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Tag ‘engineering’

EIC: 261 proposals seek funding under Fast Track to Innovation

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The European Commission received 261 proposals for Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) before the latest cut-off date on 25 May 2019.

FTI promotes close-to-the market innovation activities open to all types of participants. The programme offers € 3 million to consortia composed of 3 to 5 partners including mainly industrial participants.

FTI is fully bottom-up. As there are no set topics, proposals are classified according to the keywords introduced by applicants. The top keywords introduced were engineering, health and ICT.

The proposals include participants from 28 countries, the largest number of proposals being submitted by Spanish, Italian and Dutch applicants.

Fast Track to innovation (FTI) is part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot and helps close-to-the-market innovations jointly developed by small companies and their industrial partners get on the market faster.

Results will be available in autumn 2019.

Read the original article on the EASME website.

Five books that helped me start a tech-company – Lieven Vervecken

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Today’s article is written by Dr. Ir. Lieven Vervecken, CEO & Co-founder of Diabatix, an innovative Belgian engineering company specialising in colling systems and products involving fluid mechanics and heat transfer. 

It is no secret that reading a book is one of the best ways to learn more about a particular topic. This of course, also holds when you are interested in starting a tech-company and you want to strengthen your knowledge on entrepreneurship. There are numerous books written related to this topic and making a selection is not always easy. Therefore, below are five books, covering a wide range of topics, that helped me start my tech-company.

 

  1. The Art of the Start, by Guy Kawasaki

When you start a tech-company, you will likely want to raise money, to hire the right people, to manage a board, to create a brand, etc. The Art of the Start touches each of these topics, among many more, and describes how to go from an idea to a mature business. Each chapter zooms in on particular jobs that have to be done, while the FAQ sections address the questions the readers are most likely to have. I particularly recommend the chapters on pitching and raising funds.

  1. Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 steps to a Successful Startup, by Bill Aulet

“Can a sustainable business be built around my idea?” is the most fundamental but probably also the most difficult question you will have to answer. Disciplined Entrepreneurship guides you through this question by breaking it down into 24 easy-to-understand steps. Among others, these steps discuss market segmentation, mapping the process to acquire a customer, charting your competitive position, etc.

  1. The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries

Time is an extremely valuable good. So the last thing you want as an entrepreneur, is to waste it. One very common pitfall for starting tech companies is to spend time on developing the product they are passionate about before realizing there is no market for it. The Lean Startup methodology introduces a build-measure-learn loop to help you avoid falling into this pitfall. This way, the focus shifts from “Can this product be built?” to the far more valuable “Should this product be built?”.

  1. Business Model Generation, by Alexander Osterwalder

One question you will be asked a lot when starting a company is “How do you plan to make money?”. Although this seems like a straightforward question, what they are really asking is “What is your business model?”. Business Model Generation provides practical tools to understand, design, analyze and implement a business model (FYI, step 15 of Disciplined Entrepreneurship). Along the way, you are forced to think again about your customers, distribution channels, partners, revenue streams, costs, and your core value proposition.

  1. The Challenger Sale, by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson

Not a single startup team is good at everything and that is perfectly fine. One skill any team must learn to master, however, is sales. Without sales your company simply will not survive. Of course, a strong product will help, but how you sell is at least as important as what you sell. The Challenger Sale introduces an (from own experience) effective sales approach in which you challenge your customer’s way of working, rather than you applying the traditional relationship-building approach. In brief, the focus is on being highly credible and the ability to teach, tailor and take control.

Read the original article here on LinkedIn and join the discussion with your suggestions for great books that can help entrepreneurs start a tech-company.

An update on Infantium

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By Karen Márquez, CEO and Founder of Infantium

 

Karen Marquez - Infantium

I write these lines from Boston, after a massive snowfall! Since we were featured as a SoS company, lots of good things have happened. Infantium uses brain-inspired computing to personalize learning of children (Neuroscience, machine learning and AI).

2014 was a promising one for Infantium. In summer, we were awarded with a scholarship (global impact competition) to attend the GSP at Singularity University (founded by Google) at NASA headquarters in Mountain View. It’s one of the most selective in the world, and among thousands of applications, 80 leaders and technology entrepreneurs from 35 countries are selected to analyze the major technological advances transforming the world.

In two decades, the people living in big cities will grow by two billion. This shift will put tremendous stress on healthcare, housing, education and other critical resources. The great transformation yet to come cannot be managed by political or economic tools, but with technological innovations. The mission of Singularity is identifying leaders and groundbreaking changing technologies that can impact the life of at least 1 billion of people.

So it is such a honor to be recognized as game-changers that can impact society through cognitive systems.

Reverse engineering the brain and Machine learning used by Infantium can really make the difference in transforming education. Education is the only way of changing human being’s lives; to fight against poverty and reach equality globally. It will be one of the important topics for humanity in the coming years: understanding the principles of human intelligence, understanding how the brain performs essential functions, and emulating those functions can mean a tool to emulate natural learning in people, overcoming the huge challenge of dropouts and frustration.

The second big news is that we made it into phase 2 of the SME instrument (EU’s Horizon2020), being the only educational Project for this phase. Exponential technologies will bring the issue in which large parts of the economy –most of them current students in K-12 -are underemployed, unemployed or unemployable, with machines replacing specific tasks and no marketable skills, acquired mostly through obsolete educational systems. Education is a pillar for the future of Europe, ensuring essential skills in a future where traditional curriculum will be far from enough. With the grant, Infantium will incorporate biometric feedback, computer vision and contextual data in our brain-inspired system to help children develop critical skills adapted to cognitive abilities, not based on curriculum-based demands.

 

Karen Márquez is the CEO and co-founder of Infantium, a multi-awarded start-up based on cognitive learning for young children using brain science and cognitive technology, selected as one of the 12 best start-ups of the EU by the European Commission (Tech All Stars). Karen has been awarded as MIT Young innovator under 35, with special mention as social innovator of the year, Google’s and NASA’s Singularity university global impact tech, and entrepreneur of the year by the professional Association of Computer Engineers (Catalonia, Spain).

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