EIT ICT Labs kicks off pan-European Startup Contest Idea Challenge

European open innovation organisation EIT ICT Labs calls for high-growth European startups active in digital technologies to apply for the 2015 edition of its Idea Challenge contest. The call for application is open from May 6 till July 6. Successful applicants win up to 40,000 Euro and benefit from the pan-European Business Development Accelerator of EIT ICT Labs to become European success stories.

Startups can submit their application in one of the eight topics detailed below. In each topic, finalists will compete for significant benefits: prize money of up to 40,000 Euro; free co-working space; business acceleration in Europe and beyond; and access to an ecosystem of over 130 excellent partner organisations across Europe. With a dedicated team of business developers active in nine European countries as well as in Silicon Valley, EIT ICT Labs will actively support the winners to boost their business internationally.

Prize money in each of the eight topics is: 40,000 Euro for the winner, 25,000 Euro for second place and 15,000 Euro for third place. This yields a significant global financial support of 640,000 Euro by EIT ICT Labs.

From startups to scale-ups

While last year’s edition of the contest focused on early-stage startups, this year EIT ICT Labs is reaching out to “scale-ups”, as EIT ICT Labs CEO Willem Jonker explains: “The strength of EIT ICT Labs lies in our pan-European ecosystem. We support fast-growing startups that are typically already being noticed in their home country; we help them scale up their business quickly across Europe and beyond.”

Must-have eligibility rules are: maximum five years of existence; less than one million Euro of external funding received, incorporated in EU28. Additionally startups need to meet at least one of the following criteria: existing customers/a public beta, revenue of min 12k Euro or seed investments of min 100k Euro.

Eight topics

The contest focuses on eight strategically-chosen topics that EIT ICT Labs has carefully selected and is very active in, both in terms of technical expertise and business network:

  • Health & Wellbeing
  • Smart Spaces
  • Cyber-Physical Systems
  • Future Cloud
  • Cyber Security and Privacy
  • Internet of Things
  • Urban Life and Mobility
  • Smart Energy Systems

Ten finalists will pitch in front of a jury in each if the eight topic finals, taking place in Autumn 2015.

Last year’s contest

In 2014, more than 1,500 teams registered for the Idea Challenge contest. 790 entrepreneurs from all across Europe submitted ideas. 24 startups convinced the juries of industry experts, investors and researchers in eight finals. Among them were the three startups below.

  • Tinnitracks: Winner in the category “Health & Wellbeing”. Winner of the official startup competition of SXSW technology conference in the field of Digital Health and Life Science. In April 2015, the product was launched in the Netherlands successfully, supported by EIT ICT Labs. (www.tinnitracks.com)
  • Konux: Winner in the category “Cyber Physical Systems”. Konux has been awarded $100,000 by Founder.org and raised more than US$ 1 million from US investors with the support of EIT ICT Labs. (www.konux.de)
  • Undagrid: Winner in the category “Internet of Things”. Dutch “Startup of the Year“. In February 2015, Undagrid rolled-out its’ track-and-trace-solution at Charles de Gaulle Airport Paris. (www.undagrid.com).