Balance of the 4th edition of inRes – Entrepreneurship in Residence
Portuguese Startups Present the Results of their Immersion Period in the Early Business Accelerator of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program
Investments of €75,000 from the European Space Agency (ESA); funding from the Horizon 2020 program; hundreds of contacts with potential clients and companies; consolidation of business plans; improvements to products under development; contracts signed with clients for testing and numerous doors open to potential investors. These are some of the results achieved by the entrepreneurial teams who participated in the 2016 and 2017 editions of inRes, the early stage business accelerator of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program, funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia.
The balance of the seven weeks of the inRes program immersion in the American entrepreneurial context of Pittsburgh and Silicon Valley is extremely positive. All participants consider the experience to be decisive for the development of their projects, consolidation of ideas and contacts with top companies in their business areas, thus paving the way for entry into the market.
In 2017, three teams participated in inRes: Connect Robotics, wesenss and Caterpillar Math. The immersion adventure in the United States began in September in Pittsburgh and then moved on to Silicon Valley, where they joined the inRes 2016 teams, All in Surf, Helppier, Soft Bionics and TWEvo. Together, they participated in the immersion’s last experience: “Entrepreneurial week”.
Back in Portugal, Connect Robotics, that is already located in the European Space Agency incubation center, comes back with “more strength, enthusiasm and energy to achieve the goals we set ourselves.” This was stated by the Business Director, Raphael Stanzani, who considers the experience in the Carnegie Mellon Program “extremely positive”, since it is thanks to this business accelerator that they now have “a broader vision for the startup and greater clarity on what should be the priorities.” The project is developing a drone delivery service, which includes autonomous air traffic management technology.
wesenss has developed a solution for risk professionals, composed of wearable sensors that allow real-time, automatic vital signs monitoring, and at the same time, checks their degree of exposure to environmental conditions and their geolocation, reducing health risks and increasing operational efficiency. The solution has been tested by the Albergaria-a-Velha Volunteer Firefighters and a pilot with an American corporation is scheduled for 2018.
Rui Rosas, one of the founders, says that “inRes was an excellent opportunity to introduce our technology to the American market,” adding “if we had not participated in this accelerator, we would hardly be at the level of evolution we are in at the moment.”
Caterpillar Math, that is building digital games to help grow children’s mathematical skills, has been able to test its product with more than 100 American children, resulting in a letter of interest from a school, to continue testing games as they are being developed. At the end of the experience, the founder Rita Quintela believes that she has “now a more realistic script for the startup”.
Among the news involving the 2016 teams, the funding acquired by All in Surf and TWEvo stands out. After the inRes experience, All in Surf was contacted by ESA as revealed by Márcio Borgonovo-Santos, founder of the startup.”After this contact, we applied for Space Moves and qualified third in the contest. This enabled us to participate in the main accelerator for sport-related businesses in Berlin.” They were selected for the second phase, from a total of more than 400 teams. At the end of the second phase, 40 teams were chosen for investment and All in Surf was among those elected, initially earning €25,000 and then €50,000 euros from the European Space Agency. ”
TWEVO will also receive European community funding, having ranked fifth among more than 650 applications for the SME Instrument, the Horizon 2020 financial instrument, at the end of 2017. The funding will be directed towards market assessment and product feedback, on its acceptance and potential in Europe.
In a second phase, TWEVO will be able to re-apply the project to SME Instrument to obtain financing for product introduction in the market.