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The startup competition for deep tech scaleups: The EIT Digital Challe…

EIT Digital invites European deep tech companies to enter its contest to win international growth support

Who will become Europe’s next tech success story? This is the question asked by EIT Digital, a leading European player in digital innovation and education. Companies focusing on digital deep tech solutions are invited to apply for the fifth annual EIT Digital Challenge.

The best 10 companies will receive prizes totalling €750,000, including comprehensive international growth support. The application deadline is 14 June 2018.

The EIT Digital Challenge, the contest for European deep tech innovators, is now open for entries. Fast-growing startups that already have customers – so called scaleups – are invited to enter their successful technology products in one of the following five categories: Digital Industry, Digital Cities, Digital Wellbeing, Digital Infrastructure and Digital Finance.

In each category, the best two companies will receive a full year of dedicated support from the EIT Digital Accelerator. The winner in each category will also receive a cash prize of €50,000.

The most comprehensive prize package with a total value of €750,000

“In this fifth year of the contest, we’re offering our most comprehensive prize package ever, with a total value of €750,000, and admitting ten companies at once into our acceleration programme,” says Dolf Wittkamper, head of the EIT Digital Accelerator.

The Accelerator comprises a team of around 40 experienced business developers and finance experts operating from 13 cities across Europe, along with a hub in Silicon Valley. Since 2012, the EIT Digital Accelerator has supported more than 270 startups to access new markets and raise capital.

Focus on deep tech companies to drive Europe’s digital transformation

Both the Accelerator and the contest focus on deep tech innovations: cutting edge technologies which are built around unique and differentiated scientific or technological advances, and which are often protected or hard to reproduce.

 “Deep tech scaleups develop disruptive solutions that are crucial for Europe’s future as they fuel digital transformation,” said Chahab Nastar, chief innovation officer of EIT Digital. “But even though VC investment into deep tech companies is growing fast, these companies face unique challenges. Within the EIT Digital Accelerator, the winners will receive the specific support that they need to acquire European customers and raise capital.”

“As a European deep tech entrepreneur, it’s hard to find tailored events and startup competitions where people understand your product, so we were delighted to find out about the EIT Digital Challenge,” said Marcel Etzel, who won with his agile cloud platform ApiOmat last year. “Now it’s great to have the experts of the EIT Digital Accelerator support our international expansion.”

Application criteria

  • To successfully apply for the EIT Digital Challenge, companies must fulfil the following criteria:
  • They must be based in one of the member states of the European Union.
  • They have to be in the growth stage (to be proven by showing annual revenue of over €300,000 or at least €2m in total funding).
  • They should be in their first 10 years of existence.

The best entrants will be invited to a final event in the autumn to pitch in front on an expert jury.

Since its launch in 2014, the EIT Digital Challenge has attracted more than 1,600 entries from 27 EU countries. Most of the winning scaleups have gone on to become internationally successful companies.

The deadline for applications is 14 June 2018. For further information and an application form, please visit

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