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Mott MacDonald seeks start-ups to join new tech business

7 April 2019 | By Stephen Cousins

Mott MacDonald is calling on tech start-ups to enrol on a new accelerator programme set up to support the development of new digital products and services.

The consulting engineer plans to select five firms to take part in the three-month programme, which begins in September and forms a key part of a new Digital Ventures business, launched earlier this year.

Each start-up will receive early-stage seed funding and support services including mentorship, marketing, legal and technology help, in exchange for an equity stake in their business.

The intention is to develop cutting-edge digital tech relevant to either Mott MacDonald’s infrastructure consultancy and development business or its clients’ businesses, covering artificial intelligence, Blockchain, BIM, drones, or robotics.

Darren Russell, founder of Mott MacDonald Digital Ventures, told BIM+: “There are no end of brilliant ideas out there that could make a huge difference to our projects and those of our clients, who are the ultimate beneficiary of the work.

“However, start-ups often find it challenging to engage in projects, procurement routes can be very difficult and long and even if the client is interested in innovation it can difficult to access it. We see a big value add in helping these companies bring their innovation to market.”

The programme is open to UK and US-incorporated firms and the five successful applicants will be selected based on the quality of their business plans and their potential to deliver beneficial economic, social or environmental outcomes. Mott MacDonald was unable to reveal the total value of investment on offer.

Each start-up will receive guidance from founders and subject matter experts at the Mott MacDonald HQ in London, including advice in routes to market and how to scale-up existing products/services or develop prototypes. The accelerator programme will end with a demo day with clients and investors.

Digital Ventures is also investing to accelerate digitally innovative start-ups created within Mott MacDonald, two of which are now live.

The Smart Infrastructure business was established to help clients make better use of data generated by existing assets and turn it into meaningful information that provides new insights and improves decision-making. It makes use of the interactive cloud-based analytics and digital twin platform Moata, which provides real-time insights into asset performance and supports predictive maintenance regimes.

The tool is being used by Auckland City Council to improve the accuracy of water quality predictions and public health risks and a new partnership with Microsoft will see it ported to the AI cloud computing service Azure.

Russell said: “Digital twins, from individual component level, to whole facilities, to bringing different asset models together to build a national digital twin, are absolutely key to our business.”

The second internal business specialises in bringing efficiency into design and construction through data-centric integration, standard process and automation.

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