A ground-breaking carpooling app has won the 'Urban Life and Mobility' final of one of Europe's biggest competitions for digital technology start-ups. Second and third prize were awarded to a website that lets fans decide where concerts take place (ADDACT) and a travel guide that uses augmented reality (ZonzoFox).
Ten of the most exciting emerging technology companies from across Europe gathered at City Hall in London on 23 November 2015 to participate in the UK final of the EIT Digital Idea Challenge.
The winner, Karos, is a mobile app that makes daily commuting easier, more cost effective and kinder to the environment. It is the first of its kind to be aimed at large companies who then offer the app to their employees free of charge. The app helps employees maximise their valuable time by making their daily travel more efficient. It saves money, time, and dramatically reduces the carbon footprint of both users and their employers.
Paul Jenkins, chair of the judging panel said: "We were looking for exciting ideas that had a clear market niche, potential for growth, good plan for building the business up and an inspiring management team.
"We've seen lots of car sharing ideas over the past few years aimed at consumers, Karos is the first that targets businesses and this could be a huge market. Companies want to attract the best employees and make their journey to work easier whilst reducing their carbon footprint."
Olivier Binet, co-founder of Karos said: "We wondered why existing carpooling services didn't work for short, daily, commutes and realised that we could harness developments in big data and predictive algorithms to create an app that would understand your daily behaviour and offer tailored carpooling options."
"It's available free of charge to anyone who wants to use it but we are working with large companies to adopt this for their employees – giving a large group of people all travelling to and from the same place which is ideal for making Karos really effective."
Dennis Moynihan, London Node Director for EIT Digital said: "We're eager to identify and accelerate the best digital innovation in London, the UK, and across Europe – and the Idea Challenge is just one way we're making this a reality. Together with our partners from the Smart London Board, we're focused on creating real entrepreneurial opportunities to make cities "smarter", keeping London at the forefront of global digital innovation."