What’s better than hearing a good tech business success story? Exactly, being one.

But how to get there?

Obviously, it all starts with that one good idea, but here’s the bad news: that’s really just the beginning. And while launching a solid product and attracting first customers certainly is a big step, there’s still a rough road ahead if you wanna make it big.

Now to the good news: support for young companies doesn’t have to end with the product launch.

For the fifth time, EIT Digital invites scaleups (late stage startups providing digital deep tech solutions with a viable product and a growing customer base) to pitch at the EIT Digital Challenge.

Being part of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, EIT Digital is one of the leading organisations pushing forward innovation and education with a clear focus on entrepreneurship.

The ambitious mission: supporting deep tech innovative and disruptive solutions, driving forward digital development and economic growth, eventually improving the quality of life in Europe.

With such determined aspirations, the EIT Digital Challenge 2018 is without a doubt a high-profile pitching competition – 25 selected companies will compete in five categories:

Digital Industry, Digital Cities, Digital Wellbeing, Digital Infrastructure and Digital Finance.

The ten best companies receive cash prizes totalling €750,000, with €50,000 going to each winner of the five categories.

Besides that, the best two of each category get a full year of support from the EIT Digital Accelerator. And that might actually be worth more than the money.

Estonian cybersecurity scaleup DigiFlak was one of the winners in 2015, and for DigiFlak’s CEO Maxim Kostin, the cash prize was not even the best part of winning.

“Of course, it was a very good financial support for us, but not only. The main benefit was in our participation in the EIT Digital Accelerator program. It helped us to significantly change our Go-To-Market strategy, and find new partners and customers in Europe and US.”

 That is exactly what the Accelerator strives for. Consisting of around 40 experts in finance and business development, operating in 13 different European cities and a hub in Silicon Valley, the program has given support to more than 270 European startups since 2012, helping them entering new markets and raising capital.

With that kind of support, DigiFlak managed to form several substantial partnerships with international customers from Europe and the United States, securing – among others – a nearly €250,000 deal with the Horizon 2020 eCare project.

According to Kostin, DigiFlak initially mainly applied to get feedback and insights from other participants and the EIT Digital experts, to further improve both the company and product. Winning the challenge came as a bit of surprise, but of course a most pleasant one.

Less surprising after DigiFlak’s progress following the program is Kostin’s advice to companies that are hesitant about applying:

Just go for it!

The application process is easy and participating alone is worth it, considering EIT Digital’s extensive international network and visibility. And winning… well, winning is simply amazing.

Take a shot at becoming one of Europe’s next deep tech success stories and apply at https://www.eitdigital.eu/challenge/

Application deadline is the 14th June 2018.
Participants must meet the following requirements: an EU-based company founded less than ten years ago with annual revenue of more than €300,000 or a minimum funding of €2 million.

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