A new, more ethical way of creating the cloud, where users cooperate to create a neutral and distributed resource sharing platform: the project "Elemento Modular Cloud", by startup Elemento, incubated in 2i3T, has won the Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta 2021. Now in its 17th edition, the business plan competition is organised as part of the PNI (National Award for Innovation) and promoted by the incubators I3P (Innovative Business Incubator of the Politecnico di Torino), 2i3T (Business Incubator of the University of Torino) and Enne3 (Business Incubator of Eastern Piedmont). The aim is to spread the culture of innovation and support the birth of innovative and knowledge-intensive startups, in order to promote the economic development of the Piedmont and Valle d'Aosta regions.
A successful edition during which 120 business plans were submitted (+8% compared to 2020). The 395 proposers (+14% compared to 2020), who participated mainly in teams, were mostly men (77%) and 39% of them had a master's degree, 24% a bachelor's degree, 23% a diploma and 14% a master's or doctorate.
The winners of the Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta 2021
Thanks to the endowment made available by the Promoters and Supporters of the 2021 edition, as well as the support of the Piedmont Region through the European Social Fund, the overall Start Cup prize pool amounted to more than €50,000, in cash and services.
The startup Elemento, incubated in 2i3T, led by CEO Gabriele Gaetano Fronzé, won the €10,000 first prize thanks to its proposal for a new way of making the cloud in which users themselves provide the space to be shared, thus creating a common platform for everyone, accessible anywhere and from any device.
In second place, for a prize of €7,500, was Reefilla, startup incubated in I3P, which proposed the first predictive charging service for electric vehicles using a fast charge device, based on interchangeable batteries, connected and transportable. All managed by a cloud-based digital platform, which will allow the devices to be controlled and operational activities to be coordinated.
Closing the podium (third prize of €5,000) was Fidelio Medical, startup incubated in 2i3T, which intends to bring to market the first digital solution designed specifically for women and aimed at screening and diagnosing iron deficiency directly in doctors' surgeries and pharmacies.
In fourth place, ex aequo, are: Algor, an innovative edtech startup, supported by I3P, that created Algor Maps, the first web app that supports students with DSA, teachers and tutors in the creation of concept maps automatically from text, thanks to a proprietary AI algorithm; Viper, with software designed to make ultrasound examinations of the Vena Cava Inferiore faster and more accurate; Achille, the compact electric scooter that, combining the performance and safety of a scooter with the ease of use of a scooter, aims to revolutionise intermodal city transport.
The top six projects will receive a prize of €1,000 each for entry into the PNI 2021, the National Innovation Award, the "cup of champions" among the winning business projects of the regional Start Cups, which will take place in Rome on 3 December 2021.
The special prizes promoted by the Sponsors of the Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta 2021, interested in contributing concretely to the development of innovation, were also awarded:
- Regione Autonoma Valle d'Aosta, aiming at entrepreneurial development in the territory, awarded the Valle d'Aosta Prize of €7,500 for the establishment of the company in the Pépinières d'Entreprises of Aosta or Pont Saint Martin, to the compact electric scooter by Achille.
- The Cuneo Prize of €7,500, dedicated to the best business plan for setting up a company in the Province of Cuneo and made available by the CRC Foundation, which is attentive to interventions aimed at competitiveness and sustainable development, went to Flaskk, project supported by I3P, which designed the innovative and IOT vending machine - on loan for use free of charge to companies: connected to the water mains, it dispenses cold, sparkling and flavoured natural water in bottles and ensures services such as monitoring consumption and social and environmental objectives.
- JACOBACCI & PARTNERS, a reference company in Italy and one of the main European companies in the field of intellectual property protection, awarded its €10,000 prize, in the form of consultancy services for the protection of trademarks and patents for a period of six months, to Upniversal, supported by I3P, for its "Modular Dual Chamber Face Mask" project: it envisages the development of a special patented modular respiratory mask capable of meeting the needs of hospital staff in terms of safety and flexibility of use according to requirements and the degree of protection needed.
- On the other hand, UNICREDIT spa assigned its prize consisting of a mentorship session for admission to the Start Lab programme to Achille. It was in fact recognised as the best Business Plan with market potential and impact innovation features.
Finally, the four special mentions were also awarded:
- "Covid-19", for the best project offering solutions in the event of a health crisis caused by the spread of a virus epidemic, was awarded to Proteolabio, project supported by I3P, which uses a patented artificial intelligence method for protein design. The innovative approach allows candidate molecules to be improved at an early stage in the drug discovery process, enabling the introduction of new therapies;
- The "Open Innovation / Industrial Spin Off" mention, dedicated to the best project concerning innovative products and/or services resulting from a research activity carried out in collaboration between a company and a university in Piedmont, went to DEMETRA, startup incubated in 2i3T, a precision viticulture system that uses drones, satellites, sensors and cutting-edge technologies to support farms in their daily decision-making;
- Fidelio Medical also won the "Equal Opportunities" mention as the best project aimed at promoting the principle of equal opportunities and female entrepreneurship;
- The startup Algor, on the other hand, won the 'Social Innovation' award as the best project for developing and implementing new ideas to meet social needs, create new relationships or partnerships.
"The growing numbers of Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta 2021 are an important signal of restart and underline the dynamism of the local innovation system thanks also to the contribution of the universities, public university incubators and regional institutions," said the Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta organising committee. "The entrepreneurial projects in the latest edition of the Start Cup address technological fields with a high impact on socio-economic development, ranging from the medical sector to digital infrastructures for data management, from innovative solutions for the transition to new models of sustainable mobility to solutions for precision agriculture and the fight against climate change. The institutional, industrial, financial and research partners supporting the Start Cup Piemonte Valle d'Aosta represent a fundamental lever to support the future transformation of these projects into successful enterprises, with the shared objective of creating employment in strategic sectors for the competitiveness of the territory".
"The Region firmly believes in the value of innovative startups, especially at this particular time as the result of young talents who deserve to be supported and encouraged," commented Elena Chiorino, Councillor for Education, Employment, Vocational Training and Right to University Study of the Piedmont Region. "The restart situation we are experiencing makes it imperative and urgent to invest massive energy in companies and young talents, because the future will require them to have a greater ability to adapt to managing change and uncertainty in their future life paths. As an institution we have a moral obligation to work well: the debt created by the pandemic is unprecedented and will have to be repaid mainly by those who are the young people today: our duty today is to ensure that they have all the tools they need to do well".
"The task of the institutions is to believe in the future and in the world of innovation because this is how we lay the foundations for our future," commented Andrea Tronzano, Councillor for the Budget and Development of Productive Activities and Small and Medium Enterprises of the Piedmont Region. "Technology is important, but without human inventiveness it is nothing, as Steve Jobs winked. We must have faith in people, in young people, in their spirit of always putting themselves to the test, of overcoming their limits and working and inventing through the tools that we can provide them with".
"Innovative startups are young, high-tech companies with high professional skills and strong growth potential and represent one of the atouts for the economic development of our country," said Luigi Bertschy, Councillor for Economic Development, Training and Labour, Autonomous Region of Valle d'Aosta. "The Aosta Valley believes in innovation and in the positive and driving force of youth entrepreneurship. For this reason, among the other initiatives we are carrying out, we wanted to participate again this year in the competition dedicated to aspiring entrepreneurs interested in creating an innovative start-up to establish in our territory".