The FIA Smart Cities Global Start-Up Contest

By leveraging the power of technology, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) is working to make urban mobility safer, smarter, more sustainable and more accessible for all road users.

In 2017,  FIA created the FIA Smart Cities Initiative to contribute to the implementation of the UN New Urban Agenda, with the aim of helping cities to define new models for more sustainable urban mobility.

As part of this initiative, FIA organises the Smart Cities Global Start-Up Contest with MassChallenge. The aim of the contest to select 18 promising mobility-focused start-ups from the Americas, Europe and Asia, and give them a platform to grow their network and visibility by connecting them to key mobility stakeholders in multinational corporates, government and public institutions.

The 2021 season will follow the same format as in 2020, with all events run on-line. If circumstances and appropriate conditions allow for the organization of physical events, this would be implemented on the occasion of the Formula E races in the respective cities and regions. Should this be the case, we will follow-up with the selected start-ups to arrange for the corresponding details.


Benefits for the 18 Start-Ups Selected

FIA will select 18 start-ups and invite them to an online pitching and networking event.

The event is designed to grow the startups network with key mobility stakeholders and gain media exposure via FIA’s and MassChallenge’s websites and social media channels. Circumstances permitting, the events will be timed with the Smart Cities Forum and E-Prix in cities in the region.

The jury for the pitching event is comprised of senior representatives from leading companies in smart cities and mobility (e.g. ABBMichelin,  Julius Bär, and the International Road Federation, and there will be an opportunity for startups to network with the judges outside of the pitch environment in dedicated breakout rooms.

Startups will receive detailed feedback from the judges after the event that will help them sharpen their propositions.

If physical events take place and local regulations and conditions allow for it, additional benefits will be offered (e.g. Tickets to the Formual E Race, and accommodation aid).


For the Winning Start-Up

At each pitching event, the panel will select a winner from the six start-ups who pitched. We encourage star-ups from mainland China in the Smart Cities, Urban and Sustainable Mobility spheres to participate in the contest.

 In addition to the above, the winner will receive:

  • A specific press release from FIA and MassChallenge with an in-depth interview to be published on FIA’s and MassChallenge’s websites.
  • Selected start-ups will be also awarded the International Road Federation (IRF) Start-up Label, which provides additional mentorship, visibility and networking benefits.
  • An invitation to a FIA global event focused on urban mobility, where they can access a network of world’s leading Automobile Clubs and Federations, relevant corporate and local government partners. Past winners attended events such as the FIA Mobility Annual Conference, FIA Region I Marketing & Management Conference, and Green Tech Festival, where they were able to connect with leading experts across the transportation sector.
  • An invitation to attend MassChallenge’s start-up accelerator in Switzerland. This programe has helped hundreds of start-ups accelerate their business, and offers startups office space to help them develop the Swiss/EU market.

Eligibility Criteria

We are looking for mobility-focused technology start-ups that:

  • Are from seed to series C+. What’s important is that your start-up already has some traction. The benefit of the programme is meeting someone who can help you scale your idea.
  • Have Impactful, Viable and Innovative ideas:
    • Impactful: to massively benefit society and people living in cities.
    • Viable: easily adopted by consumers, governments and/or businesses; scaled to a city, and; replicable in other cities around the world.
    • Innovative: disruptive and ‘new to the world’ ideas; ideas that are new to your city or region.
  • Are from the Americas, Europe and Asia.
  • Will improve and develop safety, sustainability and accessibility for all road users in smart cities. Specifically, we are looking for start-ups who can bring benefits in the following areas:
    1. Innovations around new cars.
    2. Innovative safety applications, including products and services around mobility (infrastructure; bicycles; lighting).
    3. New services around multi-modal mobility.
    4. Society-focused services (e.g. health care; administration) connected to mobility needs.
    5. Applications and products that encourage user involvement on sustainable mobility issues.

We also accept ideas in adjacent areas. For more information, please refer to the application form.


Timeline and Key Dates

18 start-ups will be selected to pitch at on-line events, with six start-ups invited to pitch in each regional event: Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

The key dates are:

  • September 15th, 2021: Closure of applications call at 23:59 CET for Asia-Pacific
  • September 24th, 2021: Announcement of the 6 finalists
  • October 12th 2021, 9.00 -12.00 CET: Pitches for Asia-Pacific
  • Week of the 22nd of November 2021: finalists start-ups pitch at the FIA Smart Cities Forum 

How to Apply

Applications are open until March 19th for Americas and Europe, and until September 15th for Asia.

  1. Fill and submit the application form here
  2. We will get in touch with you shortly before March 26th to confirm your participation

Submit your Application by
March 19, 2021 at 23:59 CET for the Americas and Europe chapters

September 15, 2021 at 23:59 CET for the Asia-Pacific chapter


Questions? Email us at


About FIA

The Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) is the governing body for world motor sport and the federation of the world’s leading mobility organisations.

Founded in 1904, with headquarters in Paris and Geneva, the FIA is a non-profit organisation. It brings together 246 member organisations from 145 countries on five continents. Its Member Clubs represent over 80 million road users and their families.

The FIA promotes safe, sustainable and accessible mobility for all road users around the world.

Further details can be found at

About MassChallenge

MassChallenge is the global network for innovators. Headquartered in the United States with seven locations worldwide, MassChallenge equips bold entrepreneurs to disrupt the status quo and to create meaningful change. Since launching in 2009, more than 2,400 MassChallenge alumni have raised more than $6.2B in funding, generated more than $3B in revenue, and created more than 157,000 total jobs. Learn more about MassChallenge at