Last week saw the kick-off of a new incubator focusing on the theme of ‘Connected Cities’, which is a joint effort by Paris Incubateurs and JC Deceaux. I’m sure the first thought springing to your head is probably ‘what another incubator? do we really need another one of those?’. Well, of course, there are loads of incubators now across Paris and France overall, so it’s certainly a valid question. However, the thing about this one is that it does have a clear focus – namely to encourage startups to innovate around the increasingly important theme making urban environments more connected and, ultimately, more livable. Certainly a worthy endeavor which will become even more important as urbanization continues to dramatically affect the world.
The incubator will actually get going in March 2013 and will be located in the 13th district at Paris Innovations Masséna. The main subjects they will be looking for startups to innovate around are local urban services, transport and location assistance, services that drive city collaboration, information and content which make city life easier and more accessible, sustainability, applied technologies for content and service aggregation, and web and mobile apps which make cities more connected.
For JC Decaux, the global number #1 in outdoor advertising, their main objective for partnering on this is to strengthen their relationships with France’s startup community, identify innovative new technologies, establish partnerships to develop a range of services for cities, brands and consumers. This partnership is clearly a good one as well for Paris Incubateurs who have the opportunity to partnering with a global leader in the area of urban services which also helps them expand their footprint in France’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
They now open the call for candidates, which will conclude on January 31, 2013. To apply, your startup must:
- Be less than five years old
- Be focused on the area of connected urban services
- Have a product, technology or service that is currently underdevelopment or have a first offer/prototype that’s been market tested/validated via a market study or with a beta-test or client
- Be looking for a comprehensive incubator experience, including private offices or open space work areas, personalised coaching and support, and financing from Paris Innovations Amorçage (financing vehicle developed by Oseo and the city of Paris)
It’s not a bad idea for an incubator to focus on this area. The problems posed by urbanization are not unique to France and many cities around the world are looking for solutions, particularly on the challenge of how to make city live more livable. Hopefully the selected startups will look beyond simply applying their ideas, products, and/or services in France. If the ideas are good ones, chances are that in addition to France, they will also be welcomed with open arms elsewhere.
If you’re interested in applying, you can do so here. Remember the deadline is January 31, 2013.