Global Innovators: Inside Leonard, Vinci’s Industry-Leading Open Innovation Accelerator

Global 50 Briefing-Vinci

Among global innovation leaders (catalogued on our Global Innovators 50 List), few have worked as hard in as short a period of time to engage the global innovation ecosystem as Vinci. Launched in 2017, Leonard has emerged as physical and digital hub in the global leadership of the innovation conversation.

Vinci's Leonard Accelerator
The central meeting area at Vinci’s Leonard 5,000 square meter accelerator in Paris’ 12th district.

Beyond being a physical space for events and co-working, Leonard gathers “intrapreneurs” from across Vinci’s 222,397 employees and €48.053 billion enterprise. They provide a champion and entree point into Vinci for maturing start ups, and they run a seed program for earlier stage start-ups offering investment capital as well as support.

Wall of Leonard Entrepreneurs
We had the opportunity to visit Leonard during last year’s Global Summit. This wall at Leonard shows the images of entrepreneurs involved in a variety of Vinci innovation initiatives.

Beyond technology innovation, Leonard’s activities also encompass Vinci’s considerable Cities initiatives including its Vinci Foundation for the City which provides grants to projects that support social issues such as housing, mobility, and access to employment and community, and its Fabrique de la Citedescribed as a global forum for bringing together people and ideas about new ways to “build and rebuild cities.” The work focuses on topics like energy, housing, and mobility. Taken together, the various efforts result in a robust platform for Vinci to engage with the broader ecosystem of future-oriented thinkers and doers.

Guillaume Bazouin
Guillaume Bazouin, Vinci’s Leonard

In terms of engagement around the world, Leonard has been busy. In 2018, Guillaume Bazouin became head of open innovation at Leonard. Educated in France and also at Stanford University, Bazouin has helped Leonard establish partnerships, internationally, with groups like Stanford, BuiltWorlds, and more recently joined with Cemex Ventures to promote a global startup challenge for the industry.  This past June, they hosted their first demo day, showing off the first group of five graduates from their SEED program, and they are now at work recruiting companies for their next round of the program. A look at the players in their first round helps provide a sense of the international pull of Leonard and also the varied scope of built world problems Leonard is looking tackle.

The companies include:

  • Build2B A platform for freelancers in the construction industry
  •  Soliquid Concrete to better enable 3D printing for the construction industry
  • EP Tender A  “Battery as a Service” solution for drivers
  • Inergeen A modular construction solution
  • VanO an on-demand van service for mid-sized cities

In another show of support for the industry’s global startup ecosystem, Bazouin will be BuiltWorlds European Market Reportdelivering the opening keynote of the BuiltWorlds Global Startup Demo Day today, at 12:30 central time, where Leonard is also a sponsor of the event which helps to provide broader exposure to the start ups and entrepreneurs from all over the world outside of the United States, bringing important developments to the global effort to reinvent how we develop, design, build, and maintain our built environment. With its Leonard Accelerator, Vinci is one of the many interesting industry players, investors, and startups we met with at our Global Summit in Paris last year and will meet with again at our Global Summit this week. To provide more of a look at the companies and people advancing the conversation on innovation in the built world from the European region, we prepared a European Market Report. We are delighted this week to have the occasion to meet with many more of them again.

About BuiltWorlds: BuiltWorlds is the industry’s leading, global platform for open innovation, keeping companies in the worlds of engineering and construction informed and connected, and helping them find avenues to collaborate for their own strategic success and for the betterment of the industry, as whole. For more information about BuiltWorlds, visit the BuiltWorlds Network