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IMPACT mentor Noelia Fernández Arroyo reveals the secret to successful startup mentoring


We’re proud to introduce you to Noelia Fernández Arroyo, possibly the most versatile mentor at IMPACT.

It’s been four years since Noelia joined IMPACT—yes, she was one of our first mentors—and there are many reasons why, when the accelerator was created, we immediately thought she would be the perfect fit. Noelia is full of surprises: she’s a journalist, an entrepreneur, a teacher, a high-level executive at a multinational tech company… and a brilliant startup mentor! With over 25 years of experience in the digital environment, she has taught marketing at multiple educational institutions and has worked for highly prestigious companies such as Yahoo! and the Spanish media conglomerate PRISA. Noelia is currently the Director of Large Customer Sales for Northern Europe at Google, and a mentor both in IMPACT Growth and IMPACT Connected Car.

“Being passionate is not enough. If I’m not able to help startups and give them good feedback that is actionable, I won’t be able to help them succeed.”

Tell us about yourself, what you do, where you work, past experience, etc.

I’ve been in contact with the Internet and the digital world throughout all of my career. I majored in journalism at school, but before finishing journalism I was already working in newspapers, and radios, and so on.

I discovered the Internet back in 1994, and that’s when I decided that was what I wanted to work on for the rest of my life. This discovery led me to make two huge decisions. First, I created a company (which we would call a startup now, but back then I was just starting my own business), and secondly, I became a university professor, teaching students about marketing and journalism, and helping them think of new ways of interacting with their audiences for marketing or for communication purposes through the Internet.

“If you look back ten years, there’s a lot we have changed with the help of ISDI and the IMPACT programs.”

After three or four years of doing that, Yahoo! reached out to me to launch their operations in Spain. At that time the Google team didn’t exist, as they were created later on. It was still the time when Yahoo! defined the digital ecosystem. I worked with them for 17 years. The first half of my career I was based in Spain, Switzerland, and London, and I ended up running global media operations as their VP. That was a very exciting journey, especially since I got to experience the crazy growth of digital media in the late ‘90s, early ‘00s, the birth of social networks, of the mobile environment… I saw this through the lens of Yahoo! as they went through those cycles, but also in connection to the founding of ISDI, and one of the things we saw in the decade of the ‘00s is that there was not enough talent that we could hold onto, especially in terms of media management with digital experience.

That was the origin of ISDI, by the way. And if you look back ten years, there’s a lot we have changed with the help of ISDI and the IMPACT programs.

After I left Yahoo!, I came back to Spain for a couple of years to work with the CEO of a media organization, driving their digital transformation strategy and also running their IT and infrastructure and development teams, running media from a technical and digital strategy perspective. It was an interesting learning process with a very strong brand that helped me understand the pain points of business both leaders and journalists.

I joined Google a year ago as the Director of Large Customer Sales for Northern Europe, and I moved again because of that. Now I’m living in Ireland and I’m working on helping our largest customers in the Northern European region.

“I provide a sounding board because I’ve seen all kinds of things for the past 25 years.”

And how are you liking this new phase?

I’m really enjoying the journey! I’m in Stockholm today and was in Oslo at the beginning of the week. These markets have been known for their innovative, sophisticated customers, and what they’re experiencing now is being coming digitally savvy and adapting to a fast-paced environment where consumers are changing all the time because of their mobile consumption, or because the ubiquity of Internet access…

One of the reasons why I’ve always been very interested in the IMPACT programs is that, even though I work in a fantastic company that is a big corporation and helps companies of all sizes, I have always been close to the startup environment, and I’ve always wanted to see how they’re facing the opportunity of making an impact and building value, as well as the challenges they face in order to be successful, because it’s a challenging environment.

You have so much experience in many different environments. How does your particular experience gives you a unique position to help startups?

I’ve been close to four IMPACT startups since the program started. In all cases I’ve experienced, the CEO can trust me providing any kind of issue they might be facing. Sometimes it’s product strategy, sometimes it’s overall business strategy, sometimes it’s funding or financing, sometimes it’s recruitment… And just in general, I think I provide a sounding board because I’ve seen all kinds of things for the past 25 years, and there’s a lot of experiences I’ve had that help me connect with startup founders. I think that’s something they appreciate, that I have experienced many different environments and markets. Also, because of how long I’ve been in this sector, I’m well-connected, so I will know someone directly, or someone that knows who they need to be reaching out to, for almost any type of need they may have.

So, sounding board across diverse categories and networks is probably where I’m most able to help them, and then, of course, I have a significant domain knowledge in terms of content, product, and, as I’m learning now, how to create a great sales organization in a digital environment. But I would say that my personal experience and my connections are probably where founders feel my value is more genuine.

And they do. I mean, I’m sure you know, but the startups love you.

Awww. Yes! I love them too. And sometimes I think to myself: “Ah, I wish I could help them more…” But it’s just about being there when they need you. Sometimes it’s a few minutes’ conversation, and sometimes it’s something more profound that they need to share with someone, and I guess I’m generating that trust with them.

“IMPACT provides a structured, thorough framework and, in parallel, a high level of commitment from mentors, and it’s precisely that combination that makes the program so valuable.”

As we’ve said, you’ve worked with four IMPACT startups: Quizlyse, Glamping Hub, Ximantis, and ArtuData. How would you describe the evolution these startups have experienced during and after IMPACT? Or, put differently, how do startups change during the IMPACT experience?

I think it’s a combination of a very structured operational framework that they have to go through to make sure that they’re tackling every single aspect they need to take into account. It’s financing, it’s development, it’s recruiting, it’s strategic proposition… And I think you have to be very thorough in addressing that. So, to me, it’s the combination of a dedicated mentor, and a checklist to make sure that you’re on top of all those critical dimensions. Because what founders have the least of is time and money, but they need to tackle all those things if they want to be successful.

IMPACT provides a structured, thorough framework and, in parallel, a high level of commitment from mentors, and it’s precisely that combination that makes the program so valuable.

