The CATALYST program opens VINCI’s doors to startups and scaleups

CATALYST is the name of Leonard’s program to accelerate cooperation between VINCI and startups or scaleups that have entered into their commercial development phase. We outline the program and the 11 startups among the first cohort.

The CATALYST program: how and why?

The aim of the CATALYST program is to support the creation of commercial partnerships between the VINCI Group and innovative companies which work in areas that relate to VINCI’s business activities.

“CATALYST […] is not an investment program but more of a support program for startups, scaleups or SMEs offering mature projects that are relevant and scalable to the VINCI Group. The startups we’re interested in are very much looking to find a partner that can put them in touch with people in a decentralised Group like ours. We give them the keys to the door and that saves them a considerable amount of time.”

— Guillaume Bazouin, Lead Open Innovation & Startups*

To help choose which companies to support, Leonard worked hand in hand throughout 2019 with its investors and institutional and academic partners in France and other countries, especially Spain, Germany, the UK, Canada and the USA.

“Over 400 companies from countries around the world applied for the first series of the SEED and CATALYST programs. At Leonard, we started by assessing the quality of the startups by focusing on their viability, level of maturity and the strength of their personnel and financing. Next, we talked with many Group specialists who helped us decide how projects matched our business activities and made our choices from there.” 

— Guillaume Bazouin, Lead Open Innovation & Startups *

The 11 companies selected in December 2019 for support from Leonard benefit from:

  • one main person at Leonard to interact with VINCI entities right from first contact through to contract signature
  • special access to VINCI decision-makers
  • inclusion in the Leonard event series
  • for international startups, better access to the French and European markets.

* Read the full interview with Guillaume Bazouin here


From June 5th onto June 19th at 5PM (Paris time) we would like to invite you to a new conference cycle in the form of 11 panels, one per startup, with a specific theme. We will showcase the startups’ value proposition and use cases for VINCI and allow a discussion between them and selected representatives of the VINCI’s entities.

More info : Meet the CATALYST Program startups

The startups and scaleups supported by CATALYST

We regularly give a platform to the founders of the CATALYST program’s startups and scaleups to talk about their businesses and expectations. Some excerpts follow.

 “Our AI, ‘Vinnie’, can help VINCI reduce the risk of accidents at its sites.” – Interview with Josh Kanner, founder of is a US startup that helps predict and prevent worksite accidents through analysing video images and data captured at sites. Using the risk-weighted observations with analytics by Vinnie, as its AI tool is nicknamed, the Safety Suite can reduce incident rates by 30% or more. is among the first cohort of startups supported by Leonard’s CATALYST program. Josh Kanner, its founder, returns with us to the benefits of our support.

“We are eager to learn the best way to work in Europe from this community. More specifically with the Leonard and VINCI teams, we hope to have fruitful conversations about how safety is approached at the personal level, and based on construction site photos.” 


Read the full interview with Josh Kanner here


“When you look at the level of digitalisation in construction, you realise there is still a lot to be done.” – Clément Bénard, CEO and co-founder of Hiboo

In the first of our Foundations podcasts, we gave a voice to Clément Bénard, CEO and co-founder of Hiboo, a startup that promotes the use of data on construction sites.

Trucks, cranes, drills, excavators – construction machinery generates vast amounts of data as most manufacturers equip their products with telematics for geolocation or even remote control.

Today, Hiboo offers a connected solution for real-time analysis of all the data emitted by site machinery in order to optimise its use by deciding where best to use the machinery and its operating frequency. The app also simplifies procedures – no more phone calls or swapping pieces of paper! Hiboo technology reduces management time and optimises production costs. This mini revolution in the construction world has fuelled the startup’s success to the point of almost overwhelming it:

“We are reaching a point where we are overwhelmed by our own value proposition. We are being asked to do a thousand times more than we are capable of.” – Clément Bénard , CEO and co-founder of Hiboo

Learn more and listen to the 1st Foundations podcast



“There is a disconnect between the major environmental challenges, their real and factual urgency, and what we experience on a daily basis in our operations.” – Guillaume Lafont, CEO and co-founder of Combo Solutions

For the second podcast we met with Guillaume Lafont, CEO and co-founder of Combo Solutions, a startup that uses new technologies to monitor environmental performance indicators.

How can we bring the major environmental challenges to bear on work in the field? How do environmental issues translate into operational realities? These are the questions that Guillaume Lafont asked himself. His answer was to take a collective approach using a set of digital tools to establish an achievable environmental performance and make the right design choices to reach this goal.

One of the tools offered by Combo Solutions is VizcabExplo. Developed by Thomas Jusselme, the startup’s other co-founder, this technology makes it possible to forecast a building’s energy performance as early as the planning and design phases.

In concrete terms, VizcabExplo is used to develop several different scenarios so as to decide what actions to take during the construction phase in order to obtain the most efficient and sustainable building possible – and all thanks to the power of data.

Learn more and listen to the 2nd Foundations podcast



“Our mission is to keep workers safe and healthy.” – Interview with Heidi Lehmann, CCO of Kenzen

In our third Foundations podcast, we handed the mic to Heidi Lehmann, CCO of Kenzen. Based in the Bay Area of San Francisco, this startup has developed a new physiological monitoring platform. Its purpose is to protect workers from accidents caused by heat.

Workers are equipped with a patch connected to the cloud, which transmits their data in real time. The patch is worn on the arm and collects data every 5 seconds: heart activity, body temperature, etc. If the signals indicate any cause for concern, an alert is sent to the team safety manager, who can then make sure the worker hydrates, rests in the shade for a few minutes or, if the case is more serious, receives medical attention.

At the corporate level, the collected data makes it possible to adjust site safety: team rotation times, number of water stations, personal protective equipment (PPE) or even reassignment of the most vulnerable workers to other tasks. In other words, to do everything needed to prevent incidents from occurring.

Learn more and listen to the 3rd Foundations podcast


Do you want to collaborate with VINCI entities?

Apply now to join the CATALYST program!        

Contacts : 

What do we do?

The VINCI Group created Leonard to tackle the challenges posed by the transformation of regions and lifestyles. Our goal is to unite a community of key stakeholders in order to build the city of the future together.