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IMPACT Accelerator

Aim, load, fire! 1024 341 IMPACT Accelerator

Aim, load, fire!

Aim, load, fire!

No matter what business you are in, you need clients to sell. Whether your activity focus on B2B, B2C or any other acronyms, you will have to plan and execute different strategies to attract new clients, retain those that you captured already or upgrade them.

From all those activities, bringing new clients, whether they are consumers or other business, is one of the most difficult challenges, as there is no one success formula. Certainly, there are different strategies that worked, have worked and will work with higher or lower results, but only if your potential targets already know your brand and/or service. 

Moreover, does it make sense to apply the same strategies for companies in different markets, different product stages or different industries? At first glance the common sense tells us that it doesn’t sound right. 

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To start with, there are different development stages (Products or Services) focusing and targeting different population segments. As Diffusion of Innovation Theory (DOI) defends innovation expands into a society according to 5 different population groups, as shown in the table above. Those population groups have different interests and needs. According to that theory it makes sense to segment your targets and update your communication strategies.

For instance, if we are a startup pursuing growth and looking to increase our user base or upgrade our service. 

  1. Where do we acquire those users? 
  2. Are we pursuing the right user at the right time? 

Being familiar with DOI is crucial not only for product manager but also to marketers. All stakeholders in any enterprise trying to engage with users, clients or partners should be familiar with DOI. This theory is basically just the concept of opportunity cost of consuming any service or product based on the development phase as well as market knowledge. 

Not all users of yours, whether they are already in your platform or not, develop trust and respect for your service, brand, company at the same speed. This is why it is so important to segment and classify all of those according to what their opportunity cost would be. Once you excel in doing it, marketing and customer success strategies will excel as well, because they will handle specific “timing needs”.

Timing, educational needs or trust will vary from industries, products or regions. However, within that framework your potential target or customer will always be divided in the population groups shown above. Meaning: before planning any strategy, we should think of the characteristics of every single group. That will help us to design and tailor better tactics, sorting out potential customers and indirectly tackle our need to acquire more users and grow the business.

Sort it out Partner – Customer needs & yours will be automatically solved.

Any Startup or any other enterprise should consider its market as following before launching or pushing any service or product.

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  • INNOVATORS – These are people who want to be the first to try the innovation. These people are willing to take risks, and therefore also willing to take the pain in early phases:
    1. Reward their willingness to take the pain, as this could bring them on board for longer, and enhance the word of mouth.
      a) Usually, lower CAC but high retention cost.
  • EARLY ADOPTERS – These are people who represent opinion leaders. They enjoy leadership roles and embrace change opportunities. They are already aware of the need to change and therefore very comfortable adopting new ideas:
    1. Those that kick the breakthrough off, is where the growth comes from.
      a) CAC on this population group increase and on top of that it needs leaders to back up. Therefore, strategies focusing on innovators are still needed.
  • EARLY MAJORITY – These people are rarely leaders, but they do adopt new ideas before the average person. That said, they typically need to see evidence that the innovation works before they are willing to adopt it: 
    1. Strategies such as Business cases generate really positive results.
      a) Mass market strategies and more operational strategies. CAC decrease, although taking a look at Churn Rate is crucial.
  • LATE MAJORITY – These people are skeptical of change and will only adopt an innovation after it has been tried by the majority: 
    1. Strategies to appeal to this population include information as well as branding.
      a) High cost generates low incremental results.
  • LAGGARDS – These people are bound by tradition and very conservative. They are very skeptical of change and are the hardest group to bring on board:
    1. Strategies to appeal to this population include statistics, fear appeals, and pressure from people in the other adopter groups.

With these points in mind, designing and thinking how to sort out customer needs and how to pay off their opportunity cost, would help you to get better impact on your marketing strategies. Moreover, having DOI in mind will let you figure out what your CAC or LTV  will look like.

Photo by Karine Germain on Unsplash

About the author

I started my career working in high demanding roles learning from clients, managers & C levels. I love the entrepreneurial and startup ecosystem, which shape and build the future innovation above and beyond. Having 15+ years of experience in different fields, what I bring to the table is a diverse and transversal point of view. My mind is always working to solve potential issues in particular situations and proposing different actionable alternatives.

All in all, I have developed a personal, deep understanding of the skills that any company needs to ensure that their teams deliver and build value following the company’s mission. I truly believe that why is more important that what.

I am driven by curiosity which can be demonstrated through my ventures in professional, volunteering and my personal life.

In IMPACT, we proud ourselves of having the best mentors for the startups that go through our programs.
Ángel Araujo is a Specialised & Follow-up mentor for at least 10 startups from the IMPACT Growth & IMPACT Connected Car acceleration programs.

His extensive experience goes from working in companies like Google and Booking.com, just to name a few and he is one of the founding partners of unlockmanagement.coangel@unlockmanagement.com

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How Ontruck is killing it at product development 1024 767 IMPACT Accelerator

How Ontruck is killing it at product development

A few tips to ace product development

Original Twitter thread here

I was talking to a CPO and a senior Project Manager of a startup from California that just raised a round of more than $200 million. One hour into the conversation, one of them said to me: “It seems that you have done all you can do,” with a sigh of resignation at not being able to give me much more advice.

