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LafargeHolcim to participate in HackZurich

Published by , Deputy Editor
World Cement,

With its global open innovation platform LH MAQER, LafargeHolcim is inviting talented data and technical minds to reinvent sustainable cities by participating in HackZurich, Europe's largest hackathon, on 18 – 20 September 2020. The company is laying a sustainability challenge to hackathon participants to best support cities as they face the challenge of housing 2 billion more people over the next 25 years. The theme is divided into four focus areas: demolition waste, transportation, plastic waste and biodiversity.

“I believe in accelerating open innovation to build a world that works for people and the planet,” says Jan Jenisch, CEO LafargeHolcim. “Open innovation will play an increasingly important role in the future of our industry as we work with startup ecosystems to turn our greatest challenges into innovation opportunities.”

This participation is just the next step in the company’s broader open innovation journey to reinvent how the world builds, shaping greener and smarter solutions to improve quality of life for all. More specifically, LH MAQER continuously identifies opportunities for open innovation across the company’s more than 70 markets, working closely with startups, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

With its global reach, LH MAQER connects to well-known innovation networks in Paris, San Francisco, Boston and Tel Aviv, as well as to centres of entrepreneurship in the emerging world, including Lagos, Bogota and Mumbai. A major driver of future partnerships is the cleantech ecosystem focusing on sustainable construction.

Tangible benefits for LafargeHolcim and startups

Since its inception in 2018, LH MAQER has worked with dozens of startups to run proof-of-concept initiatives, delivering tangible benefits for all parties. LH MAQER connects innovators directly with leaders across LafargeHolcim’s businesses to pilot and scale up relevant digital initiatives. Startups and building materials experts collaborate to explore new applications of technologies and business models. LafargeHolcim is open to all cooperation models that add value on the ground and does not make equity share as a condition for collaboration.  

For instance, as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, LafargeHolcim joined the ‘Startups Against Corona’ programme as a founding member. This initiative led to a collaboration with the startup Leena AI out of Gurgaon, India, which provides artificial intelligence-driven human resource services globally for remote work teams. Since April 2020 Leena AI’s services have been deployed to identify and best support the needs of over 10 000 LafargeHolcim employees working remotely across India, Africa, Europe and the Americas.   

Identifying more traditional pain points, LafargeHolcim has also been developing solutions for the procurement of trucking services with the startup Haulhub, based in Boston. Haulhub demonstrated tangible efficiency gains and savings across local divisions of LafargeHolcim. Supported by its experience working with a global leader, Haulhub successfully closed Series B financing in March 2020 to further scale its business.

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