Start-ups: the Vinci group’s Leonard incubator presents its class of 2023

The da Vinci incubator Leonard has just announced the names of the 46 projects selected for support this year. Working in the areas of construction, mobility, energy and real estate, they will have the support of the various entities of the group. For the occasion, former students of the Class of 2022 also came to testify about their experience.

The Vinci group has just announced the start-ups that will integrate the various programs of its Leonard incubator in 2023. No less than 46 projects were selected this year by the jury – made up of Vinci managers and some partner investors – and “mostly offer solutions innovative solutions that address the main environmental and energy challenges faced by cities and infrastructure,” says Vinci. In this sense, companies are selected for their ability to meet the challenges of ecological transition, safety and productivity in the areas of construction, mobility and energy. Leonard’s support begins in January 2023.

As a reminder, the Leonard Support Platform, launched in July 2017, aims to ignite “a community of innovators from all walks of life to make successful transitions in the construction, mobility, energy and real estate businesses.” Through this platform, it leads four acceleration and support programs to help start-ups, employees and entities of the Vinci group in their entrepreneurial projects. At the same time, Leonard opened a dedicated location at 12th district of Paris, named Leonard:Paris. The 4,500 m² space accommodates companies from the Seed, Catalyst, Intrapreneurs and AI initiatives.

From start-up to international expansion

Seed supports start-up structures (with less than two years of activity) for 6 months to launch, develop and finance their projects. 12 companies from the class of 2023 will benefit from a capital injection of 30,000 euros, certifying training provided by the Stanford Center for Professional Development, one or more internal Vinci mentors, as well as a network of external experts and contacts with Leonard’s investor network . Hosted at Leonard:Paris during the program, the start-ups participate in a Demo Day open to investors and decision makers from the group specializing in concessions, energy and construction. Zaara Aziz, founder of BIMtoBuild, who worked at Vinci Construction, joins the 2023 cohort and more specifically the Seed project: “I am in the commercial deployment phase and this program will help me at this point”. BIMtoBuild wants to improve working methods on construction sites. Your app digitizes work-in-progress to facilitate efficient real-time project management. “Vinci is not a software publisher, that’s not their goal. Doing it externally allows me to have more maneuverability in whatever I want to do. Here, Vinci will be a user of the platform and not a developer”, says Zaara Aziz.

For more advanced companies that have raised funds for the first time and want to establish themselves in the international market, the Catalyst program is the most suitable. Also lasting six months, it offers access to Vinci’s decision makers, with support from contact to hiring. Marc Nègre, co-founder of Kraaft and former Catalyst 2022 promoter, shared his experience with Leonard. “We were looking to raise funds and turned to Vinci to benefit from their support,” says Marc Nègre. Kraaft, defining itself as “the WhatsApp of public works”, semi-automates the classification of data and the production of reports from simple conversations, including the detection and declaration of complaints. It is intended for both field teams and site supervisors. “Today, we work more specifically with the group’s subsidiaries Eurovia and Vinci Energie”, adds the founder of Kraaft. This year, 9 companies from the 2023 cohort will benefit from access to Leonard:Paris and participation in the Leonard event cycle.

Class of 2022 alumni spoke about their experience in the Seed, Catalyst, Intrapreneurs and AI programs. (credit: CS)

Internal projects also supported

Vinci not only supports external business opportunities, its employees can also benefit from this support. With the Intraempreendedores initiative, the objective is to promote innovative projects within the Group. Intrapreneurs has supported 64 projects since its inception in 2018, leading to the birth of 17 commercial companies within Vinci. In 2023, the sixth iteration of the program will support 11 teams over a 4-month period. It should be noted that you also benefit from certifying training provided by the Stanford Center for Professional Development and accommodation at Leonard:Paris facilities or at the facilities of a partner incubator or co-working space. Roy Issa, now Sea Water Air Conditioning (SWAC) project manager at Géocean, a subsidiary of Vinci, was part of the Intrapreneurs 2022 promotion. Last year, he was able to benefit from Leonard’s help to develop the SWAC project. The latter consists of the installation of pipes that pump the water depth (5 to 6 degrees) and bring cold water to the customer (a hospital, a hotel, a data center) to replace the current means of energy production and cooling systems. in a sustainable way.

Finally, a more specific course focused on artificial intelligence aims to identify and develop projects using this technology, with a high return on investment for the group’s entities. Everyone in the Vinci group, whatever their field of activity or their country of establishment, can apply for this course, structure use cases aimed at improving their business, optimizing their processes or anticipating a market transformation . After supporting 36 projects since its inception in 2020, the AI ​​program will support another 14 companies in 2023.

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