Starting with the US Connect pilot program in 2012 and continuing through the ongoing Global Startup Program, UTEN has helped many of the most innovative startup companies in Portugal to reach international markets, capital, and expertise.
The following companies were selected through the Global Startup Program 2015 Call. They comprise two groups, business development companies and acceleration companies.
2015 Business Development Companies
Led by Pedro Antunes, Biopremier develops DNA-based diagnostic solutions for several sectors, including agro-food, veterinary, environmental, and clinical. The company has developed techniques that are unique in the world, both in service and product format — speciation, fraud detection and DNA-based microbiology. The company began the monetization efforts for product and service development in 2012, starting with food quality and fraud control within the Portuguese market. Today the company works with clients all over the EU and is starting to internationalize beyond its borders (US, Brazil, and Mexico, for example). Biopremier’s services and products are used mainly in the agro-food sector, from private firms (retailers, producers, and laboratories) to governmental fraud control agencies. The company’s competitive advantage is its unique technology for food-fraud detection through DNA, as well as a lean cost structure. Biopremier aims to be an international reference of innovation and development for molecular diagnosis products by becoming a molecular biology center of reference. The company is focused on innovation, offering products and services in the fields of molecular biology for the agrifood, environmental, human clinical, and animal health industries.
Bliss Applications is a mobile software development consultancy, developing services and products for a growing market of mobile-driven economies as a subsidiary for WYgroup. WYGroup started in 2002 as a digital marketing agency. The company evolved into a group in 2007 by capturing new technologies that could be used for marketing, which led to the creation of Bliss Applications in 2009, with a focus on developing software and apps for what was thought to be a great market. From its inception the group maintained the same management board and the same leadership in the mobile consultancy business unit. Pedro Janela is CEO of WYgroup and André Gil is Managing Partner of Bliss Applications.
Focused on information security, Dognædis was created by a team of researchers from CERT-IPN and University of Coimbra. Francisco Rente and team were previously created CSIRT (Computer Security Incident Response Team), the CERT-IPN, hosted at the Instituto Pedro Nunes, a technology transfer interface created by the University of Coimbra in Portugal. After five years of activity, and due to the increasing success and positive feedback from several private and government organizations, Dognædis started as a private company, aiming to be at the forefront of security technologies. To reach this goal, the company is devoted to bringing information security to organizations and individuals through excellence in innovative solutions.
Headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal, and led by André Pimentel and João Redol, EyeSee is a revolutionary solution that engages viewers and allows brands to seamlessly integrate in- stream ads and in-image ads in premium content. EyeSee has developed a patent-protected technology that automatically inserts context-relevant ads: No need for human intervention, making it easy and scalable for publishers.
Formerly PharmAssistant, Line Health has undergone a major rebranding and product design. Strongly influenced by the extensive market research conducted by the IC² Institute, consisting of many conversations with persons in the healthcare industry, Line Health made the decision to focus on engagement and alignment between healthcare providers and patients. The company’s initiative to redesign its product, in order to offer a higher degree of confirmation to patients and caregivers, was underscored by conversations with Cindy Walker-Peach, Director of the Life Science vertical at the Austin Technology Incubator and Anupam Srivastava, Director of Intel Capital.
On the company’s behalf, in order to determine the right market fit for their solution, the Institute was able to facilitate a clinical pilot dialogue for 100 stroke patients with the NeuroTexas Institute at St. David’s Hospital. For the trial, the Institute helped Line Health identify potential funding sources and collaborated on NIH and American Heart Association grants. As a part of conversations for this trial, Line Health began discussions to form an industry partnership with Dell and start clinical trial conversations for diabetic patients with Sendero Health, a major Accountable Care Organization in Texas.
“The value brought by the IC² Institute and the UTEN program to Line Health is unquestionable. They did an impressive job in terms of market research, and they were able to arrange very important and relevant meetings for my trips to Texas (investors, partners, pilots, etc.). The ongoing relationship was also critical for the development of our business model in the US, figuring out the incentives for each stakeholder.”
Diogo Ortega, co-founder and CEO of Line Health
“UTEN brings American startup know-how to the Portuguese ecosystem. They teach us best practices and methods, without which we couldn’t aim at becoming successful entrepreneurs.”