We also hold each other accountable, so there’s a lot of rigor in terms of how we rate them (startups) and how they rate us (mentors). There’s a strong incentive on both sides to do what’s right. As a mentor, I reserve a number of hours that I’ll be dedicating to meeting with startups, and I know that I better be there, because otherwise they won’t give me a positive evaluation. Being passionate is not enough. If I’m not able to help startups and give them good feedback that is actionable, I won’t be able to help them succeed. I think it’s all those ingredients combined that make IMPACT an exceptional accelerator.

“Having subject-matter expertise, knowing what your strengths are, and being very direct when you’re seeing issues, I think are the three key points of good mentorship.”

That’s wonderful. One more question: what do you think is the key to good mentorship? How can mentors help startups?

That’s a good question. I think the program needs to identify very well the strengths of all the mentors that they’re putting together. For instance, how do I make sure that I have a good collection of people that really understand the subject matter, and that have a lot of expertise in it? As a mentor, you need to be aware of your strengths, because whatever you’re telling founders, it really has to add value, because, again, they have very little time to address all these things. In addition, I believe you need to be strict, especially in addressing problems. When you see they’re not paying enough attention to something that matters, you have to be very straightforward with them and make sure they take it very seriously.

So, to summarize: having subject-matter expertise, knowing what your strengths are, and being very direct when you’re seeing issues, I think are the three key points of good mentorship. And again, they have very small teams, which means they have just a handful of people to solve funding issues, and the delivery of results for their customers. Every piece of feedback is vital for their survival.

Thank you so much. I don’t have any more questions. Is there anything you’d like to add?

I’m very proud of being a part of this program and I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing IMPACT startups succeed, so the more I can contribute, the better! I’m really happy that we’re talking more about IMPACT. It’s so nice to see the evolution from where we started until now, the diversity of companies that we’re reaching, and how far advanced they are in terms of their vision. And I hope we could help them (even) more! But I know we’re definitely contributing, and I’m proud to be a part of that.

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IMPACT Growth brings together investors and startups from around the world for Investor Day


A year ago, the first batch of startups started their IMPACT Growth journey. These 14 startups were carefully selected out of 2,000 applicants from all over Europe and the world. In April, a second batch of 14 joined the program, bringing the total to 28 IMPACT Growth startups.

As acceleration finishes and IMPACT Growth draws to a close, the superstar teams participating in the program are looking to take their startup to the next level. What better way to help them accomplish this than with a round of funding?

IMPACT Growth Investor Day took place at ISDI Madrid.

IMPACT Growth Investor Day took place in Madrid, with the central part of the event being held at ISDI Madrid on October 1st. It was an exclusive event aimed at putting some of the best startup minds in Europe in direct contact with the most important players on the European investor scene to make the magic happen.

Nine top startups out of the original 28 were selected to take part in the event, coordinated by ISDI. Not only did the startups get to pitch in front of investors – and then meet them in face-to-face private meetings – but they received personalized pitch prep, including a special session led by Kat Mañalac, Partner at Y Combinator.

Investor Day consisted of four parts:

  • Online pitch training led by Kibo Ventures
  • Face-to-face pitch practice led by Kat Mañalac (Partner at Y Combinator)
  • Pitching and private meetings with a selection of top European investors
  • VIP Rooftop Gala in Central Madrid


First, the nine startups took part in an online pitch training led by Kibo Ventures, a Madrid-based early stage venture capital firm and IMPACT Growth partner. During this session, the Kibo Ventures team shared tips and answered questions about how to effectively attract investors. After the pitch training, startups had the chance to sharpen their pitch according to Kibo Ventures’ feedback and get ready for the big day.

Kat Mañalac, Parter at Y Combinator, led the startups through pitch training.


A week later, the nine IMPACT Growth startups traveled to Madrid for another pitch training, this time face-to-face, arranged by ISDI and led by a very special guest, one of the top experts from the first accelerator in the world: Kat Mañalac, Partner at Y Combinator. The session, designed to help startups take their pitches to the next level, was a success. All nine IMPACTers had the chance to watch each of their peers pitch and receive personalized feedback from Kat and Sebastian Muller, IMPACT’s Acceleration Director (ISDI). This allowed them to get multiple perspectives of what an A+ pitch means.

Having perfected their pitches to the maximum, the event kicked into gear.

Javier Ferrer, CEO of WiTraC, was one of the startups selected to pitch at IMPACT Growth Investor Day.


The afternoon brought together the three fundamental pieces of the puzzle in one room: nine outstanding IMPACTers ready to pitch their startups, top VCs and investors from all over Europe, and, of course, the amazing mentors that have supported startups every step of the way.

Pitching went by in the blink of an eye. This time, the ones asking questions were not startups, but real investors, who, amazed by the startups’ high level of maturity, filled the rest of the evening with private meetings. Startups went from meeting to meeting, establishing connections and deepening relationships. The investors, meanwhile, were able to build a detailed picture of what IMPACTers had to offer, and got a chance to forge synergies with the most exceptional companies in the program.

As IMPACTer Carlos Iborra, CEO at FruitsApp, put it:

Investor Day at IMPACT Growth has been a very interesting event for us in which we have been able to directly contact the most important players in the current investor scene.

The Rooftop Gala was a time for startups and investors to meet in a more relaxed atmosphere.


To end things right, the following evening startups, mentors and investors were invited to a VIP gala event on a rooftop overlooking Madrid, where they gathered for networking and fun, this time in a more relaxed atmosphere. In the words of IMPACTer Vasco Portugal, CEO at SENSEI:

An excellent closure, on a rooftop in Madrid between conversations, laughs and glasses, and among entrepreneurs, mentors and investors.

We’re sure the combination of an amazing view, great weather, and delicious Spanish food led to really great conversations and, perhaps, potential partnerships. Soon, we’ll find out!

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Digital Bootcamp: an inside look

Digital bootcamp is the week-long event that kicks off IMPACT Connected Car's acceleration

But what, exactly, does that mean?

