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Luxembourg-based accelerator Fit 4 Start is calling on health tech startups to apply for its next programme that will be kicking off with selection in September.

Health tech startups are invited to apply before September 7 to the programme, which provides pitch coaching, mentoring and grants up to €150,000.

The programme initially opened earlier this year for the spring edition where 362 ICT and space startups applied but this was put on hold in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Those startups will still take part, but all applications between now and September 7, when the call-for-projects closes, will be exclusively for health tech companies.

A pre-selection of health tech startups will be chosen on September 11. They will then take part in an online pitching event between September 28 and October 9. In total, five health tech startups, along with 10 ICT and five space startups, will be selected for the final programme.

The selection process for the programme has, like most startups events, gone digital during the lockdown. The evolving nature of the pandemic and travel restrictions means that Fit 4 Start will be initially carried out online. However face-to-face coaching sessions will commence in January if the circumstances allow for it.

Winners will be chosen on October 15 and will join the 24-week programme in January where they will have the option of joining one of Luxinnovation’s partner incubators (Technoport and Luxembourg-City) – when it is safe to do so.

The grant, offered by the Ministry of the Economy, is divided into two tranches; the first tranche payment of €50,000 is offered at the start with the second tranche of €100,000 offered to those startups that have both successfully graduated from Fit 4 Start, and managed to raise at least €50,000 of private equity.

“We are planning to roll out the entire pitching and selection for the program as a 100% digital event. The time will be used wisely until the kick-off of the program in January 2021 by connecting the dots efficiently for the participants,” Stefan Berend, Head of Start-up Acceleration, said.

After selection, startups will be connected online with their coaches and relevant content to prepare them for the January meet-up in Luxembourg.

“This will obviously be a rather digital experience as well. However the coaching sessions itself are planned 100% face-to-face and will take place in Luxembourg to ensure the quality of the interactions as well as of the programme, obviously taking all sanitary measures into account,” Berend said.

The coaching sessions will guide startups through honing their pitch for the new landscape ahead for startups where raising money may become more difficult in an economic downturn.

More than 70 startups have participated in the programme since 2015 and gone on to raise money from investors, such as AI music startup Aiva Technologies, which raised €1.5 million in June, and Salonkee, which raised a €1 million seed round at beginning of this year. 

While based in Luxembourg, the programme is open to all startups but they must be less than five years old with at least two people on the team - with one person committing to full-time participation in Fit 4 Start.

Applications are open now.