In this report produced by Beta-i both for the tech community and their policy-makers in Europe, we share analysis and recommendations on a crucial, yet unexplored, topic: the Digital Markets Act (DMA) systemic impact on European startups and scale-ups, with special emphasis on the direct or unintended consequences on venture capital investment.
Available for download here, the document summarizes what the DMA is about and how it can impact European digital companies growth. But above all, shares contributions to the legislative discussion being held on the topic, such as:
# The DMA’s message that growing too much will come at the cost of being regulated ex-ante is still not enough for Europe’s ambitious digital and green transformation goals over the next decade;
# The proposal skips some necessary guiding principles for the single market’s future competitiveness. The DMA could better anticipate ways to support and prepare European startups’ journey towards a “gatekeeper” position within Europe’s digital single market;
# European companies may choose to fragment themselves to avoid reaching the “gatekeeper stage”, which will inhibit their ability to compete on the global stage;
# By being mainly focused on existing large players rather than unleashing innovation from within, the DMA proposal lacks the connection with other EU initiatives to reinforce Europe’s entrepreneurial vision;
# The DMA debate could explore the topic from a more positive perspective, establishing a competitive and inclusive vision, capable of foreseeing scenarios based on collaboration between different business stakeholders, of different sizes;
# Net VC numbers could plunge in Europe for a period still to be estimated, as the impact of the DMA on the ecosystem and the uncertainty it can generate keeps under assessment. The impact could be greater and deeper in more risk-averse investment models such as corporate ventures and regular M&A;
# The theme of mergers, acquisitions and the so-called killer acquisitions should not be framed under a “one size fits all” logic. Each merger and acquisition is the result of differing sets of circumstances which means that not every acquisition is a to-be-controlled killer one;
# The proposal of centralizing within the DMA gatekeepers’ deliberations in the European Commission is interesting and pragmatic, as long as the Commission set up minimum instruments for the Member States to provide timely context and information;
# In regard to data processing and usage, a proposal with a greater focus on what happens at the very beginning of commercial relations between the current gatekeepers and their business users (and then their final consumers/users), would be a simpler way to nudge compliance and neutralize future conflicts of interest;
# The European Commission could double-down in a systemic economic consultation to further preview and anticipate DMA’s consequences on the investment market, and the impact it will have on up-and-coming European players in the digital marketplace.
Commissioned by Google, the report actually translates Beta-i’s perspective from the inside of innovation, digital and entrepreneurship spaces in Europe. The Digital Markets Act is relevant and necessary but could improve its understanding of the interconnected nature of the tech ecosystem. This would be a way to better design any transition towards Europe’s digital competitiveness ambition. We believe it is possible to promote a free market alongside regulatory tools to ensure fair, equitable access to B2B opportunities – while giving consumers choice.
NextLap is the open innovation program designed to give a new life to tyre components. Between September 2020 and May 2021, it joined innovators and industry partners to develop new solutions focused on the end-of-life tyres and its derived components – rubber, steel, and textile. And the results were truly rewarding!
NextLap is a program by Valorpneu and Genan, developed by Beta-i.
All about Sustainability
The Portuguese newspaper Jornal Económico has summed it up correctly: every year, around the world, over 30 million tons of tyres are discarded. Only in Portugal, we’re talking about 80 thousand tons, with 60% going to recycling and 40% to energy production. According to a study by Valorpneu, one of the main partners of NextLap, per each ton of recovered tyres, we’re avoiding about 1.3 tons of CO2 emissions and saving 37283 energy megajoules.
The most common usages of tyre rubber recovery are usually sports pavements, synthetic grass filling, isolation materials and concrete used in roads and airports. In the end, NextLap is all about sustainability and circular economy. Tyres go circular, always and forever.
Innovation road trip: finding new solutions…
In the end of its journey, NextLap gathered the final innovators and the program’s partners for a demo day, to show results of the work done between each other.
Two of the pilot projects developed during NextLap were the result of a collaboration between the worldwide known Decathlon and two of the innovators of the program: Rubberlink and Tintex, both from Portugal.
The innovators at Rubberlink have designed a devulcanized rubber solution that allowed Decathlon to create a shoe prototype with a recycled shoe sole.
