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January

SEP 2.0: Facilitating Startup-Corporate Partnerships and Endorsing Exits

When compared to international heavyweights like Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv, Europe’s scaleup scene falls short. Few of its startups are able to scale, and even fewer fit to acquire unicorn status. Startup Europe Partnership 2.0 finds its roots in the recognition of this gap.

Funded through the Commission’s Horizon 2020 project, SEP’s first iteration was established in January 2014 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, its objective to transform startups to scaleups by linking them with global corporations, investors, and stock exchanges.

In its second phase of funding, SEP 2.0 takes its initial aim to action.

The project is a partnership between 6 European organizations — Mind the Bridge (Italy), European Startup Network (Belgium), Nesta (UK), ELITE (Italy), Startup Olé (Spain), and Scaleup Institute (UK). Together, the members will organize four Scaleup Summits, all with the same intent: facilitating startup-corporate partnerships, increasing international visibility for European scaleups, and fostering exit opportunities (IPOs in particular).

After scouting upwards of 20,000 scaleups, Summits will host 75 each, totalling 300 participating scaleups. This is alongside an undetermined number of corporates and investors. Verticals are pre-determined, with the objective of increasing likelihood of successful business partnerships. For the first go-round, to be held in Milan on March 15 and 16, deep dives are Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, and FoodTech.

Still, highly qualified scaleups might prove worthy; in this case, scaleups working in Digital Construction, InsurTech, Connected Cars, and additional alternative industries may be nominated.

On Summit days, corporates and scaleups will engage in qualified, face-to-face business meetings; have access to training activities concerning cultural disparities and how to produce productive partnerships; and generate procurement, development, proof of concept, and other collaborative exercises. Scaleups will connect with new customers, explore and penetrate alternative markets, and increase turnover.

The Summits should prove no less valuable for international investors and corporates, who can improve knowledge concerning investment in the digital sector and subsequently enlarge the investment pool itself. They will, too, obtain additional analysis and understanding of market trends and business models in digital sectors.

Finally, bi-annual meetings will facilitate financing and improve liquidity for European investments in fast-growing ICT startups and scaleups, and, as noted, stimulate financing through stock markets.

Over the two-year project period, expected impact is strong: 800+ scaleups matched with corporate investors, 600+ introduced to IPO opportunities, 250+ with increased international exposure, and 100+ obtaining dedicated IPO preparation via ELITE’s intensive accelerated exit program. SEP 2.0 anticipates €750M+ capital raised via Venture Capital follow-up rounds and IPOs, on top of €20M+ in new revenue via facilitated business deals.

In order to achieve such aims, SEP 2.0 will build on existing platforms with proven effectiveness and reach — e.g. Startup Europe Partnership and European Startup Network. With 24 member countries engaged in ESN’s ecosystem, the organization has access to over 25,000 startups and has built long-standing international relationships that will prove advantageous to the project’s ends.

SEP 2.0 provides these platforms with additional scale, integrating them with innovative activities in collaboration with international stock markets. In order to incorporate diverse and dynamic exercises, SEP 2.0 will blend physical activities with online services.

The project’s first major event kicks off this spring and will run until December 2020, with insights and improvements along the way.

Nominations will be accepted on a rolling basis — incubators, accelerators, and alternative organizations are welcome to provide qualified scaleup names to hello@europeanstartupnetwork.eu.

To stay informed about the project, subscribe to ESN’s newsletter at http://europeanstartupnetwork.eu.

 

About Startup Europe

Started in 2011, Startup Europe has become a reckoned reference in the European startup related field. Our mission is to build a Startup Continent by increasing the connectedness among all players of the European startup ecosystems.

 

Article written by Emily Bogen, a great intern at ESN.

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Europe is back: Accelerating Breakthrough Innovation

The independent High-Level Group of Innovators advising the European Commission has published its recommendations on how a European Innovation Council (EIC) should fund and nurture breakthrough innovation from start-up to scale-up.

