Deep Tech Goes Digital – €250,000 prize up for grabs to help you scale

Deep Tech is on the rise and making a bigger and bigger impact on our daily lives as we as a humanity need to solve various major challenges. Scientists, researchers and engineers put a lot of work into coming up with amazing solutions on multiple fronts. But they cannot do it alone and need support in order to get the solutions on the markets and especially to scale up to make the biggest possible impact. As a publicly co-funded organization, EIT Digital supports fast-growing European scaleups looking to scale internationally by helping them raise Series A or Series B rounds and enter new markets.

The EIT Digital Challenge, the leading competition for European digital deep tech companies, is now accepting applications. Fast-growing startups with existing customers – so-called scaleups – are invited to apply in one of five thematic areas: Digital Tech, Digital Cities, Digital Industry, Digital Wellbeing and Digital Finance. The best three companies will receive prizes totalling €250,000 in cash and in kind.

The application deadline is May 10th 2021.

“We will select 20 companies out of all applicants and invite them to an exclusive event in the autumn where they will pitch to a jury of high-profile corporates and investors,” says Shehryar Piracha, Head of the EIT Digital Accelerator. “A total of 3 winners will be announced during this event, one Challenge winner and two runners-up. They all will receive a full year of tailored support from the EIT Digital Accelerator, valued at €50,000. On top of that, the Challenge winner will receive a cash prize of €100,000.” 

The competition is focusing on ‘deep tech’ scaleups, broadly defined as technology companies with a differentiating product offering, leveraging sophisticated technology that is often protected or hard to reproduce.

“It is our ambition to help companies overcome the fragmented European market and successfully grow across the continent. The EIT Digital Challenge is our key instrument to identify the best European deep tech entrepreneurs and help them, through our Accelerator, to raise funds, access new markets, and scale up internationally. We support them to become leading companies on the global market and enhance Europe’s competitiveness in digital,” says EIT Digital Chief Innovation Officer Chahab Nastar.

Being awarded by the EIT Digital Challenge represents a significant milestone for scaleups on the verge to grow and expand internationally.

“Winning the EIT Digital Challenge was a huge recognition for the work of our team and being named by EIT Digital as best deep tech startup in Europe was really meaningful at this point in time – the beginning of our scaleup stage”, says Augustin Marty, CEO & Co-Founder of Deepomatic, who won the 1st prize of the EIT Digital Challenge in 2020.

Since its launch in 2014, the EIT Digital Challenge has attracted more than 2,500 entries from all over Europe. Prominent award winners include KONUX, Medicus.AI, or SidekickHealth, digital technology scaleups that have become internationally successful companies. 

How to apply

The deadline for applications is 10 May 2021. For further information on selection criteria, and to apply, please visit

Hear it from the winners

“This is a very prestigious award. Having followed my competitors’ pitches already made me feel humble to be among these finalists coming from such a wide range of sectors. This variety also shows a strength of Europe that we sometimes forget. I am very proud of our team that works every day so hard and with so much passion to develop our solutions and help the lives of people with neurological disorders.” Wim Van Hecke, CEO & co-founder of Icometrix, Belgium

Winning this EIT Digital Challenge Award means a lot to Wishibam as it is a recognition of all the hard work we’ve been putting in trying to change the retail landscape across Europe. Over the past few years, we have really put our hearts and souls into the project, each day trying to do a little bit more than the previous.

I remember we applied back in June not really knowing what to expect. I am just so glad we worked so hard to get this award. I can see all the new opportunities that are opening up for Wishibam across Europe thanks to EIT and it is very very exciting. This is really a team victory which is going to do so much for our development, we are truly thrilled.” – Charlotte Journo-Baur, CEO of Wishibam, France

“Winning the EIT Digital Challenge helped us seize a couple of major deals for which we were waiting for the clients’ final decisions. In less than 6 months, EIT Digital already proved to provide us huge media coverage, some welcome financial support as well as numerous sales opportunities in Europe for which we were very grateful of” Lucas Le Bell, CEO and Co-Founder of Cerbair, who was awarded in 2019

Thematic areas explained

Digital Tech

Inventing the digital future with core technologies providing secure, robust, responsive and intelligent communications and computation.

Keywords: Connectivity, Cyber Security and Privacy, Blockchain, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Digital ID Management, Cloud Computing, Machine Learning, Authentication, Biometrics, User Behaviour Analytics.

Digital Cities

Serving the cities with digital technologies addressing urban mobility, citizen inclusiveness and engagement, and city safety.

Keywords: Smart City, Smart Mobility, Safety & Security, Urban Development, Autonomous Driving, Citizen Services, Citizen Participation, Environmental Management, Energy Management, Sustainability.

Digital Industry

The digital transformation of the industry, from production to logistics to retail.

Keywords: Smart Manufacturing, Predictive Maintenance, Industry 4.0, Energy Efficiency, Resource and Asset Management, Retail, Logistics, Customer Experience, Supply Chain Management, Image Recognition.

Digital Wellbeing

Safeguarding health for the youth, the working professional and the elderly by analysing sensor data.

Keywords: Wellbeing at Work, Self Monitoring, Prevention, Early Detection, Assisted Living, Occupational and Personal Health, Rehab, Mental and Physical Impairment Support, Coping with Chronic Diseases.

Digital Finance

The disruption of digital transactions and institutions with technologies that allow transparency, efficiency, security and trust.

Keywords: Banking, FinTech, Payments, Insurtech, Wealth/Asset Management, Cyber Security, Big Data, Mobile Banking.

So if you or one of your portfolio companies are in one of these categories, have revenues of €300k or €2M in funding, and would like to get a nice boost for your business, apply here to grab this great opportunity!