EIT Digital Venture Program boosts European pre-seed startups, awards Final Prize

In a positive development for Europe’s pre-seed startup ecosystem, ten innovative startups launched within the EIT Digital Venture Program, successfully raised over €750,000 collectively from private capital sources.

For this, they were awarded a final prize of €10,000 each by EIT Digital, in addition to the €15,000 each the organisation had already distributed.

This initiative emphasizes the critical role of early-stage financing in nurturing tech entrepreneurship.

Pre-seed funding, marking the inception phase of startup financing, has become increasingly pivotal for founders focusing on prototype development or proof-of-concept. This funding stage typically sees investments ranging from €150k to €250k, with emphasis on the founding team's vision and capability rather than tangible business metrics.

In the last few years, though, the pre-seed stage has encountered challenges, notably a significant investment decline of nearly 50% from 2016 to 2020.

This was followed by a partial recovery, but the trend highlighted the cautious approach of venture capitalists who prefer later-stage investments, leaving pre-seed startups in a precarious position seeking dedicated early-stage backers.

Empowering startups through pre-acceleration

Addressing these challenges, EIT Digital's Venture Program has emerged as a key player in supporting tech startups across Europe. In its 2023 cycle, the programme has selected 10 startups that have not only demonstrated product-market fit but also showcased their capability to attract external financing. Each of these startups, having previously secured €15,000 in the earlier stages of the programme, will now receive an additional €10,000 prize.

This initiative is part of EIT Digital's broader mission to foster tech entrepreneurship, especially in regions such as the Baltics, Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe. The 2023 edition marked the programme's expansion into Italy, Spain, and Hungary, thereby extending its reach to 22 European countries. This expansion is backed by new partnerships with esteemed institutions, enhancing the programme's impact and scope.

Participating startups underwent an intensive eight-week pre-acceleration programme, receiving crucial guidance on developing their Minimum Viable Product (MVP), establishing their startup, and engaging with investors. The programme's "Pitch Days" offered these teams a platform to present their innovations to a wide audience, including early-stage investors and potential clients, showcasing the rich diversity and potential within the European tech landscape.

The winners: A glimpse into Europe's innovative spirit

The ten startups recognised for their exceptional performance and potential include:

  • finQbit Prosta Spółka Akcyjna from Poland
  • Billd s.r.l. from Italy
  • WHIZ COMMERCE CLOUD from Bulgaria
  • UAB Okapis from Lithuania
  • FELWY Alarm, S.L. from Spain
  • Pacjent Expert Sp. z o.o. from Poland
  • Tegel SRL from Italy
  • Parent's Advisor SRL from Romania
  • Babymedtech Sp. z o.o. from Poland
  • Veganistik OÜ from Estonia

Federico Menna Federico Menna, CEO of EIT Digital, expressed enthusiasm for the programme's impact, stating, "We are thrilled to support these outstanding startups with an extra boost to accelerate their growth even further. They have demonstrated great traction and now have the capital to expand internationally, hire talent, and keep innovating."

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Co-Funded by the European Union