In their report, entitled ‘Europe is back: Accelerating breakthrough innovation‘, they recommend that a future EIC provides simplified and flexible financing, tailor-made for the needs of the innovator and which incentivises private investment for rapid scaling up. They also recommend boosting awareness of Europe’s innovation successes and leveraging European ecosystems, so that highly innovative companies can benefit from expertise and partnerships from across Europe.

Four factors that hold back breakthrough and deep tech innovation in Europe have been identified:

  • Funding – Breakthrough innovation, in particular deep tech, requires large investments, over a significant time period. This is the kind of finance that is missing in Europe and presents a systemic failure;
  • Awareness- Europe needs a flagship initiative on breakthrough innovation that can attract the best innovators and connect local and sectorial ecosystems;
  • Scale – Europe needs continental scale to compete at global level;
  • Talent- Europe needs role models and champions.

The document should provide a critical mass of funding and expertise for high risk / high gain breakthrough innovation, which empowers the innovator and incentivizes private investment.

Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas welcomed the recommendations and said they formed a significant input for the development of a full-fledged European Innovation Council as part of the next EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The report was first presented to French President Emmanuel Macron at the World Economic Forum in Davos, who has made similar calls for a European agency for innovation.

Commissioner Moedas said:

These recommendations show how a European Innovation Council would empower our most talented innovators and stimulate an environment of risk-taking, entrepreneurship and scaling-up to the international stage. They come at a critical time in the preparations for the next EU research and innovation programme.


The Group’s chair, Hermann Hauser, co-Founder of Amadeus Capital Partners, said:

We are convinced that our fourteen recommendations – on funding, awareness, scale and talent – will constitute a step change in the impact of EU innovation support and help catapult Europe into pole position in the global innovation stakes

Bindi Karia, Start-upexpert and advisor and Member of the High-Level Group of Innovators added in the report:

Ecosystem players from across Europeare all involved in the Startup Europe project, andwhat has transpired is that these leaders fromeach country collaborating and learning from eachother borders. And it continues to grow. From citieslike Paris to Berlin to Stockholm to Lisbon, the keypeople in these communities know each other andare increasingly collaborating with each other, dealby deal and company by company.

 

Background

The High-Level Group of 15 leading innovators was launched in January 2017. Their recommendations will be considered in the Commission’s proposals for the future EU research and innovation Framework Programme (post-Horizon 2020) due to be presented by this summer.

The Commission has launched an EIC pilot programme (2018-20), to test out new approaches within the current Horizon 2020 programme to better support top-class innovators, start-ups, small companies and researchers with breakthrough ideas with scale up potential.

 

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Soft-landing: a new Startup Europe project

Soft-landing is a 24-month project that will connect startup ecosystems through numerous exchanges of key representatives that will strengthen the knowledge about EU, US, and India’s startup scene, build strong networks and trust between the ecosystem stakeholders, and help European startups scale by providing Soft-landing support in target destinations.

The project is coordinated by Startup Division. Startup Division is a leading startup support organisation in the EU connecting broad networks in Europe and building bridges between startup ecosystems globally. Through a variety of pan-European and global projects, Startup Division collaborates with numerous renowned accelerators, incubators, investors, business angels & venture capitals. Startup Division helps startups scale, expand globally and raise funds by providing expert mentorship, running world-wide entrepreneurship support projects, helping to access investors, top-notch accelerators & incubators, and providing soft-landing support.

Kick-off meeting on a train!

