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National Director Startups won Two Awards

National Director Wins Two Awards for Startups
João Barros, national director of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal program, is the co-founder of Veniam’Works and Streambolico, respectively track winner of the Building Global Innovators Venture Competition (ISCTE-IUL and MIT Portugal) and Grand Prize winner of the 2012 BES National Innovation Award.

A faculty of the Faculdade de Engenharia of the Universidade do Porto, João Barros is also the director of the Instituto de Telecomunicações in Porto. From 2009 to 2012, he has served as the national director of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal program, which gave him the opportunity to engage with more than eighty companies, as well as a number of researchers who became entrepreneurs. One example is Paulo Marques, faculty at the Universidade de Coimbra and CTO of Feedzai, who also won a BES Inovação competition. These experiences motivated him to become an entrepreneur himself.

Veniam’Works: Track Winner of the Building Global Innovators Venture Competition
Veniam’Works is a spin-off company of the Instituto de Telecomunicações and the Universities of Aveiro and Porto, which offers vehicular mesh networking solutions for connecting vehicles to each other and to the Internet. Veniam’s main product is the vehicular Wifi (ViFi) box, a combination of hardware and software that can be installed in every existing vehicle. Each box turns its vehicle into a hotspot, puts the car data into the cloud, and builds a network between vehicles that can be leveraged for business, safety, and entertainment purposes. Veniam’s products are designed to support a variety of car apps that can leverage the unique properties of the Veniam-enabled vehicle-to-vehicle (v2v) mesh network.

The idea to create Veniam emerged from the DRIVE-In project, carried out in the scope of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal program. Both founders, João Barros and Susana Sargento, faculty from the Universidade de Aveiro and researcher of the Instituto de Telecomunicações, were co-PIs in the Drive-In project which investigates how vehicle-to-vehicle communication can improve the user experience and the overall efficiency of vehicle and road utilization. This project built a testbed with approximately 450 taxis circulating in the Porto city, Portugal.

Streambolico: Grand Prize Winner of the 2012 BES National Innovation Award
Streambolico is a spin-off of the Universidade do Porto and the Instituto de Telecomunicações, where the founding team – João Barros, Rui Costa, Diogo Ferreira and Paulo Falcão – conducted world-class research on the emerging field of network coding. The company is currently hosted by the start-up incubator of the Universidade do Porto, UPTEC.

The other founders of Streambolico are Rui Costa and Diogo Ferreira, doctoral students of the Universidade do Porto, as well as Paulo Falcão alumnus of the same University. During their studies they had the opportunity to make exploratory visits to several Universities, for example Carnegie Mellon and MIT, and also to do internships in companies such asTelefonica and NTT DoCoMo.

The technology carried out by Streambolico products offers a 10x increase in the number of users that can access video content over a single wireless hotspot. This solution can cause a revolution in the mobile sector, because current WIFI access points can only provide video content in high quality to a very limited number of clients, typically five to eight. This technology combines wireless multicasting, interactive apps and the power of network coding, to deliver the right data packets to the right costumer at the right time.

The goal of the BES Inovação Competition is to reward and promote research, development and innovation projects in application areas linked to the endogenous resources of the country, viewing the improvement of products, processes or services.

November 2012