Startup Europe Partnership

Acciona and Autodesk join SEP and launch EU platform for Digital Construction & Infrastructure

Startup Europe announces: ACCIONA and Autodesk Join Startup Europe Partnership and Launch first European Platform for Digital Construction and Infrastructure

The Spanish group and the US tech leader enter the Startup Europe’s Open Innovation Platform led by Mind the Bridge. The platform will be open to other international construction, engineering and technology companies.

ACCIONA, a leading supplier of sustainable infrastructure solutions and renewable energy projects, and Autodesk, Inc., a globally leading 3D design, engineering, and construction software company, will join the Startup Europe Partnership (SEP) and support the global growth of European companies. Seeking to play a central role in Europe’s economic future and in Industry 4.0 transformation, ACCIONA and Autodesk will power the new SEP vertical platform dedicated to Digital Construction and Infrastructure.

The goal of this new platform is to stimulate and accelerate European startups and scaleups able to provide innovative and digital solutions in construction, helping reduce costs and carbon emissions, improve profitability and efficiency, and create a smarter more diverse construction industry.

ACCIONA’s and Autodesk’s entry into SEP is a commitment to the “startup challenge” with the goal of assessing opportunities for possible procurement, investments and acquisitions.

“I am delighted that ACCIONA and Autodesk have joined the Startup Europe Partnership open innovation platform, part of the European Commission’s Startup Europe initiative, to help European startups innovate and digitalize the construction industry that plays a relevant role in Europe,” said Isidro Laso Ballesteros, Head of Startups and Scaleups at the European Commission.

“The European startup landscape isn’t just about young micro-companies. It is also about scaleups and large corporations working together in a win-win for all. “As industries embrace digital transformation, the potential of improvement is exponential” said Alberto Onetti, Mind the Bridge Chairman responsible for Startup Europe Partnership. “Moving the Construction industry from Analog to Digital, we can produce annual savings over $1 Trillion, beyond reducing waste and increasing safety on the work place. That said, we are thrilled to partner with ACCIONA and Autodesk and other companies that will decide to join us on this very important challenge whereas European startups can play a key role.”

“We believe that innovation and startups have the power to change the future of the cities and infrastructures” said Telmo Perez, Chief Innovation & New Business at ACCIONA. “Digital technologies as robotics, 3d printing large scale or AI are about to change the construction industry like never before and require total different approaches as this alliance with Autodesk and Mind The Bridge, or ACCIONA’s open innovation platform I’MNOVATION www.imnovation.com. We are looking for European startups that help us to build that future.”

“The construction industry is a $10 trillion market, expected to grow to $17T by 2030 with the challenge to build one thousand new buildings per day” said Uwe Wasserman, Director, Business Development AEC at Autodesk. “The construction industry is aggressively embracing digitization and Autodesk is eager to continue our support for the industry’s transition into the era of digitization and connection. The startup ecosystem is proven to be of tremendous value by bringing innovation, productivity and savings to construction and with BIM360 and Forge Autodesk is offering an open platform helping startups to build solutions addressing all different phases of the entire construction project lifecycle from design, preconstruction, construction execution and handover into operations.

ACCIONA and Autodesk will create a new SEP vertical platform dedicated to Digital Construction and Infrastructure. The goal of this new platform is to stimulate and accelerate Europe’s startups and scaleups able to provide innovative and digital solutions in construction, helping reduce costs and carbon.

The platform will be open to other international construction, engineering and technology companies that have the possibility to join as “Corporate Partners”.

An ongoing call aimed at looking for European innovative startups and scaleups, managed by Mind the Bridge, is available here: https://startupeuropepartnership.eu/vertical-platforms/

Selected startups will be introduced to ACCIONA and Autodesk and other key players in the industry in dedicated sessions during the next SEP Scaleup Summits with the goal of assessing opportunities for possible procurement/co-development, investments and acquisitions.