Startup Division is accompanied by 4 great partners – F6S, GTEC – German Tech Entrepreneurship Center, IMT Starter, Crosspring Lab. Here is some more about the team that make up the Soft-landing project:

  • Crosspring Lab in The Netherlands is ICT focused incubator/accelerator with its own investment programme and has a strong track record of successfully scaling its startups. Crosspring Lab are experts of innovation and commercialisation that have helped numerous ICT startups to grow and scale.
  • IMT Starter in France is based in the Paris metropolitan area the IMT Starter Incubator has accompanied and helped to scale 180+ IT companies that have created 1,600 jobs. It has strong ties with Silicon Valley through its immersion programme and has an Alumni network of 15,000 experienced and successful entrepreneurs and mentors.
  • GTEC in Germany is a first private-sector open campus for entrepreneurship in Europe. Since 2015 GTEC hosted 50+ startups from 10+ countries, worked with 4000+ founders, managers and experts from leading international corporations and institutions (such as Bosch, Postbank, Airbus, Energy Australia, Statoil, Mercedes-Benz).
  • F6S in The United Kingdom is the largest social network for Startups in the World, that has over 1,800,000 profiles for the Startup & SME community and more than 680,000 Startups, and supports the majority of the EU Startup and SME ecosystem through deal flow and applications.

Main Soft-landing activities will consist of Ecosystem Discovery Missions, Soft-Landing stays and Speaker & Mentor Exchanges. Throughout the span of the project, 200 missions, 96 soft-landings and 50+ speaker exchanges will take place. The ecosystems will connect not only all 4 hubs, but will also reach out to US, India, and potentially China and/or Israel. Over 2 years more than 100 feedback events will take place after each mission and soft-landing where all startups and key ecosystem builders will come to present their experiences and share their knowledge.

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The blooming of a new Startup Europe project: My Gateway!

Last week, in Budapest, the kick off meeting of a new Startup Europe project took place. A project which aims to connect entrepreneurs in the Czech, Romanian and Slovenian ecosystems: My Gateway.

At the meeting project partners got to know one another, got a glimpse of what tasks and roles everyone will be carrying out and got an insight into the ecosystems we’ll be working with. We also had the pleasure to meet the representatives of the three Balkans countries we’ll extend our network to: Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYROM and Serbia.

 

The WP leaders

 

Europa Media, the leader of the project, showed some bursts of creativity in the organisation of the meeting, and planned activities where the partners’ knowledge of the project was tested! All Work Package leaders (yes, that’s how we divide the work in the project) were asked to gather their teams and quickly present what their tasks are about. Some real eruptions of imagination and outburst of drawing skills were detected in this part!

‘Once upon a time in WP6..’

    

Once this exercises finished, one by one, we pitched our work plan, requirements and ideas which gave rise to doubts that were asked and answered as the meeting progressed.

After the meeting, we could not miss out on the chance of strolling down the river Danube, treasuring the beauty of the buildings that overlook it.

Budapest by night

The following day we went through some technical requirements we will all master at some point!

Krisztina Toth, project leader, passing some knowledge to the consortium.

To conclude, we all know the project will change and adapt during the 24 months of its course, responding to the changing needs of the startup world, but the main focus will always concern the connection amongst the ecosystems guaranteeing growth and knowledge exchange. The project’s website will soon be up, so bear with us and find out more about the Central and Eastern Europe countries!

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SEW partners up with F6S making an even cooler Startup Europe Week!

We are excited to announce that F6S, the world’s largest tech founder and startup community, has joined SEW as a partner to help strengthen the coordination of SEW events on a global scale

In 2017, SEW saw hundreds of events spread over 40+ countries, with the participation of 280+ co-organisers. Now in its 3rd edition, SEW continues to grow exponentially, with more and more people joining this powerful grassroots movement for entrepreneurs.

To manage this growth, we have partnered with F6S, another young team passionate about entrepreneurship. As the world’s largest tech founder and startup community, they have 2.35 million profiles, including over 890,000 startups and 15,000 partners.

F6S will help us streamline operations by centralising all SEW events on one platform, and offer 24/7 online support for co-organisers.

