Sparker anticipates a bright future

Caroline Ridet

2023 was a year of consolidation for the startup officially launched at the end of 2022. Its proposition: build an ecosystem of startups dedicated to mobility. 2024 will therefore see the first tangible partnerships and deals between the members of the community. 

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Sparker does not define itself as an “incubator”, a term seen as too restrictive; but rather as an “active promoter of innovation” of solutions from “new world” businesses to “corporate” members: parts suppliers and distributors all over the world. “Our role is to encourage traditional players but also startups to think differently and work together,” explains Benoît Ducorps. The co-founder of Sparker had a busy year in 2023: “We started from scratch at the end of 2022, and we have already welcomed more than a thousand startups from 50 countries on the platform covering the entire mobility value chain: from vehicle construction (electric, driverless, etc.) through vehicle and parts sales and automotive maintenance, and closing the loop with the circular economy.”

Last year also saw the final touches brought to the proprietary digital platform SparkerHub, which has been up and running since last December. “It’s an essential tool for us that allows all the members of the ecosystem (parts supplier, distributor and startup member) to connect with one another.” 

Multiplying connections

The first “ordered” searches and matches were also initiated in the first year of operation, with a hub of around 15 “corporate” clients comprising parts suppliers and distributors. “Our promise is to support them in finding startups that work on the solutions they are looking for. They may of course wish to acquire a share in them, but for the moment these contacts have mainly been to study commercial collaborations.” These first contacts are expected to transform into deals during 2024. Currently topping the list of expectations among partner parts suppliers and distributors: solutions revolving around electric vehicles and their batteries.

Other areas of keen interest include digitalisation, notably innovative solutions to connect with garages and digitalise them – “a growing interest displayed by both parts suppliers and distributors” – predictive maintenance and data management. There have been several other specific subjects, such as that formulated by a Middle Eastern distributor: finding the tools to materialise a fleet management partnership.

Establishing a base

Looking to 2024, the Sparker boss and his ten employees have set themselves the task of consolidating the services to their “corporates” by signing contracts with new members and aiming to surpass the bar of 20 partner-clients. While also aiming to “get over the line by writing a few success stories with startups.” Benoît Ducorps is optimistic for what lies ahead: “We sense that there’s a real momentum around the search for innovation,” but resting on his laurels is out of the question! Today exclusively focussed on aftermarket players, the platform wished to expand its scope to fleet managers, insurers, OE market players, etc. Similarly, while Nexus International has been an unfailing supporter since the outset as part of a corpus of fifteen shareholders (private individuals and distributors), the aim for the startup is to strike out on its own. “We already deal with customers who are outside the Nexus orbit, but we want to go further and work for other ITGs.” A resolutely modern open source approach! 

Retrouvez la version en Français : Sparker fait ses premières étincelles

Caroline Ridet
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