The main areas of interests and challenges to be addressed are:

Digitalizing the Design and Construction Process

  • Design to Fabrication
  • Design to Preconstruction
  • Design to Construction
  • Industrialization of Construction
  • The Connected Work Site
  • Automation & Robotics
  • 3D Printing, additive manufacturing
  • Connected BIM workflows (e.g. VR/AR/MR, Generative Design, Machine Learning, Computational Design, Reality
  • Capturing, Simulation and Analysis etc)
  • Autonomous machinery and vehicles
  • Other: data, blockchain, etc. (i.e.. Safety, Monitoring, Management & Administrative)

Data focused Operation & Maintenance of Infrastructures

  • Remote control and monitoring
  • Predictive forecasting and maintenance
  • Advanced delivery
  • Connect BIM & GIS (Master planning > Project planning, Hand Over > Infrastructure maintenance

The Future of Cities

  • Design & Planning
  • Mobility & Transportation
  • Connected New Services


  • Reduce Risk and Costs
  • Drive profitability, Safety and Sustainability
  • Generate new revenue lines and business models

The Times covers Startup Europe Partnership

“There’s no disputing Silicon Valley’s status as the global capital of the technology industry but an almighty tussle is under way to be the leading European hub.

On measures including combined venture capital investment in its companies, London appeared to be edging ahead.

Research last year by Startup Europe Partnership, which is based in Berlin, found that the UK was the most prolific country in Europe in terms of the number of technology companies showing growth potential and total capital raised.

However, rival European cities have spotted an opportunity to steal a march after the Brexit vote. Berlin has been the most aggressive, perhaps because it believes that it has the most to gain.

German officials have even paid for a van, below, to drive around London landmarks emblazoned with the message, “Dear start-ups, keep calm and move to Berlin”.

Startup Europe Partnership, which links promising companies with larger businesses, published a blog this month claiming “London may well lose its status as the start-up capital of Europe” with Berlin “most likely to steal the crown of tech capital in Europe”.

Stefan Franzke, one of the people leading Berlin’s campaign, is in London this week, having postponed a visit to New York’s start-ups in favour of spreading the word about the German capital in an attempt to lure the best and brightest entrepreneurs.

“We changed our plans because we’ve had so many enquiries from the UK,” Dr Franzke, chief executive of Berlin Partner, a German government-financed agency, says. “In the first 48 hours [after the referendum], our telephone rings, rings, rings. People thought they were going to be forced to leave Britain in the next week, there was a bit of panic.”

Dr Franzke says that five London technology companies have decided to move to Berlin, and 40 more are considering it. They are typically young companies with between ten and 40 staff, which have just taken on investment and want to expand into foreign markets.

“The uncertainty about Brexit is the problem. Maybe after two years, it might be better to be in London but nobody knows how the British government will approach it.”

The main concern is continued access to a pool of skilled and young European labour, Dr Franzke says.

“These companies have international teams. I’ve just had an email from a young British games company. They have 15 employees from ten nations and they don’t know whether they will still have free movement of people.

“They don’t know if workers will still come to London. In Berlin, they will still come. They want to grow and in this uncertainty, Berlin is the right place to be.”

Berlin Partner has been running a marketing show in Soho this week with German music, food, art and entrepreneurs. Also of interest to British companies are the strikingly low costs in Berlin. Commercial property in a prime location can be less than a third of the cost of London and private rents are cheaper too.

“You need less than half the sum in Berlin than you do in London to set up a team and an office. It means you can invest more,” Dr Franzke says.

With fears over London’s ability to remain as a centre for selling financial services across the single market, he has also been fielding enquiries from international financial technology, or “fintech” companies, a strong sector for Britain. “Typically, finance companies from Asia or America, when they come to Europe, they do not consider an alternative to London. There is no thinking about another location. But now we are getting enquiries from fintech companies from China, Silicon Valley and New York. It was totally new for us and a surprise but it makes sense for them because of the concerns over [financial services] passporting.”

Berlin’s post-Brexit intentions are clear but Dr Franzke insists that the rivalry is a friendly one that should ultimately benefit both capitals.

“It is a battle between London and Berlin, and it’s a good battle, it will force both to do better things which is good for the whole of the European technology ecosystem.

“I don’t think there is only one hub in Europe, there is space for two great ones. We’ll still be battling in ten years’ time.”

The open-minded choice

Cornelia Yzer, Berlin’s senator for economics, technology and research, recently wrote to 100 London technology companies to warn that Brexit would “severely affect your operations in the UK”.

Ms Yzer talked up the attractions of Berlin as “an international open-minded city” with the “No 1” European start-up community.

Stefan Franzke, of Berlin Partner, says that the targets of this letter were more established businesses than those that have already agreed to relocate, many of them with more than 100 staff. These companies are in no rush to leave London just yet, Dr Franzke admits.

“We are having a lot of talks with established London-based companies. They are responsible for 100 to 500 staff so they don’t want to leave now. They have time to analyse what happens over the next one or two years.””

Retrieved from The Times on 24/10/2016