facilitating ongoing investment regulation, positively driven by Next Gen Funds. The current EU horizon for funding opportunities in transport and infrastructure represents in excess of EUR 1.100M ongoing from 2021 to 2027. 

From EIT Urban Mobility, we are truly convinced YUP will be able to onboard the most talented urban mobility enthusiasts thanks to their open, respectful and passionate company’s culture and values. 

The ultimate goal of raising capital isn’t only about cash. It is also about the new shareholders’ expertise, knowledge and network. The value generated by EIT Urban Mobility has facilitated a smooth cooperation and dynamics with YUP, and we are convinced that both new and existing investors will be loyal supporters of the company in future endeavors. YUP is well on their way to becoming a key player in the new global micromobility infrastructure industry. 

Do you want to know more about YUP’s mission and its solutions?

Visit the company website and LinkedIn.  

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


This is an article of the series Why we invested in? Written by Pablo Garrido, Investment Principal at EIT Urban Mobility.

Why We Invested in SHQUARED – The Ultimate Space Sharing Platform

Urbanization is a global trend that is rapidly accelerating, with over half of the world’s population now living in urban areas. SHQUARED contributes to more sustainable urban development by maximizing the use of existing infrastructure and reducing the need for new buildings or parking structures. That´s why we invested in SHQARED!

According to the United Nations, the world’s urban population is expected to reach 68% by 2050, up from 55% in 2018. This rapid growth of urban populations has led to increasing demand for space, resulting in a shortage of land for residential, commercial, and industrial activities. In the context of urban logistics, space is a critical resource that is often limited and expensive.

Micro hubs are a potential solution to this issue, providing smaller and more strategically located logistics facilities that can reduce the need for larger distribution centres and improve last-mile delivery efficiency. And SHQAURED is the answer!

How does SHQUARED contribute to solve this issue? 

Finding suitable micro hubs in urban areas can be challenging, especially for small businesses. This is where SHQUARED’s space-sharing platform comes in, providing a practical and sustainable solution to the urban space shortage. The platform enables space owners to rent out and share their underutilized spaces, such as warehouses, garages, or parking lots, as micro hubs for urban logistic companies.

By sharing spaces, urban logistics companies can reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable urban logistics ecosystem. Considering that according to a report by the International Transport Forum, micro hubs can reduce delivery distances by up to 40%, resulting in lower delivery costs and reduced congestion and emissions, this is of utmost importance.

Another point to consider is that, according to a study by McKinsey & Company found that logistics and distribution centres occupy approximately 12% of urban land, while generating up to 30% of total urban traffic. Furthermore, the same study found that logistics and delivery costs account for up to 30% of the final price of goods and services in urban areas. And Shquared also plays a role in it, as it is currently working on a project together with the City of Munich to develop an online B2B Market Place for City Logistics Spaces tailored to the needs of the city. In the next months, the team plans to fully roll out their solution in Germany and subsequently in other European cities.

Christian Kink, Co-Founder and CTO at SHQUARED: “Working with the city of Munich on this important topic and with the great support of EIT Urban Mobility allows us to use our space sharing expertise and platform infrastructure to solve an urgent infrastructural problem in Munich and other urban areas. After adjusting our platform and processes to logistic-related requirements we are eager to offer this solution to other cities in Germany and Europe.”

Do you want to know more about SHQUARED’s mission and its solutions?

Visit the company website and LinkedIn.  

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


This is an article of the series Why we invested in? Written by Johannes Kirschner, Investment & Portfolio Manager at EIT Urban Mobility, expressed his enthusiasm for SHQUARED: “I’m thrilled to support SHQUARED’s diverse and motivated team as they work towards making a positive impact on urban logistics in cities. I believe their space-sharing platform has the potential to offer a practical and sustainable solution to urban space shortage, enabling more efficient and cost-effective use of existing infrastructure.”

Supporting literature and sources:

Why we invested in MIOO Cycling? – bicycle service at your place

Bicycles are a popular, convenient, and sustainable mode of transportation, but they are also vulnerable to theft and damage. With the increasing popularity of cycling as a mode of transportation, the demand for infrastructure and support for bike riders is on the rise. A solution was needed, and MIOO is the answer.