Lourenço Oliveira, Business Developer for Line Health
Veniam is building the Internet of Moving Things. It turns vehicles into Wi-Fi hotspots and builds city-scale vehicular networks that expand wireless coverage and collects terabytes of urban data. In controlled spaces such as ports and container terminals, Veniam’s game-changing solutions ensure that all mobile workers and assets are securely connected, no matter where they are or at what speed they are moving. Its hardware, software, and cloud components are running in the world’s largest network of connected vehicles, including taxis, waste collection trucks, and an entire public bus fleet in Porto, Portugal, offering free Wi-Fi to more than 260,000 active customers. Veniam is backed by leading venture capital firms, with offices in Silicon Valley and Porto, Portugal.
Led by João Rodrigues, CEO, and João Neiva, COO, Xhockware is a tech company based in Porto focused on developing innovative retail solutions. The company’s first product is YouBeep, a mobile checkout solution designed to end waiting lines at checkout. The solution is based on two components, a mobile app and patented pluggable device, compatible with all POS, requiring no integration. YouBeep is a product for retailers worldwide, especially grocers/ supermarkets,wanting to improve customer satisfaction and save money.
BEEVERYCREATIVE, led by Aurora Batista, develops desktop 3D printers and sells those printers and filament. The company aims to be among the world’s top players in this market within five years. In 2013, the company launched its first printer, BEETHEFIRST, which is certified with CE, GS and UL, and has been distinguished in 2014 with four relevant international awards. In the same year, CNN Money referred to BEEVERYCREATIVE as one of the four companies in the race for the consumer market and Tech.Eu ranked the company as the #21 most exciting lean hardware startup in Europe.
Founded in 2015 by Rui Rodriques and José Marcal, BeMicro operates mainly in Smart Energy. BeMicro’s main product is the BEON microinverter, a small device that is attached to a Solar panel and allows is to be directly connected to a wall socket plug to start producing your own energy right out of the box and within 30 minutes. The company has introduced a unique system that allows the microinverters to be controlled to guarantee excess production. To help customers save money, the system is also able to control consumption and disconnect devices if the energy production from renewable sources is insufficient.
Ciengis was founded in 2006, as a spin-off of the University of Coimbra by CEO Andrey Romanenko and Natércia Fernandes. Ciengis provides monitoring and optimization solutions that help manufacturing companies optimize the efficiency of their processes and reach higher levels of performance and competitiveness. Ciengis has worked with manufacturers in a variety of industries including chemical, petrochemical, energy (including bioenergy), cement, pulp and paper, and other manufacturing plants that have high energy consumption and high non-conformance costs. Solutions address all phases of a project: model development, control system architecture development, interfacing to regulatory controls, tuning, commissioning, and testing.
CoolFarm is a breakthrough system designed to nurture plants by controlling several environmental variables that have a direct impact on plant growth. Its application makes farming control easier and more intuitive as well as more precise and optimized in terms of plant growth and resource management. The result is higher without sacrificing crop quality. CoolFarm is aware of its environment, but more importantly, it is aware of plants and it is able to provide them what they need, when they need it! The company was “cool-founded” by Gonçalo Cabrita, Liliana Marques, Eduardo Esteves, and João Igor.
doDOC co-founded by three MIT Portugal PhDs: Carlos Boto, Federico Cismondi, and Paulo Melo, who together share more than 35 years of experience in professional documentation, engineering systems & life sciences, business development and sales. doDOC is defining a new era in regulatory compliance. doDOC automates the creation, management and tracking of information for regulatory reports ensuring compliance and facilitating the steps required for regulatory and quality audits. Through a cloud-based Platform-as-a-Service, doDOC can replace, complement, or enhance existing document management solutions due to its compatibility, flexibility, and highly collaboration-oriented platform. Moreover, the management of the whole compliance process significantly improves due to the integrated analytics that doDOC provides.
Findster has developed an innovative GPS tracking system that uses a proprietary radio frequency (RF) technology to extend the communications range 10-20X times further than the typical Bluetooth-enabled tracking systems on the market today. Findster trackers have a standard range of 1km (0.62mi) versus a typical 100-150 meter range of Bluetooth trackers, that can be extended to 2km (1.2mi) with addition of a base station to the system. The Findster tracker is ideal for real-time monitoring of the location of children or pets at play or going to school. When paired with the Findster mobile app you can create security zones or routes, and receive push notifications when the safe settings are not met. Additional features include activity tracking and fall detection. Findster tracker has no monthly fees.