  1. Efficiency: All SEW events will be set-up and streamlined on the F6S platform, making it easier for co-organisers to plan and promote multiple events, and for attendees to find out what’s going on in their local area
  2. Support: F6S will provide 24/7 support to SEW co-organisers and attendees
  3. Insights: F6S will help collect and structure event information for reporting purposes
  4. Awareness: F6S will help SEW co-organizers individually promote their events by sending out targeted newsletters (F6S has a combined number of over 1,000,000 entrepreneurs and investors in Europe)

Keep an eye out for more news and updates on #SEW18 – this year will be our biggest yet!

Follow SEW on social media:

Twitter: @startupeuw
Facebook: @startupeuropeweek
LinkedIn: Startup Europe Week
#SEW18

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STARTUP EUROPE PARTNERSHIP EPISODE 2.0 – Open Innovation strikes back

Back in January 2014 we had been selected to help drive the Startup Europe Partnership (SEP), the first pan-European open platform dedicated to supporting the growth and sustainability of European startups able to compete and raise funds at an international and global level.

The work done with Startup Europe Partnership and the SEP Matching Events in the past three years allowed us to “get our hands dirty” and experiment with various formats of startup-corporate collaboration.

Having organized over 20 international matching events, involving over 500 startups and 50 corporates from all over Europe, has allowed us to understand in depth what works and what not. Out of the  565 qualified meetings we organized – of which 359 crossborder – there have been 93 follow-ups. 19 deals have been closed, plus 40+ business discussions are ongoing.

We have gathered an important amount of data on the real success rates in the interaction between corporates and startups – which are between 2% and 5%. Startup – corporate interactions for collaboration normally start after 6 to 18 months, on average.

Immediately after the launch of the Startup Europe Partnership platform at the World Economic Forum in Davos we asked ourselves what the next step was.

 

With the new restyled version of Startup Europe Partnership (SEP 2.0) that will last throughout 2018 and 2019, Mind the Bridge and other partners (ELITE-London Stock Exchange, Europe Startup Network, Nesta, Scaleup Institute and Startup Olé) will leverage the experience accrued in the past years to foster IPOs, facilitate commercial and strategic partnerships and increase international visibility for European scaleups.

The ultimate goal is to scale our platform and help more scaleups to grow further.

The way to achieve this goal is represented by 4 large Scaleup Summits during which the best of the scaleup world (early stage startups are generally not a good match for companies), as well as of the corporate and the finance world (around 150 entities in total) will gather strictly behind closed doors. Goal is to strike deals and assess later stage funding options (such as private placements, venture debt, IPOs).


The 4 Summits will have two characteristics:

  • They will be hosted at the main European Stock Exchanges. In fact, stock exchanges are the other big missing link (our research tells us that only 2% of European scaleups have access to the stock exchange channel and that the big IPOs take place overseas) in the path of open innovation.
  • They will have an international pan-European dimension, involving scaleups, corporates and investors from all over Europe. Because one of the main limitations of many startup initiatives is their local or national character, within a much larger world.

The first Scaleup Summit will be organized at the Italian Stock Exchange in Milan on March 15th and 16th. London, Budapest and Lisbon will follow throughout 2018.

Alongside these major closed-door events, we will organize the fourth edition of SEC2SV. In fact, SEP had successfully launched Startup Europe Comes to Silicon Valley (SEC2SV) with the goal of exposing the best European scaleups to Silicon Valley investors and corporates.

SEP 2.0 will focus on launching a similar initiative called Startup Europe Comes to Israel (SEC2IL), a new annual mission that connects Europe with the Israeli entrepreneurial ecosystem.  

SEP 2.0 will leverage the successful format of Startup Europe Comes to Silicon Valley with high-end meetings connecting scaleups and corporates and investors of the related ecosystem (Silicon Valley in the case of SEC2SV and Israel in the case of SEC2IL) and a large conference – the European Innovation Day (EID) – to stimulate the discussion among the ecosystem stakeholders.

