Sjoerd Wennekes, co-founder Active Cues (links) en Martijn Konings, CTO Active Cues. Foto © EIT Digital
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With a budget of no less than 750,000 euros, EIT Digital wants to scout the most interesting deep tech scaleups in Europe. In five categories – Digital Tech, Digital Cities, Digital Industry, Digital Wellbeing and Digital Finance – winners have a chance to win cash prizes and coaching. Fast-growing startups can register for the sixth edition of the EIT Digital Challenge until 14 June.

“Europe can play a central role in the digital economy if it focuses on deep tech”

Utrecht based Active Cues did the same a year ago – and won in the Digital Wellbeing category. “The media attention this has generated has been very good for our brand awareness and reputation,” says Mathijs Konings, CTO of Active Cues. “We are seen as a serious company that makes it easier for us to reach potential partners.” The award, a full year of support from the EIT Digital Accelerator, fitted in well with the expansion plans that Active Cues itself was already well on the way to achieving, says Konings. “I certainly recommend scaleups to work with this European accelerator. They have an extensive network of business developers in several countries who can easily offer you access to new markets or bring you into contact with financiers.”

Read here why HighTechXL also focuses on deep tech.

For the new round, EIT Digital is also looking for European deep tech companies with a distinctive product range. They must be based in an EU Member State, have an annual turnover of €300,000 or have funding of more than €2 million and be no more than ten years old.

“The EIT Digital Challenge is ideal for companies that already have significant traction in their home market and are ready to expand internationally,” says Giuseppe Giordano, CEO of Enerbrain who were awarded in the EIT Digital Challenge 2018 and joined the Accelerator shortly after. “The price brought us a lot of visibility and increased our reputation. Now the EIT Digital Accelerator team is breaking the barriers of the fragmented European market by helping us concretely to acquire customers and to raise funds in other European countries.”

Read more about EIT Digital here.

From all the entries (since the start in 2014, there have been 1,800 applicants in total), the EIT Digital Accelerator will select 25 companies to present their solutions to a jury of entrepreneurs and investors in Brussels at the end of the year. The ten winners, two in each category, will receive one year of tailored support worth €50,000 from the EIT Digital Accelerator. In addition, the winner will receive a €50,000 cash prize in each category.

Some forty access-to-market and access-to-finance business developers from thirteen European cities and Silicon Valley work at the EIT Digital Accelerator to find new markets and capital for the connected deep tech scaleups. Since 2014, this Accelerator has held an annual Challenge to select the best companies from 28 EU countries. Most of the winning companies from previous editions are now internationally successful, EIT Digital says. “Europe can play a central role in the digital economy if it focuses on deep tech,” says Chahab Nastar, Chief Innovation Officer at EIT Digital. “After all, technology affects all industries. Through the EIT Digital Challenge, we want to find the best ambitious European entrepreneurs and help them build businesses that could dominate the digital technology market in the future.”