After almost one year, the Toyota Mobility Foundation (TMF) and WRI Brasil’s InoveMob Challenge culminated with the announcement of the big winner: bynd. The bynd team will receive US$ 100,000 to scale their project and will continue their journey, taking the idea to other Brazilian cities. The announcement was made this evening at Unibes Cultural in São Paulo in a ceremony that brought together, in addition to the other finalists: startups, investors, media and relevant organizations of the mobility and innovation ecosystem in Brazil. Finalists Bikxi, Carona a Pé, Nina and OnBoard Mobility were also competing for the final award.
The InoveMob Challenge was developed by Toyota Mobility Foundation in partnership with WRI Brasil, and support from the National Front of Mayors (FNP). The Challenge launched in January 2018 with the goal of finding innovative mobility solutions for urban areas with intense transportation activity. Brazilian teams submitted nearly 100 proposals from 13 states and four regions of the country. The final judging panel selected the winner based upon the Challenge criteria of pilot execution, internal capacity, stakeholder and end-user impact, potential to scale, feasibility, and sustainability.
“Participating in InoveMob was a unique opportunity in the path of the bynd. We learned a lot from this first approach to the public sector! We had no idea how involved processes, hiring possibilities, internal communication particularities, support from internal actors in the implementation would be. We left InoveMob with a formatted, tested and validated the model, now we can say that we are prepared to serve the public sector and spread the carpool through Brazil! The prize will be used to invest in technology and make a real leap in the product (code, design, user experience, and interface). In addition, we will also invest in commercial development, to be able to reach more cities and to make the bynd positive impact even bigger. Our goal is to multiply our number of rides by 10 per month in the next years. The prize might shorten our path to there,” said Gustavo Gracitelli of bynd.
“We are very pleased with the learnings, growth, and impact that each of the five finalists has had in their respective pilots around Brazil, and we are excited to see how bynd will grow. We want challenges like InoveMob to serve as a bridge to help facilitate how local governments can work with innovative mobility providers to implement new solutions to complicated mobility situations,” said Ryan Klem, Director of Programs of the Toyota Mobility Foundation.
“Working on the Challenge, getting to know dozens of innovative mobility projects, and following the pilots’ implementation provided everyone―organizers, participants, and cities―a year of learning and knowledge sharing. The five finalists comprise innovative solutions that can help improve mobility in Brazilian cities. Now, bynd has the challenge of scaling its idea to impact and benefit the daily lives of even more people,” said Luis Antonio Lindau, Cities Program Director of WRI Brasil.
According to Jonas Donizette, president of the National Front of Mayors (FNP), big cities need to rethink urban mobility based on their current challenges, which are complex and intertwined. “They need creative, multiple and integrated solutions that can provide effective improvements in public service management and expand access for all citizens.”
In the second stage of the Challenge, twelve semifinalists attended training workshops and pitched their ideas to over 100 public decision makers to find a city that would host their project. Five finalists were selected and received financial support of US$ 20,000 each to implement their pilot projects.
Finalists Bikxi (a ride-hailing solution on tandem bikes) and OnBoard Mobility (a public transportation fare integration solution) chose São Paulo to implement their mobility solutions. With the support from the InoveMob Challenge, Bikxiexpanded its operations by increasing its bicycle fleet and starting a new route on the Luís Carlos Berrini Avenue bike path. The changes increased the journeys in the area from 77 in July to 276 in November. OnBoard Mobility extended their service in São Paulo―from 451 to more than 1200 recurring users during the Challenge―and also launched their service in the city of Belo Horizonte.
Finalist Carona a Pé (an organized walking group solution for children with adult supervision) implement their mobility solution in the capital of Minas Gerais. With InoveMob support, the startup scaled the solution outside the city of where it originated (São Paulo) and implemented in public, rather than private, schools for the first time. In all, eight schools and more than 60 children were engaged in the project in Belo Horizonte.
Finalist Nina (an app for denouncing harassment while using mobility services) had its first opportunity to execute the project in a city. Nina’s arrival in the city of Fortaleza led to the creation of a public policy to combat sexual harassment in collective transportation.
The Ministry of Cities and the public company VALEC in the city of Brasília and the City Hall of the city of Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais both adopted the proposal from the Winner bynd. The pilot projects were the first bynd experience with the public sector. More than 400 trips were made in each city, totaling more than 1000 km of shared rides.
Now, bynd will have the task and opportunity to show its potential to be replicated in other Brazilian and Latin American cities.