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Driving open innovation: Introducing BivwAk! part 2


With technology becoming more and more present in the real estate sector, influence from start-ups and other industries is proving to be a crucial way to make greater advances and ensure that the sector is responding to the latest changes and trends present in our society.

The growing presence of PropTech has unquestionably incited major real estate players to open up their business and embark on greater collaboration with various start-ups. Certainly across Europe, more and more incubation projects are popping up as large companies realise that there are huge amounts of potential ideas and ways of working that start-ups can bring to the industry. With technology more and more present in our everyday lives, real estate players understand that in order to really drive forward innovation, ushering in a new era of collaboration is key. 

Specifically, one way in which the BNP Paribas group is engaging in this activity is with our incubator programme, BivwAk!. This physical location was originally set up in 2017 with the aim of accelerating internal projects across different business lines of the BNP Paribas group, welcoming 8,000 visitors and developing more than 30 projects. With the successful implementation of the first BivwAk chapter, BNP Paribas has recently begun the next part of the project by opening a 3,500m2 space dedicated to innovative projects across the group and strategic initiatives run by the whole BNP Paribas Group. The primary aim across each of the initiatives is to invest sustainably in projects related to social and environmental responsibility. 

Key figures

  • 3,500m2
    dedicated space
  • 25
    accelerated projects at a time
  • 250m2
    event space

Accelerating co-living at BivwAk!

As an internal incubator, BivwAk! pushes through intrapreneurial projects from across the the BNP Paribas group. One such example is ColivMe, a co-living marketplace developed by two BNP Paribas Real Estate employees, Lionel Bodénès and Alexandre Marcadier. CoLivMe is the first co-living platform in Europe, allowing a variety of people to find accessible, convenient and sociable housing offers in cities across the continent. By being part of BivwAk!, incubated start-ups are able to grow their own business and as Lionel Bodénès, Co-Founder at ColivMe points out, “Thanks to the BivwAk! ecosystem, BivwAkers can propose new service offerings and target a new market (for BNP Paribas). ColivMe is aimed at a new house-share market, so in my opinion that’s what helps the bank to move forwards today.” The setting up of an incubation project such as BivwAk! is thus beneficial to both parties, opening up a relationship of mutual learning, allowing both parties to accelerate their development by putting them in contact with new clients, stakeholders and markets. 

BNP Paribas Real Estate and BivwAk!

Whilst BivwAk! is a BNP Paribas group wide initiative allowing all employees to access its services, BNP Paribas Real Estate has had its own part to play in its development. At the heart of our business is of course the ability to ensure that a building provides the right services and equipment in order to best serve those inside the building and the work or activities that they are carrying out. Repurposing a Hausmannian building was therefore a task carried out by our team. Working with the building’s owner, Groupama Immobilier, we renovated and restructured the building in order to transform it into a place which would be adaptable to the goals of BivwAk!. Able to welcome BNP Paribas group employees, collaborators and partners, it also needed to be able to hold a space that could welcome the general public. Mixing dedicated work spaces with open areas and event specific locations was vital, all whilst weaving in the best technology and design to ensure that the space within BivwAk! inspired those inside. The opening of the dedicated BivwAk! is as such a show of our ability to adapt and transform, opening up the business to incorporate new ideas and innovations. 

As Antoine Robin Open Innovation Manager puts it, “We believe that PropTech will enable a profound transformation of the sector and as such we hope to intensify our collaborations with certain start-ups. To support this transformation, many large groups now have their own incubators, which is a real underlying trend. BNP Paribas Real Estate is fortunate enough to be part of the BNP Paribas Group and as such is able to be involved in BivwAk! which is the accelerator of the Group's cultural and digital transformation. BivwAk! has already enabled us to launch and support innovative projects such as Property Data Insight, ColivMe and the online souscription site SCPI Accimo Pierre .”

Antoine Robin

We believe that PropTech will enable a profound transformation of the sector and as such we hope to intensify our collaborations with certain start-ups.

Antoine Robin
Open Innovation Manager

BivwAk! changes and opens up to the entire Group

The new space hails a further step in the agile acculturation of the BNP Paribas Group, in line with the business’s overall strategy to serve a changing world. New products and services will emerge from BivwAk! to meet the demands of customers, partners and employees. This new chapter also focuses on the human side, to boost team performance and develop new skills that the Group needs.

Relying on a core team of mulidisciplinary experts (data, Cloud, methodologies, change, business development, etc.), the BivwAk! initiative is built around four complementary pillars that strengthen each other mutually:

  • Accelerating projects: developing and delivering new products and services and supporting transformation projects;
  • Individual upskilling: building employees’ skills in future sectors and topics such as: Data & New Tech, methods, Positive Impact Business;
  • Team performance: helping project coordinators and their teams to deal with complexity and strengthen their joint performance through efficient solutions and the right state of mind;
  • A physical and digital venue: themed workshops and talks, a community that inspires, and sharing through a dedicated app.

To find out more about BivwAk!, visit the website here.