UR Link, Unibail-Rodamco’s startup accelerator targeting new retail concepts, services to visitors and sustainability, was launched a year ago. 16 startups have already been involved in the programme. We talk to Marjolaine Grondin from Jam, one of the 5 startups selected for the 3rd season of UR Link, and to Caroline Auvieux, Leasing Manager at Unibail-Rodamco and Jam’s UR mentor.
1) What motivated you to be part of UR Link season 3?
The opportunity of being present in top shopping centres such as the Forum des Halles which is particularly interesting given our young target age group. Working with a large Group like Unibail-Rodamco is a real chance to get our project off the ground quickly.
Innovation is at the heart of the Unibail-Rodamco’s business. Working with startups is a great opportunity to learn and take part in challenging projects. It has helped me expand my outlook and I have especially appreciated working with NUMA, one of the UR Link partners.
2) Could you talk about the concept developed by Jam and how it addresses the needs of UR?
Jam is a chatbot which uses Facebook Messenger to suggest interesting activities for young people. It’s a conversational media using algorithms with which users can develop a personal relationship and obtain recommendations of places to go to and activities that suit their tastes. We already have 100,000 users; we are joining Station F – the world’s biggest startups campus located in Paris – and will be participating in the Facebook Startup Garage in September.
Jam addresses the millennial age group, an important customer segment for Unibail-Rodamco. Through the conversations the chatbot can help develop customer loyalty and provide qualitative data by conducting customer surveys in a way that is much better adapted to millennials.
3) What are the high points for you in this programme?
The selection process because we realised that our concept was just as meaningful for major actor such as Unibail-Rodamco as it was for us. Another high point was the kick-off day because we met with high-level experts and mentors who helped us to clearly define the framework for the project.
The launch of the chatbot stories for the pilot was one of the high points. Another decisive moment will be deploying the communication tools (Facebook page, website, mobile app) to promote the partnership with Jam. Then, we communicated via digital screens in the Forum des Halles.
4) What are your expectations regarding the season 3 of UR Link?
Our objective is to design and implement the most advanced proof of concept in record time at the Forum des Halles to prepare for the full-scale roll-out of the project.
I will support Jam with the Group’s expertise to develop their project and test their business model. The ultimate objective is to develop a long-term partnership with Jam to replicate this model and roll it out in other shopping centres.