Start-ups in Provence Advancing Sustainable Development

Example of three positive impact innovations

They are working to reduce our carbon footprint. Their products or activities are already having a positive impact on the future. They operate in sectors as varied as energy, construction and transportation. Start-ups are among the economic actors which are particularly involved in sustainable development. Aix-Marseille regularly attracts talent on these environmental issues. Here are profiles of three start-ups supported by Provence Promotion that have chosen Provence to develop their innovations.

The Searoutes carbon footprint calculator

Can the in-depth analysis of data generated by human activities help us better preserve our environment? That is what the start-up Searoutes believes and demonstrates in the field of logistics and shipping with its solution to calculate shorter ‒ and therefore greener ‒ routes for transport vessels.

Since its establishment in Marseille in February 2019 with assistance from Provence Promotion and its first prototype developed as part of the Smart Port Challenge with the Port of Marseille Fos, Searoutes has refined its Big Data and machine learning technology. Its solution now offers the possibility for logistics and maritime companies to know the exact CO2 emissions for each of the navigation options chosen.

Its API, which launched successfully in May 2020, was designed as a decision support tool for shippers, carriers and freight forwarders, enabling them to couple performance and environmental criteria. Among the ten customers already won over, Ceva Logistics, a subsidiary of CMA CGM, is currently deploying this application for its teams.

Accelerated within ZeBox, CMA CGM’s hosting venue for French and international start-ups, Searoutes aims to bring to market a multimodal platform integrating road and air traffic data, as well as river and road-rail options. This advancement is fully aligned with the European Green Deal.

The smart building by Qarnot Computing

For Qarnot Computing, the Paris-based start-up that opened offices near Aix-en-Provence in 2019, CO2 is also an inspiration for innovation. The recovery of fatal computer heat is at the center of its R&D research. After marketing a computer radiator based on the principle of heat recovery from computer servers, the start-up launched a digital boiler based on the same principle in December 2019.

Qarnot Computing is bringing to market ecological solutions to equip homes, offices and public buildings by reducing the carbon footprint of data centers. Its expertise in cloud data management enables it to adapt the volume of calculations needed for the heat requirements of its installations.

The year 2020 marked a turning point in the start-up’s growth. It raised 6 million Euros in February 2020. More than 1,000 affordable housing units are already using Qarnot Computing’s virtuous technology. With the advent of smart cities, it aims to become the European leader in green computing and heating. The team of 45 employees, including five based in Provence, is expected to grow throughout France and the South. Qarnot Computing also makes it a point of honor to manufacture its products in France.

Bovlabs, a player in the circular economy

In terms of sustainable development, the start-up Bovlabs is banking on the widespread use of electric vehicles by creating green energy exchange platforms from charging stations.

With regional insights from Provence Promotion, its founder Jaikrishnan Radhakrishna Pillai came from California in 2018 and benefited from support at the camp, where he based his company and has since expanded the team.

His innovation, based on blockchain and peer-to-peer technologies, provides electric vehicle owners with smart, connected charging stations. Once sufficiently recharged, the car batteries feed electricity into the nearby renewable energy grid. Modulating the battery charge and discharge time while vehicles are parked helps to avoid consumption peaks. The electric vehicle drivers become stakeholders in energy communities and earn rewards. As part of a first experiment carried out at the Aix-en-Provence TGV station, drivers enjoyed free parking.

Bovlabs has just signed an optimization contract with the Austrian energy supplier Energie Steiermark. The start-up recently obtained funding under the European Horizon 2020 program and the latest good news is that its solution was selected for deployment in Mayotte.

In the region, after winning the Med’innovant competition, its car-sharing station project called “Etoile Euromed” is slated for testing within the Smartseille program as part of the Euroméditerranée 2 urban development initiative.

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