Innovation | 20 July 2012

Start-ups including Apila, SoCloz, and Telepark are inventing the future connected services

Feeding R-Link, Renault’s new integrated and connected touch tablet, is a fantastic professional opportunity! Renault and Paris Région Lab launched a call for bids at the start of the year to select innovative start-ups working in connected services, IT and mobile communication. Five companies have been picked to develop their projects in a Connected Mobility and Services “incubator” set up by the two partners.
by Groupe Renault

Looking to open up to new technological innovations in connected mobility, Renault has joined forces with Paris Région Lab to select partner start-ups and develop working relationships as part of an approach based on dialogue, innovation and openness. The two partners have chosen five young companies, Apila, SoCloz, MobiquiThings, I-Dispo and Telepark, which have set up shop in a dedicated space at the Paris Innovation Masséna “incubator” in the 13th arrondissement in Paris. The partnership’s initial achievement is a set of new connected mobility services available on R-Link (to feature notably on New Clio and ZOE) based on the development of special apps.

Commenting, Nicolas Nollet, head of international after-sales strategy at Renault, said: It is very important for Renault to open up to the innovative momentum of the Parisian ecosystem and in particular to this type of partnership. This experience is an excellent opportunity to mix and match cultures to the benefit of each party with a view to bringing Renault customers new connected mobility offers.

Jean-Louis Missika, assistant to the Mayor of Paris and head of innovation, research and universities, added: The partnership brings these companies an outstanding context for their development. For the first time, a carmaker is joining forces with a City of Paris incubator to identify young innovative companies and speed their development.

The initiative provides the start-ups with strong support for their development. The contribution of Renault’s human and technical skills combined with Paris Région Lab’s experience in backing start-ups is a particularly rare opportunity for getting a business on track. This incubator is a real-life sign of a shift in the relationships between small and large companies in the field of innovation.

Overview of the five first start-ups to join the adventure

Apila. Urban drivers spend a total five hours a month trying to find a parking space. Apila is a multi-platform, community-based mobile app used to exchange street parking spaces in real time. Available free of charge on iPhone, Android and, soon, Renault R-Link, Apila disseminates information on supply and demand, puts motorists in touch with each other, handles their interaction, and ensures parking space swaps, all the while taking real-life cases into account.

MobiquiThings is a mobile operator that works with manufacturers in all sectors (automotive and transport, logistics, energy, water, health, safety, etc.) by operating fleets of communicating machines. The company supplies its own, branded SIM 2G (GSM) and 3G cards and the corresponding subscriptions, contracts and connection offers so that its SIM cards hook up flexibly and dynamically to the networks of telecom operators with the best services in terms of coverage, service quality, cost and availability.

SoCloz is a pre-shopping assistant that helps web users find products and the real-life stores that sell them. Users get dedicated store information (stock, prices and special deals, plus opening hours, distances and so on) updated several times a day. SoCloz users can also find high-street stores with just one click. Some 65 major brands are now working with SoCloz (including Galeries Lafayette, Morgan, Bérénice, Darty and Castorama), which lists over one million products and nearly 7,000 stores.

I-Dispo. People waste some 30 minutes a day doing simple tasks such as organizing an appointment with a local professional, comparing product and service prices and getting estimates from service providers. I-Dispo helps them to cut this time down to zero thanks to an original virtual concierge service, in the shape of a personal assistance available 24-7 via phone, car or television.

Telepark is an electronic automation and parking management solution for town councils and motorists. More specifically, it helps motorists pay for parking instantly from their mobile device and brings them a range of complementary services such as reminders on parking time limits, remote reminders/deactivation, and consumption records. A new solution is in the pipeline for motorists to pay their street parking spaces directly from their cars.


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