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Fourth Edition of Building Global Innovators announces the 20 semi-finalists

Technology-based innovation and entrepreneurship initiative of the MIT Portugal Program produces tangible results

The judges for the Fourth Edition of Building Global Innovators have selected 20 semi-finalist teams that will compete for the Track Finalist and Grand Finalists awards. These teams will also compete for Caixa Empreender+ Awards, four awards given to individual teams worth up to 1 million euros (€1M) in financial support, plus in-kind support, experienced Catalyst mentors, and introduction and connection to the startup ecosystem of Kendall Square, near the MIT campus.

Distinguishing features of the candidates for the fourth edition of this venture competition include their projects’ innovative nature and potential impact in the global market, as well as the experience and international character of the entrepreneurs. This truly unique, technology-based innovation and entrepreneurship initiative of the MIT Portugal Program is quickly establishing itself as one of the most significant international venture competitions — with tangible results.

Semi-finalists include talented teams from Brazil, Italy, Russia, Spain, U.K., and Portugal. Five have international co-founders and advisors from Greece, Israel, the Netherlands, and Russia. International teams represent 40 percent of the group's participants, affording immediate entrepreneurial networking and business co-development opportunities at a global level for the participants — and 55 percent are already incorporated as startups or spin-outs.

The five semi-finalists in each market track are:

Health Tech:

  1. Endeavour Lab (Portugal, The Netherlands) — 3-D capture sensing device for motor rehabilitation of stroke patients.
  2. Expertus (Portugal) — In vivo drug screening assays using the chick embryo (egg) as animal model.
  3. GlucoPal (UK, Greece, Portugal) — Non-invasive electronic device for type 1 & 2 diabetics glucose sensing.
  4. RoPlaVac (Portugal) — High efficacy vaccine against malaria.
  5. Smart Freez (Portugal) — Freeze-thawing technology/tool to optimize storage and production processes of biopharmaceuticals.

Smart Cities:

  1. Bike Emotion (Portugal) — 4th generation bike sharing system.
  2. Connect (Portugal) — Air quality sensing grid for urban spaces.
  3. Moviq (Italy, Israel) — Web-service platform to manage planning & electronic payment of transportation tickets.
  4. Sensefinity (Portugal) — M2M sensing enabling platform for SMEs to benefit from IoT.
  5. Water Quality Assessment (Portugal, The Netherlands) — Multi-parameter sensor for smart water grids.

IT, Web & Mobile:

  1. Avalingua (Spain) — SaaS language technology metrics for competence and performance enhancement.
  2. Bewarket (Portugal) — Cloud-based social shopping platform.
  3. Cucco (Brazil) — Online professional services booking engine.
  4. Muzzley (Portugal) — Mobile UI development platform for Internet-connected devices.
  5. Software with Emotion (Portugal) — Social media retail marketing analytics solution.

Consumer Products and Services:

  1. 2Izzy (Portugal) — Multi-platform mobile payments B2B application.
  2. MeshApp (Portugal) — An all-in-one aggregator and organizer.
  3. Octodon (Russia) — 10-finger keyboard for smartphone, handheld devices.
  4. Paymel (Portugal) — Bringing intelligence to city parking.
  5. Smart Tongue (Portugal, Russia) — Electrochemical sensors with reproducible cross-sensitivity for beverages and foodstuffs.

Semi-finalists will now compete for monetary and in-kind awards:

  • A €1,000,000 purse composed of four €100,000 Track Finalist awards and a Grand Finale €100,000 additional award; all with the potential to double (an additional €500,000) during the Venture Phase if venture milestones are met. Awards are underwritten by Caixa Empreender+, the venture capital arm of Caixa Geral de Depósitos and international, seasoned Catalysts & mentors.
  • An opportunity to participate in e-Teams intensive Go-to-Market bootcamp in Lisbon
  • An opportunity to participate in e-Teams III, an Entrepreneurial Marketing, Sales & Networking 2-week launch, held at MIT in Spring 2014.

“This year’s competition candidate pool is consistent with the prior three editions, attracting a broad range of participants from experienced co-founders and advisors, to first-time entrepreneurs, scientists and technologists, and emerging companies and early stage ventures — all poised for further traction on customer acquisition and acceleration of product revenue, contributing to the economic development in Portugal and select international markets,” commented members of the jury Luis Barros, Co-director, Industry, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, MITPortugal Program and José Estabil, Director, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Skolkovo Tech / MIT Initiative and Advisor, MIT Portugal Program.

In the last three editions, semi-finalists were introduced to more than 300 U.S. and Portuguese VCs, angels and strategic investors, and founders of startups — and have collectively raised or have been offered close to €16.0 million in early stage financing, half of it coming from angel and venture capitalists.

Stephan Morais, Executive Director of Caixa Capital, representing the award partner of the competition, reaffirmed “the CGD Group’s commitment towards supporting the Fourth Edition candidates of MIT Portugal’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program, promoted by ISCTE-IUL. This support will be operated through the special investment vehicle celebrated between Caixa Capital and ISCTE-IUL last March that ensures the financial support provided to BGI finalists for the next five years.”

The ultimate goal of this international venture competition is to support the launch of innovative, global early stage companies (offering products or services) that can contribute to the growing knowledge-based economy in Portugal.

The competition is sponsored by ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon and the MIT Portugal Program, in cooperation with the MIT Deshpande Center for Innovation, The Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, and Caixa Capital (Caixa Geral de Depósitos).

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