We will also continue to crunch data. Beyond completing our mapping work of the European scaleup ecosystem through our SEP Monitors (the 2018 Scaleup Europe report is scheduled for release in April, while country reports will be published thereafter) and the startup exits (our annual analysis will be published in September), we will deep dive into the intrinsic motivations for scaleups going public and corporates working with startups (here is the link to our latest research on  open innovation we published on the occasion of the Corporate Startup Stars Awards ceremony last December in Brussels).

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Poland has 15 winners for European final

StartUp Europe Awards is an initiative of the European Commission, together with Finnova Foundation, which presents a methodology to encourage open innovation and collaboration between the different actors of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. In addition, “it aims to accelerate startups with funds from the European Union (SME instrument up to 2.5 million euros), as well as offering legal advice, networking, international communication, among other benefits” states JuanmaRevuelta CEO of Finnova Foundation. StartUp Europe Awards is also a tool to improve the awareness and communication of entrepreneurship values.

Foundation Work Nations organized the Polish final. The Foundation for the Nations, the Polish is an initiative by the Youth for Christ to draw together suitable YFC projects from around the world to with those who have to financial capacity to make them happen.  The motto is “Wealth into Worth for the World”, to make informed decisions about safe giving destinations for their hard-earned money. The winners in this country are:

For Agritech, the winner is BZB UAS. BZB is primarily people – passionate, committed and devoted to their work, always ready to help and support their clients. BZB consists of professionals with many years of experience in the construction and operation of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) that are confirmed by many internationally competitions.

PackHelp, for Creative is a startup allows designing and ordering customised packaging. The product’s main advantages are: very intuitive and user-friendly online box editor, a very small minimum quantity per order (30 pieces contrary to industry’s average of 500 pieces) and a very short production process that starts from 14 days. The company is currently present in all of the EU, whilst the offer has been localised for seven markets in total. 

 

 

 

 

Cybersecurity category was won by SpecFile. They make easy, secure, data management everywhere.  It is easy and intuitive 1-click protection for files.

Revas won Edtech category. Revas delivers tools for entrepreneurship education – industry specific business simulations – for secondary schools and universities. Simulation participants run virtual businesses in a selected industry that match their field of study/profession (Car garage, Beauty salon, Transport company, IT services). They compete on a virtual market getting hands-on business experience and training business acumen & key competence.

For the e-Health Pregnabit category. Early detection of threats to mother and baby, including through CTG measurements, may have a real impact on quicker medical response during pregnancy. Pregnabit system enables CTG monitoring of pregnant women at anytime and anywhere. Our mission is to support health care professionals, to bring every pregnancy to the happy end.

OgarniamPrad.pl won Energy category. The first social energy trading platform for collective and profiled energy purchasing and switching. It allows smaller customers – households and SME – execute bulk-buying power and shop around for the best energy deals in real time and switch to the most competitive retailers offering black or green electricity and gas. Easy, reliable and profitable as it has never been before.

In the Fintech the winner is ZweyfikujFirme, “Yearly entrepreneurs in Poland lose 100 billion PLN due to payment gridlocks. 80% of companies have difficulties with receivables collection. We are preparing an automated online platform for entrepreneurs to assess companies’ current credibility based on the Standard Audit Files for Tax (JednolitePlikiKontrolne). Our solution is applicable for 1.6M companies in Poland. Thanks to our products companies can limit their losses from bad debt by 20% and increase sale by 1%. In cooperation with PKO BP we are working also on a product for financial institutions. We are a fintech team – we combine financial and technical skills. Two statutory auditors and IT specialist have knowledge required to successfully accomplish this project.

In Gastronomy category, STKTK Stocktaking is a long and laborious process. Traditional solutions are time-consuming and expensive. STKTK is a modern beverage stocktaking platform, which solves these problems and makes the whole process quick and easy.

