A look at the best performing incubatees across the network, and an inside glance at an Italian incubator
Incubators serve a very singular purpose. An industry that has gained in strength and reliability for over five decades now, the legacy and scope of the work undertaken is not insignificant, and its impact is hard to measure given the ripple effect. At the EBN network, we are proud to present some of our current success stories and invite you to take a look at what goes in in just a single incubator.
Founded in 2012, PROMEDITEC has made incredible progress since they began in the BIC of Friuli Venezia Giulia (Italy) from where they still continue to operate. In March 2016, the company that now has ten employees, signed a partnership with Verizon, the largest US wireless communications service provider (worth around $130 billion in 2015), enabling this startup to drive its global growth through Europe and the United States, via their Virtual Private Cloud.
Promeditec specialises in the development of innovative IT solutions in the field of clinical trials management and information management systems applied to clinical research.
Clinical trials are a key factor for the development of new pharmaceutical therapies and medical devices. Knowing that pharmaceutical and medical device companies invest several tens of billions of dollars each year in R&D, the company decided at the outset to focus on national and international markets and to acquire clients who represented business accelerators and first-level references. Promeditec‘s service offering includes virtual monitoring visits and enables clients to reduce time and costs drastically before bringing a new treatment to market.
The solutions provided by Promeditec have convinced many well-established large companies to use Promeditec’s coreapplication AppClinical Trial from phase I to IV. They’re proud to count the San Raffaele Hospital in Trieste and pharmaceutical companies such as Bayer, the European School of Oncology, AstraZeneca, as well as a dozen other hospitals among their clients, with whom they have established a double clientpartner relationship. This has resulted in a growth of double-digits year after year.
These key partners have already adopted their SaaS (Software as a Service solution) and the VOS (Virtual Onsite Monitoring) system enabling high quality standards to be reached even when trial budgets restrict traditional monitoring activities.
“The reason for choosing Verizon Cloud to support the delivery of our AppClinical Trial Solution relies in their capacity to provide increased reliability to users,” says Emili Luca, founder and CEO of Promeditec. This partnership will significantly support their growth without compromising on data security. Indeed, Verizon Virtual Private Cloud is managed by a professional team of governance, risk and compliances specialists who are fully acquainted with business standards and compliance requirements. The Verizon brand is known and trusted around the world; this partnership ensures Promeditec of added value in their innovative offering.
Founded in 2008, Optimitive is a Spanish spin-off of Tecnalia - a leading private and independent applied research and technology centre in Spain, and the fifth largest in Europe.
They first contacted EBN member, BIC Araba (formerly known as CEIA) in 2007 and decided to set up shop in their incubator in 2009. During this time they were offered access to financing, subsidies, training and networking opportunities which contributed to the rapid development of their product. Remembering that period, the pioneering startup’s CEO, Javier Garcia Sedano said, “The BIC has been a very important support for us, and it helped us hugely to access investors, customers and partners in the offices of the Alava Technology Park.” Today the company is still located in the Technology Park, but also has an office in Frankfurt, Germany.
Optimitive has become one of the leaders in the field of energy efficiency and the use of optimisation solutions for industrial processes for industry 4.0, thanks to their core product, the OPTIBAT Energy Saver. Their innovation is connected to process control systems and makes adjustments in reaction to changing conditions, such as raw material being used, atmosphere or production rate. The Optibat system is able to report on savings as it plays in real time and makes it a very interesting advantage for customers. Javier García Sedano correctly surmises his company offering, “Once you understand how it works, the ability to predict the consequences of different performances allows you to choose the best in terms of power consumption.”
In 2014, GGM Capital, a Luxembourg Venture Capital Fund invested €1.4 million in the company, which, at that time, was also an alumni of the Houston SURGE Accelerator. This investment gave them the opportunity to develop their business internationally, backed, of course, by a powerful financial partner. With this cash injection they hired their sales and marketing staff, developed their commercial headquarters in Frankfurt and started the commercialisation of their technological products.
Their high-end product has raised interest from multinationals around the world leading Optimitive to raise significant investment funding through the signing of collaboration contracts with some large corporates.