Digital Bootcamp is part of the acceleration process designed for the startups in IMPACT Connected Car, the automotive and mobility-focused vertical of IMPACT Accelerator. Normally it’s an exclusive, invitation-only event, but in this post, we’re throwing open the doors to give you a glimpse of what goes on. If you’re inspired, apply to IMPACT Connected Car (before October 18th, 2018) and who knows? You might find yourself taking part in the next Digital Bootcamp.

What is a Digital Bootcamp?

Digital Bootcamp kicks off the acceleration program. It’s a week-long event that brings the newly-selected startups together with mentors, IMPACT Connected Car partners, digital experts from top organizations, and star entrepreneurs from all over the world. Each day is packed with intensive classes and seminars from experts. Not only do startups learn a lot, but it’s the first chance for them to get to know each other, so there’s also plenty of time for networking – and fun.

The first Digital Bootcamp took place at ISDI’s headquarters in Madrid and was attended by the fourteen startups that comprised IMPACT Connected Car’s first batch. The startups came from all over Europe, including The Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Italy, and more.

A startup founder gives his product demo pitch.
(Photo from April 2018.)

Representatives from IMPACT Connected Car’s partners were also present. There are 17 partners in total:

Welcome Day

Digital Bootcamp starts with a grand Welcome Day. In the morning, startups meet the partners and hear about the acceleration program to come, what’s expected of them, and what they will learn.

Mentors play a key role at the event, as they do throughout the mentoring process. At IMPACT Accelerator, each selected startup is paired with a “follow up mentor,” an expert custom-matched for the startup’s needs. Mentors come from well-known organizations such as Google, Tesla, and more. This mentor will meet regularly with the startup and, over time, forge a positive relationship with the startup team that will help the company grow.

Startups and mentors meet each other for the first time on Welcome Day in a mentor unveiling ceremony, one of the more dramatic moments of the day.

In the afternoon, startups give their pitches but with a product demo twist. The focus isn’t on trying to “sell” their startup — they’ve already been selected for the program, after all — but rather to demonstrate what, exactly, their startup does. Gone are the PowerPoint presentations and market projections. Instead, startups show off dashboards, give live demonstrations, and reveal the day-to-day of their product.

Towards the end of the day, an exclusive keynote speaker addresses the startups, offering advice and valuable insights. The keynote speaker for the first IMPACT Connected Car Digital Bootcamp was Soujanya Bhumkar, former VP of Global Partnerships and founder of Cooliris.

Finally, the day ends with an informal drink and a chance to network.

It was an honor to have Andy Stalman, author of BrandOffOn, as a speaker at the Digital Bootcamp.

Roll up your sleeves

The rest of the week is devoted to an intensive schedule of classes, workshops, and inspirational talks. All material is carefully curated to help startups get the most out of their time in the Bootcamp, and teachers are expert professionals drawn from top tech companies around the world.

Each day tackles a different theme, including internationalization, funding, dashboards, culture, and exits. It’s a tiring week, but well worth it. Startups come away with a solid knowledge base, skills, and connections to help them grow their companies. In the words of one startup:

IMPRESSIVE!! I don’t think that I have ever come across such quality accelerator program. The content of the lectures is extremely appropriate with a good mix of both hands on tools and theoretical explanation plus real life examples. The speakers were simply amazing and inspiring.

The rest of the startups agreed. Participants were asked to fill out a daily survey – part of our ongoing commitment to live due diligence and constant improvement.

At the end of the week, the average class session was rated 8.8 out of 10, meaning the startups were taking away a lot of value.

What’s next?

On the last day, startups hop on trains or catch planes back to their home cities. IMPACT’s acceleration program is “delocalized,” meaning that startups don’t have to move to a new place in order to take part. They can strengthen the European startup ecosystem without disrupting their local network.

Over the next three months, the startups will meet with their mentors, set goals, measure progress, and grow, grow, grow!

What do startups get out of IMPACT?

Don’t take our word for it. Let them tell you:

Be a part of IMPACT

If this sounds like something you’d like to be part of, apply to IMPACT Connected Car before October 18th.

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FAQ: IMPACT Connected Car’s six challenges

What are the six IMPACT Connected Car challenges?

from the IMPACT Connected Car FAQ

  • IMPACT Connected Car is currently looking for innovative mobility startups and SMEs focused on six verticals, or challenges. The verticals are broad enough to admit a wide range of projects while narrowing the scope and specialization of the program.
  • To learn more about the six verticals and which one your startup fits into, read on. Further information about IMPACT Connected Car on the official FAQ. Apply before October 18th, 2018 at 17h CET on the website

You’ve probably heard of IMPACT Connected Car, the mobility & automotive vertical of IMPACT Accelerator. You might even be in the process of applying to the open call right now. If so, you may have encountered the question about what challenge your startup fits into. In Connected Car, we use the word “challenge” to refer to vertical or focus. There are six main challenges in the program.

The six challenges are:

  1. Safety and security
  2. Driver assistance
  3. Well-being
  4. Mobility management
  5. Vehicle management
  6. Infotainment

Let’s dive in and take a deeper look at what each one of these challenges entails and what projects we might see applying in each category.

Before we go any further, however, please note that projects are not limited to the categories detailed here. What’s most important is that applicants show how their startup or project will directly impact the connected car space.

1. Safety and security

The challenge of safety and security is to develop functions that warn the driver of external hazards and to create internal responses to those hazards.

Features that are included in this challenge include: collision avoidance (blind spot monitoring), intersection pilot, lane assistant, autonomous braking, traffic sign violation warning, hazards warning, emergency calling (eCall), protection of vulnerable road users, cybersecurity, stolen vehicle tracking and recovery, roadside assistance, measurement of pavement conditions, and cybersecurity dedicated to blockchain.

This is not a comprehensive list! However, projects that apply under this challenge must demonstrate their impact (no pun intended) on the connected car space. Some examples of expected applying projects include:

  • services to inform drivers about the state of the roads and other external
    environmental hazards,
  • projects related to the protection of software in the vehicle, to prevent cyberattacks,
  • projects related to the protection of the vehicle occupant’s data,
  • services (C-ITS applications) to connect cars with VRUs and warn of danger.

