SMMT Future Mobility Challenge

Following the resounding success of last year’s inaugural edition, the SMMT Future Mobility Challenge will enable start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs to make innovative ideas and solutions discoverable to five of the world’s largest and most recognisable automotive brands: Bosch, Ford, Honda, Toyota and Volvo Cars.

SMMT are inviting start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs to pitch innovative ideas and solutions to address eight key mobility challenges of the future. Those with the best solutions will be shortlisted and invited to meet with, and pitch live, to the five major brands at a one-day event in London on 17 October 2019.

This is not another start-up competition. Successful start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs will be able to seriously negotiate a range of bespoke partnership opportunities, ranging from access to world-class mentoring, incubation facilities and live pilot sandboxes, to unparalleled routes to market and investment.

The Challenges

Challenge 1: Generating insights and creating value from mobility data

Challenge 2: Innovative solutions for intelligent fleets

Challenge 3: Innovative solutions for intelligent fleets

Challenge 4: New ownership, shared and on-demand mobility models

Challenge 5: Beyond the car: creating new services and delivering superior customer experiences

Challenge 6: New connected and in-car services

Challenge 7: Automated driving technologies for on-road and off-road vehicles

Challenge 8: E-mobility solutions

Potential benefits of partnering with the five automotive brands.

Route to market

Many start-ups or scale-ups are looking for a first customer, or in the case of SMEs maybe a first major customer. The brands involved in this initiative are major global businesses with a large pool of existing and prospective customers across multiple business segments. Solutions may have more than one application in a given segment, or could be extended to become viable propositions in adjacent businesses. The depth of experience and vast scale and reach of these brands mean they can also help develop and nurture the SME’s business to quickly scale and tap into their global markets.

Incubation, acceleration, piloting

Not every business is ready go to market just yet. Ideas may need further incubation to become viable propositions. Or, solutions may need to be piloted or tested in live customer environments to accelerate their commercial readiness.

This initiative can offer successful start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs access to first-class mentorship, profound market and consumer insights from leading experts, data, R&D capabilities, and technical and marketing resources via UK-based incubators, innovation labs and accelerators that have extensive global reach. SMEs will also benefit from opportunities to pilot a product or service through live sandboxes and testbeds.


SMEs may be looking for funding to catapult their ideas to the next stage, be it proof-of-concept, prototyping or delivering a minimum viable product. Or they may be ready to commercialise their solutions, or even grow their fledgling business. Subject to the right terms and conditions, the automotive companies are ready to invest stage-agnostic, though the majority of investments are expected to fall within Series A or B.

Exit path/acquisition

There may be a possibility that the SME’s business has reached considerable maturity such that they are looking for someone else to take it to the next stage. Or they may just want to simply cash in and pursue other interests. Subject to the right terms and conditions, the automotive companies are open to acquiring a majority stake or the business outright.