The Aena Ventures Accelerator project, sponsored by the Spanish airport operator, has selected the companies which are to be part of its first accelerator program, which is designed to address five challenges identified by the organization:
- Agility in procedures and travel to the airport;
- Passenger experience;
- Passenger communication;
- Sustainability; and
- Baggage as a whole
The company says the first call for entries has been extremely successful with a total of 254 projects submitted from 33 countries, 55% of the proposals coming from abroad. The startups selected for each of the challenges are:
- Meep. This Spanish enterprise presented a project which enables route planning combining all means of transportation, including the integrated purchase of tickets and analysis of the least congested routes, to provide an appropriate solution for the agility in procedures and travel to the airport challenge.
- Chinespain. Also a Spanish undertaking, it promotes tourism experiences between China and Spain and proposes the development of an app enabling more flexible communication and payment management for travelers from China under the Passenger Experience challenge.
- Airbot. This company delivers technology for effective communication between airports and passengers to enhance the relationship between them using a multi-channel chat solution in the Passenger Communication challenge.
- Carwatt. This French firm has submitted an initiative in which it converts internal combustion vehicles to electricity which would help to cut pollutant gas emissions at airports as part of the Sustainability challenge.
- Dubz. The innovative solution put forward by this UAE-based company is to streamline baggage claim, check-in and drop-off at home, and to hotel guests on the day, in the Baggage as a Whole challenge.
The acceleration process for these five entrepreneurial projects will begin with a welcome week, consisting of a program of activities and workshops for the startups. The program participants will be guided by Aena’s experts and mentors, all of them experienced specialists in the airport industry.
Additionally, up to €50,000 (US$59,500) in funding will be provided for the implementation of the pilot projects. Furthermore, the successful pilot schemes will also be eligible for a contract with Aena worth up to €2m (US$2.4m) to roll out the complete project across the company’s entire structure.