We might not be doing that bad here in Spain 😉

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By popular request, I am going to share a few aspects of product development in which I think we are doing a pretty good damn job:

  1. Having product teams with clear responsibilities. It must be clear who owns each KPI. Set quarterly goals (OKRs is one way). Review them bi-weekly. Make the dependencies clear.[1]
  2. Give more responsibility to the team, let designers and engineers be the ones who solve problems and define solutions. It is not the stakeholder’s or PM’s task. The PM is the ultimate decision-maker in vision and scope.[2]
  3. Invest a lot of effort in understanding your users; visit and talk with your customers every week. Shadow your clients for a day to understand their internal pains. Validate your hypotheses and prototypes with them.[3]
  4. Sharpen and reduce the scope as much as you can. Validate the hypotheses one by one by launching phases. Talk to your customers, don’t just trust the data. Designers and engineers will get nervous, but it’s ok; the important thing is to find out quickly whether you are heading in the right direction.
  5. Involve the rest of the departments from the beginning. Learn from them. Share your ideas and prototypes to get feedback and be challenged. Don’t be a lab rat. Work as an operations or sales agent to understand their pains.
  6. In companies where billing is complex, the product must be nearby because at the end of the chain is where you can clearly see the failures in the process (sales agreements that went through but were not documented properly, poor communication by ops…)

By the way, the other day I did a podcast, tackling these and other key points such as team philosophy and more. It’s a good companion to this post!

About the author

Javier Escribano is currently co-founder and Chief Product Officer at Ontruck, a digital road freight transport company. Previously, he was co-founder and CPO at Touristeye (a travel startup acquired by Lonely Planet. He has an Information & Technology Management Master at IIT Chicago, and a Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Degree at UPM Madrid.

In IMPACT, we proud ourselves of having the best mentors for the startups that go through our programs. Javier is a Specialized & Follow-up Mentor in IMPACT.

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xMotion – Disrupting the check engine light 1024 683 IMPACT Accelerator

xMotion – Disrupting the check engine light

xMotion - Disrupting the check engine light

Modern cars are more computerized than ever. Though with all the technology going into cars today, why isn’t there a better technology to monitor the fatigue points on a vehicle?

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With over 30yrs+ experience in the Automotive Industry, xMotion’s co-founders felt they could build a solution that would make vehicle maintenance more transparent and affordable. So in October of 2018, they sat down together and founded xMotion on a simple idea – to disrupt the check engine light.

While working on a prototype of the algorithm for brake pad prediction, they realized that in order to be successful, they would have to build a platform that was device agnostic, so they could work with any Tier 1 or OEM’s embedded firmware as well as aftermarket OBD dongles.

With drive-by-wire technology becoming more prevalent, the need to independently monitor vehicle components in real-time is increasingly important for safety reasons. Therefore xMotion identified over 200+ data points on a vehicle that provide embedded messages on the vehicle health. Coming from the industry, the founders knew that these data points could be organized in meaningful ways and shared with the car owner. Though unlike a computer, vehicle diagnostics aren’t typically shared with the driver. The challenge was to make it easy for the driver to understand their vehicle’s data. To solve this, xMotion created a Mobile App that provides real-time indicators of the vehicle health for brakes, tires, steering systems, and batteries.

Today there are over 5,000+ registered users on the platform. With ample opportunity in front of them, xMotion is currently focusing on rolling out their platform for roadside assistance operators both in Europe and the U.S. To keep aligned with the vision of xMotion – to disrupt the check engine light – the company is creating a ecosystem of garages that will provide discounts and cashback rewards for using the platform.

Things move fast in the startup world. In the years to come xMotion will build a full digital twin of the vehicle and provide car owners with additional access to their vehicle data. This technology, according to xMotion’s founders “Will be a gamechanger” for the automotive industry.

*We asked Thurston for a team picture, this is what he sent XD

Featured image by Free Photos from Pixabay

About the author

Thurston Adams is a Paris-based entrepreneur with a successful history in taking an automotive start-up company from idea to commercialization.  The foundation of xMotion is inspired by Thurston’s belief that “Modern cars are increasingly computerized” and that the connected car has many fatigue points that can be monitored and tracked in order to prevent vehicle accidents. His passion for emerging technology in the Automotive Industry has led him to create xMotion. Thus xMotion’s vision is to transform the automotive industry by creating a Vehicle Health Monitoring Platform for connected and self-driving cars.  According to Thurston, the mission of xMotion is to Disrupt the Check Engine Light.

In IMPACT, we believe that startups are the ones changing this world. Their story is content worth sharing.
xMotion is part of our IMPACT Connected Car Acceleration Program. Thurston Adams and Laurent Dunys, co-founders, working alongside with Mark Howell are indeed the ones disrupting the check engine light.

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Stop chasing the money! 1024 681 IMPACT Accelerator

Stop chasing the money!

Why do startups focus so much on investment? It's a mistake to put all energies on that

When asked about writing about the subject above, I make a reflection on whether there is an excessive tendency by startups to seek successive funding rounds appealing to the need to invest more and more.

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If we define a startup as an innovative company with a strong technological component, it is logical to think that the early stages are focused on the development of a product. For brevity, in this article, I’m going to use the word “product” to represent anything a startup is looking to launch—a product, service, offering, or brand. The essential characteristics of the product, and I mean those that will be crucial in its acceptance by the consumer, will not yet be proven and evident. And at some point in this phase, the go-to-market decision will have to be made.

Many times, what I have found is that entrepreneurs are so in love with their idea that the tasks of creating a company bore and bother them. In many cases they are scientists, technologists and maybe not businessmen or managers and their passion is in the continuous development of the product, looking for new derivatives, more features, … more investment in short. Comes to mind a quote from Reid Hoffman, founder at LinkedIn, “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’re launched too late”[1]. Agile methodologies, as lean startup is, help to optimize the process because collecting information from a minimum viable product (MVP) is less expensive than developing a product with more functions to prove.

“If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’re launched too late”

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If at any time during this process (development or early stages of commercialization) there is not enough cash, a new financing process is launched. This is usually the time for business angels, since the company is still at a very early stage to go to the banking circuit. Crowdfunding platforms will be other financing alternatives available to startups.

