A Manchester-based car rental technology business has been selected as one of five international high growth tech startups to join a Spanish accelerator programme.
Spanish airports company Aena chose StressFreeCarRental.com as one of five international winners to receive an investment of €50,000.
StressFreeCarRental.com is the only UK based company to be selected for the programme and will use the investment to develop a pilot project to improve the passenger experience for AENA’s customers.
A total of 514 proposals were considered for the programme with companies from over 40 countries participating.
The other four companies chosen to join accelerator programme Aena Ventures were BagID, Copenhagen Optimization, DeuSens, and Hovyu.
The selected startups will also be eligible for a contract with AENA worth up to €2 million.
Aena Ventures selected five technological startups in the growth phase, with the aim of them adding value to Aena and developing a pilot project in a real airport environment and with the help of the companies’ internal teams.
Each of the five winners was selected after winning a series of category challenges and being judged as most worthy of investment in their respective areas.
UK startup stressfreecarrental.com was the winner of the ‘Airport Destination’ challenge. It provides a stress-free vehicle rental platform, offering car rental customers a simplified and transparent user experience.
John Charnock of StressFreeCarRental.com said: “We’re excited to be working on a pilot project with the team at AENA Ventures and looking forward to delivering tangible results from the pilot.
“It’s an exciting time to be working in the travel sector as we see numbers recovering to pre-pandemic levels. This investment and pilot project will help us to demonstrate the capabilities of our technology in an airport commercial environment.
“To be chosen as one of just five winners and the only one from the UK from a field of more than 500 entries is testament to the quality of the technology we have created along with the skills, knowledge and experience of our team.”
The second edition of Aena Ventures is part of Aena’s strategic plan for Innovation and Digital Transformation which promotes innovation and takes advantage of technology and new business models to design the ‘airport of the future’.
Norwegian start-up BagID specialises in electronic luggage tags, providing a modern and sustainable solution for the identification and tracking of suitcases. It was the winning startup of the ‘Airport Efficiency’ challenge.
Copenhagen Optimization was the winner of the ‘Data Driven Airport’ challenge. The startup works on improving airport operational efficiency through data-driven solutions, with a particular focus on optimising passenger flows.
DeuSens is a Spanish startup dedicated to improving the traveller experience through interactive digital solutions that allow intuitive navigation within airports. Winner of the ‘Virtual Airport’ challenge, it introduces the Hyperexperience metaverse.
Dutch company Hovyu – winner of the ‘Greener Airport’ challenge – offers an innovative solution for the decarbonisation process in airports, focusing on energy efficiency and sustainability.
The selected startups will present their projects at the Aena Ventures ‘Welcome Week’, inaugurated today at the accelerator’s headquarters in Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport Terminal 2.
Key Aena officials attended the opening day including President & CEO Maurici Lucena; Vice President Javier Marín; Innovation, Sustainability and Client Experience Director Amparo Brea; and other members of the company’s management committee.
Lucena said: “Aena Ventures not only anticipates the future of aviation, but actively contributes to its creation.”
Presentations have been scheduled for the startups to showcase innovative solutions, as well as sessions to define pilot projects to outline and specify collaborations with Aena.
Additionally, the companies can participate in round tables where experts from the entrepreneurial ecosystem will share their experiences, knowledge and visions about the future of the sector.