Unibail-Rodamco is innovating at pace since it has started collaborating closely with startups to build tomorrow’s shopping centres. With its innovation lab UR Lab and its startup accelerator UR Link created in 2015, the Group was among the firsts to understand that Open Innovation is now a must-do for a large group, positioning itself as a pioneer in the Real Estate & Retail industries. Today, Unibail-Rodamco is proud to see its efforts crowned by renowned institutions in the innovation ecosystem, such as the French Tech label or the David with Goliath price organised by Raise France and Bain & Company.
A Leader in Open Innovation according to the French Tech 2017 Barometer
On Wednesday November 8th, after 3 successful seasons and 19 startups accelerated, Unibail-Rodamco and its startup accelerator UR Link were selected by the French Tech label – an interministerial initiative launched by the French government to support the development of the French startup ecosystem – as one of the leaders in Open Innovation in Europe, and one of the Top 3 groups for distribution partnerships with startups.
La French Tech highlighted UR Link’s differences to “traditional” corporate accelerators, particularly the ability to involve every BU in the sourcing and acceleration phases.
As Jean Collet, freshly appointed new UR Link Director, stresses out: “At UR Link, innovation is not monopolised by an isolated working group. We work in constant dialogue with BU directors and we choose startups based on the expectations and needs expressed by the BUs.”
The UR Link programme also stands out thanks to the the training and mentoring offered to startups as well as the strong support and constant involvement of the group management board. As proven by the distribution partnership established with the startup Dress in the City, startups can also strongly benefit from UR Link and increase their power.
UR selected among David with Goliath contest finalists with Transaction Connect
The partnership between Unibail-Rodamco and Transaction Connect is one of the many examples of Unibail-Rodamco’s collaborations with startups. During the 4 months of the second season of UR Link, between November 2016 and February 2017, Transaction Connect deployed its solution in So Ouest, transforming any payment card into a loyalty card, rewarding customers every time they shop in the mall, and providing Unibail-Rodamco with insightful customer knowledge.
The collaboration gave Transaction Connect the opportunity to tailor its value proposition for large groups and the credibility to sign contracts with other real estate companies in France and in Portugal. In turn, Unibail-Rodamco strongly benefited from this collaboration, gaining the ability to gain useful knowledge on customer behaviour to orient marketing efforts more accurately. Together, Unibail-Rodamco and Transaction Connect are reaching an agreement to implement the solution to the entire group portfolio.
As a result of this successful collaboration Unibail-Rodamco and Transaction Connect were selected among the finalists of the David with Goliath contest, organised by the RAISE fund and rewarding collaboration between large companies and startup. Results will be announced on November 15th, 2017. Stay tuned!
Interview "David avec Goliath" - Transaction Connect et Unibai...
Quand les "grands" et les "petits" s'associent ça donne de riches et beaux projets ! 🤜🤛 On est partis à la rencontre des finalistes du concours "David avec Goliath" : Transaction Connect et Unibail-Rodamco !Publié par Les Petits Frenchies sur mardi 14 novembre 2017
Reinventing the retail of tomorrow with the Banque Publique d’Investissement (BPI) at the 13th edition of TOTEM
Unibail-Rodamco has now become a major player in terms of innovation in the retail sector. On November 9th, UR Link, along with other RetailTech start-ups, was invited by the BPI – the French Public Investment Bank – to answer the question “AI, machine learning, facial recognition… what will be tomorrow’s retail ?”. The UR Link team shared its vision on the impact of digital on physical retail, on the new purposes of the point of sale and on the improvement of customer journey.
The startup accelerator’s director Jean Collet reminded how crucial it is to embrace the digital revolution challenges, although the advantages of physical retail should not be neglected. “We need to transform physical retail, which has many assets: customers can have a human relation with sales teams; it’s a place for communities and social experiences with friends; and finally, it is a multisensory experience you cannot have online”, he said.
For Unibail-Rodamco, building tomorrow’s retail is actually about investing to capitalise on those strengths and customising the Customer Journey to improve relationships with guests. This requires perfectly trained staff for an optimal customer service, innovative customer oriented tools and vertical integration with partners to gain more customer knowledge. It’s also about inventing new usages in shopping malls: in 2017, Unibail-Rodamco signed a one-year partnership with Pokemon GO to let gamers play in shopping centres.
ⓒ Photo: Alice Dardun
Stay tuned for more news on what’s next for UR Link!