One more intensive year for startup communities paving the way towards the hybrid reality. No doubt, the hybrid work models, social events and whole networking things challenged deep-tech communities as well. And the world is expecting a lot - in fact, deep-tech and digital technologies help us to keep moving forward. Think of literally borderless Europe where you can hop to Estonia to explore fully digital unicorn wonderland, step in to Denmark to experience the fully developed deep tech ecosystem and find new market opportunities in Poland! As deep-tech companies and startups are going to create even a bigger impact in 2022, let’s take a look at what was on our Scale-up Champions focus.
This year was a huge jump for those startups who engage in Startup-corporate collaboration. The Program attracted even more big names as it comes to European corporations: Pzifer, Cisco, Desigual and others from over Europe. They decided to join Scale-up Champions and bring more than 50 challenges for deep-tech startups to offer needful solutions. Industry 4.0, Smart City, Green Energy, or HealthTech happened to be the main verticals where corporates of Scale-up Champions were focused in 2021.
How to valorize data from Smart Cities to improve citizen services, how to apply deep-tech to improve welfare of patients, or how digital solutions can increase energy efficiency and sustainability are some examples of the challenges. And the companies were eager to spread the news about it at the local events and startup community meetings!
During the first half of the year, the continued lockdown and various restrictions has limited the amount of live events and meetups. Nevertheless, the startups appreciated the opportunity to get all the best from online reality. We as a Scale-up Champions team, were inspired to show who are these deep-tech related teams behind the screen and it turned into Meet the People Video Series. Also, the new reality has pushed the founders to come up with new development processes and sparked the interest in specific markets. Innovation experts from DTU Skylab, Copenhagen, find that more and more participants of the Investment Readiness Programme are eager to look for new opportunities in the Danish VC community.
In fact, the number of teams developing deep-tech products and scouting for new funding opportunities has risen. As it comes to the numbers, Scale-up Champions has attracted 89 startups for the Investment Readiness Programme. Around 85 investors have joined the network of venture capital funds, business angels and entrepreneurs. During the year, the most promising young companies pitched their innovation during 4 Small Demo Days and 3 Grand Demo Days.
More than ever, founders realize that deep-tech startups cannot stay local. They need a road map when they are going to expand to different markets. Scale-up Champions have released Market Discovery Tour pilot sessions this May and the Grand Tours in November to support startups in the scaling process. In total during the Grand Tours 100 registered startups from all over Europe have participated in 33 sessions run by 80 speakers and mentors from Poland, Denmark, Spain and Lithuania.
What keeps all the communities to believe in the future progress, is the hybrid work models. Thus enabled Scale-up Champions to reconnect with the key deep-tech players and find new ventures during the second half of the year. It all happened thanks to the hybrid events and meetups. We have experienced several of them, but let’s focus on the most impactful ones.
Polish, Lithuanian and Estonian teams have met at the most startup-minded festival in the Baltics - sTARTUp Day in Turku, Estonia. European investment ready teams made new partnerships during the Wolves Summit in Poland and the Scale-up Champions team participated in the Hello Tomorrow Global Summit in France this December.
Well, the Year was full of activities and we were glad to find that our programs inspire innovation ecosystems to share the scaling practices. Scale-up Champions was recognized as one of the three winners of the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP) Inspiring Solutions awards 2021. It motivates our team to focus on the shapers and creative minds of the deep-tech sector and help them to navigate in the hybrid reality. Trends show that deep-tech novelties will continue to affect, creat and event transform the hydrid reality into even more people-oriented environment.