The EIT Digital Challenge 2021 has established a new record: 409 scale-ups from 33 countries applied to Europe's flagship deep tech competition in digital.
The highest number of submissions came from Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and France.
EIT Digital called for the best European deep tech scale-ups - fast-growing start-ups that are ready to expand internationally - to apply in one of the five thematic areas, strategically chosen with respect to major digital trends and European leadership potential: Digital Tech, Digital Industry, Digital Cities, Digital Finance and Digital Wellbeing.
The 20 best companies will be invited to an exclusive event, where they will pitch in front of a jury of high-profile corporates and investors. Among the 20 finalists, the jury will select three winners who will receive international growth support from the EIT Digital Accelerator for an entire year, worth EUR 50 000. Additionally, the first-place winner will receive a cash prize of EUR 100 000. The three winners of the EIT Digital Challenge will be announced in September 2021.
Digital is a major priority for Europe. We need not only to build companies but also grow them to become major players. The EIT Digital Challenge is precisely about this - identifying the next generation of Europe’s digital champions. The very large number of applications shows that our value proposition is strong. This year, we are also proud to observe that 40% of the companies have female Co-Founders or CXOs.
Chahab Nastar, Chief Innovation Officer of EIT Digital
The EIT Digital Accelerator will support the EIT Digital Challenge winners with a team of business developers and fundraising experts to help them raise growth capital and secure international customers. Since 2012, the Accelerator has supported over 300 start-ups which have raised over EUR 1 billion in venture capital.
Since its launch in 2014, the EIT Digital Challenge has received an impressive grand total of 2 900 applications from 36 countries. While it initially targeted start-ups, the EIT Digital Challenge has evolved to become Europe's flagship competition for deep tech scale-ups in digital. In 2021, the average scale-up applicant has EUR 1.13 million in revenues in its last fiscal year, has raised EUR 3 million of funds, and employs 18 people.