MassChallenge Opens Applications for SEASON 5 of the FIA Smart Cities Global Startup Contest

Renens, Switzerland –  Applications have opened for SEASON 5 of the FIA Smart Cities Global Startup Contest.

The FIA Smart Cities Global Startup 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, the FIA created the FIA Smart Cities initiative to contribute to the implementation of the UN New Urban Agenda and help cities define new models for more sustainable urban mobility.

As part of this initiative, the FIA organises the FIA Smart Cities Global Startup Contest with MassChallenge. The aim of the Contest is to select 18 promising mobility-focused startups 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.

Season 5 of the Contest will follow the same format as in 2020, with all events run online. If circumstances and appropriate conditions allow for the organisation of physical events, this would be implemented on the occasion of the Formula E races in the respective regions. Should this be the case, we will follow up with the selected startups to arrange for the corresponding details. 

Benefits for the 18 Selected Startups 

The FIA will select 18 startups 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 the FIA’s and MassChallenge’s websites and social media channels. Circumstances permitting, the events will be timed with the FIA Smart Cities Forums 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. ABB, Michelin, 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 proposals.

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

For the Winning Startup

At each event, the panel will select a winner from the six startups who pitched. In addition to the above, the winner will benefit from:

  • A specific news from FIA and MassChallenge and an in-depth interview to be published on FIA Smart Cities’ and MassChallenge’s websites.
  • An invitation to an 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 startup accelerator in Switzerland. This programme has helped hundreds of startups 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 startups that:

Are from seed to series C+. What’s important is that your startup 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: solutions that can be 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, or Asia. You can find more information on criteria here.

Will improve and develop safety, sustainability and accessibility for all road users in smart cities. Specifically, we are looking for startups who can bring benefits in the following areas:

  • Innovations around new cars.
  • Innovative safety applications, including products and services around mobility (infrastructure; bicycles; lighting).
  • New services around multi-modal mobility.
  • Society-focused services (e.g. health care; administration) connected to mobility needs.
  • Applications and products that encourage user involvement on sustainable mobility issues.

Timeline and Key Dates 

18 startups will be selected to pitch at online events, with six startups invited to pitch in each regional event: Americas, Europe, and Asia. 

The key dates are:

  • 8 February 2021: Programme launch and call for applications
  • 19 March 2021: Closure of applications call at 23:59 CET
  • 26 March 2021: Announcement of the 18 finalists
  • End of April 2021: Pitches for the Americas
  • June 2021: Pitches for Europe
  • August 2021: Pitches for Asia

How to Apply

  1. Applications are open until 23:59 CET on 19 March 2021:
  2. Go to
  3. Fill and submit the application form here.
  4. We will get in touch with you shortly before 26 March 2021 to confirm your participation.


About the 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 245 Member Organisations from 146 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