PeekMed started in 2014, and the company was founded in January of 2015 by João Pedro Ribeiro, Sara Silva, and Jamie Campos. PeekMed aims to hold on the forefront of innovation through the creation of products that redefine services in Healthcare. The company strives to build, on the one hand, innovative and powerful technological solutions and on the other hand, simple and easy to use tools in order to help the healthcare professionals in a better way. PeekMed intends to create global products, that are easily accessible, used, and recommended by all physicians worldwide. PeekMed’s first product is a 3D surgical planning software for orthopedic surgeons, PeekMed One. Current pre-operative planning tools are ineffective because orthopedic surgeons cannot make a full surgery preview due to the current 2D limitations of the planning process. During 2014, PeekMed tested the prototype version of PeekMed One with a community of about 30 orthopedic surgeons in the north of Portugal. Through an iterative process, we have worked to reach high quality industry-leading tool. PeekMed recently launched the minimum viable product (MVP). Since February, there are about 80 users of the trial version of PeekMed One. PeekMed’s patent-pending technology consists in an algorithm that allows the interoperability of images structurally different.
Founded by Ines Viegas and Bruno Farinha, Petable is an app for pet owners that includes a pet’s complete and detailed health and life records, contextualized information from Petable’s team of vets with a direct connection to the user’s veterinarian, and integration with wearable and IoT devices for pets.
The company also includes a back office for veterinary clinics, with integration to practice management software, and that means access to clients’ remote behavior, and a platform for guided pet care. Petable is also a platform for corporate players, who benefit from the collected data, and get a channel for delivering contextualized information.
Founded by Pedro Campos and Ruca Marques, Switch is an online payments gateway that provides one simple and flexible API that connects high volume merchants with a myriad of service providers (Card Networks, Acquirers, Processors, PSPs, Wallets, Security Providers) over a single integration, using proprietary technology such as dynamic routing to promote cross-border transaction optimization. Switch offers flexible payment APIs with libraries in every mainstream programming language that enable businesses to: easily integrate multiple acquirers/currencies/payment methods over one single integration; significantly reduce their processing rates on cross-border payments by dynamically routing transactions through local acquirers; create custom payment experiences in mobile websites or mobile apps; program flexible payment orders: charge customers one-time, recurring, with dynamic amounts and periods; and keep sensitive data away from their servers, easing much of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance burden. The company’s state-of-the-art modular systems architecture enables us to plug multiple payment providers in record time. This infrastructure combined with a transactional business model allows Switch to rapidly expand its operations into other markets and lock new businesses, using first-mover advantage to explore new markets.
Founded by Virgílio Bento and Andre Eiras dos Santos, SWORD Health believes that the solution for stroke rehabilitation is in the wise combination of novel neuroscience-driven therapeutic methods with effective technologies that facilitate the dissemination of care and the use of all the knowledge produced in the rehabilitation of a large network of patients. Pursuing this vision, the company has developed an innovative system that allows the sustainable delivery of a more efficient motor rehabilitation to stroke patients, providing a rich source of data for clinicians and decision makers. SWORD Health was selected as one of the 140 most innovative companies in Europe and won a grant of $1M with the project. In addition, the company is partnering with the biggest rehabilitation chain of United States (2,100 clinics).
Watt-IS was founded in March, 2012 by three entrepreneurs, with Miguel Carvalho as CEO. With diverse backgrounds, the team has been working jointly for more than four years on several R&D projects in energy efficiency within the MIT Portugal Program (MPP). Watt-IS was recently strengthened by the addition of Henrique Pombeiro (an MPP PhD candidate) as partner. Watt-IS has developed a software solution that analyzes the aggregated electricity consumption of a household from the data provided by smart meters, to identify when and which household appliances are used in a non-intrusive way. With this information, Watt-IS is able to generate tailor-made energy efficiency measures targeted for each household to help end-user clients to use electricity more efficiently, thus lowering energy consumption (and bills). The new layer of information generated will be useful to utility companies to better understand their clients, improve customer satisfaction levels, and achieve proper client segmentation. Watt-IS intends to partner with energy companies to provide precise energy efficiency information to their existing client base, charging utility companies an annual fee.
The following companies were selected through the Global Startup Program 2014 Call.
2east has developed a proprietary drink delivery backpack system for promoting and selling of cold, hot, and both sparkled and non-sparkled beverages. 2east targets large festivals, conference and events as well as brand activation campaigns. With current customers such as Lollapalooza (Brazil), Rock in Rio (Portugal and Brazil) and Alive (Portugal), 2east is well established with key global events and working to close the first US opportunity with a major multinational event targeting a mid 2015 launch.