MIOO Cycling is an app and platform offering smooth bike ownership throughout the bike’s lifecycle. It has been developed by a start-up which is part of our community. The app allows cyclists to keep track of their bike’s service history, book repair and maintenance services, and register the bike in the antitheft and insurance programme.  Additionally, the app’s potential for environmental impact aligns with the growing trend of sustainable investing. By investing in these innovative platforms, investors can support a more sustainable and equitable transportation system. 

How does MIOO work?  

The Swedish bike repair app is making at-home bike services easier than ever. You simply book a time and location through the app and a MIOO Bike Buddy will come to service or repair your bike wherever you are. It provides a range of services, including maintenance, repair, and accessories, making it easy for riders to keep their bikes in top condition. The insurance component protects against theft and damage, giving riders peace of mind. In the event of theft, the app’s antitheft programme enables the tracking of stolen bicycles in real time, increasing the chances of recovery. With MIOO Cycling, cyclists can feel confident and secure, knowing that their bikes are protected and well-maintained.

The difference between MIOO and all the many other mobile bike repairs that exist is that MIOO is not a bike repair mechanic scheme – MIOO is possible thanks to bike buddies. A bike buddy is a private individual that is passionate about bikes and know how to fix and maintain a bike on a every day need basis. Could be your neighbor or someone working next door. 

What are the benefits of MIOO?

Firstly, the app’s maintenance services promote the longevity and efficiency of bicycles. Well-maintained bikes require less energy to operate, reducing the overall carbon footprint of cycling as a mode of transportation. 

Secondly, the app’s insurance coverage encourages the use of bicycles as a primary means of transportation. By offering protection against theft and damage, the app provides reassurance to bike riders who may otherwise be hesitant to rely on their bikes for everyday use. 

Finally, as more people use the app and platform, the demand for bike-friendly infrastructure may increase, leading to a more sustainable and equitable transportation system. 

EIT Urban Mobility believes MIOO Cycling has the potential to revolutionize the cycling industry, making it more accessible and convenient for all. We look forward to seeing how this start-up develops and the positive impact it has on the cycling community.

Do you want to know more about #MIOO Cycling’s mission and its solutions? 
Visit the company website and LinkedIn. 

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


About the author

Catarina Andrez – Impact Officer at EIT Urban Mobility, passionate about impact investments and supporting early-stage start-ups in their path to contribute to a future sustainable urban mobility. Contact at: catarina.andrez@eiturbanmobility.eu

Impact investment for real – how to get it right?

Saying you want to become the leading impact investor in Europe in the mobility sector is one thing, proving it another. How do you define impact, and how do you measure it? Together with the Upright Project, Katapult and geoFluxus, EIT Urban Mobility has discussed this topic during a panel session at Slush 2022.  

The definition of impact 

The session kicks off with the so-called elephant in the room question “What is impact?”. While the answer often is “it depends”, Annu Nieminen, CEO of the Upright Project, is clear “It does not depend at all. We have huge amounts of science on this topic. It is an area where proper mathematics, logic and rigorous thinking has taken place for a clear definition”. Impact is not only the negative or positive effect on the environment, but also on economic, health and knowledge that are all measurable.  

Therefore, impact shouldn’t be based on personal opinions or stories. Annu: You wouldn’t take a financial story as the truth, you want data, so why take an impact story as such?”. Fredrik Hånell, Impact Venture Director at EIT Urban Mobility, continues: “When you meet an entrepreneur as an investor and you have to ask them about the impact they create, they tend to have a nice story prepared for that.  Others start by mentioning what they dream of and the change they want to achieve: All other aspects of the business have almost become secondary. The big problem we are facing is that we are often presented with a good story which doesn’t mean they also create real positive impact.”  

Even though impact should be based on data, this is not easy with early-stage companies. Jørn Haanæs, Investment Director at Katapult: “With late-stage companies you can make clear predictions, but with pre-seed companies it is still guessing on the impact. Either way, the most important question remains: can a company go from zero to one, will it work?”.  When a company is not arriving at positive financial results at some point, there won’t be any other positive impact at all. 

