• Almost 200 applications received from 45 countries for the first Toyota Startup Awards, focusing on “Mobility for All”
  • An expert judging panel has selected a shortlist of eight finalists to make a pitch to selected investors, media and executives at a Toyota-hosted event in Barcelona on 25 February
  • A maximum of three winners will see their project awarded access to the Toyota Startup Accelerator Programme, including training, mentoring and funding
  • Shortlist features startups from the UK, Russia, Spain, Germany, Bulgaria, USA, Israel and France

The first Toyota Startup Awards have attracted almost 200 entries from 45 countries around the world. The submissions, focusing on socially inclusive mobility, accessibility and disruptive mobility, have been assessed by an expert jury to produce a shortlist of eight to take part in a pitch competition.

This was due to take place on Toyota’s stand at the 4YFN international mobile technology exhibition in Barcelona, but following the event’s cancellation, it will now be held at an alternative venue in the city, the Aticco Tarradellas, on 24 February.

The shortlisted startups are from businesses in the UK, Russia, Spain, Germany, Bulgaria, USA, Israel and France. They have been selected by a judging panel of representatives from Toyota Motor Europe (TME) and the ISDI  business school (through the ISDI Accelerator).

Quantity and quality

The quantity of entries was matched by the high quality of the applicants. More than half 52 per cent) of the projects can prove customer growth; more than a third (38 per cent) are generating revenue; and almost a quarter (23.5 per cent) have already raised €1 million or more in private funding. Spain and the UK produced the highest number of applications (15 and 12 per cent of the total respectively). In terms of the theme, 48 per cent of the entries were about disruptive mobility, and 24 per cent socially inclusive mobility.

Shortlisted startups overview

SociAbility (UK) empowers disabled people to explore their communities with confidence, ease and peace of mind by collecting and sharing detailed, reliable and accurate accessibility information for hospitality and retail venues.

4blind (Russia) researches, develops, creates and produces innovative engineering solutions to support blind and deaf-blind people. It seeks to meet the needs of disabled people by expanding their opportunities and eliminating the barriers they face in communication, education, employment, transportation and independent living.

ABLE Human Motion (Spain) is enhancing the mobility and independence of people with physical impairments through lightweight, easy-to-use and affordable technology.

Loro (USA) is a social assistance robot that gives people with mobility and communication challenges the ability to control, communicate and connect with the world.

MotorSkins (Germany) is providing people with powered mobility in the form of a soft, self-powered exosuit that enhances independence and does not require an external power source.

ProsFit (Bulgaria) is delivering community-based rehabilitation in remote areas of low and middle-income countries, providing accessible, affordable and comfortable prosthetics to millions of people who would otherwise find mobility extremely challenging.

Seamless Vision (Israel) is developing the Eyeguide, an innovative robotic guidance device that uses artificial intelligence, to help visually impaired people safely navigate their way to any destination, at any time

Wheeliz (France) is the first website dedicated to the rental of peer-to-peer rental of wheelchair-accessible vehicles (WAVs). It enables wheelchair users to rent a car directly from any WAV owner.

The pitch competition

The shortlisted startups have been invited to present their proposals to an audience of investors, media representatives and Toyota executives. A maximum of three winners from this pitch competition will be selected by a jury comprising experts from Toyota Motor Europe (TME) and ISDI Accelerator. They will each receive a ticket to join the Toyota Accelerator Program powered by ISDI, which will offer training, mentoring, funding, as well as potential future collaboration with TME.

The programme for the new Toyota event will include a Toyota executive presentation on Toyota’s vision of future mobility; a personal insight into Toyota’s Start Your Impossible campaign from a wheelchair motocross athlete and a Paralympic athlete; the official launch of the Toyota Startup Accelerator Programme; and the announcement of the competition winners. There will also be a closing cocktail and networking reception.

The venue, the Aticco Tarradellas, is located at Avinguda de Josep Tarradellas 123 in Barcelona and the event will run from 9am to 5pm. Attendees are requested to register here.





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