Innovating, the key to a successful collaboration between startups and major groups



In 2021, the French administration registered a new record of small companies’ creations with 995 900 new entities, which is 17% more than in 2020. A large part of these businesses is centered on services but 17% of it is related to scientific and technical fields. This technological drive is strongly bound to the advent of the new information and communication technologies we have been witnessing for over two decades. Our society has probably never been as innovative as it is today.


Today’s technological major groups are those which took a stand 20 years ago. Since then, they have been the main actors and initiators of this era. We are talking here about the GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft) and major technological companies which have launched many disruptive innovations. For many years, the shift of French innovation ecosystem has been showing through the increasing number of new disruptive small companies and the strengthening of the French Tech (a public organization gathering technological businesses).


In a world going through technological transformation, with GAFAM asserting themselves and newcomers landing on the market, the French industry must demonstrate its driving force and its commitment. This challenge requires adaptation in a deep transformational context (digitalization, new usages, etc.). Relations between major industrials and young innovating companies went from a one-sided balance of power to collaboration: we call it coopetition.


Today, 53% of the largest companies work with startups. How did the situation evolve and how can we apprehend it? Where does Neovya stand in this ecosystem?


The birth of collaboration

Technological solutions have been coming from around the world because of globalized competition. Major French groups must innovate to keep up the speed such as working with the technologies from smaller innovative companies, also called startups.


For large groups as for startups, the collaboration is strategical. It can take different shapes (incubation, partnership, etc.). For the large groups, it is about staying competitive before challengers, speeding up innovation and digitalization, getting new opportunities. Startups benefit from the credibility, the opportunity to have new ways of value, to access the market faster and to get references for future customers.


The relationship and commitment must be balanced so to have a win-win deal with the large group and the startup. The startup will bring its agility, its creativity, and its disruptive innovation. And vice versa, the major group will adapt its organization and integrate an innovative value proposition from the startup in its strategy.


Benefits and issues

It is important to split the benefits for both entities as they are fundamentally different. For a startup, financing its activities is one the main reasons to collaborate, as a partnership with a large group can bring a customer and a substantial turnover. The startup can also rely on the commercial strength from the group to speed up its own progress. Furthermore, the visibility gifted from the partnership’s media cover is a strong asset as for the more significant communication budget from the major group. And finally, the credibility taken from such a collaboration with an established company can help a new business have access to new customers and partners.


For a large group, improving its offer will make it more competitive and ahead of its challengers. A partnership with a startup will also have the large group develop its agility and reactivity: it can test already elaborated products, instead of opening a new internal service and developing a new solution from scratch. In addition to the benefits of an innovative solution, a large company could also find the inspiration from a startup’s managerial and organizational methods as we see today with open-spaces or the expansion of different forms of working such as flex-office or nomadism. The major group has thus the capacity to adapt to the deep evolutions of its environment through such a partnership. As the purpose is increasing its attractivity not only from its offer but also from its reflection, that of an innovative company with disruptive technologies.


At the beginning of the partnership, obstacles may raise between the two companies: the large group wants innovation but hasn’t identified the required technology and is not necessarily aware of the startups in its ecosystem which could potentially bring it a solution. On the contrary, a startup will struggle to have access to the group’s decision-makers or won’t have an idea of what the group is needing. As soon as the relationship initiatives between the two businesses, there are many challenges along the way before reaching a healthy and balanced association between both parties: overcoming cultural differences and coordinating decision-making processes. Communication is also a critical condition for the collaboration as it reflects the relationship in the outside world. For these reasons, the starting point relies on trust and sharing expectations, goals and commitments.


These issues may be overcome if we pay attention to them and anticipate them at best. Since its creation, Neovya has had the opportunity to collaborate on many projects with major groups, what experience do we take from it?


Neovya at the heart of collaboration

Our primary goal at Neovya is to ease the access to smart mobility devices, to both public authorities and private entities. Facing the green transition, we offer solutions combining data intelligence, efficiency, and collaboration. With our expertise and knowledge on the different challenges, we have been developing fruitful relationships with our partners, based on open communication and a holistic vision of the projects.


From this perspective, Neovya launched a partnership with Vinci Facilities which helped develop the Neovya Daily Commute solution. The company has cross-sectoral needs: assessing its carbon footprint from its employees’ mobility, for the commute to work but also for non-sedentary workers and suggesting an appropriate alternative to reduce it. This demand, made by the group itself, agrees with our technological skills and our value proposition. Neovya has developed a custom-made solution to meet the expectations and has deployed it on many companies from the group. From this project was born Daily Commute, which is marketed to day and accessible to all businesses.

We were able to quickly deploy the Neovya Daily Commute solution on a large number of our business units. Data is integrated in a few clicks. The solution is powered by the best of breed computing engines which prove to be very efficient. The solution is very simple to use and available anywhere, any time. We have access to clear and precise dashboards to lead our strategy with efficiency. The solution provides us with an informed overview of the greenhouse gas emission made by our employees’ commute to work. We are now able to consider practical and pragmatical measures at the individual and the collective levels to encourage the shift towards more virtuous alternative modes.


Nicolas Galet

Low Carbon Development Manager, VINCI Facilities



In the same vein, Neovya has set a partnership with FARECO FAYAT to embed bricks of data intelligence and simulation in their equipment. The success from this partnership relies on a strategical combination: the group’s willingness to integrate intelligence and innovation in its products by tumbling its processes, and the opportunity for Neovya to value technological assets on a brand-new market.

The technological cornerstone of the partnership brings to FARECO the opportunity to enhance its LYNX® monitoring control station offer, dedicated to traffic and mobility equipment monitoring. It enables us to offer new advanced traffic simulation and forecasting functionalities. The new technological components developed within the framework of this partnership will be integrated into the LYNX® control station software suite and will enable traffic managers to better anticipate traffic conditions to smooth traffic flows and optimize road network operations.


François Leblanc, Directeur Général de FARECO



For major groups, innovating, investing in development and research, staying competitive, adapting to our ecosystem’s evolutions, is stepping out of their comfort zones, and taking action. For startups, relations with major groups might be an essential standing foot for their future. Intrapreneurship, acquisition, incubation, partnership: whatever the shape is, a successful project confides in open mindedness and a holistic approach.


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