The EIT Digital Idea Challenge is a contest to reach out, identify and support the best digital startups in Europe – And we followed the finals of Smart Spaces -category in Finland.

EIT Digital Idea Challenge is a contest to find, identify and help best digital startups in Europe. We got a chance to visit the finals of Smart Space category in Espoo, Finland.

Ten startups made it to the finals to compete against each other for cash prizes and support from EIT Digital.

A Day Full Of Learning And Networking

This year Idea Challenge Smart Spaces final was a part of another EIT Digital event – The Results Day. During the main event, there were demo stands where you could see and try various projects related to Cloud technology. For the first part of the event we got to hear inspirational talks from two local key influencers on the topics “How EIT could speed up the digitalization of health?” by Jani Kivioja, the Director at Digital Health Lab Nokia Technologies and “KONE Ecosystem for the Best People Flow” by Ari Virtanen, Senior Vice President KONE.

After a coffee break and showcase of demos, the Idea Challenge Final began. Startups were giving pitches to the jury – and while the jury was making their decision, wine and cheese were offered to the excited audience.


The combined event of EIT Digital’s Result Day and Idea Challenge Smart Spaces Final was a great networking opportunity for startups.

Ten Startups That Made It To The Finals

There were 10 finalists in Smart Spaces category, and each product either aimed to simplify, augment or secure part of the life. The presented concepts included:

Pop Corner | PopPlaces.com is an online market for the rental of commercial spaces for small businesses by the day.

Roomaid is an app for hotels to integrate into their system, which then allows hotel guests to use and order their services through it.

Ibaround is a contextual marketing platform. It enables companies to show different ads based on environment conditions.

Inselly is an e-commerce tool to sell goods using Instagram as a platform. Take a picture, tag, sell.

Sorry as a Service is a customer retention platform that helps company keep unhappy customers by sending them “sorry” in a form of a small physical apology, like a cake from a local bakery.

Shopboostr helps companies create personalized shopping experience by learning in-advance about customer’s preferences.

Boxgard is a simple on-demand storage delivered at your doorstep.

Väntastec | Moodboard aims to augment advertisement of cloth by using a camera and a display screen to scan the person and show user in live a stream mirror image with different clothes without the need to wear to checkout the look.

Autlo enables automatic car parking payment. Car owner installs a simple devices that can be controlled through the app and lets the car to pay for parking spot whenever it is parked in a place with a parking fee.

Ekin Labs | Hi WiFi is a home security that is able to detect human presence and motion using Wifi waves already in your house.

Who Are The Three Lucky Winners?


First place of the EIT Digital Idea Challenge in Smart Spaces category was taken by Hi Wifi

Finalists were competing for attractive prize set combining money and services: the company on the first place would win 40,000€, the second 25,000€ and third 15,000€ – as well as help from EIT Digital such as access to their information network and growth support. All participants were given a certificate for making it into the finals.

Each startup were given nine minutes for pitching out of which five minutes were given for the pitch and four minutes for questions from the jury and audience. After the pitching session, jury selected 3 winners based on different parameters such as:

  • Idea
  • Team
  • Growth potential
  • Impact of the prize

Since every startup had an interesting and unique idea, the jury stated that it was a huge challenge to pick the three winners of the contest as several startups came pretty close to each other in results.

In the end, the decision was made – and the 3 winners of the EIT Digital Idea Challenge in Smart Spaces are:

  1. Hi Wifi
  2. Sorry as a Service
  3. Pop Places

All three startups stood out with their approach to the real world problems: in the case of Hi Wifi the challenge is in security while Sorry as a Service a unique customer retention service and Pop Places a marketplace for small businesses.

If you’re interested in getting to know all the winners in eight categories of the Idea Challenge, you’ll find further information about the 24 rewarded startups at EIT Digital Idea Challenge News.

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