For its third season in a row, UR Link, Unibail-Rodamco’s business acceleration programme, worked with 5 startups for 4 months, offering them the opportunity to benefit from a bespoke collaboration, but also to test their concept in shopping centres welcoming tens of thousands guests per day.
The Group, which manages more than 70 shopping centres in Europe, among which more than 2/3 welcome over 6 million guests a year, launched its business acceleration programme in 2016, in partnership with NUMA. The initiative aimed at offering the opportunity to young startups to benefit from the expertise of the company’s employees and NUMA’s mentors for 4 months, but also to test and deploy their solution at scale, in the Group’s portfolio: at the Forum des Halles, at the Quatre Temps, at Euralille, etc.
The programme was a great success for Unibail-Rodamco: as an illustration, the startups Dress in the City (Season 1) and Merito (Season 2) signed long-term partnerships with the Group. The third season officially ended two months ago, and featured 5 startups, 3 of which worked on digital marketing solutions to improve customer experience and engagement in shopping centres, while the 2 others collaborated with the Group on the implementation of its CSR Strategy, “Better Places 2030”.
“There was a great involvement of UR employees, which helped us progress at great pace in only a few weeks. We would be delighted to pursue our collaborations with the startups and to consider scaling them at the Group level together.”
– Jean-Baptiste Chandeson, Sourcing and Investment Manager, UR Link
Jam: A Chatbot to Guide Shoppers at the Forum des Halles
Also known as “the chatbot for Millennials”, Jam was created in April 2015 by Marjolaine Grondin and Loïc Delmaire, and develops a conversational assistant on Facebook Messenger. Thanks to Artificial Intelligence technology, Jam can recommend cultural, sports, gastronomic or commercial activities to its young users.
During the 4-month acceleration programme, Jam pushed content related to the Forum des Halles to its community of over 200,000 Millennials: ongoing films at the UGC Ciné Cité des Halles cinema, best shops in the centre, secrets of the mall, questions on the history of the Forum. Thanks to Jam, the Forum des Halles managed to create engagement with a community of Millennials and attract them into the centre.
Paylead: Promotions in your Credit Card
Founded in 2016, Paylead is a fintech solution letting banks offer promotions and customised recommendations to their customers directly into their credit cards. These clients can therefore benefit from discounts seamlessly, simply by paying with their credit card. Paylead is also a great way for retailers to touch new customer segments.
Paylead’s POC at the Quatre Temps in La Défense offered a 5% discount to customers of the LCL bank for all the retailers of the centre. The promotion was directly embarked in their credit cards: a new way for Unibail-Rodamco to attract new visitors, increase the number of shops per visit and improve customer loyalty.
Popsell: Word-of-Mouth for Retail
Since 2012, Popsell develops a viral marketing Software as a Service (SaaS) for brands. Through gamification and challenges, customer communities are rewarded with points and vouchers depending on their engagement, their virality and the sales they generate.
At the Euralille center, customers could sign up on a gamified platform dedicated to the mall, with regular challenges. Thus, the teams of the centre managed to build up a community of more than 400 ambassadors, sharing qualitative content around Euralille on their social networks.
Combo Solutions: Big Data for Low Carbon Emissions
Founded in 2015, Combo Solution develops solutions to manage energetic and environmental performance for buildings. The startup provides industrials and building specialists with studies, advice and technological expertise to ensure the carbon efficiency of new constructions. The close collaboration with Unibail-Rodamco resulted in the implementation of a new technological solution for construction decision makers in the Group, aiming at reducing the carbon footprint.
This solution was a great way to help the Group find innovative ways to meet its goals in line with its CSR strategy. As for Combo Solutions, the startup learnt a lot working with a large real estate group, gathering useful insights from users, fine-tuning its business model and improving its product.
“Thanks to UR Link, we gained an extensive understanding of Unibail-Rodamco’s expectations, of the functioning of its teams and of the way projects are conducted. We were actually able to go way beyond a mere client/service provider relationship.”
– Guillaume Lafont, CEO and Founder of Combo Solutions
PHENIX: Fighting Against Wastage in Shopping Centres.
PHENIX was founded in 2014 by Jean Moreau and Baptiste Corval. The two entrepreneurs and their team provide large companies with expertise, methods and means to recycle products and give them to charity. PHENIX gathers more than 40 tons of unsold items every day.
During the POC with Unibail-Rodamco, the startup audited the Group’s shopping centres to identify key levers to be pushed to improve waste management. The collaboration will help Unibail-Rodamco apply circular economy principles in its centres and, thus, transform its practices.
Stay tuned for more information on next year’s programme for UR Link!