2. Driver assistance

The challenge driver assistance focuses on partially or fully automatic driving. Up to 90% of all traffic accidents are caused by human error. Thus, automating driving in part or in full will greatly reduce the number of accidents and increase safety on the road. Projects applicable for this challenge might include operational assistance or autopilot in heavy traffic, in parking or on highways; 3D cloud-based navigation; cruise control; self-driving; speed or distance advice; or artificial intelligence (AI) for autonomous driving.

Example startups that fit in this challenge might be working on:

  • projects related to cooperative adaptive cruise control or autonomous cruise control,
  • services (C-ITS applications) related to control self-driving, speed, and distance.

3. Well-being

Well-being is focused on identifying functions that relate to the driver’s comfort, ability, and fitness to drive. This might include fatigue detection, alco-lock, seat adjustment, services or funcions to assist elderly drivers, driver distraction alert, or driver health monitoring.

Projects that might fit in this challenge include:

  • startups with innovation solutions to prevent accidents resulting from driver fatigue, driver distraction, or driver health problems,
  • services that provide the elderly with access to connected cars,
  • monitoring services to track drivers’ abilitites and behaviors.

4. Mobility management

The challenge related to mobility management is all about making sure drivers reach their destinations quickly, safely, and in a cost-efficient manner. Mobility management covers current traffic info (floating car data/ITS), maps/street view, journey planning, parking lot or garage assistance, electric vehicle services (including charging slots, locating charging stations, prices), estimating battery and driving range, home charging, optimised fuel consumption, hazardous climatic conditions warnings and driving tips.

You might fit into this challenge if your startup is working on improving journeys with something like the following:

  • integrating the car into the journey context, helping ensure the journey is relaxing, planning the journey, and so on,
  • making journeys with electric vehicles more pleasant by shortening travel time, reducing consumption, or finding charging stations,
  • journey planning, taking into account possible climatic hazards and offering advice on driving in unusual conditions such as black ice, animals on the road, and so on.

5. Vehicle management

Startups in the challenge of vehicle management seek to aid the driver or car owner in reducing operating costs and improving ease of use. This includes vehicle conditions and service reminders, remote operation, transfer of usage data, driver performance analytics, electronic tolling and road usage, car sharing, vehicle-to-grid capabilities, customer profiling, load identification and characterization, vehicle communication (V2X), or artificial intelligence.

You might be right for this challenge if your startup is focused on:

  • intelligent route payment,
  • improving customer experience in the car,
  • new services based on customer profiles,
  • projects related to load control on the road to avoid accidents,
  • sevices to connect the vehicle to any other device, car or infrastructure.

6. Infotainment

Startups in the infotainment challenge, as might be guessed from the name, look to entertain driver and passengers. Topics included in this challenge may be related to the smartphone interface, Internet services & hot spots, social media & networking, personal info management, the mobile office, ads & points of interest, or easy booking at hotels and restaurants.

Your startup might belong in this challenge if you are working on something like:

  • projects related to implementing and optimizing the mobile office,
  • entertainment services for driver and passengers in self-driving cars.

Behind the curtain

IMPACT Connected Car is supported by the collaboration of 13 partners from across Europe:  ISDI, FundingBox, CTAG, INSERO, Mov’eo, Autoklastr, LPNT, Mobile World Capital Barcelona, PARP, Ferrovial Servicios, Groupe PSA, Federation Internationale de l’Automobile and FIWARE Foundation. IMPACT Connected Car is funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for the European Union under grant agreement no. 731343.

To learn more about the six verticals and which one your startup fits into, visit the official FAQ.

IMPACT Connected Car is currently seeking disruptive mobility solutions. Apply on the website before October 18th, 2018 at 17h CET.


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IMPACT Growth selects two superstar startups to get €150,000 equity free

IMPACT Growth selects and Clarity as top startups to receive an additional €150,000 equity-free

These outstanding startups were chosen from among the 14 startups participating in IMPACT Growth’s first batch of acceleration.

IMPACT Growth has announced (Denmark) and Clarity (Spain) as the best projects from its first open call.

IMPACT Growth is the startup acceleration program made of leading accelerators, venture capital entities and global brands. Two thousand startups applied to the first batch of acceleration; the best 14 of these were selected to participate.

Now, out of this pool of 14 exceptional companies, the top two were chosen for an additional accolade. Clarity and will be awarded €150,000 equity-free, on top of the €100,000 funding received when they first entered the IMPACT Growth acceleration program, for a total of €250,000 equity-free.

Meet the winners

Based in Denmark, is an independent online portal for coach and bus rental with a driver, helping people find chartered bus services. It provides an easy overview of the market, including prices, from all relevant bus operators. Since 2015, the company has provided thousands of coach transfers across Europe, to clients ranging from private groups to large corporations and public institutions.

Clarity, based in Spain, is a social-as-a-service software solution that allows investors and companies to measure and optimise the social impact of investment portfolios without having to compromise returns or risk values. This technological solution enables the measurement of social impact for all stakeholders such as investors, consumers, governments, etc. It does so by estimating users’ needs, following a “bottom-up” approach, and classifying all types of companies, organisations and governments using Big Data and AI algorithms.

Both startups are part of the digital content vertical, which is led by DOCOMO Digital and focuses on growth-stage startups working to address the content needs presented by electronic media, telecommunication, culture and social networks, among others issues.

Startups of IMPACT Growth's first batch learned from experts -- and from each other -- at the Training Camp that kicked off acceleration.

Selection criteria

All startups in the first batch of IMPACT Growth were evaluated based on the same criteria. These include:

  • funding prospects,
  • team,
  • product,
  • performance during the IMPACT program,
  • and more.

After reviewing the information provided by the startups in each of the above areas, the selection committee chose Clarity and Bookingabus as the “superstar” startups with the most potential for growth and disrupting their sector.