HyperPoland, in Green category.  Hyper Poland is a multidisciplinary team of experts working on the creation of a new means of transport – a vacuum train called the Hyperloop. It combines the advantages of trains and aircrafts, and at the same time eliminates the disadvantages of currently dominant means of transport. Under low vacuum conditions, the passenger and cargo pods can reach speeds of up to 1200 km/h, while consuming up to 1000 times less energy than in the atmosphere at the sea level.

In IoT, Tap ToSpeack is the winner. Tap To Speak is a web-based tool, that allows the event moderator or a speaker to communicate with the attendees of an event in real time. We turn every smartphone in the audience into a microphone. We enable the audience to communicate via audio, text,respond to surveys and polls. We also help the event organizers to identify and collect information about the audience.

Legal category was won by SpecPrawnik. Specprawnik.pl is a marketplace for people searching for lawyers. It is currently the most mature and recognizable legal tech platform in Poland with ready-to-buy legal services.

Less won Smart Cities Category. The company’s main goal is to create technologically advanced infrastructure solutions for urban revitalisation in the context of Smart City projects. We have a workforce of engineers, specialists and managers who have been working in large international companies over the last several years. This experience of co-operating in lighting, security, telecommunication and electronics, give good creative results of this synergy. We believe that through our actions, we will have a positive impact on the environment and the future of building public space infrastructure for our planet.

The best Social startup is Parrot One. Is a mobile messaging app and a physical touch keyboard to make communication and remote work easier for users with less agile hands (esp. the disabled and elderly). Our proprietary AI helps type entire sentences in a just a few clicks and learn new languages. Designed with the needs of disabled users in mind.

Sky Tronic won the Tourism category. They are specializing in designing and production of autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) based on innovative fuzzy logic steering and flight control systems to enhance flight safety and stability in difficult weather conditions. Our unmanned helicopter is dedicated to more efficient and cheaper coordination of public safety and life rescue operations of mountain and water rescue agencies, police, fire department than existing helicopters to find the lost, injured and the victims of the accidents and snow avalanche victims faster and deliver medical equipment.

For Water category, Handy Shower is the winner. This is an innovative 3-in-1 personal hygiene system. The main idea behind the project was to help those living in the developing world, where sanitation conditions are often very problematic and every drop of water is precious. The device, however, can also be used during emergencies or simply for recreation. The full HandyShower kit includes a solar water bag, 4 interchangeable nozzles (a faucet, a bidet and 2 shower nozzles) and fits into a small sachet. The device is equipped with a patented self-closing valve, which facilitates water conservation.

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Visual commerce platform Photoslurp receives €750K in investment

Barcelona, November 2017 – Photoslurp, the leading visual commerce platform in Europe, just received an investment of €750.000. Inveready Technology Investment Group, a leading VC in Spain, led the Photoslurp investment with participation from Bankinter VC (through the Entrepreneurship Programme of Bankinter’s Innovation Foundation), Caixa Capital Risc and ICF. This is Photoslurp’s first investment, since the company was co-founded in 2014 by Ben Heinkel and Eulogi Bordas, having been completely bootstrapped to this point.

>From the beginning, Photoslurp has been enabling brands to engage with their customers while increasing their conversion rates by incorporating customers photos and videos in their websites as shoppable social proof. Growing rapidly, Photoslurp is now the market leader in Europe working with over 150 brands in 20 countries. Links of London, Folli Follie, Tally Weijl, Cluse Watches, Adolfo Domínguez and Lindblad Expeditions are some of their flagship clients.

Visual Commerce Platform
Photoslurp’s visual commerce platform allows brands to leverage User Generated Content (UGC) created by their fans and customers. The platform scans social media for photos and videos of customers with a brand’s’ products and integrates them into the brand’s online store. By directly linking this media to products, they become shoppable and lead to increased conversion rates.

As a result, brands benefit from the use of this media by creating an engaging community feeling on their website, while enriching product pages with inspiring real-life social content and boosting their e-commerce conversion rate in the process.

