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A smart device that manages your parking fees, wearables that improve the independence of older and disabled people, a tool that prevents you from accidently sending sensitive emails to the wrong people – these are just three out of 25 digital technologies that will compete in the EIT Digital Challenge finals. In essence, the EIT Digital Challenge aims to detect the best deep digital technology scaleups in Europe. These companies should be able to improve the lives of Europe’s citizens, but also strengthen the economy.
A total of 136 scaleups from 20 different countries had applied for the challenge in October. And as a result, 25 scaleups from 9 different countries will be competing in the EIT Digital Challenge 2017 for a prize package of €100.000. This prize will be awarded to five scaleups in total, each being part of a different category. These are Digital Cities, Digital Wellbeing, Digital Finance, Digital Industry and Digital Infrastructure. The prize includes a full year of dedicated support from the EIT Digital Accelerator and a cash prize of €50.000. Winning scaleups will most certainly be able to grow to international heights.
Deep tech innovations are complex and disruptive solutions that are built around unique and differentiated scientific or technological advances. They fuel the digital transformation and in many cases address the main societal and and environmental challenges of today and tomorrow. “We have selected the finalists very carefully with respect to technology sophistication, compelling business model and fast growth,” says Dominik Krabbe, EIT Digital Challenge Lead.
Krabbe said more about the participating scaleups. “We are impressed by the technologies and the teams. With a revenue of €1.7 million in 2017, €3 million raised, and 24 team members on average, they are not early stage startups anymore but serious businesses that are fast growing. Now we will identify the ones with the highest potential to become the next European success story, and help them scale up globally.”
The statistics on the finalist scaleups are very interesting as well. First of all, participating companies are already successful before applying for the challenge. On average, scaleups have already received a massive amount of funding of 3.03 million euros. Also, the average team size is 24. Scaleups aren’t in the beginning stages anymore after all.
But most interestingly, 12 out of 25 scaleups have female founders. To put this in context, let’s refer 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 amount of participating scaleups with female founders in the challenge is tremendous. Unfortunately, none of the finalists is from the Netherlands, while two scaleups come from Belgium. These are Parkd and Rombit, which are both in the Digital Cities category.
The final events
The selected finalists will pitch their deep tech products in their respective EIT Digital Challenge categories at five final events. These will take place at the end of November and the beginning of December. The events will also take place in multiple cities spread over the entirety of Europe. To discover the 25 finalists of the challenge, click here.