Published on October 24, 2017

Startups Receive Awards to Develop Quality of Life Solutions

Four European startups – EelwayBiooOrosound and Smunch – gathered six awards at the Spark Life Contest finals, held during the Sodexo Quality of Life Conference in London on October 17. The contest was launched by thecamp in partnership with AccorHotels, Gares & Connexions SNCF, Le Village by CA, Sodexo and Steelcase.

“The partner companies decided to collaborate to stimulate startup innovation on this central topic – quality of life,” said Denis Machuel, Group Chief Digital Officer & Deputy CEO of Sodexo. Quality of life is at the heart of what Sodexo does, he said, and technology and digital solutions are powering improvements in people’s well-being.

Big Companies and Startups Link Up

The Spark Life Contest enables big companies and startups to work together and benefit from each other. “We will not only give a prize, but also accompany, learn and evolve together with these startups,” Machuel said. He stressed how useful it was for big companies to work with startups on innovative projects. “This connection with startups can bring agility, enhance our capacity to go further and develop our innovation muscle,” he said.

We will not only give a prize, but also accompany, learn and evolve together with these startups.
Denis Machuel, Group Chief Digital Officer & Deputy CEO of Sodexo

Each prize includes a EUR 20,000 business contract with a founding partner to develop the startup’s quality of life solution. Winners also receive a one-week pass and optional acceleration program with thecamp.

France’s Eelway, a luggage-transfer platform and service, received two Spark Life prizes: one in partnership with AccorHotels, and another with Gares & Connexions SNCF. The Paris-based startup aims to free travelers from their luggage problems by collecting luggage at airports, train terminals or hotels, storing the luggage and transferring it to the traveler’s next destination.

Another Spark Life winner was Berlin-based Smunch, which allows workers to have delicious, high-quality lunches in the office at affordable costs. Employees select their meals from a different restaurant every day, and they can choose whatever they want, including vegetarian options. The restaurant delivers the food to the office. Smunch targets companies with 100-500 employees, and it racked up USD 500,000 in annual revenue since its launch last May, according to CEO Shivram Ayyagari.

Noise Filters and Plant-based Energy

Paris-based Orosound also won a Spark Life prize, in partnership with Steelcase, to develop adjustable noise-filtering earphones, particularly useful in open-plan offices. “Noise is one of the biggest drawbacks of modern society,” said CEO Pierre Guiu. The startup’s Tilde earphones allow workers to work in silence or to adjust the earphones so they can have a conversation with a colleague while blocking out all the other noises in the office.

Spain’s Bioo won a Spark Life prize in partnership with thecamp and Le Village. The startup has come up with a way to generate electricity from plant photosynthesis, without harming the plant. Bioo also won a special jury prize, the “Coup de Coeur” award. While the startup is investing in research and development to develop this process, it is also developing small-scale products. One example is Bioo Ed, an educational kit for schools and homes to create biological batteries from plants.