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For the fifth consecutive time, EIT Digital has invited European deep tech scaleups to join this year’s annual contest to win international growth support. Till now, around 200 tech companies from 24 countries have submitted their digital technologies in an attempt to win the scaleup competition.
Among them, Germany has the most entries followed by England, Austria and France and Spain. The Netherlands is in seventh place with 9 entries, leaving behind countries like Sweden and Finland.
What is EIT Digital challenge?
Primarily, this is an international pitching competition aimed at deep tech scaleup (Scaleup – growing startups that already have customers) seeking to accelerate their growth. Among them, the best 25 will be shortlisted in five categories to pitch their product or service in front of an international jury of corporates and investors at the final event in Brussels in October 2018.
“Deep tech is definitely impacting Europe’s digital transformation, and it is no surprise that Digital Industry has been a popular category with the highest number of applications. Digital Infrastructure, the core digital category that includes AI, cybersecurity and networking, has also received a lot of applications”, explains Chahab Nastar, Chief Research & Innovation Officer at EIT Digital.
“Digital Cities and Digital Wellbeing are well balanced, while Digital Finance, our newest area, is nicely ramping up”, he adds.
Having said that, the top two companies from each category will receive full year of dedicated support from the EIT Digital Accelerator, in addition to a cash prize of €50,000.
“With ten companies joining the Accelerator programme and cash prizes of €250,000, the EIT Digital Challenge 2018 offers the most comprehensive prize package ever,” states Dominik Krabbe, EIT Digital Challenge Lead. “We’ve seen an increased interest from high quality scaleups and are impressed by what they have already achieved.”
What is a deep tech startup?
For the uninitiated, deep tech startups are the potential companies founded on breakthrough science or engineering. In most cases, these companies will have a radical technical solution that has the ability to reinvent or establishes a new market. These companies are developed over the years with strong research and lots of lab tests/results.
The five different categories
The deep tech companies compete in five different categories including digital industry, digital cities, digital wellbeing, digital infrastructure, and digital finance.
Since it started in 2014, the EIT Digital Challenge has received more than 1800 entries from all 28 EU countries – a truly pan-European competition. It has grown from a contest for early stage startups to a challenge for successful growth-stage startups – so called scaleups – that are ready to expand their business internationally. On average, the 2018 applicants achieved a revenue of €610,000 last year, have already raised funds of more than €2m and have 21 employees.
The programme was ranked 8th among the top 20 active accelerators in the global accelerator report 2016 by Gust.
In order to apply successfully to the EIT Digital Challenge, the applicant company must be based out of one of the 28 member states of the European Union. In addition to it, the company has to be in a developing stage with a minimum revenue of €300,000 in 2017, or in 2018 until the date of application, or by having raised total funding of min. €2,000,000.
Also, the company operations should not be more than ten years. Falling in line, the 2018 applicants achieved a revenue of €610,000 last year, have already raised funds of more than €2m and have 21 employees.
“With ten companies joining the Accelerator programme and cash prizes of €250,000, the EIT Digital Challenge 2018 offers the most comprehensive prize package ever,” states Dominik Krabbe, EIT Digital Challenge Lead.“We’ve seen an increased interest from high-quality scaleups and are impressed by what they have already achieved.”
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