Adding to this perspective from a different angle, Arnout Sabbe, CEO of geoFluxus states: “I believe that the most sustainable outcome of your company should also be the most positive business outcome. If this isn’t the case and sustainability hinders your financial returns, then it is time to tweak your business model since there is something wrong with the DNA of your company.”  

Greenwashing 

Over the last years, the importance of impact has increased significantly. “Companies start to understand that they can’t solarpanel their way out of the impact question anymore. They need to change for real and become more transparent”, says Annu. Unfortunately, at the same time there is also a rise in so-called greenwashing. Arnout: “It’s not only large companies who pretend to be green, but there also exist labeling companies which you can just pay to receive a green label. What is then the value of having such a label?” 

Annu: “When we review webpages, the more we come across the word sustainability, the less impactful these companies actually are. So don’t say you are sustainable, do it and be the best at it.” This is something Arnout fully confirms: “geoFluxus has shifted its narrative from saying that it is the most sustainable way handle your waste to the easiest and quickest way. We don’t say sustainable anymore, even though the algorithm still works in the same way.

As a result, the company now sees that also companies that are not interested in sustainability or the ones who don’t want talk about it, are onboarding their platform. “We don’t look like a hippy-washed company, it’s basically something that makes waste easier to handle and by coincidence it’s also the most sustainable solution for rest materials.” So instead of talking a lot about sustainability, simply integrating it at the core of your business works a lot better.  

The future of investing in impact startups 

Looking at the next decade, Jørn states that investing in impactful startups is the best thing as it also leads to superior financial results. “I think that impact ventures will only scale if we make it also the most profitable. We have investors in our fund that don’t care much about impact, so they get that as an extra and they can stay for the financial performance. You don’t need to only focus on impact and get stigmatized for it.”  

During this time period, Fredrik is foreseeing a change in the investment focus from software applications to hardware solutions. “While hardware will always have a negative impact due to the resources needed, they will enable technologies and solutions which will lead to a net positive impact. This implies for me that our investment thesis and the way we evaluate startups will have to change since evaluating a deep-tech startup is quite a different deal than evaluating a software company which often are seen as positively impacting.” 

Annu: “Don’t forget that also apps have an impact. They use energy, mobile devices and talented people. Especially looking at human capital, resources are now used for many not-so-necessary services and products like apps where cats make funny faces. We need to consider the opportunity cost of highly educated people which is also a limited resource. How much can we afford to use on secondary important things?” 

Accelerating the change to impact 

Climate change has been seen as something of the future, something that our grandchildren will have to witness. However, it is already happening today. Annu: “The planet doesn’t have the time to make it complicated. It doesn’t have 20 years left. As such, startups should not be filling in questionnaires about ESGs for investors. Running a company is hard enough and founders should focus on building a net positive business.” 

Well, besides specific investments, we need policy changes with big issues to incentivize good behavior”, states Jorn. “Specially to deal with the emotional side of human nature.” 

So how do we get people to change? Jørn: “Don’t ask the people. For example, if you ask most people, they want a Tesla. Even though there are a million times more efficient ways to move people around both in cities as in rural areas. The whole point should be to let innovators do their thing and finance new projects and new experiments and then see what works.” 

Fredrik: “I would actually recommend getting rid of cars completely and having more bicycles. By reshaping cities like Barcelona with superblocks and low speed areas, we give the cities back to the citizens.” 

Arnout adds a different point of view: “I would say we need more crises. We see that only real things and systems will change after extreme disruptions. For example, with our company we now see that suddenly companies, instead of having to pay for their waste, get money for their waste materials due to the gas crisis and material shortage. This has never happened before and makes them treat waste differently.” 

Annu: “I believe that change will come slowly but surely now that it is becoming financially more profitable to run and own a company that creates more value for its surrounding world. Due to where talent wants to work, where investments want to go, what do founders really want to run. And I see this change already happening, so many cool things are accelerating and that is what I’m betting on.” 