Measuring what the financial effort should be to reach the market is crucial. Scaling up too fast at this time can become a mistake because investing in this aspect involves hiring not only a commercial team[2] but marketing expenses and others related. If we do not have properly adjusted delivery or service processes, they will not generate a satisfactory user experience, which can lead to permanent damage to the company that cannot be overcome in the future, if exists. It is important to grow, but it is also important to define well the processes and at the same time create a solid corporate culture. Two necessary visions of the company: outward and inward.

Another circumstance that, in my opinion, leads a startup to focus excessively on investment and growth is the mind of the entrepreneur. In his mind he is not building a company, in a humanistic sense, with long-term survival vision. He considers it more as a project, a concept with a greater temporality component; that is to say, it begins, it ends and then searches for another[3]. He liked the way, and having good luck (and with effort, of course) has generated him a good amount of money. He thinks what he has to do is to replicate it, and quickly. And the current climate that surrounds the startup ecosystem leads him to it. It is assumed that what makes a successful startup is the volume of funding rounds that are achieved “to face investment and growth plans.”

And in this sense, and now I am going to the last of this set of reflections that I do not want to be extended more than necessary, the CEO[4] should not forget the fact that growth is important, but it must be constantly monitoring the cash. Because there will come a time when cash problems cannot be solved with new capital, but sales (and collections, what is high sensitive) and profitability will have to be shown. At least positive gross margin. A success is to get an investor, but SUCCESS is to sell, that your idea becomes a marketable and accepted product. And, many times, a lot of energy is wasted in contacting and trying to convince VCs when efforts should be focused in “building a company”.

[1] https://learn.onemonth.com/if-youre-not-embarrassed-by-your-startup-you-launched-too-late/
[2] In a traditional understanding, and with a financial-accounting view, creating a commercial team is not an investment, but this is so often presented to justify the amounts at funding rounds.
[3] https://www.huffpost.com/entry/entrepreneurs-are-the-new_b_9481308?_guc_consent_skip=1567761947
[4] Now he is a real CEO, once he (or she) has incorporated external partners into the capital.

About the author

I wanted to be like Alan Parsons. But finance and strategy stole most of my professional brain (but not my soul 😉). I have worked as a CFO or managing director at several companies, and as a external consultant I have carried out dozens of projects aimed at business improvement. I have also invested and advised several startups. Others, even, were not born as such.
Ah!, I have never run a marathon, but just up to now. I mustn´t lose hope.
Always learning.

In IMPACT, we proud ourselves of having the best mentors for the startups that go through our programs.
Francisco Javier López Somoza is part of our top-tier mentor network and helps startups sharing his extensive knowledge in Corporate Finance, Banking, Business Development, Digital Transformation and Strategic Planning.

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Cut the crap, nobody is that important 1024 682 IMPACT Accelerator

Cut the crap, nobody is that important

Cut the crap, nobody is that important

In our current ecosystem, no matter if you work for a startup, multinational company or yourself, your calendar is full of action items, reminders or meetings. With such frenetic activity, it is really easy to lose focus and productivity here and there. By the end of the week, those moments have turned into poor meetings, reminders on hold and incomplete action items.

There is a tendency to value people that multitask and/or situations that require multitasking. However, it is proven that multitasking doesn’t deliver quality results (as commonly believed), besides the fact that it is not a nice thing to do while someone requires your attention.

“If you are in a meeting with me, you have my full attention” Eli Broad, The Art of Being Unreasonable, Chapter 6

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I cannot agree more. As I once told a fellow MBA classmate of mine (he still is with me in every single meeting), “Your time is not more important than mine”. With that sentence, I promise I didn’t want to be rude, but I made my point. In my opinion, it is a social contract when someone agrees to meet. That is why it is important to set expectations with your team from the beginning.

On top of that, when dealing with someone else’s agendas and calendars, we believe that everything is important and urgent and therefore has to be answered with a “yes”. That creates an expectation gap.

The bottom line: in our current dynamic, we have plenty of tasks to complete. Some of them are important, urgent, or both, while some are neither urgent nor important. Therefore, we need systems to not only manage our tasks but to prioritize them continuously.

Prioritization is crucial because it will allow you to use your time effectively and not just efficiently, focusing on what really moves the needle forward.

“If you can’t delegate, it’s not someone else’s problem, it’s your problem” Eli Broad, The Art of Being Unreasonable, Chapter 6

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Whether you are a decision maker or executor, time is the only resource that is not coming back or stopping. However, you can manage time by setting a list of action items (a to-do list) and prioritizing them. In doing so, you will get the best out of your time allowing you to not only be efficient, but also effective. Everyone around you will thank you, because at the end of the day, you will be giving time back to their lives.

Prioritizing requires methodology and discipline as well as being flexible and not rigid. However, it is quite interesting to consider the consequences of those situations for your own time management planning and for understanding implications for someone else’s schedule.

One of the most simple methods is the Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle, reflected in a 2×2 matrix (below). It helps you plan and coordinate your action plans as well as coordinate your team performance.

The idea behind the method, which I find self-explanatory, consists of two main points:

  1. Prioritize
  2. Get insights

PHASE 1

  • Prioritization helps while planning the “important” task in order for it to move then to the right, transforming a “Crisis” (urgent and important) into a “Project” (important and not urgent)
  • While prioritising “not important” tasks in your to-do list, this matrix helps you either delegate them or remove them completely, as they only create distractions rather than add any value.

PHASE 2

Once this method has become a routine, it should be easy for you to analyze and obtain different business insights according to the results of your prioritization process.

