Thursday, October 19, 2017

Millions in equity-free funding ready for investment in European data startups

Project aims to “pair some of the most creative entrepreneurial minds in 28 countries” to advance the continent’s data economy.

An European startup accelerator, backed by the European Union, is readying for launch this Spring to help businesses advance their data developments in an economy that could add €415bn to European safes.

Named DataPitch, the three-year programme will provide up to 50 European startups and SMEs with business support including up to €100k equity free funding, expert mentoring, investment opportunities, and access to data from established businesses and the public sector.

The project will be delivered by the University of Southampton, the Open Data Institute, Portuguese innovation company Beta-i and French data marketplace platform Dawex.

DataPitch will be funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The European Commission has committed €7.1m into data driven innovation, and €4.8m to directly fund startups and SMEs over the next three years.

The accelerator has started a process to hire established businesses and other organisations who would like to share their data via a new data innovation lab, based at the University of Southampton.

Data Pitch will begin by running online and offline ‘datathons’ in Spring 2017, around themes including smart cities, health and wellbeing, and food and agriculture.

Startups and SME’s will be able to apply for a place on Data Pitch from 1st July 2017. Successful startups will be selected in October and November 2017, and the first cohort will join in December 2017. Each startup will be on the programme for six months.

The ambition is to create an innovation ecosystem for Europe, where larger organisations work closely with agile startups to innovate and learn from each other, using  data as an enabler to solve problems.

Elena Simperl, Professor at University of Southampton and Data Pitch project Director, said:  “Data Pitch will create a European ecosystem for data-driven innovation. In the digital age, every organisation, public or private, big or small, generates and owns substantial data assets. Not all them have the opportunity to use this data effectively.

“With Data Pitch we take an established open innovation model and apply it at European scale – we pair some of the most creative entrepreneurial minds in 28 countries and help them to solve data challenges that matter – for the economy, for the environment, for science, and for society as a whole.”