Over 600 executives came together for the 6th edition of the Blue Ocean Awards, held on 7 November 2019 at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Paris, France. The competition, inspired by Blue Ocean Strategy, recognizes the most innovative, ambitious French entrepreneurs striving to create their own blue oceans.
The theme of this year’s event was, How can cities shift out of red ocean competition to create blue ocean cities of tomorrow. Blue ocean cities are where growth is strong, companies thrive, jobs are created and our communities are safe, happy, and flourishing. In the drive to foster a vibrant future economy, the French Ministry of Economy and Finance supports and hosts the ever-growing Blue Ocean Awards.
The event is organized by Alban Eral, with the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) and the General Directorate of Enterprises (DGE) showing strong support for the competition.
This year, the competition not only happened in Paris. Its success over the past five years has led to a second event that kicked off this year in Bordeaux, France. This first regional edition was held simultaneously at the KEDGE Business School Campus in Bordeaux, bringing to light blue ocean businesses from the French region of New Aquitaine.
The day is a round of vibrant workshops, testimonies, a blue ocean hackathon, and a public debate about blue ocean cities of tomorrow, led by Hewlett Packard Enterprise. During the Blue Ocean Hackathon, led by French USD $13 billion mega-utility provider Veolia, students from HEC Paris pitched their blue ocean ideas. Additionally, all the finalists exhibited their innovative companies in the conference center’s lobby.
Out of more than 400 submissions, a total of 13 finalists were selected in Paris and 12 in Bordeaux. The shortlisted companies pitched their businesses in September to a jury made of top executives from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dell, BNP Paribas, and investors from companies such as Cape Horn Invest, Newfund, Serena Capital and the Women Business Angels Network.
Leakmited: Fixing leaks is easy but finding them is difficult. 35% of water is lost underground, costing $14 billion USD per year. Leakmited detects water leaks using satellite imagery. Leaks change the properties of the ground, which can then be detected from space using pattern recognition, up to an accuracy of 20 meters, which is a 1000% improvement.
Tarmac technologies enables seamless aircraft ground operations to minimize aircraft’s time on the ground and expand airports’ efficiencies. Their communication and tracking platform brings all stakeholders together to monitor operations, increase data sharing and improve collaboration.
Toopi: The current disposal method for urine is mainly via the sewer system. This is problematic for wastewater treatment plants and a concern for sustainable water management. However, human urine is a proven agricultural fertilizer, as is animal urine, already in use by farmers. Toopi collects human urine from festivals, testing laboratories, and communities and transforms it to create a 100% organic fertilizer for agricultural cooperatives and organic fertilizer manufacturers.
Finalcad (Blue Ocean Baby Award 2015): Launched in 2011, this construction mobile platform facilitates the digital transformation of the building and construction industry with a flexible app to handle and optimize construction processes and to collect insightful data. Since its inception, Finalcad has delivered more than 20,000 projects across 35 countries and has secured over $63 million in funding from investors including Draper Esprit, Cathay Innovation, Salesforce Ventures, Serena, Aster, and CapHorn Invest.
Wave Bumper (Blue Ocean Baby Award 2018): Launched in 2017 in the South of France (Bayonne), Wave Bumper offers an innovative removable dike system to protect coastal areas from ocean hazards and submergence waves. It quickly received two million euros in orders. The patent-protected system triggers an alert if there is a risk of flooding and includes a calculator to predict the impact of waves in order to maximize protection. The European Space Agency (ESA), which has satellite meteorological data, supports the project.
Agorize (Blue Ocean Mentor Award 2016): a platform enabling developers, students and employees to participate in online innovation challenges. Companies increasingly rely on external elements to strategize and implement digital transformation. Agorize helps businesses innovate and identify the best talent by connecting them with a global community of five million qualified innovators. In 2019, they raised €13 million. They have more than 200 customers worldwide including Amazon, LVMH, Schneider Electric and PepsiCo. Agorize has now offices in Paris, Montreal, Stuttgart, Hong-Kong, Tokyo and Singapore.
Veracash (Blue Ocean Mentor Award 2017): VeraCash is a peer-to-peer trading currency backed by physical gold, diamonds and silver metal. Gold has been a monetary instrument for over 5000 years and VeraCash has restored it to its role as a “real” currency. The VRC currency (1 VRC = 1 EUR) can be used anywhere in the world with a Mastercard and a mobile application. Sending VRCs between individuals and professionals is free. Launched in 2015, the company is preparing an ICO, a fundraising method based on cryptocurrencies, which could enable it to raise at least €10 million.
Pandobac offers reusable crates to food wholesalers for fresh produce delivery. Their crates replace disposable packaging like cardboard boxes, wood crates, polystyrene boxes, that are used in the fresh produce delivery. Pandobac is a zero-waste solution, ecological and sustainable.
Comerso offers tools to collect unsold food – mainly from supermarkets and the agriculture sector – for charity. The company’s purpose is to fight food waste. They use the latest technology to streamline each stage of collection and guarantee the best conditions for redistribution within short deadlines.
Liebr is a platform that connects motorcycles with independent professional mechanics to meet everyone’s current needs and requirements.
Thanks to the Ministry of Economy and Finance and to Kedge Business School for supporting and graciously hosting the events. Thanks to the three key organizers Alban Eral, the INPI and the DGE. And thanks to the long-term sponsors HEC Paris, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Veolia, Forbes, BNP Paribas, Dell and to many others.