Many things are out of our control because they depend on someone else’s actions, follow-ups or approvals. However, if we are able to prioritize our tasks and schedule, we will get many more things done using our time effectively and efficiently.

About the author

I started my career working in high demanding roles learning from clients, managers & C levels. I love the entrepreneurial and startup ecosystem, which shape and build the future innovation above and beyond. Having 15+ years of experience in different fields, what I bring to the table is a diverse and transversal point of view. My mind is always working to solve potential issues in particular situations and proposing different actionable alternatives.

All in all, I have developed a personal, deep understanding of the skills that any company needs to ensure that their teams deliver and build value following the company’s mission. I truly believe that why is more important that what.

I am driven by curiosity which can be demonstrated through my ventures in professional, volunteering and my personal life.

In IMPACT, we proud ourselves of having the best mentors for the startups that go through our programs.
Ángel Araujo is a Specialised & Follow-up mentor for at least 10 startups from the IMPACT Growth & IMPACT Connected Car acceleration programs.

His extensive experience goes from working in companies like Google and Booking.com, just to name a few and he is one of the founding partners of unlockmanagement.co, angel@unlockmanagement.com

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Scale Up for a Real Smart Future 150 150 IMPACT Accelerator

Scale Up for a Real Smart Future

Scale Up for a Real Smart Future

From 23-24 October, the 7th FIWARE Global Summit is heading to the dynamic city of Berlin (Germany). The Summit, co-hosted with the Smart Country Convention, will be a joint effort, combining the strengths of both events, which will attract a total of 10,000 guests, of whom at least 1,000 will also be joining the FIWARE Global Summit.

FIWARE continues to evolve globally to be what smart economies need: fueling growth strategies through scalable innovations, open, reliable, and really smart. Join us at the FIWARE Global Summit in Berlin to discover what the world’s smartest open companies, cities, universities or developers are doing differently to succeed in tomorrow’s digital economy.

The event will consist of two content-packed days full of new and exciting FIWARE-related innovations. Great speakers, each a leader in his or her field, will be taking the stage during keynote speeches, panel discussions, fireside chats, and workshops on important challenges and best practices within the domains of Smart Cities, Smart Industry, Smart Agrifood, and Smart Energy. Leading trends and disruptive developments in tech will complement the five-track program. In addition, the 200m2 exhibition area will provide an attractive space for no less than 20 exhibiting partners to present their innovative solutions.

10 UNBEATABLE REASONS WHY TO JOIN

  • Extended Summit Program with lots of new features with more than 1,000 participants.
  • Co-hosted with the Smart Country Convention in Berlin.
  • More than 70 sessions, panels, workshops, and keynotes.
  • 20 FIWARE members co-exhibiting in the FIWARE community booth.
  • Answers to your questions, and solutions to your development and business challenges.
  • iHubs Growth Program and new ‘Do-It-Package’.
  • Startup Day featuring Startups and VCs.
  • Spanning the industries of Smart Industry, Smart Energy, Smart AgriFood with a Special Track on Smart City Showcases.
  • Brand new Track on Trends and the Disruptive Future (FIWARE with AI, Blockchain, Big Data, IoT, and more).
  • Meet the Community during the Meet-the-Open-Minds Aperitivo and FI-Night.

GET STARTUP-READY IN 6 HOURS!

Want to take your business to the next level, experiencing the power of FIWARE Open Source technology firsthand? The ‘Startup Day’ on 24 October is set to give you the tools you need to start your journey to success. From ‘How-to Sessions’ with business- and decision-makers and FIWARE success stories to tips and tricks on how to access those “unreachable” EU funding opportunities!

But wait, there is more! Up for a challenge? Join the FIWARE Hackathon, which will conclude during the Startup Day, and use your skills to make a real difference in the world. The FIWARE Hackathon, an initiative promoted by the FIWARE Foundation, the MIDIH Consortium, and the Connecting Europe Facilities (CEF), will focus on the use of FIWARE Open Source technologies and the Context Broker as a CEF Building Block. The Hackathon is aimed at developing new services/applications in the sectors of Smart Cities, Smart Manufacturing, and Open Data.

SUPER EARLY BIRD TICKETS ON SALE!

Don’t forget to take advantage of the Super Early Bird ticket offer for a fantastic discount. Be with us at the forefront of technological advancements and smart reliable innovations and grab your tickets now.

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DIH² launches its first open call to encourage robotics-related technology adoption in the field of manufacturing. 1024 385 IMPACT Accelerator

DIH² launches its first open call to encourage robotics-related technology adoption in the field of manufacturing.

DIH² launches its first open call to encourage robotics-related technology adoption in the field of manufacturing.

    • The European Commission project, part of the Horizon 2020 programme, will be distributing up to €248,000 to consortia made up of technology providers and manufacturing Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Mid-Caps to enable them to adopt robotics-related technology.

DIH², the pan‐European network of 26 robotics Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) for Agile Production launched on 1st July 2019 its first open call. The European project will be investing close to €3 million in the course of the next eight months.

The open call will distribute up to €248,000 to 13 selected consortia. Each consortium will have a maximum of 3 members and must include a technology provider (e.g. a start-up, SME, research organisation, competence centre or any type of technology provider) and a manufacturing SME or Mid-Cap.

Many large manufacturers have developed in-house technologies to optimise their production. However, manufacturing SMEs still face significant challenges in the automation of their processes and are not able to quickly react and adapt to market changes and customer needs. The main barriers to the adoption of an Agile Production process are the lack of knowledge and economic constraints.

The DIH² first open call aims at removing the knowledge and financial barriers and enable manufacturing SMEs and Mid-Caps to collaborate with technology providers. The technology providers will work with companies to integrate robotics solutions and facilitate the adoption of an Agile Production process.

