Veniam is the winner of the major Portuguese Venture Competition 'Builidng Global Innovators'

March 04, 2013

Veniam wins the 3rd edition of Building Global Innovators Venture Competition. The seamless low-cost vehicle-based internet infrastructure developed by the founding members João Barros, Susana Sargento, Robin Chase and Roy Russell, dramatically lowers cost infrastructure solution to the Telecommunications company providers, and opens up a new world of connected vehicle applications. VENIAM sells a low-cost box that once plugged into existing vehicles can turn cars, taxis, buses, and trucks into mobile hotspots. The market is as large as the world's one billion cars. The international competition for entrepreneurship and innovation hosted by ISCTE - Lisbon University Institute, in partnership with the MIT Portugal Program, the Deshpande Center for Technical Innovation and The Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship Center.

The winner was announced yesterday during a ceremony held at ISCTE-IUL by Walter Palma, responsible for the Caixa Empreender+ Fund, representing the Award Partner of the competition. They also reaffirmed the CGD Group's commitment towards supporting the second phase of MIT Portugal's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program, promoted IUL ISCTE. This support will be operated through protocol celebrated between Caixa Capital and IUL ISCTE, which foresees the creation of a special purpose investment vehicle and ensures the financial support provided to BGI finalists for the next 5 years. In the future, the financial support will be provided by a new model that hopes to attract investors from Portugal and abroad.

The Grand Finale also counted with the participation of Danny Sands, Harvard Medical School and serial entrepreneur; Jonathan Green, Board of Directors of Common Angels, Inc and serial entrepreneur; Paulo Ferrão, Director of MIT-Portugal Program (MPP); and Pedro Carneiro, member of the board of Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT). They all were supportive of the competing startups and of this initiative, recognizing it as part of the strategic plan for the development of the entrepreneurship in Portugal.

Veniam will benefit from an extra financial support of 100.000 euros in addition to the previous award received last November, when it was selected as finalist at "Sustainable Energy & Transportation Systems" track. This amount can be doubled during over the next 3 to 5 years if it can meet the agreed , agreed milestones over the next 18 years. The promoters of the winning team will also have the opportunity to pitch for a restricted international investor groups during e-Teams III boot-camp & a 2-week business development trip to MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts

The four finalist start-ups - Veniam, RDFixer, faces.in and D-Orbit - already have assured 400.000 euros of financial support, destined to the implementation of "Go to Market" strategies developed in collaboration with the organization during the six months of the competition. Furthermore, these teams will be granted direct access to Caixa Capital - the venture capital partner- to whom they will have privileged access to present and discuss their projects.

For Charles Cooney, Faculty Director of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation and Co-Director of the MIT Portugal Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, "this year's finalists are a testament to the depth and breadth of innovative and entrepreneurial activity in Portugal today. These teams demonstrate the ability for global impact and the opportunity to for disruptive technological change in multiple industries and in our lives: Improving health care, enhancing our connectivity on the ground and cleaning up outer space".

Veniam with the other track finalists - RDFixer, faces.in and D-Orbit, from now onwards, enter a new intensive stage, comprising 1 to 3 years and not more than 5, with a ultimate goal to validate their value proposals with global clients (B2B) and will be provided with tools to raiser their value at international round of investments (series A and B). The organization hopes that during the first 5 post-award years, the promoters will be able to successful complete investment rounds in the order of 2-5 million euros. By this time they will still be in a position to benefit from the option right of the financial partner Caixa Capital, which can subscribe up to 20% of the added capital value of the companies.

The Ceremony was closed by Gonçalo Amorim, Director of the MPP -IEI, with the commitment to continue the competition and the beginning of the 4th Edition by March 14th 2013. Until May 1st, several information sessions will be occurring trough out the country and internationally, the calendar for these events will be announced soon at www.mitportugal-iei.org.

Contest promotes entrepreneurship and innovation in Portugal

The 3rd edition of Building Global Innovators received 132 applications from 483 professionals by 31st May 2012, and from an international community of students, researchers and professionals in many field, from polytechnics, universities and other public and private institutions. Entrepreneurs with start-ups dedicated to promoting technology-based businesses, less than 5 years after founding, qualified for the competition.

The competition is part of the cooperation protocol signed between the ISCTE- IUL and the MIT-Portugal Program in 2010, in order to create a competence center in the area of technology-based entrepreneurship, and celebrate and reward tech based projects, from any country, with international potential, containing strong innovative capacity and management team.

Luis Reto, Rector of ISCTE commented, "This year's teams offer a broad range of projects that challenge and innovate in their fields. This competition enables enterprises and projects in early stages to have access to knowledge and expertise of MIT and the ISCTE, making them open to global markets. This award was designed in an innovative way in order to put a strong focus on i.e. 'learning by doing', including the creation of conditions conducive to the global projection of the start-ups."

For Paulo Ferrão, Director of MIT Portugal Program, "BGI competition is the largest of its kind in Portugal and embodies a major bet in promoting the interaction between researchers and entrepreneurs with their MIT partners, thus sharing their invaluable experience in the business world and technology transfer. The results achieved so far by the participating companies are certainly encouraging taking in account the private funding already raised and the number of qualified jobs provided. In the future it will be essential to continue to support initiatives like these, which promote and support the internationalization of technology based companies that present products and services with added value from research and innovation."
-end-


MIT Portugal Program

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