Update: 2EAST made its US debut in May 2015 at the festival Rock in Rio Las Vegas. Watch the SIC Notícias video.
ARPublisher is a publisher specializing in the production of books with 3D augmented reality digital content for viewing on smartphones and tablets. ARPublisher’s goal is to create a bridge to the future of literature for children, producing books in traditional format with graphics and rich colors and the added value of integrating 3D images using new augmented reality technologies. ARPublisher offers mobile applications with narration of the books in several languages, innovative content, is upgradeable and interactive. Looking at the world of literature in digital format, ARPublisher combines the best of both worlds: the charm of the traditional with the magic of new technologies.
Farmodiética is a leading manufacture of high quality nutritional supplements sold through pharmacies and herbal shops in Portugal, Greece and Lebanon. In 2008, Farmodiética developed the 3 Step Diet program that is sold through medical and health clinics and managed by dieticians providing a multiphase medically managed weight loss program.
IPBRICK SA designs systems of engagement using Linux-based, open-source, IT architectures (inside a unique server/brick technology) that result in turnkey IT infrastructure services for SMB/SME, mid-market and large enterprise businesses. Combining four core elements of Email & Groupware, Document & Process Management, Unified Communications & Collaboration, and Enterprise Social Business Management with embedded IT security, IPBrick delivers ready-to-run, customized “IT Stack” designs. Its Lego-like, plug-and-play modules equip integrators, resellers and IT admins with N-combinations of network topologies and intranet/extranet configurations that get placed into service instantly, whether on premises or in the cloud. This results in a 50% lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and faster return on investment (ROI) to cost conscious customers. IPBrick’s “Swiss army knife” style of server technology (also known as an IP Brick) comes pre-configured and is exceptionally fast to install and simple to provision by IT professionals with limited IT certifications (i.e., No Cisco or Microsoft certs required). IPBrick has product deployed in over 30 countries with a base of over 7,000 IP Bricks installed in more than 6,000 businesses servicing over 1.5M users in Western Europe/EU. IPBRICK SA is headquartered in Oporto, Portugal and is led by CEO, Raul Oliveira.
Metablue, founded in February 2011 and based at UPTEC (the Science and Technology Park of the University of Porto), has developed a digital otoscope, the Otitest, for the detection of AOM (Acute Otitis Media also known as ear infection), one of the most prevalent infections in early childhood. Unlike any other product on the market, Metablue’s Otitest will enable the diagnosis of ear infections at an early stage, through the measurement and analysis of the middle ear and ear channel color. The ease of use which has been designed into the Otitest will allow families, not just physicians or health care specialists, to easily diagnose the presence or absence of infection. Even though AOM needs to be treated under medical supervision, early stage detection decreases the need for unnecessary follow-up appointments and reduces the likelihood of the child having to take a course of antibiotics.
RVLP Technologies has been active since October 1, 2010 and is incubated in the technological center of the Park of Science and Technology, University of Porto – UPTEC. The company has activities in research, development and commercialization of technologically advanced products to improve productivity for the swine industry through its wholly owned subsidiary ScrofaTech. The company’s main mission is to support customers in the selection and use of new technologies incorporating automation, robotics, and industrial applications to support their strategic objectives. ScrofaTech offers a swine farm management software system, and the world’s first automated artificial vision system for monitoring farrowing (birthing) of sows. The ScrofaPartum systems gives producers the ability to see in real-time what is occurring in the farrowing units leading to superior outcomes and increased productivity and profitability. ScrofaTech had the commercial launch of the ScrofaPartum monitoring system at EuroTier 2014, the largest agricultural trade fair in the world and will launch additional technologies in 2015 to meet the needs of swine producers.
Take the Wind
Body Interact by Take the Wind, Inc. delivers the world’s first 3D e-Health medical training platform that accelerates learning and improves patient outcomes for doctors, nurses and drug companies. Body Interact’s immersive touchscreen experience offers professionals and students an interactive, life-like platform, adaptable across dozens of clinical case scenarios including Cardiology, Respiratory, Neurology, Endocrinology and Infectious Disease. Unlike using static mannequin or cadavers for training — Body Interact is customizable for medical schools, medical simulation centers, and continuing education providers. It’s been used to deliver hundreds of clinical cases via webinars, hands-on workshop or multi-day conferences by universities, medical associations and drug companies to train and educate employees and salespersons. Body Interact can be uniquely configured as a table-top touchscreen or delivered on iPad or Android Tablets or via hosted web conference session. Take the Wind is headquartered in Coimbra, Portugal, and is led by Pedro Pinto, CEO, Teresa Pinto, COO and Silverio Mendes, CBO.
