A number of startups from Europe have recently embarked on a 6-month-long journey as part of the X-Europe Acceleration Programme. The programme is co-funded by the European Union. It provides training, mentorship, and investment matchmaking services for startups to help them develop their business and product ideas with a focus on scaling them up for international markets. The programme duration was two years, with six different cohorts ranging from smart technologies for growing vegetables, berries and greens to a smart bed system that mobilises and monitors patients. Yet, it is now finished.
X-Europe Acceleration Programme
X-Europe supported the growth of 150+ deep tech startups and scaleups, distributed in six cohorts: HealthTech, AgriTech, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, Smart Cities & Sustainability, SpaceTech, and Fintech. Coordinated by F6S – a founders community with a 4.4 million reach, this H2020 project is a collaboration with The Next Web, Growth Tribe, Design Terminal, and TechChill. X-Europe offered a 6-month remote acceleration programme that connected startups and other deep tech actors across Europe (investors, corporations, and ecosystem builders) through tech events, media, mentoring and training, and matchmaking.
The X-Europe programme is designed to promote entrepreneurship and innovation across the continent. It offers training and acceleration support to entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses, with a particular focus on digital technologies and the sharing of best practices.
The programme was open to deeptech startups from different industry verticals based in Europe, from early stage to scaleups. It offers a range of services, including mentoring, networking opportunities, and corporate & matchmaking support. There is also a strong emphasis on cooperation and collaboration, with businesses able to work with other entrepreneurs and organisations in their region.
The Agritech Frontline: BeeSage
Latvia-based agritech BeeSage provides a beehive monitoring system that maximises honey production by eliminating risks and enabling informed decisions, giving beekeepers new insights to optimise their workflow. BeeSage is planning to launch its new device – Sensor Node for acoustic monitoring and also a beekeeping data analytics product. Before the year ends, the company wants to establish sales in a minimum of five new countries and double its team size to ten.
The team met at an IoT hackathon in Riga, Latvia, where they built their initial prototype in 36 hours and won. A few weeks later, they joined a program of a hardware accelerator Buildit that was also in the jury. The idea which fed the prototype came out of an unfortunate incident, though.
“My co-founder’s dad is a hobby beekeeper, and one spring they discovered that all the bees have died during the winter, and the beehive was inhabited only by a mouse. They were astounded and left wondering what happened.
As Girts is an experienced electronics engineer, he figured that IoT sensors may provide some answers. We help beekeepers make informed decisions through real-time data, and our mission is to enable bees to share climate knowledge with humans.” says Ru Wikmann, CEO of Beesage.
The team successfully completed its first beekeeping season with customers of Smart Beehive Scales in Latvia. They reengineered the device in order to overcome supply-chain issues caused by the global semiconductor shortage. Along the way, BeeSage attracted new investors including Startup Wise Guys, Greenco Ventures and Techstars. The company expanded in new locations outside of Riga: Amsterdam and Lisbon. Accordingly, BeeSage growed its fully remote team from two to five.
“We outshine our competitors through dramatically improved user experience and lower initial investment. Everything works right out-of-the-box, and a beekeeper needs less than 100 euros to get started.” adds Ru.
The Smart Cities Frontline: Total Traffic Management
Latvian startup Total Traffic Management’s technology prevents driver behaviour-related problems before it appears. The company wants to improve transportation safety on European roads by implementing its Advanced Fleet Control Technologies into vehicles, which makes them smarter and safer.
TTM was established in 2018. The company’s focus arises from its concerns about road safety which leads to two main problems: overspeeding and aggressive driving. TTM wanted to go beyond the idea of monitoring and decided to find a way to take full control of the vehicle. Starting from this point of view, the company has come up with the most cost-efficient and easy way of implementing technologies in the vehicles to make them smart enough to automatically obey traffic rules. Yet, the first steps on the way to making it happen were a little bit challenging for the company.
“From the very beginning of idea development, a dedicated team was gathered around it. Delivering our prototype was a huge hassle because in Georgia there were no technological resources for hardware development.
It took almost 2 years to create MVP and after that, we received the first grant from Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency (GITA). In 2020 we established a legal entity in Latvia and started activities in the Baltic startup ecosystem, where we met our first private investor – Baltic Tech Ventures.” says Vakhtang Iashvili, CEO and Founder of TTM.
TTM has started a product certification process in December 2021. Since it is in the automotive industry there are complicated certification requirements. It took the company more than a year to create a technology that is in full compliance with EU requirements. Besides the team’s professional experiences and local business accelerators, the company received training and mentoring from the world’s leading accelerators including X-Europe.
“The milestone for this year is to finish the certification to start sales in the EU. Technology is ready, only an additional 100 000 Euro investment has left to achieve the goal,” states Giorgi Esvanjia, CMO and Co-founder of TTM.
The Fintech frontline: Raison app
Estonia’s fintech startup Raison develops a mobile app that offers top-tier late venture investment deals available from €1. The company is planning to expand its marketplace, add up to 20 companies and grow its European presence. Additionally, they want to discover and expand to new markets, increase the app functionality, launch a secondary market and continue the increase of its user base. Meanwhile, they are expecting to receive more media attention.
“Since the start of the year, we have been actively hiring professionals to support our active development of the project. Our goal is to fix all the previous issues and introduce new and improved features to the app. Our team actively interviews our users and listens carefully to all the positive and negative experiences.” states Alexander Zaytsev, CEO of Raison.
All the founders behind Raison app have experience in investing and finance, both professional and personal. Raison was born in 2017. After a lot of brainstorming and prototyping, the main idea of digitising shares of private companies was finalised in 2019. The same year the company launched the pilot project with SpaceX digital shares, which proved to be a massive success, and Raison got picked as a Top 5 Fintech Startups by TechCrunch.
Using blockchain technology, Raison app integrated fractional shares and created the world’s first legal structure for secure venture investments available for everyone. Fractional shares are not something new in investing and have been a mainstream topic, mainly thanks to big companies like Robinhood and Stash. But fractional shares in venture investing is something entirely new for the market.
The Tallinn-based startup opened the opportunity for retail investors to invest in the most prominent private companies like Klarna, Nauralink, Patreon, Better, and more. The company’s venture deals are exclusive and allow retail investors to be on a par with the most significant investment banks.
“During our time with X-Europe, we added ten new deals and increased our user base by more than three times, exceeding 22 000 users globally. We were listed as Top 10 European Startups according to Startup Grind, got featured on the X Europe podcast, and included in the Sifted Breakout Fintech Startups list. And, of course, we closed our most significant funding round yet, reaching $11.5 million in valuation.” says Zaytsev.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871795.
This article was created in collaboration with X-Europe Acceleration Programme.