Around Knowledge’s BIPS Project Wins Venture Competition Grand Finale

  • Winning team receives €200,000 in financial support
  • Execution of business strategy of the project will enable the team to double award

An indoor shopper positioning system that records shopping patterns in real time –titled BIPS, developed by Around Knowledge-- took the top award in the ISCTE-IUL MIT Portugal Venture Competition on October 27, 2010.  The winner was announced by State Secretary of Ministry of Science and Technology, Manuel Heitor, during the official ceremony held at ISCTE-IUL.  Waynergy was selected Audience Favorite.  This international competition for entrepreneurship and innovation was hosted by ISCTE - Lisbon University Institute in partnership with MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), the MIT Deshpande Center for Innovation, MIT Sloan Business School and Caixa Capital (Grupo Caixa Geral de Depósitos).  “This is an exciting opportunity to showcase entrepreneurial spirit in Portugal,” says Manuel Heitor, Secretary of State for Science, Technology and Higher Education, Government of Portugal, “and is in full accordance with the economic development goals of our international partnerships.”

Around Knowledge will receive €200,000 of financial assistance which can double to €400,000  within the next three years upon the successful fulfillment of go-to-market goals set and agreed between Around Knowledge and the venture competition’s organizers and promoters.  Around Knowledge’s BIPS was developed and launched by Diana Adams, Suzy Vasconcelos, and Maria and Roberto Ferraz Colazingari.  The BIPS technology is able to record the shoppers’ routes in real time through a passive indoor positioning system. This solution will save up to 89% of the typical cost of comparable methods while preserving shopper privacy.

Grand Finale Winner - Around Knowledge

The Venture Competition is designed to accelerate the market impact of recent technology based ventures through a combination of exercises and events that culminate in the Grand Finale, and through a novel venture phase where the finalist and honorable mention teams will execute their go-to-market plans with advice from Portugal-based and US-based industry mentors (catalysts).  The four finalist teams that competed for the grand prize have cumulatively received financial support totaling €500,000 to be applied in the implementation of strategies to "go to market". In the unique venture phase, the four finalist teams will have an opportunity to “double-up” their award, bringing the total inaugural Venture Competition awards to €1,000,000.  In addition to Around Knowledge, the finalist teams are: PLUX, developer of an at-home patient-administered physical therapy system; Waynergy, developer of a system that generates electricity through the conversion of linear surface deflection; and Weadapt, developer of inclusive products (garments, aesthetical prosthetics, and rehabilitation devices) to provide dignity through choice to disabled consumers. These four teams will still have direct access to Caixa Capital, the venture capital arm of Caixa Geral do Depostitos.  All four teams will be invited to pitch their company to US based investors at the MIT Deshpande Center’s invitation-only Ideastream event whose next edition will be held in April 2011.

In addition to the four finalists, four Honorable Mentions were in attendance at the Grand Finale event: Accelera Therapeutics, a provider of cellular and biologic therapy for the treatment of immune mediated diseases; PV Solutions, a provider of silicon wafers of superior quality at a low price to the photovoltaic industry; AIRES – Advanced Intelligent Risk Evaluation System—a provider of accurate credit risk methodologies to banks and companies; and Aromase, a producer of a natural alternative to ester aroma compound systems to the flavor and fragrance industry.  These teams have been matched to US-based catalysts to accelerate their marketplace impact and help them prepare for a funding pitch to Caixa Capital.

Distinguished international panel of Judges and Keynote presenters convened for Grand Finale

A seasoned group of Cambridge-based serial entrepreneurs and investors shared practical wisdom with the Finalist teams, Honorable Mention teams, and 200+ attendees:

  • Prof. Douglas P. Hart,  Professor of  Mechanical Engineering at MIT, cofounder, and former board member of Brontes Technologies, Inc. (a MIT Deshpande Center spinout acquired by 3M in 2006), and Lantos Technologies (a recent MIT Deshpande Center spinout founded in September of 2010), shared lessons learned in moving a technology from research into the commercial marketplace; and
  • Dr. Andrey Zarur, Kodiak Venture Partner, who leads Kodiak's investment efforts in life technologies, including molecular diagnostics, medical devices, biomaterials, and drug discovery platforms, and Founder and CEO of BioProcessors (sold to Seahorse Biosciences), shared practical perspectives on early stage team and business formation.

Manuel Heitor, Secretary of State for Science, Technology and Higher Education, gave a rousing congratulation to the participants, and Prof. Charles Cooney, Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, Faculty Director of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, and Co-Director of the MIT Portugal Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, chaired the evening’s activities and served as an international judge for the competition.

