If you’re a deeptech startup founder in Europe, wondering how to continue your growth during these uncertain times, then this might be the boost you’re looking for.
EIT Digital — the pan-European organisation aimed at promoting innovation, education, and entrepreneurship in digital technology — is getting ready to start their yearly challenge, offering a unique chance for the best deep tech scaleups to accelerate their growth. Registration for the EIT Digital Challenge is now open, and we spoke with some previous winners to find out what the competition brought them and why you should participate.
EIT Digital Challenge 2020: Why you should participate?
This is the 7th edition of the EIT Digital Challenge. Once again the pan-European competition for deep tech scaleups, is looking for the most innovative companies to help them grow internationally. From all scaleups that register, 20 will be selected to present their solutions to an internationally renowned jury. In the end, the best 5 companies will receive prizes totalling €350,000 to scale up their business.
“To overcome the current crisis, we need the imagination and the execution of the best entrepreneurs out there,” says EIT Digital’s Chief Innovation Officer Chahab Nastar. “With the EIT Digital Challenge, we are determined to identify the best European deep tech entrepreneurs and support them in building major companies that will tackle the world’s major challenges.” Since its launch in 2014, the competition has attracted more than 2000 entries from all over Europe. Most of the companies that won have gone on to become internationally successful companies.
CerbAir ‘seized a couple of major deals’
One of them is French scaleup CerbAir. For them, winning the EIT Digital Challenge meant a leap forward for their business: “Winning the EIT Digital Challenge helped us seize a couple of major deals for which we were waiting for the clients’ final decisions,” says Lucas Le Bell, CEO and Co-Founder of CerbAir. The company was awarded in 2019 for its drone detection and neutralisation technology. They joined the EIT Digital Accelerator shortly after. Le Bel adds: “In less than 6 months, EIT Digital has already proved to provide us huge media coverage, some welcome financial support as well as numerous sales opportunities in Europe for which we are very grateful.”
QuoScient ‘found the ideal partner’
German cybersecurity scaleup QuoScient was able to make a similar jump after being awarded by EIT Digital. It makes their mission, to defend the digital world against cyberthreats, a lot more realistic, says QuoScient CFO and cofounder Ioannis Bizimis: “While new opportunities, technologies and innovation are created, risks and threats increase with it as well. We need to collaboratively defend the digital economies in Europe, and QuoScient is the ideal partner due to our technology, capabilities and experts. The support of the EIT Digital Accelerator will enable us to grow even faster and make an important contribution to the cybersecurity of the European economies.”
Wonderflow ‘would do it again’
Amsterdam-based Wonderflow, which turns the massive stream of customer and employee feedback of companies into actionable insights, also won the challenge in their category. The Dutch company’s CEO Riccardo Ost says: “I saw with my own eyes how tough the competition was. There were so many good brands as challengers. It is great to have this type of recognition on top of what we normally hear from our customer base.”
It was not only the recognition that helped Wonderflow move forward, says Osti: “We got good media attention. After winning the challenge, we kept growing the team internationally, starting new collaborations with a few more leaders in their respective industries. We also expanded our offering to employee feedback, while before we were doing ‘only’ customer feedback analysis.” The company has several customers amongst the Fortune500, like Philips, DHL, Pirelli, Beko, Lavazza, and more. Nevertheless, Osti would join EIT Digital Challenge again, if he had the chance: “I think it’s a great initiative, very competitive and therefore exciting. I would definitely do it again.”
Registration is open now
Wonderflow might not be able to, but your company can. EIT Digital Challenge is about to kick off again and registrations are now open. Do you have a deep tech startup or scaleup based in one of the member states of the European Union, United Kingdom, or in one of the Horizon 2020 associated countries? Is your company younger than 10 years, with an annual revenue of over €300.000 or at least €2 million in funding? Then get ready to take your business to the next level with EIT Digital. Register now, the deadline for applications is 7 June 2020.