THE TYPES OS APPLICANTS

Technology providers are any type of organisation specialised in technology transfer or system integration to end users. They can consist of system integrators, research and technology organisations, digital innovation hubs centres, start-ups and SMEs.

On the other hand, end users are expected to be manufacturing SMEs or Mid-Caps (organisations with a staff headcount below 500 employees and a turnover below €100 million).

THE FIRST PHASE OF THE OPEN CALL

During the first phase of the open call, manufacturing SMEs, Mid-Caps and technology providers can apply individually between 1st July 2019 and 31st October 2019 through a simple application form.

10 companies from each category (technology providers and SMEs/Mid-Caps) will be selected to participate in one of 26 local brokerage events taking place at a national level across Europe. In total, 520 companies will be invited to participate in a brokerage event.

Participants will receive €1,000 each to attend a brokerage event and form a consortium with a company with a complementary activity. Consortia will receive support from one of the 26 DIHs that make up the DIH² network to prepare their application for the second stage of the open call. Companies who did not participate in the first stage are able to apply during the second stage but are not entitled to any kind of support in the preparation of their application.

THE SECOND PHASE OF THE OPEN CALL

Applications during the second phase of the open call need to be submitted (by consortia of 2 to 3 members) between 3rd December 2019 and 27th February 2020. 26 applications will be selected to receive a mini-grant of €1,000 to participate in the Jury Day. A panel will evaluate the relevance and feasibility of the consortium partners.

During Jury Day, 13 consortia will be selected as the final beneficiaries of the DIH² programme and will obtain up to €246,000 extra funding plus premium technology transfer services.

ABOUT DIH2

DIH² is a network of 26 European Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs). Our objective is to grow this network to over 170 DIHs by 2022. Led by Teknologian tutkimuskeskus VTT Oy, the network has a total of 37 European partners.

The ultimate goal of DIH² is to establish a sustainable network of robotics DIHs, endowed with tools and procedures, to facilitate the commercialisation and broad uptake of Agile Production by manufacturing SMEs/Mid-Caps.

DIH² offers a number of benefits:

  • A Common Open Platform Reference Architecture for Agile Production which can be instantiated to serve the needs of any Manufacturing SME by means of selecting and integrating a set of Robotic-based Open Standard Enablers [ROSE-AP].
  • A Technology Transfer Program bringing support to the best-in-class Technology Transfer Experiments.
  • A marketplace as one-stop-shop for SMEs with access to premier-class technical and non-technical services. A Corporate Sponsorship Program to support DIHs in liaising with component and robot suppliers, and system integrators.

This section summarises the characteristics of the open calls under the DIH² project.

DIH² has received funding from the European Commission Horizon 2020 programme under Grant Agreement 824964.

Related links:

The DIH2 Open Call Website

The Guide for Applicants

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RobotUnion selects the 20 best European robotics startups 1024 459 IMPACT Accelerator

RobotUnion selects the 20 best European robotics startups

RobotUnion selects the 20 best European robotics startups

  • 44 startups which were invited to the RobotUnion 2nd Jury Day were selected from 206 applications from 33 countries which applied to the 2nd RobotUnion Open Call. The best startups came to Warsaw to present their ideas and vie for up to €223,000 in equity-free funding, alongside acceleration and mentoring services.
  • RobotUnion offers a total of 4M€ in equity-free funding in two open calls for startups and SMEs within the framework of the Horizon 2020 program funded by the European Commission.
  • Selected startups are advancing the digitalization of European industry in the areas of health, manufacturing, agriculture, civil engineering and open disruptive innovation.

RobotUnion, the first pan-European acceleration program fully focused on robotics, has announced the names of the 20 startups of the second open call who will enter this unique  acceleration program. The Jury Day winners were selected among 44 startups and SMEs who pitched 4 times in front of a different panel of experts. The event took place in Warsaw on July 3rd at the headquarters of PIAP, who is one of the partners providing technical mentoring for accelerated startups.

The Jury was composed of experienced technical experts, representatives of venture capital and members of large corporations from the RobotUnion consortium: Fundingbox (PL) as the coordinator of the program; ISDI (ES) responsible for business mentoring; ODENSE Seed and Venture (DK), Blumorpho (FR), Chrysalix Venture Capital (CA) in charge of the  fundraising mentors, technical support and access to “premier-class” technology provided by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (FI), Danish Technological Institute – DTI (DK), TU Delft (NL), Tecnalia (ES) and PIAP (PL); direct access to top industry leaders is facilitated by MADE (DK), Ferrovial Servicios (ES), Fenin (ES), and Mobile World Capital Barcelona (ES) as the dissemination partner. Additionally, independent external advisors were invited in order to help the Consortium in the final decision.

RobotUnion selects the 20 best European robotics startups

LIST OF SELECTED STARTUPS

Below is the list of 20 startups and SMEs that were selected to enter the acceleration program of RobotUnion’s second call:

