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The EIT Digital Challenge Final just named five lucky winners, all deep tech scaleups from across Europe who are gearing up for international growth. For the seventh year running, EIT Digital has held the challenge, which begins with an open call for applications and ends with a €100,000 cash prize.
This year just over 400 startups applied, and 20 (that’s the top 5 percent) were selected to compete in the final event, held online today. The finalists, which represented 11 different countries, all fell into one of the accelerator’s five areas of focus: Digital Finance, Digital Tech, Digital Wellbeing, Digital Cities, Digital Industry. Companies were chosen based on major digital trends in Europe and the startup’s potential to be a market leader in those categories.
Each finalist gave a five-minute pitch and fielded questions from a jury of nine investors and corporate innovation managers — hailing from Accenture, ABB, Indra, Telefonica Ventures, Reinhart Capital, Beiersdorf, Capricorn Capital, ENGIE and Nasdaq.
After an hour break to buzz in and out of the contestant’s virtual booths (and let the jury make its decision), the winners were announced.
The top five deeptech scaleups won spots in the EIT Digital Accelerator, a pan-European program of support for fundraising, customer acquisition and the theme of the night: international expansion.
- Targomo (Germany) – Location intelligence solution to optimise retail networks, deliver better public services and improve real estate searches.
- Wishibam (France) – Digitalisation platform for merchants, that can create e-commerce marketplaces based on real-time store inventory.
- Deepomatic (France) – No-code visual automation platform to support field operations with computer vision applications.
- SwipeGuide (The Netherlands) – Industrial 4.0 platform and augmented apps that provide instructions and procedures to improve productivity on the factory floor.
- Icometrix (Belgium) – AI-powered imaging solution that helps quantify brain abnormalities. (The team raised $18 million two years ago.)
The top winner who went home with cash? Paris-based Deepomatic. Delightfully surprised co-founder and CEO, Augustin Marty, said the money will likely go to hiring a business development representative in Germany who could focus on growing the company in Eastern Europe. He said he didn’t think the company could afford it, at least not until some fundraising in the second half of next year. Now the French scaleup can kickstart that earlier.
Indeed, EIT Digital’s mentorship and financing is intended to help grow these businesses within Europe and beyond. Interestingly a few finalists (namely Alessio Lorusso of Roboze, and Kimmo Soramäki of FNA) explained their companies had already seen traction abroad but they want to gain more awareness here in Europe. The EIT Digital Accelerator is a great means for building the business’ profile and positioning on the continent, they said.
Criteria for entry was that the deep tech companies must be younger than ten years old; incorporated in EU27, the UK or H2020 countries; and in a growth stage, with a minimum of €300,000 in revenue or €2 million in funding. The organiser says that selected finalists averaged about €1.5 million in revenue for 2019 and had raised an average of €5.6 million in funding already.
The other finalists include:
- Building Radar (Germany) – Multisource data collection and AI powered platform to enable transparency about deal opportunities for the construction industry in cities. The team raised $5 million last year.
- CitySwift (Ireland) – Data-driven scheduling and planning technology for public transport companies. The team raised €2 million earlier this year.
- FNA (UK) – Deep technology firm specialising in advanced analytics, network simulations and Regulatory & Supervisory Technology (‘regtech’ and ‘suptech’).
- Inxpect (Italy) – 3D safety radar for robotics and industrial automation.
- PXL Vision (Switzerland) – Technology platform for secure and automated identity verification and the creation of trustable digital identities.
- Roboze (Italy) – Designing and manufacturing 3D printers and digital services for “extreme applications” such as aerospace, motorsport and manufacturing.
- Runecast Solutions (UK) – Automated hybrid insights platform for cloud configuration and security compliance. Funding so far includes a €1.6 million seed round in 2017.
- Scantrust (Switzerland) – Anti-counterfeit platform for consumer goods, which binds physical goods with online identities for active brand protection, supply chain awareness, and consumer engagement.
- SentiOne (Poland) – Omnichannel social listening and customer service automation platform.
- Squirro (Switzerland) – Data analytics platform, driven by AI, designed for enterprise. Funding so far includes a $10 million Series B raised back in 2017.
- TakeTask (Poland) – Mobile application used by organisations to assign, execute and verify tasks on a large scale in many locations, simultaneously, for any industry.
- TRIBVN Healthcare (France) – AI-powered solution that allows pathologists to better manage and analyse cell and tissue images to improve cancer diagnosis.
- Ultimate.ai (Finland) – Customer service automation platform.
- Unmanned Life (UK) – Machine-to-machine platform to enable Autonomy-as-a-Service to deploy and manage autonomous robotic devices for Smart Cities and Industry 4.0.
- Vårdinnovation (Sweden) – Medical device software that collects multi-sensor data and automates tasks to optimise healthcare systems.
Founded in 2012, EIT Digital’s accelerator features two primary arms of support: Access to Market and Access to Finance. Mentorship and guidance is provided by business developers and financing specialists from 18 major European cities and a hub in Silicon Valley, with the goal of growing European businesses internationally and helping them raise international capital.