What does IMPACT Growth offer?

Like all the startups participating in the IMPACT Growth acceleration program, Clarity and attended a face-to-face training program led by ISDI and Accelerace, and featuring experts and entrepreneurs. Subsequently, startups had access to an international network of over 100 esteemed mentors, founders and investors. They also had the option to get private investment from the partner investors and VCs, Kibo Ventures and Invesdor.

ISDI and Accelerace led the acceleration process and the FIWARE Foundation is powering the projects through the integration of its technology into the development process. MWCapital is responsible for featuring innovative startups at world class events.

The IMPACT Growth program is de-localized, meaning that startups can receive training, mentoring and funding without having to move to another city or country. Startups can focus their efforts on expanding their business, whilst attending the world’s top startup events, training camps, and networking events in Madrid, Porto, Copenhagen, London, Tel Aviv, and others.

Rebeca Minguela, founder of Clarity, shows off her diploma at the IMPACT Growth Jury Day 2017, together with Carolina García of Ferrovial Servicios.

What’s next?

IMPACT Growth is currently accelerating its second batch of startups. Read more about them here.

IMPACT Growth is an initiative funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, under grant agreement No 732480.

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IMPACT Connected Car welcomes 14 new #IMPACTers

Fourteen top connected vehicle startups have been selected from more than 500 applicants to enter IMPACT Connected Car

The 14 top startups have been selected from more than 500 applications to enter the first batch of the IMPACT Connected Car program and receive acceleration, mentoring, training, and equity-free funding. The startups are all focused on solving problems in the connected vehicle sector, including safety, vehicle management, and more.

IMPACT Connected Car Disruptive Bootcamp

IMPACT Connected Car, the acceleration program that aims to respond to the industrial needs in the automotive industry, has announced the 14 startups that will enter the program and get acceleration, training, mentoring, and equity-free funding.

These startups are the top companies who applied to IMPACT Connected Car’s first open call. This call for startups launched in October and received applications from more than 500 startups and SMEs coming from 41 countries. Of these, 25 projects were invited to attend the three-day Disruptive Bootcamp that took place last week in the Automotive Technology Center of Galicia (CTAG), in Vigo, Spain.

The Bootcamp included one-to-one and speed meeting sessions and concluded with a jury day during which the 25 participating startups pitched in front of a panel of experts, including the coordinator of the program (FBOX), the business coaching leaders (ISDI), technical coaching providers (CTAG, INSERO, MOVEO, and the clusters AUTOKLASTR and LPNT) and large corporations (PSA Group, Ferrovial Servicios, FIA, FIWARE Foundation). Ultimately, 14 companies were selected to continue on to the next phase of the program.

Spark Horizon was one of the companies selected to enter IMPACT Connected Car's first batch.

The 14 selected startups

IMPACT Connected Car is focused on six challenges or verticals within the connected vehicle sector: safety & security, driver assistance, well being, mobility management, vehicle management, and infotainment.

  • CardioID Technologies (Portugal): Enabling safer drivers and vehicles through a technology that is able to biometrically identify the driver and produce fatigue and drowsiness alerts.
  • CARFIT (France): AI based technology that reads the vibration of the vehicle to make the car maintenance easier and mobility safer.
  • Carricare b.v. (Chargetrip) (The Netherlands): Development of predictive deep learning models for fleet managers and energy operators around the world.
  • Eccocar sharing S.L. (Spain): Car Sharing solution that optimizes and digitalizes the use of the existing fleets.
  • HOMYHUB SL (Spain): Universal plug and play solution for garage openers that turns the smartphone into a Smart Garage Remote enabling users to control, monitor and manage access to the garage, anywhere at anytime.
  • Motor Ai (Germany): A developed device which enables digital services in vehicles by collecting data of parked and driving vehicles.
  • Parkbob GmbH (Austria): Parkbob enables a seamless last mile experience by delivering context-aware parking rules & restrictions as well as real-time on-street parkability.
  • Situm Technologies SL (Spain): indoor positioning provider that enables corporations developing new location-based services.
  • Spark Horizon (Switzerland): Universal charging solution. Spark Horizon conceive, install and operate the 1st European network of free charging stations for electric vehicles, sponsored through AI based advertising.
  • TRAFFIC NETWORK SOLUTIONS SL (Spain): Using connected floating car data for optimizing mobility in junctions, roundabouts, work zones.
  • Worldsensing SL (Spain): Platform to provide Operational Intelligence to cities through a plug and play approach which creates a customized solution to solve problems such as traffic or public space safety.
  • Xapix Software GmbH (USA): Helping enterprises to drive sales and partner engagement by creating easy-to-integrate digital services with their legacy data
  • Ximantis AB (Sweden): The project aims to forecast and anticipate, exact traffic congestion hot spots, before they have a chance to form.
  • Y.Share S.r.l. (Italy): The only patented off the shelf technology to share the car, optimize its usage and turn it into a profit machine.
Christian Umbach, Co-founder and CEO of selected startup Xapix, pitched at 4YFN 2018.

What's next?

All 14 selected startups will receive up to €60,000 in equity-free funding and will now begin a six-month acceleration program led by ISDI (business coaching) and CTAG (technical coaching).

The program will kick off with a Digital Bootcamp held next month at ISDI Madrid, during which startups will have the chance to meet each other, network with project partners, and learn from workshops and face-to-face sessions with global experts in the vertical.

Following the Bootcamp, startups will return to their home ecosystems to participate in the rest of the de-localized program. The focus will be on acceleration and training, with an emphasis on mentoring. The entrepreneurs will have access to an international network of more than a hundred recognized mentors as well as founders and investors who are experts in different key areas of knowledge, both in the digital sector and in the automotive industry.

New mobility solutions

Due to the increased importance of mobility solutions, Europe is placing priority on finding ways to tackle the arising opportunities and challenges posed by these technologies. The new market is expected to represent a €141 billion business opportunity by 2020.