  • Rigitech (Switzerland): Drone delivery to integrate supply chains through hybrid drone hardware and cloud-based logistics.
  • IM Systems (Netherlands): Archimedes drive is a planetary transmission that uses friction instead of gear teeth to transmit torque.
  • Aether Biomedical (Poland): Zeus is a low cost-high efficacy prosthesis. This bionic limb can multiarticulate 14 grip modes.
  • BLITAB (Austria): Blitab is the first-ever Braille tablet to create tactile text and graphics in real-time.
  • MX3D (Netherlands): Software development for large scale Robotic 3D metal printing.
  • Rebartek (Norway): Standardized robotic cell to assemble reinforcement bar (rebar) pieces into rebar cages. 
  • Robotical (United Kingdom): Marty the Robot is a real robot that can be used to teach about robotics and STEM.
  • Rovenso (Switzerland): Agile robots that perform security and safety monitoring of industrial sites.
  • Scaled Robotics (Spain): Deploys robots capable of navigating construction sites autonomously to collect 3D maps and upload them to an AI-powered software platform for analysis.
  • Axiles Bionics (Belgium): AMP-Foot is a prosthetic ankle-foot prosthesis capable of bringing back a natural gait and posture during daily life activities, being flexible and highly responsive to the person’s intention and to the environment.
  • Automato Robotics (Israel): Robot development that works in soil/greenhouses/high tunnels to detect ripe tomatoes and harvests them.
  • Cyber Surgery (Spain): Robotic assistant for spine surgery.
  • Proxima Centauri (Denmark): Automation of the picking and sorting of natural casings.
  • Kinfinity (Germany): The Kinfinity Glove is a new generation of multi-modal input device for use in virtual reality applications, robotics, gaming and more.
  • LuxAI (Luxembourg): An expressive and engaging robot designed for autism.
  • INTSITE (Israel): Autonomous and connected tower cranes.
  • Moi Composites (Italy): Manufacturing of objects as one-off parts or small series combining our proprietary process with other additive manufacturing technologies or traditional manufacturing processes.
  • Life Science Robotics (Denmark): ROBERT is a rehabilitation robot focusing on active resistive and assistive mobilization of the lower extremities.
  • Subsea Mechatronics (Spain): Agile design and fabrication of prototypes involving mechanics, electronics and software, finding solutions within time and cost requirements to meet the specifications.
  • Formhand (Germany): Granulate-based vacuum grippers that can adapt to and handle objects with different shapes.

Each selected company will be eligible to receive up to €223,000 in equity-free funding upon reaching the milestones of the programme. 10 startups will also receive access to technical support from European robotics experts and business acceleration services. The best-performing companies participating in the program may obtain an additional €1 million of private investment in funding rounds led by Blumorpho and supported by Odense Seed and Venture and the VCs Chrysalix Venture Capital.

During the Jury Day, startups heard presentations from world-class experts invited to share their knowledge. The first was given by Guido Boehm, senior business developer from Dematic shared some tips he has picked up over the years in his talk Ten rules for making corporate partnerships with startups work. Guido mentioned the importance of staying focused on the development of a useful product, the advantages of partnerships with corporations and how to overcome problems while building a startup.

The second speaker was Andrzej Garbacki, expert in industry 4.0 and Member of the Board and Solutions Department Coordinator from Astor, who explained the importance of introducing technology to industries to facilitate production processes. Startups who attended the event discovered how the automation process affects industrial plants. Mr. Garbacki shared several success stories of these processes through his company, which proposes solutions to adapt the traditional industry to a new operational structure based on human-machine cooperation.

THE PROGRAM: FROM RESEARCH TO THE SET UP

The 20 startups and SMEs selected in the second open call launched by RobotUnion will initiate an acceleration process that will have a duration of up to 14 months. After Jury Day, the acceleration process will begin with the 2-month feasibility phase when startups will define a plan which will specify technical and market potential of their robotics solutions. This plan will be presented during the Welcome Camp that will take place in Odense on October 2nd and 3rd 2019. In addition to equity-free funding, the companies will receive extensive technical and technological support provided by leading robotics R&D institutes in Europe.

They also will have access to ISDI’s international network of recognized mentors from Google, Airbnb, Ikea, Yahoo, Prisa and Microsoft, among others. It builds on the expertise of the IMPACT Accelerator, which invested over €20 million equity-free funding between 2014 to 2018. IMPACT has been named among the top ten seed accelerators in the world and the second best in Europe by Gust’s Global Accelerator Report.

The entrepreneurs will also have direct contact with leaders of agri-food, healthcare, civil engineering, and manufacturing sector through the participation of organizations including MADE, Ferrovial Servicios, ARLA Foods and FENIN.

RobotUnion will further boost the visibility of startups and SMEs in the robotics sector taking part in top international events such as 4YFN at MWC Barcelona, DLD Innovation festival, Automatica Munich and Slush.

ABOUT ROBOT UNION

RobotUnion is designed to increase the number of unicorns in Europe in leveraging on European uniqueness and expertise in robotics related fields by implementing an ambitious programme which consists of:

  • State-of-the-art technical support and access to “premier-class” technology provided by top research and technology organizations like VTT, DTI, TU Delft, TECNALIA, and PIAP.
  • World-class training and high-level business mentoring by a pool of tier 1 mentors from Google, Airbnb, Ikea, Yahoo, Prisa, Microsoft, among others, provided by ISDI.
  • Internationalization services. Presence in top EU scaleup events such as 4YFN at MWC (Mobile World Congress), Slush, Web Summit and International PR exposure powered by Mobile World Capital.
  • Fundraising services provided by Blumorpho (private funding) and FundingBox (public funding).
  • Engagement with world top industry leaders such as MADE representing world manufacturing leaders like Danfoss, Grundfos or Vestas among others. ARLA in agri-food; FENIN in healthcare and FERROVIAL in civil infrastructure.

RobotUnion will invest €4 million in 40 companies during 2 open calls from 2018 to 2020. In each open call, we will select 20 companies and will invest €2million.

