KATANA Accelerator: €1.2 million investment fund calls for innovative ideas in agrifood

The EU-funded business accelerator KATANA will distribute in total 1.2 million euros to European entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMES. KATANA aims to support innovative ideas inthe development of application solutions in agribusiness. Applicationis open from 1 December to 28 February.

As of 1 December 2016, the EU-funded accelerator KATANA is searching for ambitious entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEswith a great vision for the future of agribusiness. Addressing agrifood, ICT and emerging industries (eco-industries, mobile services and personalized health), the best 100 applicants will receive 2,000 euros funding while the best 10 teams in terms of market attractiveness and performance will be granted 100,000 euros each. KATANA relies on an innovative selection and funding scheme based on peer to peer selection and crowdfunding.


“One great thing about KATANA is that it is not us who decides which teams get to be part of the programme. It’s the community itself”,explains Alexandra Rudl from bwcon GmbH, project coordinator and German representative of the project team. Using a specific algorithm, pitch videos will be evaluated and ranked according to their expertise, their understanding of the agrifood value chain and their vision for the sector. For Rudl, this is key to produce solutions that are not only nice to have but tailored to the market’s needs. “We expect highly innovative ideas to be brought to life thanks to KATANA. Based on previous experiences from projects like FRACTALS, we are sure that we will see a wide range of application solutions for ICT in agrifood.”

The purpose of KATANA is to identify those ideas with the greatest potential in agro and ICT sectors focusing on trends such as GPS, Internet of Things or Big Data. In addition to financial support the accelerator provides selected beneficiaries with business services worth 20,000 euros. “We believe that funding alone cannot guarantee the success of a venture. This is why our teams will be supported by dedicated KATANA coaches and have access to tailor-madecoaching materials such as webinars and online courses”, says Rudl. KATANA services also include 14 pan-European matchmaking events, a three days onsite Bootcamp as well as an international Investment Forum where participants get the chance to pitch their ideas in front of investors.

Building onentrepreneurship methods like Lean Startup, Design Thinking and Effectuation, KATANA will provide access to knowledge, technology, capital and markets with the overall aim of enabling competitiveness on a global scale by fostering cross-border and cross-sector cooperation.

For more information on KATANA visit the project website www.katanaproject.eu or find us on Facebook (@H2020_KaTaNa) and Twitter (@H2020_KATANA).


Startup Europe Press Release: The Official Launch of the One Stop Shop in Brussels!

Last week we officially launched the One Stop Shop (this very website!) in Brussels, the heart of Europe.

The One Stop Shop has been growing with speed over the last few months and it was time to officially launch into the world with a special event.

At an event held by Digital Europe, we presented the One Stop Shop, and explained how to use it with an interactive presentation.

This event followed the DIPP (Digital in Practice) format by Digital Europe, which is a type of event that delves into digital best practice and cutting-edge technology. We presented the Startup Europe One Stop Shop as a unique way to bring together and connect all the startup players in Europe. In this way, the One Stop Shop acts as one single access point to bring all of these players together for the first time.

Over the last two months we have seen over 30,000 visitors, hailing from all over Europe and beyond.

To see more pictures from the event, go to the Digital Europe’s Facebook album.


Startupbootcamp Food Tech: How to get 452 applications from 56 countries to your accelerator

Events, travels, skype calls, thousands of e-mails and much more for Peter Kruger and his team to scout the best foodtech startups around the world. 

Over 3000 companies contacted, almost 700 startups engaged and 11 ecosystems visited in just 4 months of hard work brought into StartupbootcampFoodTech 452 applications from 56 countries.

Italy, base of the 3-month acceleration program, leads the top 10 countries rank with less than 30% of applications, followed by India (12%), US (10%), France (7%), United Kingdom (6%), Turkey (5%), Netherlands (4%), Germany (4%), Spain (3%) and Canada (1%).

foodtech accelerator infographic

“I want to be honest. As first year of program, our expectations were lower. During these 3 months, we put the heart in and we met really interesting teams from all over the world” said Peter Kruger, CEO of StartupbootcampFoodTech “From IoT devices to monitor crops till waste management disruptive ideas; from E-commerce to AI able to recognize what you have in the fridge, we are impressed by the quality of the startups and their interest in our program. But there is no time for celebrations, the hard job has just begun.”

Indeed, the StartupbootcampFoodTech team now has to choose the top 20 startups out of all applications received to invite them to the Selection Days which will take place in Rome on 20-22 October. During this 3-day working gathering, the 20 pre-selected teams will be pitching their ideas to over 70 highly qualified mentors and just the best 10 will be part of the 2016 cohort of StartupbootcampFoodTech.

Peter Kruger puts it this way: “We are really thrilled to know which startups will join our acceleration program. Supported by industry-leading partners such as Gambero Rosso, LVenture Group, Barilla, Monini, Cisco, M3 Investimenti and a network of 150+ mentors, we are ready to bring these 10 foodtech startups to the next level and get them ready for our Demo Day on March 10, 2017”.

