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Smart Port Challenge #02
Impact Factory Startup Innovation

The Smartport Challenge #2 kicks off: what’s on the horizon?

For the launch of Smartport Challenge #2, an open innovation challenge that has brought the Marseille port ecosystem together for two years, we talked with Marie Baloge, program coordinator at thecamp, to learn more about what’s taking shape.

– Hi Marie! Can you update us on how the projects developed by startups during the Smartport Challenge #1 are going?

Innovation projects are long-term! The startups are continuing their projects with the large companies and the first updates we’re getting are very encouraging.

The startup Searoutes for example, which is specialized in maritime routing, developed a solution for reducing CO2 for merchandise transporters, in partnership with the Grand Port Maritime de Marseille. Participating in the challenge and the support from thecamp allowed Searoutes to address a new market, specifically logistics, all while continuing to develop their core business of routing.

Another example is the startup Mktxdatos which worked in partnership with Les Terrasses du Port for 5 months.

After prototyping the app “GuideMEmarseille,” a solution for better informing users about and around the port, several porty cities have expressed interest in the service. They were even approached by a Japanese delegation from Kobe that showed serious interest in their solution.

– What’s different about this edition of the Smartport Challenge?

This year, the goal is to develop solutions that are resolutely focused on a sustainable future, with the ambition of building a greener port. With the World Nature Congress organized in Marseille in June, the year 2020 will be a banner year for biodiversity and nature.

In addition, concerning the partners, some large companies are continuing the adventure with us, but new ones have also joined.

First of all, the DREAL (Direction Régionale de l'Environnement de l'Aménagement et du Logement), the Syndicat des pilotes and Atmosud (Association de surveillance de la qualité de l'air) have teamed up to propose an environmental challenge for ship pilots. The goal is to propose a tool to evaluate the impact of manoeuvres so as to encourage more environmentally friendly piloting (more information here).

In addition to having knowledge of the maritime sector and the propulsion ecosystem, we aer looking for startups for this challenge that can show they have the capacity for extracting and analyzing existing data with skills in calculation algorithms and optimization models.

Another challenge is EDF’s, which aims to reuse wastewater from cruise ships. Among other waste produced onboard, a cruise ship produces 1900 cubic meters of wastewater each day. This wastewater represents potential energy that can be used locally in different forms (calories, biogas, thermal energy, electric energy, etc.).

In this case as well, we’re looking for startups that can reduce wastewater released into the sea by proposing a solution that works for cruise ships.

Click here to learn about the other challenges this year.

– What’s the role of thecamp in the Smartport Challenge ecosystem?

Our expertise is in accompanying large companies, both public and private, in the creation of sustainable solutions, thanks to open innovation methodologies and opportunities with startups.

Over 5 months, the startups and large companies will come together in challenge teams to develop a solution together. They will also be accompanied by a referent who will guarantee team cohesion and the progress of the co-constructed project.

Based on design thinking, our method is centered on users, to allow concrete results to emerge in a relatively short amount of time! The other specificity of the program is that the challenge teams will be accelerated directly at thecamp during 3 sprints that will take place between May and September.

We also make experts with real added value available to the startups during this journey: to reflect on the solution’s business model or to help design the solution to create an initial functioning prototype.


Are you a startup? Do you want to participate in transforming tomorrow’s port? 

Join the Smartport Challenge #2 adventure by applying here (deadline March 22).