Extra investment opportunities to start-ups incorporated in RIS countries

All over Europe, entrepreneurs are working on innovative solutions to cope with urban mobility challenges. However, circumstances differ across the continent resulting in unequal number and quality of funding opportunities for locally emerging businesses.

Through the Regional Innovation Scheme (RIS), EIT tackles such disparities by spreading its activities more evenly. More precisely, the RIS region defines a group of countries with a low performing innovation capacity. Despite the talent and entrepreneurial mindset available in such countries, change and innovation in the RIS region tend to slow down due to the conservative and risk avoiding policy making, as well as the drawbacks of engaging in an entrepreneurial career and the limited mechanisms to support start-ups.

By setting up a dedicated budget to invest in start-ups incorporated in RIS countries, EIT Urban Mobility is now contributing to the faster development of their innovation ecosystems and, more importantly, to the fundraising process of their local start-ups. As an impact investor, EIT Urban Mobility fosters positive social and environmental change across Europe, which among other things translates into paying special attention to those vulnerable innovation ecosystems.

To date, EIT Urban Mobility has invested in more than 20 start-ups from the RIS region like Mosaic from Czech Republic, Meight from Portugal, and Deeptraffic from Greece, and keeps looking for the most prominent entrepreneurs to disrupt the European mobility industry in those countries. If your company is incorporated in a RIS country seeking for capital, we highly encourage you to apply to our open investments call!

Check out EIT Urban Mobility’s investments landing page for more information or apply directly through the AwardsForce platform.

Eleven new entries to EIT Urban Mobility’s equity portfolio

EIT Urban Mobility’s equity portfolio keeps growing! During the first half of 2022, EIT Urban Mobility has invested in eleven innovative start-ups. Furthermore, four follow up investments have been made in existing companies from our equity portfolio.

The common factor between all these top-tier entrepreneurs is their impact on reshaping the mobility landscape. They are showcasing the major market trends such as sustainable city logistics, future mobility and connectivity.   

Pablo Garrido, investment manager at EIT Urban Mobility says: “Being an impact investor, we believe the best way to achieve a sustainable future is through system change, bridging a positive correlation between financial returns and social impact. Therefore, we only invest in companies that contribute to one of the Sustainable Development Goals, related to sustainable cities and communities, clean energy, and climate action.” 

EIT Urban Mobility welcomes the following ventures to its equity portfolio: 

  • Bout: a digital platform for water transportation, increasing the accessibility of maritime locations for consumers. 
  • Chainge: reduces inner city CO2, NOx, PM and noise pollution and traffic congestion by replacing delivery vans with cargo bike driven sustainable last mile logistics (LML). 
  • Cogo: an app gathering all shared scooters, bikes, cars and moped as long as they are human or electric powered, making it easy and seamless to move around cities the green way. 
  • Eccocar: a platform to launch, operate and scale digital mobility services, designed hand in hand with Rent-a-Cars, Dealers and Fleet Managers around the world. 
  • GeoFluxus: maps, analyses and predicts where, how and which materials can be saved from becoming waste. 
  • Jonna: offers quality bikes/e-bikes which they make themselves, on monthly subscriptions with insurance and service included. 
  • Luna Systems : an ‘Edge AI’ / computer vision technology, to keep micromobility vehicles safely in the correct lane and/or parking zone. 
  • Mioo : provides safety and bike (repair) services for everyday cyclists to have more people to use the bicycle as a means of transport. 
  • Solum: develops last-generation solar-backed charging stations for light electric vehicles. 
  • Transition One: retrofits light ICE cars (passengers, commercial) into electric cars. 
  • ZipForce: a portable electric motor that turns any regular bicycle into an e-bike. 

Jonna, Luna, Transition one, and existing equity start-up Nudgd have received capital as part of the New European Bauhaus programme 2022. Nudgd, nominee for the EIT Venture Award 2022, offers a digital platform using behavioural science to establish climate-friendly habits such as switching from cars to active mobility and public transportation.  

The other equity start-ups receiving follow-up investments are: 

  • Allihop: provides the first green business travel platform with direct booking capacity for trains, buses, e-cars, e-scooters and bikes.
  • Skyroads: enables advanced air mobility to scale safely and efficiently. 
  • Vonzu : empowers the digitalization in the urban distribution of goods with a last mile logistics management platform.  

