Events - EIC Corporate Day with Amadeus: the future of travelling on display
On 30 November 2020 the European Innovation Council (EIC) and Amadeus, one of the leading technological providers for the travel industry, hosted an online EIC Corporate Day, bringing together 15 start-ups. The start-ups pitched in front of over 280 Amadeus-representatives on topics like data analytics, airports, sustainability and traveller experience and meet with decision makers in dedicated one-to-one meetings.
Where in “normal times” people were buzzing around airports, traffic in and out of airports crawling, hotels booked to the brim, 2020 has been quite different. International tourism has been put on a halt and the travel industry is facing the worst crisis of its history. We got together with Raquel Rodrigo, from Amadeus’ business incubator ‘Nexwave’ and Cristina Moyano from Amadeus Ventures, as well as Alphan Merih Karadeniz, EIC-beneficiary from ArgosAI to talk about innovation in the travel sector, with the effects of COVID-19 on travel at the core of our discussions
A new travel experience
Raquel is in charge of ecosystem-relations within Nexwave and Cristina of investments and venture-specific partner relations. Their teams co-organised this Corporate Day with the EIC as a way of creating new opportunities for them. Raquel said: “Not everything can be done internally. We need to bridge that gap between ecosystems and find the right start-ups and ideas”. Cristina added: “Teaming up with the EIC meant access to a pipeline of new opportunities of high quality. Seeing as they are pre-screened, funded and supported by the EIC we know what we can expect when the startups come to us.”
The SMEs pitched on a wide array of pre-defined topics, some focused on the more traditional areas Amadeus already works on, and also new fields that can contribute to improve travelers‘ experiences further. “Adding these new areas were important to us. In order to bring back travel to normal volumes, we should definitely look at new solutions”, Raquel commented. Cristina also commented on the skills they want to bring to the ecosystem. ‘We look for entrepreneurs who can bring creativity to tackle problems from different angles and identify niche opportunities; courage to take risks; agility to learn; adaptability to change and go to market faster; and resilience (in addition to perseverance and hard work) to follow their vision and be willing to fail fast and learn, to eventually succeed. Overall, we want to restore traveller confidence and make the end to end journey frictionless”, Cristina highlighted.
Over 280 Amadeus-representatives attended the event, including many different business lines, be it research or more commercial. “The attendance was great, but that is of course secondary. The number of follow-up calls, and connections made are key. But also, in that aspect, things are looking very positive”, Raquel added. In conclusion Cristina mentioned: “What we need to bring now is a win-win situation for everyone: start-ups that can initiate true collaboration, while we at Amadeus can find relevant partners to create new or improved solutions”.
A shortcut to access large corporates
Alphan Merih Karadeniz, CEO and Co-founder of ArgosAI, was one of the 15 EIC-innovators selected to pitch. ArgosAI, based in Ankara, Turkey, develops innovative technologies to automate ground operations at airports. Its portfolio of computer vision and artificial intelligence-based technologies enable airports to accelerate their digital transformation as they manage one of the world’s most complex and safety-critical operations. ArgosAI has been part of the EIC Community for several years now and Alphan explained its value: “We’ve benefitted from the EIC ecosystem for a while. The EIC supplies many opportunities to us, including days like these.” For a company like ArgosAI, Amadeus is obviously an attractive partner. “Amadeus is one of the biggest software players in the travel industry. Normally it’s difficult to access the right decision makers within these large companies. And even when you do, it takes a lot time to create something viable.” And that is where the EIC Corporate Days come into play. “Basically, it’s a shortcut to help us initiate a partnership with them. We truly believe we can complement their work and add benefit to it.”
Want to access corporate decision makers in an effective and timely manner? The EIC regularly hosts Corporate Days, for the moment fully online, with applications running through the EIC Community. Those wishing to meet with Europe’s largest corporates and fellow EIC-beneficiaries, please keep an eye on our calendar. Check out our Corporate Day Highlight report and video for more impressions.