In 2015, they started working with AURUBIS AG, the largest copper producer in Europe (the second largest in the world) and the largest copper recycler worldwide. Located in Hamburg, the German company has more than 6,400 employees at production and service sites in Europe, Asia and North America. They have used the OPTIBAT technology to advise and report about those parameters of the electrolytic process to produce copper cathodes of the highest purity. It has also been used to quantify the operational energy efficiency and savings potential of the functioning of air compressors in AURUBIS’ main factory in Hamburg.
In April 2016, they began work with Air Liquid - a French multinational that is the world leader in the production of gases, solutions and technologies, operating in over 80 countries - as technical partners on a project entitled ‘Adaptive Intelligence for the Dynamic Optimization of the liquefaction Cycle in an Air Gases Separation Plant’. With this project they won the Iberquimia Innovation award 2016 in the category ‘Energy Efficiency’. Thanks to this pilot project they succeeded in reducing electricity consumption of the liquefaction cycle.
In September 2016, they raised €1.2 millions of investment from Enzen Global, an Indian company, that is a leader in the sector of energy, water and environmental solutions. This agreement will enable the company to enter the Indian market through Enzen’s customer base in the subcontinent.
Daniel Weiss and Zièd Bahrouni are two of the five co-founders of Motius GmBH, a high-tech R&D German company based in Munich, that has developed an ingenious approach and agile project methodology that focuses on the development of new products and prototypes.
The startup was set up with entrepreneurial support from the Technical University of Munich in 2012 where they participated in the Manage & More programme that convinced them, a year later, to create their own company. 2014 saw them moving into The Gate - Garchinger Technologie - und Gründerzentrum, the business incubator located in the research and education campus in Garching (very close to Munich University). Apart from the office space that Gate Garching offers to all their startups, MOTIUS immensely benefitted from the free consulting and numerous business services that were included in the rent. There they connected successfully with other startups, prospective customers and business coaches through several networking events, workshops and seminars offered by Gate Garching, eventually leading Motius to host several big events jointly with the incubator such as the Catalysts Coding Contest, which is one of the biggest programming competitions in Germany.
According to Christian Heckemann, CEO of Gate-Garching, what makes the district of Munich and Garching so successful in terms of innovation strength is the presence of a strong ecosystem where entrepreneurs with an innovative mindset work hand-in-hand with researchers and teachers to develop cutting-edge technologies.
In just four years Motius have acquired an impressive portfolio of well-established companies such as BMW, Texas Instruments, Lufthansa Technik, Siemens and Fujitsu who are keen to benefit from the input of young, creative and motivated startups. They have also created a talent pool of 600 collaborators who are mainly students, academic researchers and young engineers working on ground-breaking technologies in the field of mechanical and electrical engineering and computer science. Working with such a broad spectrum of young elite who are acquainted with state-of-the-art technologies allows the company to bring innovative ideas rapidly to the predevelopment phase of a product.
Their main idea is that the best people should work on the right project. This approach is a real asset for companies who do not have among their collaborators the specific set of skills needed for developing an idea or who simply do not have the time either to work on it themselves or to recruit the best talent for the job. Their responsiveness and flexibility from the very start of the project up to the transfer of the product to the client allows product development for customers in a few short weeks.
Today Motius is a thriving company that is expanding beyond European borders. Oman-born Zièd Bahrouni, CEO of the company, decided to enter the Oman market in 2016, represented by Genius solutions, an Omani-owned technology solution provider. He is now working with Oman’s Research Council that selects and subsidises ideas from Omani entrepreneurs. They recently announced the opening of their new office in Dubai in partnership with Innogy, a big German energy company. Through this partnership Motius will position itself closer to the latest trends and relevant fields of technology in the area of smart cities, connected mobility and autonomous driving. Their ambition is to serve as a hub for the entire Gulf region.
An Irish winner
Heinrich Anhold is the satisfied, successful CEO of StableLab Ltd, a company he founded in 2008 in Sligo (Ireland). His disruptive idea came from his background, growing up on a farm with a 100 horses. After having raised money from selling a Grand Prix show-jumper that he had raised, and with a PhD in biochemistry in hand, this former international show-jumper developed the very first hand-held blood test for horses, now considered one of the biggest advancements in equestrian healthcare diagnostics. It launched in the market in July 2013 as a breakthrough innovation that combines biomarkers and digital technologies, and is now used by thousands of equine veterinarians in fourteen countries globally.
