Last Updated 20 | 06 | 2014 at 10:30

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€100,000 for startups in first TAKEOFF Seed Fund Award

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di-ve.com news
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The Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business has awarded €100,000 in seed funding to groups of innovators and entrepreneurs that will help them move their promising ideas forward toward commercialization and creation of high-growth businesses in Malta. Award winners received their cheques from MEIB Minister, Dr. Chris Cardona, at an award ceremony today at TAKEOFF, the incubator of the University of Malta

The TAKEOFF Seed Fund Award is the first programme in Malta to focus on early-stage technology and startup development. The 2014 pilot of this programme aims to help move promising ideas forward toward commercialisation and ultimately, creation of high-growth businesses in Malta. Award funding helps to bridge the initial gap between lab/patent/idea and market development, and provides support to innovators and entrepreneurs when they need it most to increase the likelihood of success.

The TAKEOFF Seed Fund Award programme received 30 applications and shortlisted twelve teams to ‘pitch’ their ideas to the award programme selection committee. Nine teams received funding ranging from €5,000 and €18,000. Award winners will work closely with the TAKEOFF incubator team to advance their technology commercialization and startup business development plans.

“In Malta there is no shortage of good innovations and technologies, nor is there a lack of talented people with the energy to take those ideas to market,” said TAKEOFF Manager, Ben McClure. “While the island certainly has more investment-worthy ideas than available early-stage funding, today’s support from the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business plays an important role in helping get some great ideas off the ground.”

Minister Cardona congratulated all the Startup teams participating in the Seed Fund Award programme and congratulated the teams receiving the awards: “As you develop your ideas you should know that all of Malta is behind you and that your success is our pride.” said Minister Cardona.

Dr. Chris Cardona also encouraged the teams that did not receive an award to keep working on their ideas:  “There will be other opportunities and you should not lose your ambition. There is never an end date … a burst of good ideas and development can happen anywhere, anytime and should always be pursued.” said Minister Cardona.

The TAKEOFF Seed Fund Award is a joint initiative between the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Business Incubation (CEBI) at the University of Malta and the Ministry for the Economy, Industry and Small Business (MEIB), with support from TAKEOFF, the Business Incubator of the University of Malta.

Startup teams receiving TAKEOFF Seed Fund awards are:

DiscountIF (€18,000): Startup DiscountIF’s e-commerce platform will disrupt the traditional online retail market by combining the thrill of winning a bet with the value of a discounts site, offering a unique buying promise.

Inbound Muse (€18,000): Inbound Muse will produce artificial intelligence-based software that helps businesses gain in-depth understanding and insights about their markets.

MightyBox Games (€10,000): Digital games studio MightyBox is focused on developing games for the music industry, producing titles closely attached to songs and musical artists.

Sanctuary (€6,000): Sanctuary is  developing a mobile, audio-visual tool designed to provide meditative aid to terminally ill hospital patients.

eSports Unlimited (€5,000): eSports Unlimited is a new web-based platform offering fantasy sports leagues, betting, and results analysis services for professional video games competitions (esports).

Proof-of-concept technology commercialization opportunities that received funding are:

Rib Bridge (€16,000): A University of Malta team has invented a novel ‘rib bridge’ that helps surgeons safely and effectively reconstruct chest wall after operations to remove cancers and address traumas.

Ultrawideband Antenna (€14,500): A University of Malta team has developed an ultra-wideband, ultra-low cost antenna with large market opportunities in astronomy, mobile, radar, broadcasting, aviation and earth observations.

WALNUT (€7,500): A University of Malta team is developing brain-controlled music player app for mobile devices.

HydroStorageSystem (€5,000): A University of Malta team has invented a system that combines offshore wind energy and deep sea water to produce low-cost onshore cooling for large buildings.

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