November 8, 2021
2020 will be remembered as the year of Covid-19 and the hardships brought about by the pandemic. Despite this unprecedented and challenging situation that has turned our lives upside down, Meep has used this time as an opportunity to improve and to grow as needs are changing. We have been able to do this in part because of the amazing work of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Urban Mobility, an innovation hub that fosters new mobility solutions. During this difficult year, we’ve had the chance to participate in two programs, EIT Go Global and EIT Special Covid-19, both of which helped us evolve for the future.
The aim of both programs is to support startups in aspects such as funding, facilitating connections with potential customers and providing needed advice. The Go-Global program focuses on increasing the international exposure of the European startup ecosystem and connecting European startups to other markets, like the US, with an emphasis on urban mobility. The Special Covid-19 program was conceived in response to the challenges that startups have faced as a result of the global pandemic. Both initiatives aim to cultivate the development of startups and to provide tools to navigate through these uncertain times.
In the past month, we have had the pleasure of being coached by Andrea Soncin, a partner of PoliHub, the Innovation District & Startup Accelerator of Politecnico di Milano. For many startups like Meep, mentoring is critical to be able to scale, and we were eager to put Andrea’s advice into action. Meep identified several areas in which we wanted support including access to financing, go-to-market strategies, people management and commercial strategies for prospective clients — no small feat. These sessions have helped us rethink assumptions, recognize opportunities and understand how we can get the most out of our MaaS (Mobility as a Service) solution. Though our weekly mentoring sessions have ended, Andrea continues to support Meep through his expert advice and support.
Communication is another fundamental pillar in our vision, and is critical to creating a powerful and compelling pitch. The pitch is our moment to shine, and when there are only a few minutes to prove the worth of your solution, the way you convey your ideas is very important. For this reason, Maurizio La Cava’s session, which focused on creating an effective pitch, was especially valuable to Meep. He emphasized the importance of preparation, and how seemingly secondary factors, like using a stand, referencing a phone for notes and using headphones when possible, lead to more efficient communication. Maurizio presented new ways to set up and outline the pitch, and we were able to start incorporating his guidance right away.
Several weeks later, the culmination of our experience, Meep had the chance to participate in the EIT Urban Mobility Demo Day. Before the official presentation, we practiced in front of small groups of startups and coaches. In our case, Carlos da Silva led the coaching session with three other startups. We incorporated his feedback, and achieved third place on the big day!
It is also important to mention the negotiation workshop, given by Martin Giese, that took place in October. When deploying a MaaS solution, negotiation plays a fundamental role since not just one, but many stakeholders’ interests must be aligned to be able to provide the best solution for the user. The integration of several different transport operators means that we need to coordinate many different, and sometimes clashing, needs. At the same time, we also need to consider the needs of both policy makers and final users. Everyone has their own approach to mobility, but the MaaS platform is the glue that harmoniously ties them all together. We therefore paid particular attention to Martin’s intense and high quality session, underscored by negotiation theory, role play and case studies.
In addition to the particular sessions we’ve highlighted here, we are very appreciative for the many others that provided tremendous value to Meep on topics like financial planning, fundraising, B2B sales and cities and regulations (the last given by Angel Mesado).
Thanks to this program, we have been able to connect with European startups and entrepreneurs at the various events and presentations. At a particular event, the Accelerator Startup City Dating which united several startups and representatives from different municipalities focused on smart cities and innovation, EIT even connected us to potential partners. As a result, we had the opportunity to present our solution to both Milan and Istanbul.
Due to the support from EIT Urban Mobility, and all its partners and collaborators, we have accelerated many parts of our growth and achieved several milestones in the second half of 2020. If we had to choose three words with which to summarize our experience, they would be: training, connections and motivation. We are so fortunate to have had this opportunity and very grateful to the entire EIT Urban Mobility team for making this possible. This includes, Daniel Serra, Raül Feliu, Matteo Consonni, Fredrik Hanel, Unternehmertum, PoliHub and many others. Many thanks again, and we are looking forward to 2021.