On February 2nd, 19 startups started the 6 month specialised mentoring programme held by the EU accelerator IMPACT – whose members are Buongiorno(via its accelerator b-ventures), ISDI, Seaya Ventures and Teknologiudviking ApS. The accelerator is focused on mobile Internet projects and aims to finance and accelerate 64 European entrepreneurs in the coming two years, for a total of 6.4 Million Euros.
The 19 teams, finalists of the 1st Open Call, attended last days to a 5 day induction period called “Welcome Week”, as a precursor to the accelerator programme, provided by key players in the digital ecosystem such as the exclusive masterclass of Steve Cadigan, talent advisor and IMPACT’s mentor.
These 19 applications were part of a total of 846 applications received from 30 countries. Only 57 were selected to pitch to the executive panel in Madrid on Jury Day (December 18/19).
A large majority of the 57 mobile internet projects were of an outstanding level in terms of the quality of the team (mastery, skills, fluency) and the worth and attractiveness of the business ideas behind, Impact said in a press release. An important criteria in the selection process was that teams had already developed prototypes using selected components of the FIWARE European digital technologies.
Each participant in the programme receives an initial injection of up to 100,000 Euros, without equity consideration. The fundings are disbursed in three installments linked to the attainment of pre-defined business milestones over the 6 month period. Additionally, IMPACT will offer an Extended Investments Phase to the most outstanding projects after the 6-month Acceleration Process, consisting in fast track access to the IMPACT Partners investment programs providing them with up to an additional 250,000 Euros, against 10% of equity with a pre-defined discount of 25% to market value.
The 6 month acceleration process consist of mentoring and training with key digital ecosystem experts and entrepreneurs. Mentoring employ, on one hand, follow-up mentors and, in parallel, mentors who are specialists in different strategic areas such as entrepreneurship, technology, marketing and financing. The training plan includes:
- a face-to-face program on entrepreneurial digital acceleration which will cover the development of start-ups, digital marketing, technology and financing, all of that focused on the mobile environment;
- e-learning courses about specific digital tools & capabilities necessary for the development of the companies.
The Italian startups selected for the batch
Born in 2013, MIVOQ is a spin off of the National Research Council (CNR), which provides high quality TTS voices and services. The team includes five members (Fabio Tesser, Giulio Paci, James Sommavilla, Piero Cosi, Gianni Zilio), they won several awards as StartCupVeneto, PNI, Rebound, and is a partner of the European project FI-Content2, a project that is part of the consortium Future Internet, which also ranks the project acceleration of IMPACT.
“The business idea that leds the company is the the personalisation of speech synthesis from written text (TTS) – explains to Startupbusiness Fabio Tesser, one of the founder – With our technology, you can for example create a PBX or an assistant virtual that has its own tone of voice, or an audio-book that reproduces the sound of the voice of a family member, or even a navigation system or a virtual assistant that gives directions with the voice of a friend.”
That’s not all, in fact, one of the most interesting applications seems to be in the health field: with Moviq, it will be possible to “retain the voice” of patients who are undergoing surgery on their vocal cords.
The project is at a good point and it is expected that the first prototype will be ready for the next Autumn.
“We think that IMPACT acceleration program will help us to bring the idea into the market in the best and with a good marketing plan. – Continues Fabio Tesser – Regarding the future and expansion of MIVOQ, we believe that Impact team and mentors will give us great suggestions and possibilities with respect to our strategic plan. ”
Founded a couple of years ago (in 2012, at a Startup Weekend) by Mark Bestonzo and Dario Trimarchi, Intoino releases a DIY Kit, based on Open Source technologies, that allows anyone, even without technical programming skills to develop their project within the electronics and of the ‘Internet of Things. Kits are mainly used by schools, Universities, Fablabs, makers.
“We are the LEGO for the iPad generation! – Tells Startupbusiness Marco Bestonzo, Intoino CEO – We received some investments to date that allowed us to move from prototype to product and to fund our first sales without diluting the company. We are currently in negotiation with several private equity groups and probably will close a new round by February. However, we are always open to consider any proposals for interested investors. ”
“For us, Impact is a very valuable opportunity. It allows us to finance the production and to focus on sales and keep growing. The international network of Impact prepares and opens the European market for Intoino. The quality of mentoring is also very high with experienced entrepreneurs, with a track record of success with exit. Each of them is here to support startups selected with dedication, resources and time. Really a solid program and well structured. ”
GoalShouter is an app to create professional GameCasts of football matches and to publish exclusive content in real-time . Goalshouter was founded in February of 2013, has already raised seed-capital and is now fundraising for a bridge-round. The current members of the team Daniel Galiffa (CEO and co-founder), Gabriele Venier (co-founder) and Daniele Semeraro (Community Manager).
“Every week, in the world, over 500,000 football matches are played, but only 1% of them get media coverage. For the remaining 99%, each team tries to keep their fans updated with different means: facebook, sms, internet site. GoalShouter helps football teams, large and small, to tell with ease, accuracy and timeliness about every single match, allowing fans to follow the matches live via their smartphone or other digital channels of the team. This enables teams to provide their sponsors new business opportunities, monetizing the moments of attention and participation during each race. – Explains Daniele Galiffa, co-founder and CEO of GoalShouter, former founder of another startup, VisUp. – Although our focus is on amateur teams, the company works also with the world of professional sports (brand, media, leagues and teams), providing customized solutions of its technology.
“Last season more than 360,000 people followed in real time over 4,500 games thanks to the storytelling on GoalShouter, we’d like to double these numbers further by focusing on the mobile product and we think that Impact can help us to get it. To work focusing on the product and within this European network of entrepreneurs and mentors, represents for us the occasion to identify the right dynamics to extend the distribution of the service. ”
The 2nd Open Call for Startups will be open in May 2015 (while the 3rd and last one will begin in October 2015).
Applicants must submit ideas and projects related to the mobile internet and develop their products or services taking advantage of FIWARE technologies, an open set of future internet-based technologies, developed during previous phases of the FIWARE program.
IMPACT’s scope of interest are mobile applications or business models based on Mobile Internet in the areas of communication, social, video, media & advertising, design, education, entertainment, mobile commerce, device connections, content, TV peripherals, infrastructures, security, productivity, finance, smart cities and social networks.
The online application form for the Accelerator Programme can be found at www.impact-accelerator.com.