This technology can detect and quantify infections in only ten minutes at the horses’ side without having to send the blood sample to a laboratory. The system uses an indicator that is fifty times more sensitive than usual blood tests - the protein Serum Amyloid A (SAA). This protein is only present in horses’ blood when there is an infection. In case of infection, the test displays a specific colour-result which can be interpreted by any lambda equine practitioner and allows for rapid responsive therapy even before the horse shows any physical symptoms of illness. This screening tool for health in horse performance is of high value for practitioners of horse championships before, during and after the competition takes place, but it also enables users to keep track of information and store it in order to draw on trends. It is as easy to use as a thermometer, but much more reliable than one.
Stable Lab (formerly known as Epona Biotech) was awarded Ireland’s Best Emerging company in 2010, and its CEO recognised as one of Ireland’s ‘Top 40 under 40’ entrepreneurs in a couple of business magazines after signing a technology license deal with Philips Electronics. That same year, the company raised a first round of angel investment and started to hire staff. This was followed by a second round of angel investment funding at the end of 2012 in anticipation of the planned market launch.
The company received the support of WestBIC (Galway) and its centre in Sligo from a very early stage. Heinrich states, “In the early days when you don’t know how to raise funding and where funding is available, or how to put together a business plan, it is very important that Ireland has got organisations that can support early stage startups. I first went to the County Enterprise Board who passed us on to WestBIC. They gave us tremendous support in terms of putting together our business plan and getting us investorready. They introduced us to investors and as we found those investors and got them to support us, we also got Enterprise Ireland to match the funding.”
Heinrich was selected as finalist in January of this year in the national finals of Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition and won the award in the ‘Best Established Business’ category.
Today, Stable Lab sells extremely well and will double its staff over the next few months as it expands both in the UK and the United States. The StableLab blood test was used in 2014 in the US to test the famous American racehorse, California Chrome, winner of the 2014 Kentucky Derby and the 2016 Dubai World Cup, and that was named American Horse of the Year in 2014 and 2016.
Tomorrow in Trieste
Italy. The name conjures up an array of images. From sweeping coastlines, to amazing food to fine couture and fine wines and racing cars. But over the last decade of so, Italy has been making a name for itself in the innovation game as well. BIC Friuli Venezia Giulia S.r.l. which began in 1989 has been supporting entrepreneurship in Trieste for two decades now and during its time it has launched 245 companies meeting the needs of tomorrows solutions, in real time today.
The incubator was certainly the first of its kind in Italy. Soon after it opened its doors, in 1991, it became a member of EBN (the European Business and Innovation Centre Network) and in 1993 it was recognised as a ‘Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation’ by the Directorate General for Regional Policy of the European Commission. From 2006 to 2007 it was selected for ‘best practice’ among European incubators. In June 2015 it received the prestigious Incubatore di Start-up innovative certificato under the National Law 221/2012, which promotes the establishment and development of innovative startups.
The incubator is located in the industrial zone of Trieste and covers an area of 12,000 square metres, 8,500 of which house workshops for business ventures. At the beginning of 2017, 39 companies were located in the incubator with a total of more than 270 employees, and prior to that, in 2015, the annual global turnover reached more than €40 million.
The mission of BIC Incubatori FVG, in synergy with its main shareholder, is to identify and develop innovative business ideas and to establish a startup scene of high growth potential, actively supporting new business initiatives in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region. To achieve this objective, incubators BIC FVG has assumed responsibility for:
- Identifying and valorising innovative projects, in particular in the energy, ICT and life science sectors
- Promoting the establishment of industrial startups with high growth potential
- Hosting new initiatives and jointventures promoted by venture capitalists and small existing companies wishing to diversify their business
- Providing equipped premises/workshops
- Assisting in drawing financial plans to be submitted to the banking system with the goal of increasing company growth
- Carrying out functional tutoring and managerial coaching
- Identifying specific financial solutions during the various development phases of the incubated companies
- Information dissemination about financial incentives available at regional, national and EU levels
- Providing contacts and assistance aiming at developing strategic partnerships and international cooperation projects
BIC Incubatori FVG has also among its institutional objectives the development of existing enterprises through their accompanying foreign markets.