Having EIT Urban Mobility as an investor has been extremely valuable for Skyroads’ journey so far. Their support has not just been monetary, but they have also provided us access to their wide business network, along with offering us multiple opportunities to grow as a start-up and increase our visibility to the world of customers, strategic partners, and other investors. Skyroads would like to thank EIT Urban Mobility for their extraordinary services and we highly recommend EIT Urban Mobility to other start-up founders

Tim Krieglstein, Co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer, Skyroads AG

Besides capital to scale, internationalise and grow, the invested ventures have now access to the largest pan-European mobility network, including cities, corporates and other European organisations such as the EIB, the EIC and the EIF. 

Is your company looking for capital? EIT Urban Mobility keeps looking for the most prominent entrepreneurs to disrupt the European mobility industry with our year-round open call for investments.  Check out the investment page for more information or apply directly via AwardsForce.  

EIT Urban Mobility’s equity startup HOPU got acquired by Libelium 

HOPU (HOP Ubiquitous), one of EIT Urban Mobility’s first equity startups, has been acquired by Libelium. With its Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for monitoring air quality, noise pollution, and meteorological parameters, HOPU makes a good match with Libelium, a leading company in the design and manufacturing of wireless sensor network devices to deliver reliable IoT, M2M and smart cities solutions. The high compatibility of both companies stands for a huge leap forward in their strategy to lead the IoT market, with the intention to float the company in an initial public offering. 

Since its starting point in 2014, the Spanish venture HOPU has grown to a 40 staff company, working with over 100 cities and customers, and has more than 700 devices deployed in Europe. With the data provided by HOPU, cities get insights and suggestions on how to transform their urban spaces to create more sustainable living areas. For these reasons, EIT Urban Mobility decided to invest in HOPU in 2020. Over the years, HOPU has taken part in several of our programmes, like the Scale up programme in 2020 and Raptor in 2021, where they were the winning startup for the air quality challenge of the city of Sant Joan Despí, Spain.  

HOPU is highly competitive in their sector and has positioned itself as a valuable collaborator for large partners such as Telefónica, Suez and Signify (Philips). Besides enriching Libelium’s technological portfolio and know-how on Smart Cities, Infrastructure and Sustainability, it gives the opportunity to HOPU to expand its market outside of Europe to Central and North America.  

This successful transaction solidifies the commitment of EIT Urban Mobility towards urban mobility transformation powered by data and digitization. 

EIT Urban Mobility has invested in 35 ventures since 2020 and keeps up

EIT Urban Mobility just opened an ongoing investment call for early-to-seed stage ventures. Selected scale-ups and start-ups can receive up to €500,000 capital. More importantly, the offer goes beyond funding. Ventures will benefit from fast-track introductions into the urban mobility community via the extensive regional and pan-European network, including cities, mentors, and industry leaders. This allows start-ups to validate their solutions, network with key decision-makers and scale their company with increased visibility.

The current portfolio contains companies developing technologies and solutions which are shaping the future of the urban mobility landscape. While financial return is essential, as an impact investor EIT Urban Mobility selects ventures where social and environmental impact grows with revenue. Start-ups in EIT Urban Mobility’s equity portfolio contribute positively to at least one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to sustainable cities and communities, clean energy, and climate action. Based on the call for actions related to these goals, EIT Urban Mobility is linking key performance indicators to the expected impact of the start-ups to indicate their contribution to improved sustainable and liveable cities.

In addition, EIT Urban Mobility focuses on inclusive and gender-balanced teams when selecting start-ups. Research indicates that new businesses led by women are more likely to succeed and more likely to exceed expectations for growth. Since EIT Urban Mobility made inclusive and gender-balanced teams a key priority in 2020, internal reports show that the number of female-led ventures in the EIT Urban Mobility portfolio has grown from 16% to 27%, and the share of gender-balanced start-up investments has risen from 28% to 52%.  

Finally, 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 policymaking can slow down change and innovation. 

For more information about the investment call: EIT Urban Mobility Startup Investments – EIT Urban mobility