Link to official images of the Jury Day: 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/142469027@N05/albums/72157709408859656/with/48190094672/

Web: https://robotunion.eu/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/RobotUnion_EU

Press contact: mportales@mobileworldcapital.com

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RobotUnion closes the last open call with 206 applications submitted 1024 576 IMPACT Accelerator

RobotUnion closes the last open call with 206 applications submitted

RobotUnion closes the last open call with 206 applications submitted

  • 40 startups and SMEs selected in the second RobotUnion Open Call will be invited to the Jury Day in Warsaw to pitch in front of Jury and win the possibility to enter the Acceleration program with full technical and business mentoring services and up to €223,000 in equity-free funding.
  • Projects participating in RobotUnion will take part in the digitalization of the European Industry, as part of the framework of the Horizon 2020 program (Grant agreement 779967) and the Digital Single Market of the European Commission.
  • The area of open disruptive innovation has attracted most of the applications, followed by manufacturing, healthcare, agri-food, and civil engineering.

RobotUnion, the pan-European robotics acceleration program, closes its second and last open call with 206 submissions. The applications came from 33 countries with the following distribution: Spain (10,7%), followed by UK (9,7%), Italy (8,7%), Israel (8,3%), France and Denmark (7,3%), Germany (6,3%), Netherlands (5,3%), and Poland (4,9%).

RobotUnion project aims to respond to social and industrial needs in the landscape of technological solutions for 5 verticals: agri-food, healthcare, manufacturing, civil engineering, and open disruptive innovation. The last category is for applicant innovations that go beyond the proposed fields.

At the forefront of the applications are solutions involving human-robot interactions and artificial intelligence. In the healthcare vertical the trends go towards rehabilitation and assistance. Startups who applied under the manufacturing vertical are drones and nano-technologies. Submission examples for civil engineering are mapping services and construction mobility. As for agri-food, we can find crop monitoring and harvest machines. Applications of augmented reality and applied to education can be found at open disruptive innovations.

NEXT STEPS

Now each of 100 highest ranked proposals will be evaluated by 4 independent experts with wide expertise in Robotics. At the end of May, the final ranking will be created and the top 40 projects will be invited to pitch in front of the RobotUnion’s 3rd of July at PIAP Headquarters in Warsaw (Poland).

Want to know more? Watch our video from the 1st Jury Day in San Sebastian last year.

After the pitching day, 20 winners will be announced to enter the Feasibility Phase, which is a 2-month period where Business and Technical experts will work with the teams on defining a Feasibility Plan, specifying the project’s technical and market potential. Once the 20 projects are defined, they will all be invited to the Welcome Camp in Odense (Denmark) on 2-3rd October to present their final plans. The 10 projects with the most potential will be then selected to enter the Product Acceleration Phase with full mentoring provided by RobotUnion Technical Experts and will get access to Facilities provided by TOP European Technological Centers from the consortium.

During all the program, startups may get up to €223,000 equity free and receive support from RobotUnion’s investment partners: CHRYSALIX, ODENSE SEED AND VENTURE and BLUMORPHO to raise around €1M of private financing. All startups will take part in RobotUnion communication actions by participating in TOP Robotics events (Global Robo Expo, Viva Technology, EU Robotics Forum) where they can present their solution and meet investors and potential clients.

ABOUT ROBOTUNION

The RobotUnion acceleration program is led by FundingBox, in collaboration with 14 partners, top Research and Technology Organizations, Corporates, Business Mentoring, Communication and Investment experts who all together have created a unique program which gathered researchers and top business professionals who understand the Robotics startup needs and challenges in order to help them to scale up their business.

The 16-month online premium acceleration program does not require to move to one place, it’s done remotely! There will be some special events like bootcamps, networking, Robotics events, business and investment mentoring sessions which might require startups to travel in order to help them to improve their business in different aspects.

During Product Acceleration stage each startup will have a Technical Mentor assigned and will have access to the facilities of the Research Organizations that form part of the Consortium: VTTDTITU DELFTTECNALIA, and PIAP.

The Technical Mentor will be a Ph.D. or a Senior Researcher from one of RobotUnion’s research organizations, that is, with a wide background in robotics and with an overall vision of all the technologies/abilities addressed. He or she will be allocated to a given startup to match its needs to what is technologically feasible.

In the middle of the product acceleration phase, the business mentoring (Stage 3) will start. This part is managed by ISDI who will incorporate high-level business mentors from IMPACT Accelerator. This stage is focused on helping startups in defining the Business Plan and it will start with Training Master Class Week in ISDI´s headquarters (Madrid), which is a high-quality one-week face-to-face training program.

In the end, 4 startups will enter 3-months period (Stage 4), led by Blumorpho, where besides of making the Proof of Concept of the products developed, they will become a part of a VIP investment program which aims to multiply the Funds received through Private and Public sources.

All Participants will also have the chance to be in direct contact with leaders of the agri-food, healthcare, civil engineering and the manufacturing sector through the participation of corporate organizations including MADE, Ferrovial Servicios, ARLA Foods and FENIN.

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Follow the IMPACT Connected Car journey 1024 434 IMPACT Accelerator

Follow the IMPACT Connected Car journey

Take a peek into IMPACT Connected Car’s second batch of acceleration

First Lublin, then Madrid… What’s next for IMPACT Connected Car startups?

IMPACT Connected Car wrapped up its second and final call in October with the participation of over 200 startups and SMEs from 39 countries. In February, 24 projects were chosen to enter the three-stage acceleration program. A month later, these selected startups traveled to Madrid to participate in the IMPACT Connected Car Digital Bootcamp, a week-long event that gathered startups, consortium partners, superstars from previous IMPACT programs, and experts from all around the globe.

First stop... Lublin

The program kicked off in February with a three-day Disruptive Bootcamp held in the Polish city of Lublin, and organized by LPNT, one of the partner organizations in charge of connecting IMPACT Connected Car startups to the ecosystem at large.

