The EIT Digital Challenge 2017 commences, landing 136 submissions for their prestigious scaleup competition

The EIT Digital Challenge 2017 commences, landing 136 submissions for their prestigious scaleup competition

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The submissions are finally in, marking the beginning of the EIT Digital Challenge 2017. 136 tech companies from 20 different countries are now competing in the most prestigious scaleup competition of Europe. For this edition, most of the submissions came from Germany, closely followed by France, United Kingdom, and Spain. Also, eight Dutch scaleups have submitted for the challenge, while only four Belgian scaleups are going to take part.

Accelerating success

The EIT Digital Accelerator has supported more than 250 startups to access new markets and has helped them raise more than €80M in investment to date. Alumni companies have subsequently gone even further, raising over €250M in total investment. The success of the accelerator is not a surprise either. The EIT Digital Accelerator comprises of a team of 40 experienced business developers and finance experts. The accelerator also operates from 13 cities across Europe, along with a hub in Silicon Valley.

High requirements

It was not easy to be able to submit for the challenge, as a company had to be in the scale-up stage to be eligible for participation. Dominik Krabbe, Lead of the EIT Digital Challenge, stated the following: “We have set the requirements very high by looking for startups in the growth stage, so-called scaleups. Applicants had to show a significant amount of revenue or investment. We are very impressed by the excellent applications we received from all across Europe. We are looking forward to meeting the best ones in person and identifying the ones that we will support to become true European success stories.”

Earlier, Dominik Krabbe spoke to us about his view on how to become an European scaleup.


So what is it all for? The 136 tech companies are competing in five different categories. These are Digital Cities, Digital Industry, Digital Wellbeing, Digital Finance and finally Digital Infrastructure. The five best scaleups of each category will be selected to compete for a €100.000 prize to accelerate their growth. This will include a year of dedicated support from the EIT Digital Accelerator and a cash prize of €50.000. It also interesting to note that more than half of all submissions were in the Digital Infrastructure and Digital Industry categories. The challenge will finally conclude with some events hosted at the end of November and the beginning of December. This will take place in Trento, Eindhoven, Madrid, Budapest and Berlin. The finalists will be announced by early November.

Statistics on participating scaleups

Let’s also address some interesting statistics (see image above) on the participating scaleups to conclude. For instance, 59% of the companies have female founders or co-founders. To put this in context, I will be referring to Omar Mohout’s 2016 Master Report on Scaleups with Female Founders/CEO. In 2016, 9% of all European scaleup founders that raised money in that particular year was female. Therefore, the number of scaleups with female founders or co-founders in the EIT Digital Challenge 2017 is pretty staggering. On average, participating scaleups also comprise of a team size of 17, had a yearly revenue of €425.000 in 2016, and have raised a total amount of €2M in investment. However, scaleups will have to bring more than an average company performance to be one of the five winners of the EIT Digital Challenge 2017.


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