To get closer to start-ups, PSA created the “Business Lab” in December 2016, headed by Anne Laliron. Its goal: to detect young shoots with high potential, identify “common playgrounds” and explore new potential businesses for the group.
32 contracts signed, 12 experiments on new businesses
A year later, what is the first assessment of the structure? The seven-person team, based in Paris, Singapore and San Francisco, has been busy. Thanks to the close partnership with the Idinvest investment fund and a network of incubators and accelerators (in addition to 650 ambassadors in the group’s 27 departments), 560 start-ups were delivered in 28 countries, half of which in France, and a quarter in the United States.
PSA has signed contracts with 32 of them, representing a conversion rate of 6%, where investors generally see around 100 start-ups to select one. For some, it’s about strategic partnerships; for others, purchases, industrialization projects, marketing… But no direct investment, even if PSA also has a fund of 100 million euros: it reserves this envelope for strategic operations, with minority stakes in start-ups linked to after-sales, new mobility, such as Travelcar, Emov, Koolicar, etc.
Mobility, digital, factory of the future, autonomous vehicle
The start-ups with which PSA began working in 2017 have defined various fields: mobility, digital, factory of the future, autonomous vehicle, smart city… There is, for example, the French Demooz, which allows consumers to try a vehicle by borrowing it from an individual, KBRW, which streamlines the supply chain for rare spare parts, Expedicar, which is reinventing vehicle delivery, etc.
Twelve tests relating to potential new businesses for the group have also been launched, “and we are beyond the POC, with life-size field experiments”, insists Anne Laliron. The idea is to launch small-scale commercial trials, to evaluate the solution quickly… and bring the turnover to start-ups. “The approach is very business and pragmatic”welcomes Philippe Romano of KBRW. “We feel a desire to be concrete, to respond to business and customer cases quickly”.
More agility, the priority for 2018
For projects aimed at improving the company’s operational processes and optimizing its costs, the Business Lab often relies on “intrapreneurs” – it also has an incubator for its employees’ projects. But it is also necessary to build bridges with the teams of the 27 departments of the group. “Jas always easyrecognizes Lauranne Weill, UX Designer at PSA who followed the Demooz project for Citroën. “I must admit that getting people to work cross-functionally was not easy. But through persuasion and homemade cookies, we got there“, she smiles.
The Business Lab wants to progress on another point: its speed of execution. It shows an average topic processing time of two months, with response speeds ranging from two days to six months depending on the topic. “We must try to be even more agile and responsive. We need to provide faster feedback so as not to waste time for start-ups and our internal teams“, announces the director. The Business Lab says it has built streamlined processes that contrast with the usual procedures of legal or commercial teams, but there too, there is undoubtedly plenty of room for improvement.