In total, 37 pre-selected startups from among over 200 applicants attended the bootcamp,  where they participated in various training sessions and workshops, and had the chance to meet with consortium partners for the first time. The event concluded with a jury day. You know the drill: founders pitched in front of a jury composed of representatives from IMPACT Connected Car partners, and at the end of the day 24 startups were selected to enter the second phase of the program, a two-month acceleration led by ISDI and CTAG.

Selected startups and consortium partners take a group photo at the end of Disruptive Bootcamp.

MEET THE NEW #IMPACTERS

Here’s a list of the 24 startups selected to participate in IMPACT Connected Car’s second batch of acceleration. Check them out!

  • 25ways (Germany): A provider-independent mobility platform that encourages behavioral changes towards sustainable mobility options.
  • 2hire (Italy): 2hire’s technology acts as a gateway enabling the interaction and both standard parameters and non-standard parameters reading.
  • Anadue (Ireland): An analytics platform to help Connected Car Service Providers to maximize the value of their real-time data.
  • Ainomaly (Sweden): RoboTest enables software developers to deliver high quality code quickly.
  • BeNomad (France): A navigation software tailored to helping companies manage their mobile resources as effectively as possible.
  • Better World (France): Better World collects feedback from customers, analyzes the data and shares it with car-making businesses.
  • Capricode (Finland): Cyber security of connected vehicles in form of automated updates and configurations.
  • Discoperi (Spain): Discoperi develops System Eye, able to prevent roads accidents and monetize automotive data, thanks to its built Discoperi Blockchain Protocol.
  • Drive Buddy (Turkey): Drive Buddy is a mobile solution that analyzes driver’s driving habits and detects car accidents by just using sensors on the smartphones.
  • Drivvisor (Spain): An app-based driving monitoring system that uses the front camera of a smartphone to perform driver distraction and fatigue detection while driving.
  • Eiver (France): Eiver is based on Al algorithms and big data analytics, and has been designed to improve the user’s driving performance and inspired by popular health and wellness quantified self applications.
  • Go To-U (Ukraine): An app for drivers to book the charging EV station at the most convenient time.
  • Journify (Spain): A carpooling app for daily commutes, such as going to work or to school.
  • Letos (UK / Germany): Real-time monitoring of a person’s heart and respiration rates, all without coming in direct contact with the person under test.
  • Make My Day (Israel): A car software system that uses a unique algorithm and big data to provide the optimal route.
  • Mappo (Israel): A geo-culture content layer created by an algorithm.The geo-culture content combined of texts, music, TV and AR.
  • Micocar (Spain): An app to save 10% to 50% on all taxi rides. An efficient marketplace where ride prices are calculated according to supply and demand.
  • Newport IMS (France): A vocal companion providing in-car mobility services and products.
  • Ozone Drive (Spain): A tech-based EV car-sharing solutions to address the zero-emissions mobility challenges as an optimized way of transportation.
  • Parquery (Switzerland): Parquery analyzes images from any camera to detect objects and provide parking managers with real-time answers.
  • Safemode (Israel): SafeMode profiles driver behaviour using Big Data & AI algorithms based on behavioral economics techniques.
  • Secmotic Innovation (Spain): An awareness and safety system for work zone invasion that increases safety and controls accessibility in temporary working areas of roads.
  • X-Motion (France): An app that leverages artificial intelligence and smartphone sensors to provide predictive analytics for driving behaviour and vehicle management.
  • Zify (France): A carpool service that has become an alternative to pre-existing mobility networks.

Second stop... Madrid

In March, the 24 selected startups traveled all the way to the Spanish capital to take part in the Digital Bootcamp. The event was held at ISDI, the leading digital business school in Spain, and the partner organization in charge of leading business coaching in IMPACT Connected Car.

The first day was a chance for startups to learn more about the acceleration process and for the IMPACT Connected Car partners to learn more about the startups’ needs. As a result, the event began with partner introductions and live product demos where founders had the chance to show what their startups actually do.

Elisabetta Mari, COO of 2hire, presents her startup’s product.

The day closed with an inspirational talk by Talal Benjelloun, CEO and co-founder of Glamping Hub, a startup previously accelerated by IMPACT, that was followed by a networking cocktail, where founders got to meet their peers and chat with consortium partners. As much as we believe in the benefits of remote work, this type of face-to-face activities are also essential to startups’ success in the program.

Startups snap a photo during the post-Welcome Day networking drinks.

The following days were packed of classes and workshops led by experienced professional from all around the world with multinational, consultancy or entrepreneurship experience. In the evenings, startups were given the opportunity to meet privately with specific consortium members in order to get to know each other better, discuss next steps in the program, and ask for help and support if needed. Startups got to meet with the coordinator of the program (FundingBox), the business coaching leaders (ISDI), some of the technical coaching providers (CTAG and AUTOKLASTR) and corporate partners (Ferrovial Servicios, PSA Groupe and FIA).

Founders having one-to-one meetings with consortium partners.

Next stop...

All 24 selected startups are now well into the second stage of the program, during which startups receive customized mentoring from top experts in the mobility and business sectors, as well as technical coaching. At the end of this two-month period, only 18 companies will be selected to remain in the program. These startups will then enter the third and last stage of acceleration, which will last four months and will include two new features: funding coaching (led by FundingBox) and corporate guidance to foster startup-corporate collaboration (led by Ferrovial Servicios). Startups will also have access to an international network of mentors, founders and investors with expertise in the digital sector and the automotive industry, and will have the opportunity to showcase their companies at top international events organized by 4YFN and Mobile World Capital Barcelona.

WHAT'S THE IMPACT CONNECTED CAR EXPERIENCE LIKE?

Don’t take our word for it! Watch this short video and hear directly from startups and consortium partners.

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