IMPACT Connected Car supports, connects and funds with €2.1 million companies with innovative projects in the fields of wireless chargers, cyber security measures and smart mobility. The program provides a direct link between entrepreneurs and large corporations, as well as addresses the fragmentation in the automobile industry, which until now has hindered its digital transformation.

IMPACT Connected Car is supported by the collaboration of 17 partners from across Europe: HEVO, Little Electric Cars, BOTCAR, Argus, ISDI, FundingBox, Mobile World Capital Barcelona, Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, Ferrovial Servicios, FIWARE Foundation, Groupe PSA, INSERO, Moravskolslezský Automobilovy Klastr, Lublin Science and Technology Park, CTAG, Mov’eo, PARP.

*This article has been updated to reflect changes to the participating startups.

The selected startups celebrate their win after Jury Day at the Disruptive Bootcamp in Vigo.

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IMPACT Accelerator has selected 14 top startups from among 2,000 applicants to enter the IMPACT Growth program

IMPACT Accelerator has selected 14 top startups from among 2,000 applicants to enter the IMPACT Growth program

Of the 2,000 applicants, 39 semi-finalists were invited to attend Jury Day in Madrid on March 1st. Startups pitched in front of a jury of experts, and 14 were selected to enter the program.

The selection process comes to a close

IMPACT Growth’s second Jury Day took place in Madrid on Thursday, March 1st as the final step in the selection process which began in September. Thirty-nine startups from all over Europe and the world attended this all-day event, which culminated in the selection of 14 startups to enter the program and get up to €250,000 equity free along with premium acceleration. The day kicked off with a welcome from Nacho de Pinedo, CEO of ISDI, and Peter Torstensen, CEO of Accelerace. Following this, the startups pitched in front of a panel of renowned experts from IMPACT Growth partner ISDI, FundingBox, Accelerace, Kibo Ventures, DOCOMO Digital, MADE, Danone, and Ferrovial Servicios. The day included an inspirational fireside chat from entrepreneur Brian Wong, and ended with the announcement of the selected startups and a celebration.

The second IMPACT Growth open call was launched on September 5th. By the time the application period closed on December 12th, 2017, a record-breaking number of 2,025 startups from over 60 different countries had applied. Startups applied within one of the program’s four verticals: Smart Content, Smart Infrastructure and Cities, Smart AgriFood and Smart Content.

The jury

The 39 invited startups pitched in front of one of two panels of renowned professionals in the business and technology sectors, who judged these companies based on criteria such as scalability and international growth.

The juries were comprised of distinguished experts coming from ISDI and FundingBox, two of the companies leading the startup accelerator, as well as top accelerators, venture capital entities and global brands partnering with IMPACT Growth. Jurors included Nacho de Pinedo and Jorge Villabona from ISDI; Lars Brøndum Petersen and Tomasz Mazuryk from FundingBox; Peter Torstensen and Søren Lottrup from Accelerace; Jordi Vidal and Joaquín Revuelta from Kibo Ventures; Simona Torre from DOCOMO Digital; Merete Nørby from MADE; Carlos Bosch from Danone; and Carolina García and Francisco Javier Luque Cañones from Ferrovial Servicios. External advisors to the jury included Pedro Jareño of Microsoft, Borja Breña Lajas of Curve Ventures, Michał Wrzołek of MCI, and tech entrepreneur Eduardo Fernández Riveira.

Featured speaker Brian Wong participates in a fireside chat with Martin Holm Mortensen of Accelerace.

Meet the selected startups

IMPACT Growth is focused on four verticals, each of which is led by a corporate partner. Absolute Zero, ArtuData, and Chatnfly have been selected under the Smart Content vertical, led by DOCOMO Digital. In the Smart Cities and Infrastructures category, supported by Ferrovial Servicios, the selected startups are e-bot7 GmbH, Fueloyal, SENSEI, and SMAQ. For the Smart Agrifood division, led by Danone, the chosen startups are Digitanimal, Pycno, and Skyx. Finally, Freesense, Maturix, VISTRA, and WiTraC are the selected startups in Smart Manufacturing, partnered with MADE.

  • Absolute Zero (Denmark) – Interactive 360° live streaming enabled through self-aware VR cameras and augmented reality.
  • ArtuData (UK) – Use Artificial Intelligence to find, attract and retain your high value clients.
  • Chatnfly (Spain) – 100% automated travel chatbot for end users and corporates. Available on WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram and SMS. In English and Spanish.
  • Digitanimal (Spain) – Digitanimal is a solution that increases livestock farms profits; ensuring animal welfare and traceability to consumers using blockchain.
  • e-bot7 (Germany) – We supercharge your customer service through the integration of artificial intelligence.
  • Freesense (Denmark) – Wireless, free floating sensor particles for production optimisation in stirred bioreactors.
  • Fueloyal (Bulgaria) – Smart IoT Platform for fleet efficiency.
  • Maturix (Denmark) – Intelligent wireless industrial monitoring of concrete production.
  • Pycno (Spain) – The one and only stop for Precision Agriculture.
  • SENSEI (Portugal) – Sensei is an AI-powered real-time video recognition solution for retail providing accurate in-store analytics and insights.
  • Skyx (Israel) – Autonomous and modular swarm of agriculture spraying robots.
  • SMAQ (Spain) – Spatial Mapping of Air Quality.
  • VISTRA (Denmark) – Automated Knowledge sharing: inspect, train, assist and maintain.
  • WiTraC (Spain) – WiTraC has created a wireless real time location system (RTLS) for Industry 4. 0 based on Internet of Things and Smart Sensors.

What does IMPACT Growth offer?

Funding. As in the first IMPACT Growth open call, in addition to the initial funding of €100,000 per startup, two of the selected startups will be granted a further €150,000 equity free each. Participants will also have the possibility of obtaining additional funding through partner Invesdor’s crowdfunding platform, as well as private financing of up to €1.5 million from the European venture capital Kibo Ventures and the European leading accelerator Accelerace, both IMPACT Growth partners.