Keynote Speaker Prof. Douglas P. Hart,  Professor of  Mechanical Engineering, MIT

The distinguished panel of judges at the event also included Leon Sandler, Executive Director of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT, José Esperança, Vice-Dean for International Affairs and Professor of Finance, ISCTE – IUL, and chairman of AUDAX, and Walter Palma, Director at Caixa Capital, the venture capital and private equity arm of Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Portugal’s largest financial group.   The full international panel of judges included António Murta, PATHENA Founder, Esmeralda Dourado, Member of the Board, SAG SGPS, José Epifânio da Franca, Founder and Ex-CEO of Chipidea (acquired by NASDAQ-listed MIPS Technologies Inc. ,2007), Paulo Maló, Founder of and CEO of Maló Clinic, and Sara Medina, Member of the Board, Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação (SPI) and SPI Ventures.

Contest promotes entrepreneurship and innovation in Portugal and link to MIT innovation ecosystem

This first edition of ISCTE-IUL MIT-Portugal Venture Competition received a total of 95 applications and enrolled over 360 participants. The application period ran from March to June 2010 and was open to the community of students, researchers and technologists from polytechnics, universities, and other institutions, public or private.  Early stage companies (no more than 5 years past incorporation) dedicated to developing technology-based products or services international in scope were encouraged to participate.

Created to provide international incentive for projects and technologies with a strong innovative capacity and management team to move from research to marketplace, this contest is part of the cooperation agreement signed in 2010 between the ISCTE- IUL and MIT Portugal and in order to foster a center in the area of technology-based entrepreneurship.

For Luis Reto, Rector of ISCTE-IUL, "This award is designed in an innovative way in order to put a great emphasis on post-award focus, including the creation of conditions conducive to global projection of the selected companies. With this we intend to open new frontiers to candidate projects and enhance the internationalization of the awarded projects, through the contribution of members of the international jury and the global catalyst volunteer networks. Thus, the projects will be geared to truly global markets via the collaboration between MIT and Portugal, and for that reason are already attracting interest from foreign investors in capital projects carried out in Portugal."

Additional Information:

Site ISCTE-IUL MIT - Portugal Venture Competition

Rules of the competition:

Full Jury and Keynote Presenter biographies:

MIT Deshpande Center Ideastream:

MIT Portugal Program:



Catarina Madeira

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MIT-Portugal Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative (MIT)

Jose Estabil

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Lift Consulting

Miguel Jerónimo

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About ISCTE - Lisbon University Institute

ISCTE - Lisbon University Institute is an institution of public higher education, established in 1972. The action ISCTE-IUL develops in three main aspects: Education / Training, Research and Services to the Community.

Located in the University Campus of Lisbon, currently offers 15 degrees in three major areas: Management Sciences, Social Sciences and Technological Sciences.

With approximately 8,000 students, 400 faculty and 200 non-teaching staff, ISCTE-IUL is proud of its list of accomplishments over the past 33 years. The institute's priorities are innovation, quality and diversity, both in education and in academic research.

With great emphasis to the labor market, ISCTE-IUL has a high rate of employability of its graduates, in some areas reaching 100%. This confirms the prestige of our institution and the quality of our teaching.

About Audax

Audax is a nonprofit organization established by ISCTE-IUL in July 2005 with the intention of triggering education around entrepreneurship and business management of the family, bringing together the activities surrounding the preparation of business plans, strategic planning and access to financing sources.

Since its inception, more than 166 individuals / aspiring entrepreneurs were trained to become entrepreneurs, supported over 200 projects (business plans, finances and strategic advice), resulting in the release of more than 50 successful business projects in all sectors of the economy.

In 2008, Audax organized a competition for entrepreneurship broadcast nationally over RTP2 channel with the name of AUDAX TV, and attracted more than 250 projects and an unexpected high interest of the community, having registered a share of over 6%.

About MIT

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is recognized as a world leader in innovation and entrepreneurship. More than $500 million in sponsored research by government and the private sector is conducted at MIT in each year.  MIT graduates and professors have created more than 27,000 successful companies, employing 3.3 million people, and generating revenues of USD $2 trillion per year.

About the MIT Portugal Program

The Portugal-MIT Program is a large-scale international collaboration involving MIT and the Portuguese Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education which aims at strengthening the knowledge base of national and international competitiveness through strategic investment in people, knowledge and ideas.

The program is a high-profile effort to demonstrate that investment in science, technology and higher education can have a positive and lasting impact on the economy, addressing major social issues through quality education and research in the emerging field of systems engineering.

The program uses as a basis systems engineering, integrated management sciences, economics and politics in order to better understand, design and implement the complexity of technology-based systems on which society is increasingly dependent.

The program is supported by a national initiative that involves seven Portuguese universities and 14 research centers that The program is supported by a national initiative that involves seven Portuguese universities and 14 research centers that target sustainable energy systems, transportation systems, bio-systems engineering and advanced production methods as key areas for economic development.