GlucoWise is the winner of the major Portuguese Venture Competition, Building Global Innovators™ (BGI), promoted by ISCTE-IUL, MIT Portugal, Caixa Capital,  Deshpande Center for Technical Innovation and the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship.

  • Startup awarded with financial support of €100,000 can achieve €400,000;
  •  Serial entrepreneurs and keynote speakers Jonathan Fleming (Oxford Bioscience Partners), Carlos Oliveira (Pathena SGPS), Peter Vesterbacka (Rovio) and Stephan Morais (Caixa Capital) shared key strategies for entrepreneurial success;
  • 5th Ed. kick-off on 20th March 2014.

GlucoWise, developed by the founding members George Palikaras, Frederico Bastos  and Quinton Fivelman, is an affordable, non-invasive, glucose-sensing device. A revolutionary technology that allows diabetics to accurately and continuously monitor their blood sugar levels to better manage their condition. The glucose readings are instantly displayed on the device or can be transmitted via Bluetooth to a mobile app, where the patient can manage data and receive alerts. The data are then securely uploaded to a cloud-based system, available to the patient or a doctor. The international competition for entrepreneurship and innovation is hosted by ISCTE - Lisbon University Institute, in partnership with Caixa Capital, the MIT Portugal Program, the Deshpande Center for Technical Innovation and the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. 

(Comunicado de imprensa em  pdfPortuguês)


The winner was announced by Stephan Morais, Caixa Capital Executive Director on February 27th at a ceremony held at ISCTE-IUL. Representing the Award Partner of the competition, Stephan Morais has said that “once again the BGI process resulted in a strong cohort of companies out of which GlucoWise was the winner this year, and Caixa Capital is very honored to be part of this great initiative”.

The Grand Finale also counted with the participation of Jonathan Fleming, Oxford Biosciences Partners; Carlos Oliveira, Pathena SGPS and Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio. All were extremely supportive of the competing startups and of this initiative, recognizing it as part of the strategic plan for the development of the innovation in Portugal. GlucoWise will benefit from an extra financial support of €100,000 in addition to the previous award received last November, when it was selected as finalist at Health Tech market track. The amount of

€200,000 can be doubled during over the next 3 to 5 years if complies the agreed milestones over the next 18 years. The promoters of the winning startup, will also have the opportunity to pitch for a restricted international investor groups during e-Teams III bootcamp - a 2 week business development trip to MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts next May. The bootcamp counts with the participation of 12 BGI startups including  GlucoWise along with the track finalists – Watgrid, Cucco and MeshApp and the 5 Honorable Mentions – Endeavour Lab, RoPlaVac, BikeEmotion, Avalingua and Smart Tongue from now onwards, enter a new intensive phase. These companies are now entering into a the Venture Phase, comprising 1 to 3 years and not more than 5, with a ultimate goal to validate their value proposals with global clients (B2B) and will be provided with tools to raiser their value at international round of investments (series A and B). For that they will have the continued support from the Organization and BGI network of catalysts, be facilitated with incubation space in Portugal (LABS Lisboa) and the US (Cambridge Innovation Center) and have support from the initiative partners.

“The 4th edition’s Winner, Finalists and the high caliber applicant pool consisting of 418 professionals from 17 countries, represented the type of technological innovation that have potential to contribute to Venture Competition’s mission to attract emerging technology based companies who want to establish a significant presence in Europe, through Portugal,” commented Prof. Charles L. Cooney, the Robert T. Haslam (1911) Professor of Chemical Engineering and Faculty Director of the Deshpande Center at MIT and Luis Barros,Co-Director, Industry, Entrepreneurship and Innovation, MIT Portugal Program.

The organization hopes that during the first 5 post-award years, the promoters will be able to successful complete investment rounds in the order of 2-5 million euros.

The Ceremony was closed by Gonçalo Amorim, BGI Director, with the commitment to continue the competition and the beginning of the 5th Edition by March 20, 2014. Until mid-May several information sessions will be occurring trough out the country and internationally, the calendar for these events will be announced soon at

The Contest promotes entrepreneurship and innovation in Portugal BGI 4th edition received 97 applications involving 417 professionals from 17 countries and from an international community of students, researchers and professionals in many field, from polytechnics, universities and other public and private institutions. Entrepreneurs with start-ups dedicated to promoting technology-based businesses, less than 5 years after founding, qualified for the competition. The competition is part of the cooperation protocol signed between the ISCTE- IUL and the MIT Portugal Program in 2010, in order to create a competence center in the area of technology-based entrepreneurship, and celebrate and reward tech based projects, from any country, with international potential, containing strong innovative capacity and management team. To which joined Caixa Capital as the hands on financial partner.

Since the 1st edition:

  • 384 submissions, 46.1% from startups/spin-offs, from 22 countries, involving 1,498 participants;
  • Over €20 million have been raised by semifinalists (about 50% from Angels and VC)
  • 55 active startups among 80 semifinalists identified, coached & mentored over 3,000 hours
  • 160+ new jobs created amounting to 300+ jobs thus far

Luis Reto, Rector of ISCTE commented, "This year’s teams offer a broad range of projects that challenge and innovate in their fields. This competition enables enterprises and projects in early stages to have access to knowledge and expertise of MIT and the ISCTE-IUL, making them open to global markets. This award was designed in an innovative way in order to put a strong focus on i.e. “learning by doing”, including the creation of conditions conducive to the global projection of the start-ups."