The judges for the 4th Edition of Building Global Innovators (BGI) have selected the 20 semi-finalist teams. These will now compete for the Track Finalist and Grand Finalists awards, which includes the Caixa Empreender+ Awards: four awards to individual teams worth up to 1million Euros (€1M) in financial support plus in-kind support, experienced Catalyst mentors, and introduction and connection to the start-up ecosystem of Kendall Square, US.
The projects were valued by their innovative nature, potential impact in the global market, experience and international character of the entrepreneurs. This truly unique, technology-based Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative of the MIT Portugal Program is fast establishing itself as one of the most significant international venture competitions in terms of tangible results.
Semi-finalists include talented teams coming from Brazil, Italy, Russia, Spain, UK and Portugal. Five have international co-founders and advisors from Greece, Israel, the Netherlands and Russia. International teams represent 40% of the group's participant's – affording immediate entrepreneurial networking and business co-development opportunities at a global level for the participants- and 55% are already incorporated as start-ups or spin-outs.
The five (5) semi-finalists, in each market track, are as follows:
I) Health Tech:
- Endeavour Lab (Portugal, The Netherlands) - 3D capture sensing device for motor rehabilitation of stoke patients.
- Expertus (Portugal) - In vivo drug screening assays using the chick embryo (egg) as animal model.
- GlucoPal (UK, Greece, Portugal) - Non-invasive electronic device for type 1 & 2 diabetics glucose sensing.
- RoPlaVac (Portugal) – High efficacy vaccine against malaria.
- Smart Freez (Portugal) - Freeze-thawing technology/tool to optimize storage and production processes of biopharmaceuticals.
II) Smart Cities:
- Bike Emotion (Portugal) - 4th generation bike sharing system.
- Connect (Portugal) – Air quality sensing grid for urban spaces.
- Moviq (Italy, Israel) - Web-service platform to manage planning & electronic payment of transportation tickets.
- Sensefinity (Portugal) - M2M sensing enabling platform for SMEs to benefit from IoT.
- Water Quality Assessment (Portugal, The Netherlands) - Multi-parameter sensor for smart water grids
III) IT, Web & Mobile:
- Avalingua (Spain) - SaaS language technology metrics for competence and performance enhancement.
- Bewarket (Portugal) - Cloud-based social shopping platform.
- Cucco (Brazil) - Online professional services booking engine.
- Muzzley (Portugal) - Mobile UI development platform for internet-connected devices.
- Software with Emotion (Portugal) - Social media retail marketing analytics solution.
IV) Consumer Products and Services:
- 2Izzy (Portugal) - Multi-Platform Mobile Payments B2B Application.
- MeshApp (Portugal) - An all in one aggregator and organizer.
- Octodon (Russia) - 10-Finger Keyboard for smartphone, handheld devices.
- Paymel (Portugal) – Bringing intelligence to city parking.
- Smart Tongue (Portugal, Russia) – Electrochemical sensors with reproducible crosssensitivity for beverages and foodstuffs.
Semi-finalists will now compete for monetary and in-kind awards:
- A €1,000,000 purse comprised of four (4) €100,000 Track Finalist awards, 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; 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 M.I.T. Kendall Square 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 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 and Innovation, MIT-Portugal Program and José Estabil, Director, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Skolkovo Tech / MIT Initiative, and Advisor, MIT-Portugal Program.
The selection of five semifinalists by each of the tracks was a huge challenge, considering the high quality and record number of submissions received, making the job of the jury ever more stringent – the jury had to conduct 50 interviews to make sure that BGI was picking the strongest teams notes Prof. José Paulo Esperança, Pro-Rector for Entrepreneurship for ISCTE-IUL and also 2013 Venture Competition Judge.
In the last three editions Semi-finalists were introduced to over 300 US and Portuguese VCs, angels and strategic investors, over 300 founders of start-ups and have collectively raised or 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 4th Ed. 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 5 years.
The ultimate goal of this international venture competition is to support the launch of innovative, global product or services early stage companies 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).
BGI's Partners and Promotors: