New absolute record of investments for I3P companies in 2023. ALBA Robot is the Start-up of the Year

I3P Startup

The network of companies supported by I3P raised more than €51 million in investments during the year, the highest figure ever.

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More than 900 business ideas received and analysed, more than 120 projects launched, 23 start-ups admitted to incubation and, above all, more than €51 million in investments attracted by the companies in its network. These are the key figures for 2023 presented by I3P, the Innovative Companies Incubator of Politecnico di Torino, on the occasion of the traditional end-of-year event called Festa delle Startup. During the event, ALBA Robot was awarded as "Start-up of the Year 2023", an acknowledgement given in virtue of the results achieved in the development of an innovative technology with a high social impact.

The total amount of investments raised in 2023 by the companies that have grown up in I3P thus exceeds €51 million to date: a new absolute record for the incubator, which was founded in 1999 to support the entrepreneurship ecosystem and generate economic development and employment in innovative industrial supply chains. The figure could even rise further by the end of December, as some ongoing operations have not yet been concluded.

Notable among the funding rounds completed during the year is the €20M round by Leaf Space, an I3P alumna and now a leading global provider of ground segment services for satellite operators, followed by the €5.8M raised by Easyrain, an automotive technology company focused on road safety for human- and autonomous-driven vehicles. Ermes Cyber Security, which uses AI to defend companies against cyber attacks, closed the first tranche of a Series A investment round by raising €3M, while Freedome, Italy's leading outdoor experience marketplace, completed a €2.5M capital increase and Algor Education, an edtech start-up, recently received a €1.4M investment.

Giuseppe Scellato, President of I3P, commented: "We are very proud to be able to share the excellent results achieved in 2023 by the companies in the I3P network with all the institutional partners that have supported the incubator's activities, in particular the Piedmont Region, Finpiemonte, the Turin Chamber of Commerce, Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Cuneo, and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP). For 2024, we foresee a further expansion of activities to support innovative entrepreneurship in the sectors of aerospace, artificial intelligence applications in different industrial fields, cybersecurity and technologies for environmental sustainability."

La Startup dell’Anno di I3P del 2023

ALBA Robot is a young innovative company founded in Turin in 2019, and incubated in I3P since 2020, with the aim of revolutionising micro-mobility both indoor and in pedestrian spaces. Through its engineering team, the start-up develops and implements solutions for autonomous/assisted mobility services, designed for facilities such as airports, hospitals and museums that need to transport people with reduced mobility (PRM) inside them, using fleets of autonomous vehicles. In line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal "Reducing Inequalities", ALBA Robot therefore supports people with reduced mobility by creating a transport service that makes them more independent in their movements.

In July 2023, the start-up received a €2.6M investment, led by the Cysero Euveca fund jointly with Kilometro Rosso and with the participation of CDP Venture Capital's RoboIT cluster and Techstars. With the capital raised in this round, ALBA Robot has obtained the resources to complete the development of its first product for the market, the autonomous vehicle already field-tested at a number of Italian airports, and to strengthen the team from a commercial and operational point of view.

Following the awarding by the incubator, Andrea Bertaia, Co-Founder & CEO of Alba Robot, said: "No start-up can do it alone: you need networks, talent and investors. In I3P we found the innovative ecosystem that allowed us to try. Now that we are at the end of the incubation process and have been named Start-up of the Year, we have to prove that we have reached the market. A special thanks goes to our team, without whom nothing would be possible, and we hope in the coming months to be able to share some more confidential news."

The victory of PNI 2023 and the special projects

The past year has brought another great satisfaction to the Incubator of Politecnico di Torino: the return of the "cup of champions" of the Premio Nazionale per l'Innovazione (PNI) 2023, Italy's most important and widespread business plan competition, thanks to the victory of Focoos AI, an innovative start-up incubated at I3P and part of the ESA BIC Turin program, which won the competition's first overall prize. Having arrived at PNI thanks to its participation in the Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta regional competition, Focoos AI proposes cutting-edge software that automatically designs and trains neural networks for the aerospace industry, significantly reducing the energy consumption required to use artificial intelligence functions on devices such as satellites and drones.

Also this year, there were numerous initiatives and special projects implemented by I3P in collaboration with strategic, national and international partners, with the aim of creating new opportunities for innovative entrepreneurship.

The ESA BIC Turin incubation program, managed by I3P in cooperation with Politecnico di Torino and LINKS Foundation, and in coordination with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian Space Agency (ASI), has completed two years of activity and crossed the threshold of 20 incubated companies. ESA BIC Turin assists entrepreneurial projects based on the use of space data or technologies, with upstream or downstream applications, through zero-equity economic contributions of €50,000, business development consultancy, technical support, accompaniment in fundraising activities, and much more. It's always possible to apply to join the program, but applications are evaluated after periodic cut-off dates: the next one is January 15th, 2024.

Last November, I3P launched Terra&Tech, the first national Open Innovation programme for the wine sector, which will consist of a rich series of activities in close contact with the wine production chain to catalyse new fruitful encounters between wine-making tradition and technological innovation. The initiative is organised and promoted by Filiera Futura, an association working throughout Italy to innovate and enhance the agrifood sector, in collaboration with the incubator.

In early December, then, I3P presented Digital Factory, the new permanent Open Innovation platform aimed at Italian and international start-ups and SMEs. The initiative aims to search for the best solutions and innovative technologies for the digital transformation of CA Auto Bank, the digital bank that finances mobility by promoting sustainability: among those nominated on the platform, the projects of greatest interest will be involved in a path of experimentation in the field through the development of a Proof-of-Concept.