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EIT Digital Venture Programme boosts European pre-seed start-ups

In a positive development for Europe’s pre-seed start-up ecosystem, ten innovative start-ups launched within the EIT Digital Venture Programme, successfully raised over EUR 750 000 collectively from private capital sources.

For this, they were awarded a final prize of EUR 10 000 each by EIT Digital, in addition to the EUR 15 000 each the organisation had already distributed.

This initiative emphasises the critical role of early-stage financing in nurturing tech entrepreneurship.

Pre-seed funding, marking the inception phase of start-up financing, has become increasingly pivotal for founders focusing on prototype development or proof-of-concept. This funding stage typically sees investments ranging from EUR 150 000 to EUR 250 000, with emphasis on the founding team's vision and capability rather than tangible business metrics.

In the last few years, though, the pre-seed stage has encountered challenges, notably a significant investment decline of nearly 50 per cent from 2016 to 2020.

This was followed by a partial recovery, but the trend highlighted the cautious approach of venture capitalists who prefer later-stage investments, leaving pre-seed start-ups in a precarious position seeking dedicated early-stage backers.

Empowering start-ups through pre-acceleration

Addressing these challenges, EIT Digital's Venture Program has emerged as a key player in supporting tech start-ups across Europe. In its 2023 cycle, the programme has selected 10 start-ups that have not only demonstrated product-market fit but also showcased their capability to attract external financing. 

This initiative is part of EIT Digital's broader mission to foster tech entrepreneurship, especially in regions such as the Baltics, Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe. The 2023 edition marked the programme's expansion into Italy, Spain, and Hungary, thereby extending its reach to 22 European countries. This expansion is backed by new partnerships with esteemed institutions, enhancing the programme's impact and scope.

The winners: A glimpse into Europe's innovative spirit

The ten start-ups recognised for their exceptional performance and potential include:

  • finQbit Prosta Spółka Akcyjna from Poland
  • Billd s.r.l. from Italy
  • WHIZ COMMERCE CLOUD from Bulgaria
  • UAB Okapis from Lithuania
  • FELWY Alarm, S.L. from Spain
  • Pacjent Expert Sp. z o.o. from Poland
  • Tegel SRL from Italy
  • Parent's Advisor SRL from Romania
  • Babymedtech Sp. z o.o. from Poland
  • Veganistik OÜ from Estonia

We are thrilled to support these outstanding start-ups with an extra boost to accelerate their growth even further. They have demonstrated great traction and now have the capital to expand internationally, hire talent, and keep innovating.

Federico Menna, CEO of EIT Digital