Vertequip has designed and patented S.T.E.P. (System of Translation and Elevation of People) which is the fastest, most productive and safest way of performing Work At Heights. S.T.E.P. delivers a compete end-to-end, turnkey safety system for moving manpower and equipment vertically, horizontally or diagonally in and around tall or deep structures with speed and accuracy. Vertequip’s gear can be permanently fixed or offered as a portable system for safely securing those that make a living working at heights, fast and cost effectively. Vertequip’s S.T.E.P. Academy delivers certified safety training to its customers which meets or exceeds all CE, ANSI or OSHA standards of excellence. S.T.E.P. Is used worldwide by construction firms, mining companies and by those that service and maintain hi-rises, wind turbines and off shore oil rigs. Vertequip’s solutions are equally agile and simple enough for persons with limited mobility or for amputees to own and operate their own commercial window cleaning operations. The company is funded by EDP ventures, a wind energy company and it has won numerous awards and has contracts in Portugal, Spain, Angola, Germany and Brazil. Vertequip’s headquarters is in Santarém, Portugal and its CEO is Manoel Júnior.
The following companies were chosen through a pilot selection process in 2013. The IC² Institute team contacted the main technology commercialization and incubation entities in Portugal, 13 in total across 8 different locations. Each entity was asked to identify, within its portfolio, the top spin-off companies interested in developing operations in international markets, particularly in the United States. Evaluation of the top finalist companies was conducted by the IC² Institute team in close collaboration with the host institutions. This selection process included background information, in-person interviews, and follow-up distance conversations.
Abyssal develops integrated Subsea Navigation Solutions for Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs). The company’s software, Abyssal OS, was developed after years of working with ROV pilots, subsea contractors, and oil & gas companies. Abyssal OS features advanced 3D technology, augmented reality, and precise navigation. These features allow it to operate safely in the world’s harshest environments. The company is headquartered in Matosinhos, Portugal, and is led by Manuel Parente and Rafael Simão.
Auditmark has developed web application security and web traffic auditing products to help protect web applications and their users from web attacks. Both of these products focus on putting the first line of defense right on the client-side in order to efficiently mitigate web threats before they turn into real problems for website owners. Auditmark’s products already have many users and are gaining more traction every day. The Global Start-up Team is currently working with Auditmark on a marketing strategy for the United States. The company is located in Porto, Portugal, and is led by Rui Ribeiro and Pedro Fortuna.
Celfinet, created in 2003, focuses on technical consultancy services and solutions for tele-communications companies. Its primary product, Vismon Intelligence, is a Multivendor Network Performance Manager based on BSS counters that is tailored to GSM/DCS, UMTS and LTE technologies. It statistically monitors information collected directly from the main network elements, and enables close inspection of the major QoS offenders, identifying network trouble spots and setting up and implementing correction measures. Celfinet is headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal and the business development efforts are being led by Luis Varela and Alexandre Victorino.
The technology of Omniflow’s device makes use of an inverted wing shaped airfoil to direct the wind from any direction (omnidirectional) and promote a venturi effect that accelerates the wind in the direction of the central vertical axis turbine. The surface of the wing is covered by PV cells that maximize energy production. The ability to combine two power sources in such a small surface area makes Omniflow’s product a novel contender in the renewable energy market. The company is headquartered in Porto, Portugal and is led by Pedro Ruão Cunha and his team composed of Pedro Vieira Castro, Mário Jorge Rodrigues, Filipe Marçal, Filipe Afonso, and Vera Ramos.
Co-founded by Afonso Santos (CEO), Álvaro Ferreira (CFO), and Helder Fernandes (CTO), Tuizzi is a platform that offers the easiest way to manage outdoor advertising. The company’s mission is to simplify the process of finding, planning, buying, and selling alternative, traditional, and digital out-of-home media. Through Tuizzi’s online marketplace, media providers create enhanced media profiles for their properties. In turn, advertisers use the extensive and comprehensive database of media properties to find new ideas, plan, and build the perfect out-of-home campaign.
The following companies participated in the pilot US Connect program.