And StartupbootcampFoodTech is thrilled too. So best luck to all applicants and stay tuned to know which will be the next foodtech startups to watch.


Programme for foreign entrepreneurs to establish their Start Ups in Spain

For the last few years Spain’s start up ecosystem has been growing fast and is emerging as a destination of choice for an increasing number of entrepreneurs ready to innovate and collaborate in a most conducive environment.

First-class universities, topnotch business schools, highly skilled human capital and substantial capital funding, public and private, create the right conditions for your start up to grow.

So, if you are thinking on taking your innovative project to the marketplace, go to Spain. Rising Start Up Spain will help you to land.

Rising Startup Spain offers:

  • Free workspace in Madrid and Barcelona
  • € 10.000 grant to cover initial startup expenses
  • Soft-landing services and easier access to Visa and Residence permits (for you and your family)
  • Mentoring to help you connect with potential investors

Submission of applications: from August 17 to September 30, 2016

For more information, visit: Rising Startup Spain FAQs.



LIFE Project: Is there really a talent shortage in Europe? – Tech.eu

The oft-talked about talent shortage in the European tech scene: is it perception or reality? And if the latter, what is exactly the issue – and how can we fix it?

Finding and securing talent is supposedly one of the biggest challenges in the European tech industry, but there are several viewpoints around what exactly the problem is.

When the topic of conversation veers towards the supply of talent, it often focuses on the hiring crunch in Silicon Valley and a possible repeat in Europe, but is that the case?

The LIFE (Learning Incrementally from Failed Entrepreneurship) project, of which Tech.eu is a member, has put together a white paper that chronicles the challenges and failures that European startups face across various stages of their development. The report splits the lifespan of a startup into four different phases – Discovery, Validation, Efficiency, and Growth.

Startups that were interviewed for the report were asked to identify the kinds of problems they have experienced in each of these phases and how, or if, they solved them.

Building a team and hiring was cited by interviewees as a significant problem in each of the four phases.

During the ‘Discovery’ phase, team issues were given as the main problem, namely in getting the right technical founding team. In the ‘Validation’ and ‘Efficiency’ phases, team is no longer the number one problem but still a significant one. During those phases, startups are in the hiring process, building out their staff, and they may now encounter the supposed talent shortage problems so often cited. Finally at the Growth phase, many startups deemed team and hiring as a “substantial problem”, due to the need to scale and internationalise.

Problems with hiring can’t be viewed separately either. LIFE’s white paper goes into detail on money and access to funds. This is a major problem at both the ‘Discovery’ and ‘Validation’ phase, it said, where lack of funds will stymie talent acquisition. This continues to have knock-on effects; respondents said in the early phases that a lack of technical talent has ultimately influenced the development and direction of its product.

One of the startups quizzed for the study, Nonabox from Spain, recalled its challenges with finding talent to build and develop its website, switching between freelancers and an in-house team. The startup mentions not having a technical co-founder or advisor to guide it.

Across the board, however, none of the startups surveyed had any thorough or concrete solutions for the problems they faced. Rather, they could only offer loose advice based on their own experiences.

At the same time, there are opposing arguments to the notion that there are talent shortages across the continent in the same vein as the Valley.

Atomico Ventures, one of Europe’s top VC firms, stands firm in its belief that Europe’s talent supply problem doesn’t compare with Silicon Valley’s. According to a survey it published in November of last year, 57% of respondents (made up of CEOs, founders, and investors) said there is “good or very good availability” of talent in Europe.

Partner Dan Hynes argues that the number of programmers, developers, and engineers isn’t the challenge but rather the way companies engage with prospective talent and how they hire people. According to Hynes, there’s a hiring problem, not a supply problem.

HR managers and internal recruiters are left to wade through professionals by engaging with recruitment agencies or connecting with prospects on LinkedIn. This leaves little personalisation in the job hunt and finding the right fit for the startup’s culture and mission. It’s now recommended that a startup build a recruitment team in the early phases that’s prepared to train their interviewers and commit time to recruiting.

Finally, the LIFE report adds in its summation of the problems facing startups that founders should ideally have some experience in working in a startup rather than going straight into founding one of their own. A glimpse into how an effective hiring process works will help any founder when it comes to doing it themselves. Previous experience gives some vital know-how on the pitfalls facing companies that are looking for talent.

In the coming weeks, we are going to highlight more conclusions from the LIFE white paper, so stay tuned! Also, feel free to share your opinion or your own experiences in the comments below – we’d love to hear your thoughts or stories.

Retrieved from: Tech.eu


What is a Business Accelerator — And How Does it Differ from an Incubator?

by Nash Riggins



Starting up a new business can be incredibly difficult. After all, it takes a lot more than a great idea and a pocket full of dreams in order to disrupt markets and generate success. New entrepreneurs need access to capital, mentoring and structural resources in order to prosper. But sometimes those lifelines seem nearly impossible to track down — which is why nine out of ten startups shrivel up and die within three years.