Photoslurp’s extensive analytics suite allows brands to measure real-time the impact of UGC in their online stores as well as provides key ROI metrics. The best performing photos or videos are identified and can then be pushed to Facebook and Instagram to create high performing advertisements. In addition, the suite helps to identify and monitor brand evangelists across social media networks, enabling brands to further engage with them.

Scaling up the business
The investment enables Photoslurp to fully grab the momentum of visual commerce, by scaling up European growth and continuously increasing the added value for their clients by enhancing their technology. “Visual commerce is becoming more important by the day”, says Eulogi Bordas, CEO of Photoslurp.”With the diminishing results of online advertising, UGC is extremely important for both building a community and engaging with your audience, reinforcing consumer trust, driving traffic and increasing your ecommerce conversion rate. Brands embracing photos and videos of customers have experienced significant ROI increases and we foresee that – in addition to fashion, beauty and travel brands – UGC will become indispensable for many brands from other industries as well.”

“The growth that Photoslurp managed to obtain without funding, the technical level of the visual commerce platform combined with its strong leadership team more than validates the investment”, explains Roger Piqué, Founding Partner of Inveready Technology Group. “We believe the importance of brand engagement and UGC will continue to surge, making it a key component in digital marketing campaigns. Therefore we are excited to be a partner in the scaling of Photoslurp as a leading company of the future.

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THE MARKETPLACE FOR TATTOOS, TATTOODO, CLOSES INVESTMENT ROUND AT $5M

Tattoodo is a Copenhagen-based startup with the aim to become a profitable marketplace for tattoos. They recently closed their investment round at DKK31M (around $4,9M). 

Tattoodo was founded in 2013 by the serial entrepreneurs Mik Thobo-Carlsen and Johan Plenge. The platform covers all aspects of tattoo culture and it even lets users request tattoos. Tattoo artists can receive immediate feedback on the sketches they submit on the platform.

Tattoodo has today 20M users every month and 346K uploaded tattoos to choose between.

Second investment in one year

The investment was provided by both new and existing shareholders, including Christian Stadil, Daniel Agger, Jan Bech Andersen, Bjarke Ingels, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and venture capital fund Nordic Eye.

In December 2016 Tattoodo closed an investment round at $8,5M to expand to the American market. The company still struggles to become profitable, with losses at DKK 17,6M ($2,8M) in 2016.

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Latvia’s Droneplan creates drones for risky industrial inspections

Industrial inspections are a risky job.  To inspect overhead power lines, for example, a person usually has to climb up a high tension wire, deal with wind and weather conditions, and on top of that, perform a detailed inspection.  Droneplan, a startup based in Latvia, is creating intelligent flight planning software to enable drones to perform autonomous inspection.

Droneplan started as a hobby for founder Viktors Bikovs, who became interested in autonomous flight systems for drones as a student.  “I made my master’s thesis about this idea, and then I moved it into the next level and started to commercialize it,” he explains. The company was officially founded in June 2016, and since then the team of 5 has reached a piloting stage and begun doing inspections for initial customers.

Droneplan now consists of a 3-part software:  Intelligent flight planning software, comprehensive technology enables companies to plan, create, and analyze all forms of aerial data within an enterprise workflow

After an inspection, of for example, a power line is performed, the data is uploaded into the cloud, and machine learning algorithms help the user generate reports about any issues.

“Traditional inspections take about 3 hours, but in our case we can do a full inspection in around 4 minutes,” says Viktors.

Droneplan also reduces CO2 emissions, as many inspections traditionally must use expensive equipment like helicopters.  “In comparison to traditional equipment, we are a green inspection service,” says Viktors.

Droneplan plans to expand into the Norway and Finland, as well as diversify their products with applications especially for wind farms and telecommunication towers.  They recently showcased their products in Norway at Oslo Innovation Week, one of the most important startup events in the Nordics.

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