Acceleration. Startups will participate in an intensive, three-month acceleration program, led by ISDI and Accelerace, which uses the Open Acceleration model of high-performance and data-driven training to kick the startups’ growth to the next level.

FIWARE. Selected participants will receive guidance and technological support from the FIWARE Foundation for the integration of this open-source technology into their projects. The IMPACT Growth program will thus include specialized FIWARE training featuring renowned experts from all over the world and entrepreneurs in Madrid, Copenhagen and Barcelona.

Mentoring. Startups will gain access to IMPACT Growth’s international network of over 100 founders and investors. Each startup will be paired with a custom-matched mentor. IMPACT Growth’s mentors are top-level experts from companies such as Google, Airbnb,, and MIT.

Events. Selected startups will be invited to participate in a range of international events organized over the course of the year by 4YFN, the business platform for the growing community of technology startups at the global level supported by Mobile World Capital Barcelona (MWCapital).

Corporate pilots. Finally, startups have the opportunity to develop pilot programs with IMPACT Growth’s four corporate partners: Danone, DOCOMO Digital, MADE, and Ferrovial Servicios.

This is the second and final batch of IMPACT Growth startups. In the first open call, 14 top European startups were selected to participate in the program from among 1,900 applicants. Having finalized the three-month intensive acceleration phase, these startups are now ready to enter their internationalization process offered by IMPACT. Three of the most outstanding startups of the first batch of IMPACT Growth were chosen to travel to Silicon Valley along with two members of the IMPACT team in February. Later this month, four top startups, selected among the 14 first open call winners, will embark on the second IMPACT Growth Digital Mission, which will take place in London.

A happy startup shows off their diploma after being selected for the program.

What’s next?

The acceleration process, led by ISDI and Accelerace, will officially launch in April with an intensive training camp. Over the course of the training camp, selected startups will participate in diverse training activities, including lectures and workshops led by expert speakers and professors. Training will also include social activities to encourage attendees to network with mentors, consortium partners, and other startup members. This will be one of the few cases in which members of the selected startups are required to be onsite. The majority of the acceleration process is delocalized, meaning startup team members will be able to work remotely with IMPACT’s network of international mentors. This means startups can take part in an international program while continuing to strengthen their home ecosystems.

IMPACT Growth is an initiative funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, under grant agreement No 732480, with a total of €3.6 million for its initial phase.

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IMPACT Connected Car’s first open call closes after receiving more than 500 applications

Europe opts for the development of connected vehicles, and startups rise to the challenge.

  • IMPACT Connected Car, an acceleration program funded by the European Commission, closes its first call with over 500 applications coming from 41 countries.
  • Spain, Poland, Italy and France led the numbers of startups and SMEs applying to this first call.
  • At the forefront of the applications are the domains of vehicle electric chargers, cyber security measures against hackers, intelligent driving and zero emission transportation.
  • In the next couple of years, over 60 SMEs and startups will join the IMPACT Connected Car program and receive up to €60,000 equity free funding, as well as expert mentoring and support.

IMPACT Connected Car wraps up its first call for applicants with the participation of over 500 startups and SMEs coming from 41 countries, amongst which Spain, Poland, Italy and France are the most represented. The program, funded within the framework of INNOSUP, part of the European Commission’s Horizon 2020, aims to respond to societal and industrial needs in the landscape of the connected car.

The European Commission has opted to fund this venture due to the increased importance of new mobility solutions. As autonomous vehicles and connected cars move from science fiction to reality, Europe is placing priority on finding ways to tackle the arising opportunities and challenges posed by these technologies.

IMPACT Connected Car supports, connects and funds companies with innovative projects in the fields of wireless chargers, cyber security measures against hackers, smart mobility and zero emission transportation. Not only are these developments important for the continued safety and welfare of citizens and infrastructure, but this market is expected to represent a €141 billion business opportunity by 2020.

The acceleration process

The selected startups will enter a three-stage smartization program, including business coaching led by ISDI, and will receive up to €60,000 in equity free funding. Top performing startups will have the opportunity to obtain additional private funds of up to €200,000 from participating venture capital funds.

As in other IMPACT programs, the entrepreneurs will have access to an international network of more than a hundred recognised mentors, such as Ken Stewart, CEO of Karma Automotive, and Carintia Martinez, Director of Information Systems at Renault, as well as founders and investors who are experts in different key areas of knowledge, both in the digital sector and in the automotive industry.

The selected companies will be showcased at top international events organised over the course of the year by 4YFN and Mobile World Capital Barcelona.

The project

With a fund of €2.1 million, IMPACT Connected Car will help boost SMEs and startups dedicated to innovating and developing smart mobility solutions. The program provides a direct link between entrepreneurs and large corporations, and addresses the fragmentation in the automobile industry, which until now has hindered its digital transformation.

IMPACT Connected Car capitalizes on the potential of five of the leading automobile clusters in Europe that facilitate the validation and the market introduction of disruptive innovations in smart driving and urban mobility.

To further inspire companies in the industry to drive forward such innovative projects, IMPACT Connected Car has preselected three pioneering connected car companies that are already making an impact on the emerging value chains in their respective sectors:

  • Botcar (Spain) allows for traditional cars to be adapted and converted into connected cars
  • Hevo (The Netherlands) has developed an innovative wireless charging experience for electric vehicles
  • Little (Spain) the first Spanish SME manufacturer of all-electric cars
IMPACT Connected Car is able to reach new heights thanks to its stellar team of consortium members.

The consortium

In addition to the above-mentioned companies, IMPACT Connected Car is supported by the collaboration of 13 partners from across Europe:  FundingBox, CTAG, INSERO, Mov’eo, Autoklastr, LPNT, Mobile World Capital Barcelona, ISDI, PARP, Ferrovial Servicios, Groupe PSA, Federation Internationale de l’Automobile and FIWARE Foundation. IMPACT Connected Car is funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for the European Union under grant agreement no. 731343.

The next IMPACT Connected Car call for startups and SMEs is expected to open in the spring of 2018.

