More than 130 startup companies applied as candidates for the fifth edition of Building Global Innovators, the venture competition promoted by ISCTE-IUL, MIT Portugal, Caixa Capital, Deshpande Center for Technical Innovation, and the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. The competing companies, 60 percent of which are already incorporated as startups or spinoffs, come from 30 different countries. Each is competing in one of four tracks: Medical Technologies & Health IT, Smart Cities & Industrial Technologies, Enterprise IT & Smart Data, and Ocean Economy.
The judges for this fifth edition of Building Global Innovators have completed the selection of the 20 startups that will be joining the accelerator. They will vie for four Caixa Capital Awards to individual teams, worth up to 500,000 euros in financial support. The awards also include in-kind support valued at 1 million euros: free mentoring by experienced Catalyst mentors, and introductions and connections to the start-up ecosystem of Kendall Square, Cambridge, Mass., USA. Typically, more than half of the teams participating in the BGI accelerator succeed in financing their ventures.
The international character, potential impact in the global market, and high quality of the applicant entrepreneurs were the main elements distinguishing the candidates for the fifth edition of the accelerator. Because of the high quality of the candidate companies, the judges created a new category, Go to Market Wizard, enabling the acceptance of one additional startup for the accelerator. In this edition the Go to Market Wizard went to the Enterprise IT and Smart Data track.
The 21 selected ventures are eligible to participate in an intensive acceleration in Lisbon: e-Teams I boot camp delivered by ISCTE-IUL from July 21 through July 25, 2014, which will culminate in a Speed-Dating Showcase event on Friday, July 25 at ISCTE-IUL. The same day BGI will host five European accelerators: Climate KIC (Spain), 33 Entrepreneurs (France), Luiss EnLabs (Italy), Propeller (Ireland), and Techstars (UK) to discuss, engage, and foster the European entrepreneurial ecosystem. “The eTeams networking event equips the teams with new tools to enhance and showcase their technologies, provides valuable feedback from the entrepreneurial community, and connects them to the real world,” said Charles L. Cooney, the Robert T. Haslam (1911) professor of chemical engineering and faculty director of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT.
“The selection of five startups for each of the market applications was a huge challenge, considering the high quality and record number of submissions received, making the job of the jury ever more demanding — the jury had to conduct close to 50 interviews to make sure that BGI was picking the fittest teams," said Professor José Paulo Esperança, head of the center for Entrepreneurship at ISCTE-IUL - Audax and a 2014 judge.
“This year we carried out an audacious realignment of the [BGI] accelerator’s target verticals and were expecting a drop in applications. Namely, we launched a brand new track dedicated to Ocean Economy, an area where we are looking at a 10-year impact horizon. We were surprised to see this year’s accelerator candidates consistent with the previous editions, building on an increasing experienced pool of co-founders and advisors and increasing BGI’s international reputation around the world,” said Gonçalo Amorim, BGI’s executive director.
The five startups joining the BGI accelerator in each of the four tracks are:
I. Medical Technologies & Health IT
Bio Image Diagnostics (Portugal) – A SaaS platform aimed at reading biomedical images and improving early-stage oncology diagnostics
HydrUStent (Portugal) – Tailor-made bio-reabsorbable ureteral stents
nuRise (Portugal) – Flexible detector for in-vivo and real time radiation therapy
Smart Separations (UK) – Low-cost platform technology for microfiltration
Scale Therapeutics (Portugal) – Platform technology directed toward tissue regeneration
II. Smart Cities & Industrial Technologies
Casas em Movimento (Portugal) – Energy and space self-supporting living architecture
Displr (Portugal) – Social media for public displays
LetzGo (Italy) – Peer-to-peer instant car-pooling community
Lokkup (Sweden, India, Spain, Italy, Finland) – Instant indoor positioning technology
Park Smart (Italy) – Real-time tool for parking lots’ availability
III. Enterprise IT & Smart Data
Atooma (Italy) – Smart Action Automation platform converting connected devices into “smart devices"
Ingen.io (Czech Republic) – Builds context and surfaces hidden information from text
MyiArts (Portugal) – Social network platform connecting artists around the world
Promoclick (Portugal) – Gets together supermarket products on sale in the same place
Samebug (Hungary) – Collaborative support platform for developers that identifies & fixes bugs
Go to Market Wizard (new category):
DoDoc (Portugal) – Cross-platform automatic formatting word processor styled documents with just one click
IV. Ocean Economy
Aequor (USA) – New chemical entities for biofilm/fouling control in marine environments
CorPower Ocean (Sweden) – Disruptive wave energy converter and harvester
CrowdSurf (Portugal) – Wave sports community meeting point
iTravey (Portugal) – Online service for personalized experiences booking
Xmetrics (Italy) – IoT device for empowering performance of professional athletes
In the last four editions, BGI alumni were introduced to more than 400 U.S. and Portuguese venture capitalists, angels, and strategic investors, and more than 400 founders of startups. The alumni have collectively raised or been offered close to 24 million euros in early-stage financing, half of it coming from angel and early stage venture capitalists.
The accelerator 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, the venture capital arm of Caixa Geral de Depósitos.