Meeting the next generation of tech pioneers at VivaTech

Airbus expanded its innovation ecosystem by meeting startups from around the world at the Paris-based VivaTech industry event from 15-17 June 2017 — with agility and new technologies top of the agenda.

Over three days of talks, workshops and pitches, 5,000 startups joined venture capitalists and major corporations to explore topics such as artificial intelligence, urban air mobility and digital transformation at this year’s VivaTech.

For us, it is a chance to demonstrate our commitment to new ideas and ways of working. On show are: Airbus BizLab, our well-established innovation network that provides an acceleration programme for startups; Airbus ProtoSpace, our own network of innovation facilities, and Airbus Venture, our early-stage venture capital fund.

“The event’s open and dynamic atmosphere reflects the spirit of innovation we are growing in Airbus,” says Bruno Gutierres, Head of Airbus BizLab, which coordinated our debut attendance at this exciting event.

“Our company relies on an ecosystem of partners to introduce new technologies, agile methods and prototyping capabilities, so having direct contact with startups at events like these is key.”

Bruno Gutierres, Head of BizLab, at VivaTech 2017

As a major sponsor, we hosted our own Lab, inviting 32 startups to pitch their projects and discuss their business strategies face to face with Airbus executives. Several startups from our accelerator programme were also able to present their products and services on our BizLab booth – Inflight VR, Uwinloc and Jetlite to name a few.

They were also able to hear from key execs such as CTO Paul Eremenko about Airbus’ plans for the future. In a chat with Samuel Burke from CNNMoney, Eremenko championed entrepreneurship and disruptive technologies ahead of an appearance by new French President Emmanuel Macron.

Paul Eremenko and Samuel Burke, CNNMoney, talking about innovation, globalisation and the future of aviation at VivaTech 2017

Airbus was able to reach out to several political leaders at the show; Gutierres had the opportunity to present Airbus to the French Minister of Transport Élisabeth Borne, while Head of Engineering for Airbus Defence and Space Grazia Vittadini welcomed Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas.

Vittadini was also at the center stage on Day 2 of the event when she spoke about the challenges and opportunities of the sharing economy in outer space. With Airbus Lab dedicating the day to topics about space, it was the perfect opportunity to introduce two Airbus Defence and Space startup contests: GEO Challenge and ActInSpace, which encourage non-established players to find new uses for space-acquired data.

One such is our recently launched commercial drone services startup Airbus Aerial. This brings together drones, satellite imagery and software to offer imagery services. Jesse Kallman, who heads Airbus Aerial, spoke on this topic on Day 1.

VivaTech, which also ranged across topics such as the Internet of Things, the passenger experience, artificial intelligence and smart energy, has established itself as a vital meeting place for innovative startups and established players, says Vittadini: “This has been a very successful show — it’s opened our company up to exciting ideas and technologies we wouldn’t have discovered staying inside our own four walls.”

If that sounds exciting to you, why not work with us?