Accelerators are designed to prevent those premature deaths.

Over the course of the last decade, the number of accelerators operating across the globe has skyrocketed. According to AngelList, a digital platform that helps to pair promising young startups with investors, there was only one American accelerator in operation in 2005. Today, there are 578, writes Scott Shane, professor of entrepreneurial studies at Case Western Reserve University and a regular contributor at Small Business Trends. It’s not hard to see why demand for accelerators has risen so sharply, either.

What is a Business Accelerator?

Accelerators are organizations that offer a range of support services and funding opportunities for startups. They tend to work by enrolling startups in months-long programs that offer mentorship, office space and supply chain resources. More importantly, business accelerator programs offer access to capital and investment in return for startup equity. Startups essentially ‘graduate’ from their accelerator program after three or four months — which means that development projects are time-sensitive and very intensive.

The primary reason accelerators have exploded in popularity is because they are designed to provide the best of both worlds for both startups as well as investors.

Because accelerators stringently vet participating businesses, investors don’t need to waste loads of time sifting through duds in order to track down and evaluate fantastic new startups. Instead, angels can simply invest in accelerators that take on shares in startups themselves. Accelerators also structure these investments as real options which means that early stage investors have the right to make future investments if they choose to. That being said, it’s not an obligation to invest more.

On the flip side, accelerators are a proverbial treasure-trove of resources for startup owners. Bearing in mind that these organizations are run by experts who make a living out of helping fledgling businesses to overcome basic hurdles, there’s no better way to guarantee entrepreneurial success than to cohabit space with those experts. Startup owners also benefit from mingling with business peers and generate friendly competition in order to bolster development. The only potential drawback of joining a business accelerator is that startup owners are generally handing over equity in their companies.

How do Accelerators Differ from Incubators?

At first glance, accelerators sound incredibly similar to incubators — and they are. But there are a couple of key differences.

An incubator is essentially an organization that provides startups with a shared operation space. Incubators also provide young businesses with networking opportunities, mentoring resources and access to shared equipment. This concept of a creative haven for startups has been around for a pretty long time, but rose to prominence in the 1980s after a large number of colleges and universities began to launch school-affiliated incubators in order to bolster entrepreneurship and employability.

Because of that academic affiliation, a large number of startup incubators are run as nonprofits. They generally won’t ask for equity in a company in return for access to funding or resources in the way that accelerators do. As a result, startups generally receive far less access to capital by joining an incubator than they could expect to receive from an accelerator.

Incubators are also better than accelerators at fostering slow growth, because incubators do not generally put a time stamp on their support programs. Where accelerators sponsor intensive, boot camp style programs that last only a few months, startups can spend years working from within an incubator to establish growth.

At the end of the day, no two businesses are alike. As a result, different startups are going to need different types of support in order to prosper. That’s why there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to whether a company should choose a business accelerator over an incubator. It’s just a matter of sitting down and developing a wish list of what you think your company needs in order to succeed, and then doing some research. More importantly, don’t be afraid to shop around.

Retrieved from: Small Business Trends


StartUp ScaleUP – Ireland’s only Internet of Things Start-up Accelerator ready for take-off at DCU Ryan Academy

DCU Ryan Academy have opened applications for “StartUp ScaleUp”, Ireland’s only Internet of Things (IoT) focused startup accelerator which connects startups across Europe with top class expertise and advice.

The six-month programme, created with the assistance of StartUp Europe and the European Commission is largely based on-line. The closing date for applications to the IoT accelerator is May 13th. It is a no equity, no cost programme starting on June 27th at the DCU Ryan Academy in Citywest with a week of intensive face-to-face workshops delivered by experts in the fields of IoT and business development as well as corporates in the IoT space. The programme then moves online for five months of start-up development support from experienced facilitators.

Ongoing features of the programme also include: connectivity through the StartUp ScaleUp networks across Europe including corporates like Intel, Arduino, PCH and Deloitte; access to “smart lab” and other IoT testing facilities and advice from engineering faculty at the University of Cartagena in Spain: Online sessions including Ask Me Anything “AMAs” with leading players in the IoT and startup sector. AMA speakers in the last cycle included Vint Cerf, the “father of the internet” and Dan Moram, author of the “Crowdfunding Revolution” and a finale Showcase at IoT World Europe Conference in Dublin on the 22nd – 23rd November 2016.

Speaking about StartUp ScaleUp, CEO of the DCU Ryan Academy Eoghan Stack said: “DCU Ryan Academy is delighted to be at the fore-front of connecting Ireland’s rapidly growing Internet of Things startup sector to each other and to other networks in Europe. StartUp ScaleUp is hugely beneficial, combining online expertise with a week of intense workshops, all with the aim of assisting IoT start-ups to scale their company in an increasingly competitive global environment and expand into new European markets. We are pleased to act as both a connector, by linking Irish IoT startups with their European counterparts, investors and potential partners and also to act as a facilitator by creating an environment in which Irish IoT startups can come together and avail of mentoring and support.”

To find out more click here