“Crossing Borders in Technology Entrepreneurship” inRes Initiative Celebrates Both Editions and Good Results
|CMU Portugal Program (CMU Portugal) and Caixa Capital (CC) got together to celebrate the successes of both inRes editions, after the 2015 teams returned to Portugal. inRes is a very early stage acceleration program for entrepreneurial teams working in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
inRes 2015 edition came to an end and its results were presented at an event on December 3, in Culturgest, Lisbon. In a relaxed atmosphere, this closing session brought together researchers, entrepreneurs, business executives, and investors, among others, under the topic “Crossing Borders in Technology Entrepreneurship”. The inRes 2014 editions teams were also present at the event and the audience got to know more about the stage of their startups and how enriching the experience at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), a year ago, has been for them. The event ended with a €50k investment made by CC on Scraim, one of the 2015 edition inRes teams.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship in ICT: Portugal and the urge to go global
|The opening session was led by the National Director of CMU Portugal, João Claro .
Executive director of CC, Stephan Morais, talked about the importance of the venture capitals as a major force behind technology centers and business angles. Stephan Morais also mentioned some of CC significant recent investments such as Veniam, a startup born within CMU Portugal. He ended his speech giving some tips for entrepreneurs and startups.
Coordinator of the Technology Office of Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT), Emir Sirage , ended the welcome words of the event by talking about the success that the partnerships with the American universities has accomplished so far.
Chairman of Novabase and member of the board of directors of CMU Portugal, Rogério Carapuça , spoke about Innovation and Entrepreneurship in ICT in Portugal and highlighted the “missing links” in the ecosystem. “We need critical mass in Portugal, we need this ecosystem to grow and the jobs in ICT should be 10 times bigger than the biggest company in the Portuguese economy,” Rogério Carapuça stressed. The Chairman of Novabase also mentioned Portugal should have a higher level of collaboration between research institutions and companies. He believes that the country should adopt a more risk taking culture and work more on its channels, partnerships, incentives and on getting smart money (money with knowledge). “We are really risk averse in Portugal and failure is a social stigma but failure should be seen as a good thing,” Rogério Carapuça stated.
Before the inRes teams presentations, João Claro made a brief speech about the inRes initiative, what has been done so far and the great network that was built. His presentation was entitled “inRes: A ‘Soft Take-off’ Program for ICT Entrepreneurs”. João Claro talked about both inRes editions and mentioned that one of the biggest highlights of the 2015 edition was the new partnership with CC.
Very Early Stage Acceleration Program: 2015 teams
Associate director of Project Olympus in CMU, Kit Needham, and the senior manager of CMU’s Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation, Reed McManigle, made the introduction of the various teams from 2015 and 2014 inRes editions, respectively.
AdaptTech’s CEO (one of the 2015 inRes teams), Frederico Carpinteiro, talked about their product which consists in a smart fitting solution for prosthesis. “Our value proposition is faster fitting, better results, less costs and keeping a digital record,” Frederico states.
Playsketch’s co-founder, Pedro Santa, presented the solution they developed which makes use of drawings on paper to create games. He also talked about some of the highlights of their immersion in CMU such as meeting with Schell Games and establishing partnerships with several institutions such as the Children’s Museum, in Pittsburgh.
General manager of Sceelix, Francisco Andrade, started his presentation by making an overview of the 3D game industry. He also explained in what consists the tool they developed: it’s a software that allows the creation of complex 3D scenes in a smart and efficient way. “inRes gave us the opportunity to get in touch with the Human-Computer Interaction Institute and the Entertainment Technology Center, both at CMU”, Francisco mentioned.
The last inRes team from the 2015 edition to present its work was Scraim, a startup that developed an online service for project management based on adaptable processes. Pedro Henriques, CEO of Scraim, talked about the main outcomes from their participation in the inRes initiative: Scraim has several pilots in the U.S., being one of them in the Capability Maturity Model Integration Institute.
The Start of the Scale-Up Phase: 2014 teams
The inRes 2014 teams were also present at the event and talked about their outcomes and insights. Addvolt was represented by Bruno Azevedo, CEO of this startup. He explained how WeTruck, Addvolt’s product, works: it produces energy through photovoltaic panels installed on top of the truck and recovers energy during the vehicle braking and decelerations.
Rui José, co-founder of Displr, talked about the platform for place-based communication that connects venues with guests through the combined use of large screen displays and mobile devices. He highlighted the fact that Displr started its market validation after their participation in inRes.
The button that allows clients to follow the prices of products online and be aware of price drops, Followprice, was presented by one of its founders, Gonçalo Mendes. When talking about the experience at CMU, Gonçalo mentioned Dave Mawhinney and how they learned, with him, about the importance of their metrics. Being part of inRes allowed Followprice to get a really good advisor in the U.S., Mark Chrystal.
Xhockware and its app, YouBeep, that let the shoppers manage their entire shopping process, were presented by João Rodrigues, one of the startup’s founders. “The experience at CMU gave us the opportunity to live in the U.S., to live like an American and to watch people shop in the U.S.,” João Rodrigues stressed.
The break that followed all the teams’ presentations gave the inRes teams, from both editions, the opportunity to showcase their products and services to the event’s participants, including some investors.
|Nuno Miller, head of digital channels at SONAE, who was named the European CIO of the year 2014 by CIONET, was the keynote speaker of this session. After talking about ways to prevent fraud, Nuno stressed five rules he defined for new platforms and businesses (robustness, speed, agility, connection and more focus on user experience). Nuno also talked about the use of the scrum process and how he believes it increases speed in delivering results and how it empowers the teams. Mobility, social reviews, SEO and data cross-checking between real and virtual stores were also some of the topics addressed by Nuno Miller.
Roundtable and inRes 2015 awarded team
A roundtable composed of João Claro, Nuno Miller, Kit Needham, Reed McManigle and Stephan Morais followed Nuno Miller’s speech. The subjects addressed were the new trends emerging in the digital area, the global thinking regarding Portuguese entrepreneurship, the comparison between both ICT markets, Portuguese and American, among other themes. As Reed McManigle has been working in Pittsburgh with technology-based entrepreneurship for 30 years, he mentioned that he could see “the huge growth in entrepreneurship in Pennsylvania.”
Before João Claro’s closing remarks, CC, represented by Stephan Morais, awarded Scraim team with a €50k investment. Scraim was therefore recognized as the most promising among four inRes startups from the 2015 edition.
Launched in 2014 by the CMU Portugal Program (CMU Portugal), funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, inRes is a very early stage acceleration program for Portuguese entrepreneurial teams working in Information and Communication Technologies that push them past their comfort zones, and requires them to work at a steep pace, cope with high levels of uncertainty, and constantly reach out for contacts to further build and validate their business projects. inRes is based on the Lean LaunchPad method. The initiative provides a training period in Portugal, followed by a seven-week structured immersion period in Pittsburgh, in the U.S., anchored at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). inRes is organized by CMU Portugal, in cooperation with CMU, Caixa Capital, Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, UTEN Portugal and INESC TEC.