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A look back at the first IMPACT Growth Welcome Week

In September, fourteen of the best startups in Europe began their IMPACT Growth journey.

It all kicked off in Madrid with Welcome Week.

You might have heard about the equity-free funding IMPACT Accelerator gives startups. While this is the first benefit that many hopeful applicants notice, the truth is that IMPACT offers so much more.

In our program IMPACT Growth, this funding goes hand-in-hand with an intensive, three-month acceleration program. Acceleration at IMPACT is designed to give participating startups an overall boost, while also drilling down on the challenges specific to each business. We help startups grow exponentially.

Startups work hard but it's not all serious at IMPACT Growth Welcome Week.

IMPACT’s acceleration is unique in that it is de-localized. Startups can take part from their home city through our in-house acceleration management software, AcceleraTHOR. No need to uproot their companies and move to an unfamiliar place for months on end.

However, community is important to us. We work with startups remotely, but we want to know who’s on the other end of the call. That’s why IMPACT Growth’s first batch of acceleration kicked off in September 2017 with Welcome Week, a rigorous six-day event that brought together renowned companies; business and technology experts from all over the world including Denmark, USA, Argentina, Israel, France, and Spain; and, of course, members of the startups from around the European continent and beyond.

Welcome Week took place in the newly renovated space at ISDI Madrid, which opened exclusively for the event.

Networking was also a key part of IMPACT Growth's Welcome Week.

IMPACT Growth’s partners were all present, including:

  • ISDI, the first native digital business school;
  • Accelerace, one of the top investors and accelerators from Northern Europe;
  • FundingBox, the platform for startups and SMEs to join tech-related communities and win public funding;
  • 4YFN, the startup business platform of Mobile World Capital Barcelona that connects startups, investors and corporations;
  • the FIWARE Foundation, offering open source technology for smart solutions;
  • Kibo Ventures, one of Spain’s leading VC firms;
  • Invesdor, the go-to for equity crowdfunding in the EEA;
  • and our four corporate partners: MADE, DanoneDOCOMO Digital, and Ferrovial Servicios.
Aquilino Peña, founder of Kibo Ventures, introduces his firm and its role as part of the IMPACT Growth consortium.

Welcome Week was designed to inspire, connect ecosystems, and foster hands-on learning. The week was divided into two parts.

  1. Welcome Day. The first day of the program was a high-powered introduction to IMPACT Growth which included networking, startup-mentor matching, and an internationally-renowned keynote speaker.
  2. Training Camp. The following five days made up the Training Camp portion of the event, a week of learning and growth which was carefully designed by ISDI and Accelerace to push the selected startups to their highest level of performance.

Welcome Day

Welcome Day brought together startups, mentors, IMPACT Growth partners, reprentatives from global brands, and experts from around the world. Startups got to meet each other and were introduced to the program: what to expect from the upcoming several months and what would be expected from them.

Additionally, startups had one-to-one meetings with the IMPACT team in order to establish a good line of communication and to fully understand startups’ business objectives and strategic fields of action fundamental to their development and growth. At IMPACT, we do everything we can to support our startups, whether that be putting them in touch with strategic people or offering additional support in overcoming a particularly tough problem.

Nacho de Pinedo, CEO of ISDI, pushed the startups to explore their why - what keeps them motivated.

During the stand-up lunch, startup members had the opportunity to network with each other, as well as with mentors and members of the IMPACT consortium. In the afternoon, startups had one-to-one sessions with members of the different corporates involved in the program: Danone, MADE, Ferrovial Servicios, and DOCOMO Digital.

To wrap up the day, our keynote speaker, Gustavo Brusilovsky–CEO and cofounder of Klikin and former CEO and cofounder of BuyVIP–gave an inspirational talk about BuyVIP: from its foundation to its exit to Amazon. After a few drinks and the last bit of networking, Welcome Day was officially over… but the week had just begun!

Training Camp

Each day of the Training Camp was centered around a different theme and featured expert speakers and professors.

  • Day 1 was all about Product.
  • Day 2 revolved around Internationalization & Corporations.
  • Day 3’s focus was Team.
  • Day 4 was a great opportunity for the startups to learn more about Dashboards & Fundraising.
  • The theme for Day 5 was Marketing.

We were honored to have the participation of truly amazing speakers, including Sergio Álvarez Leiva, cofounder and CEO of CARTO; Bartek Kunowski, VP Product at Glovo; Efi Shema, Principal at Rhodium; Ander Michelena, cofounder and CEO of ticketBis; Juan Pablo Puerta, formerly of Yahoo, Etsy, SoundCloud, and more; Javier Martin, Regional Human Resources Director at Google; Juan Lopez, Chief Investment Officer at Kibo Ventures; Ariel Poler, angel investor, board member and founder of multiple tech companies; Andy Stalman, author of BrandOffOn​ and HumanOffOn; and Thomas Petit, Growth Team Member at 8fit.

Sebastián Muller, Acceleration Director (ISDI), got startups excited about the coming months.

We were also honored to get a special welcome video from Brian Wong! Check it out below.

IMPACT’s … well, impact

The only way to really see the results of any program is by measuring the outcome. That’s why startup members were asked to rate the instructors after each lecture and workshop. On average, instructors were rated 8.03 out of 10 in the evaluations. Likewise, instructors and mentors expressed great admiration for the members of the startups.

We at IMPACT Accelerator would like to thank our mentors, instructors, and partners, and, of course, the members of the fourteen amazing startups participating in the first batch of IMPACT Growth 2017.


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What is “The Best” thing about IMPACT Growth?

What is The Best thing about IMPACT Growth?

The 14 startups selected for the first batch of IMPACT Growth kicked off their acceleration with Welcome Week in September 2017. This intensive event, hosted by ISDI Madrid, brought together startups, mentors, corps, IMPACT partners, and world-renowned experts for learning and growth.

Here, startups give insight into what they liked best about the event.

Startups featured in this video include GymCraft, Fashion Cloud, YBVR, and Farm Dog.

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