The incubator cooperates closely with the scientific community of Trieste, in particular with the University of Trieste, SISSA - International School for Advanced Studies, AREA Science Park and Elettra – Sincrotrone. Jointly, with the abovementioned entities, the Chamber of Commerce of Trieste, Confindustria VG and local banks, BIC Incubatori FVG forms an active system supporting the creation and growth of new business ventures. All the range and scope of activities are in strict alignment and accordance with the policy of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Regional Authority.
Best practice at work
Among the companies that have initiated and recorded the highest growth rate over the years, the following deserve mention: TBS GROUP (2,000 employees), the Euris Group (240 employees), Emaze Networks (100 employees), Innova Trieste (175 employees) and MW Fep (200 employees). Other companies have also proven to be highly innovative and well-developed and those currently operating out of the incubator are: Engys, Tempestive, Promedictec and Mquadro.
TBS Group S.p.A.
AREA Science Park, Padriciano
99 34149 Trieste
Web site www.tbsgroup.com/index.php/en/
Activity Specialised clinical engineering service provider.
TBS Group provides integrated services of clinical engineering and ICT for the outsourced management of the whole technological equipment, both biomedical and IT, within social and healthcare facilities, in particular with medical equipment and ICT systems as well as telecare & telemedicine ones. TBS Group offers a complete range of eGovernment solutions and services designed for public administration sector. With a strong propensity for internationalisation, TBS Group operates in 20 countries.
Gruppo Euris S.p.a.
Via Caboto 19/1
Web site www.euris.it/eng/
Activity Software development and IT services
Euris Group offers customisation and maintenance activities, as well as specialised implementation processes and technological consulting. It provides a 360° assessment of all aspects of an IT project management, both at the architectural and application development level. They support clients in their mission of renewal and updating, with a modular offer that enables intervention at many levels in the production value chain, by optimising processes a and activities through a team of continually trained specialists.
Viale Francesco Restelli, 3/1
Web site www.emaze.net
Activity Information security industry
Emaze offers innovation services in the Cyber Security field. Emaze realises enterprise-grade software development projects that cover customer needs covering all bases. Emaze is a European professional services company focused exclusively on Cyber Security. It delivers software development, specialised security consulting – both ongoing projects and one-off assessments – and provides its own products to ensure system protection via its own Security Operations Center (SOC).
Via del Follatoio, 12
Web site www.innovatrieste.it
Sector ICT Activity Interceptions
Innova is a technology-based company that markets integrated interception systems for lawful activities and intelligence operations. Its solutions are designed to be effective versatile, reliable and easy-to-use. Thanks to a deep expertise in telecommunication applied to security sector, Innova products support Public Prosecutor’s offices and law enforcement agencies in any type of monitoring activity with advanced technology.
Via Mario Stoppani 23
34077 Ronchi dei Legionari
Web site www.mwfep.com
Sector Electronics industry
Activity Electronic manufacturing services (EMS)
MW Fep offers complete and reliable subcontracting solutions for the production of electronic boards and assemblies: from product engineering through high-standard, efficient production to delivery and after-sales support. Its specialised facilities enable it to respond to small, medium and high-volume production requirements and to offer flexibility and customisation capacities aimed at establishing a long-term partnership with the client.
Via del Follatoio, 12
Web site www.engys.com
Activity Software development
The company is specialised in the application, support and development of open-source engineering analysis and simulation software for industry, offering a variety of products and services focused mainly on Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Multi-Disciplinary Optimisation (MDO). They are also highly proficient in the use of many complementary CAE tools for solving a wide range of engineering problems.
via Roveredo 20B
Web site www.tempestive.com
Activity Software development
Tempestive is an IT consulting firm with a range of experience in system integration and software development. It designs, realises, deploys and manages solutions based on distributed software and distributed systems, SOA (services oriented architecture) and BPM (business process management), collaboration systems for the information worker, e-Business solutions, electronic commerce, asset management systems, system integration, embedded systems and cloud solutions.
via del Follatoio
12 34148 Trieste
Web site www.mquadro.net
Activity Electronic engineering
The company is specialised in the development, production and integration of professional devices, systems and services for data gathering, monitoring and tracking purposes. It provides professional products, complete solutions and services in the oil and gas, waste management, environmental and automotive sectors. In 2012, a second branch of activities started, aimed at the development and industrialisation of embedded systems for medical and industrial/environmental applications.
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