Tintex, on the other hand, has used rubber powder to create the vamp of gymnastic shoes, a product to be tested also by Decathlon. This innovative solution is showing the never thought potential of this tyre material. Besides, Tintex is also considering reusing the textile material from tyres in bicycle saddles.
The program originated a total of five pilot projects.
Pavnext, also from Portugal, has developed an electric solution that reduces the speed of vehicles circulating within regions, covered by rubber made out of tyre recycling. Ruconbar, from Croatia, has presented a solution for acoustic barriers in trailways with rubber made out of tyre recycling.
… and Art
NextLap has taken tyre upcycling to a whole new level: Art.
“UNO” is a sculpture made out of derivatives from pieces of old tyres. This piece of art was made by Filippo Fiumani and João Mendonça (Luzíadas) with the curatorship of Departamento (Bruno Pereira). It gives a new life to materials that no longer have their original purpose.
“UNO” can be seen temporarily in Lisbon, by the docks, in Alcântara.
Designing the Future
José de Carvalho, Innovation Director at Genan, sums it right: “The goal of NextLap was to bring together innovators and industries and open the door for new solutions to turn into commercial circuits. The first objective was effectively achieved and, with the creation of the prototypes, it will be possible to evaluate all the inherent properties in order to enable the transition to mass production”
NextLap is just the first step of further collaborations. Innovators and partners have met, worked together and designed a new future for sustainability for the end-of-life tyres. We’re eager to see what the next lap will show.
Main Partners: Valorpneu | Genan | Beta-i
Industry Partners: OPWAY | Pragosa | Mobinov | Decathlon | Extruplás | Procalçado | IP – Infraestruturas de Portugal | Houdini Sportswear
Free Electrons 2021 Bootcamp is taking place this week, from May 24 to May 27. Four days for the selected startups to showcase their solutions and their teams through a fast-paced pitch event and participate in intense one-on-one meetings with the utilities. Out of hundreds of applications, these were the Bootcamp selected:
Apollo Power | Israel
Apollo Power is an innovation company in the field of Energy. We use our proprietary technology to produce a flexible, durable, lightweight solar film to solve different energy challenges in a new way, both on water, in the air, for infrastructure, or in the automotive industry.
Blixt | Sweden
BLIXT disrupts a 100-year-old industry replacing mechanical circuit breakers with smart digital devices. The Blixt Zero SSCB is x1000 faster, provides circuit level metering and remote real time control of power – all-in-one single device.
Bsurance | Austria
bsurance is a B2B2C, white-label insurtech company focusing on Embedded Insurance. The essence of our business model is to provide insurance to the customer the very moment it becomes relevant within the customer journey, inevitably connecting it to the product or service of their interest, without any interruption of their purchasing process.
Camus Energy | USA
Camus Energy is building an open source software platform to enable the future Distribution System Operator (DSO). Camus’ platform empowers industry leaders to safely and strategically manage a rapidly changing grid environment.
DABBEL – Automation Intelligence | Germany
The DABBEL AI is a pure software solution that replaces the manual control of the existing Building Management Systems in commercial buildings with Artificial Intelligence.
Duckt | Estonia
Duckt, is a universal micromobility infrastructure solution. You can dock, lock and charge any vehicle in one spot, easy to scale and adaptable with your urban mobility needs.
Electron (UK) | United Kingdom
Electron’s solution is a configurable platform for local flexibility markets. Our software enables companies such as network utilities, municipal suppliers and others to launch and operate markets, communicate with distributed energy resources through price signals, and optimize their combined use of renewable generation or network capacity.
Eliq AB | Sweden
Eliq is the SaaS platform that enables energy companies to deploy applications that help end-customers better understand and manage their energy usage and accelerate their participation in the energy transition.
eSmart Systems | Norway
Our flagship product Grid Vision – an AI-assisted, end-to-end powerline inspection management tool – was first released in 2016 and is currently in use by more than 30 utilities in Europe and the US.
Exceedence | Ireland
Exceedence is an Irish SME that provides renewable energy financial modelling software and consultancy with particular expertise in marine and offshore renewables.
Exeri | Sweden
Smart Grid SurveillanceTM (SGS) is Exeri’s comprehensive system that enables real-time situational awareness and decision support for the distribution grid.
FiberSense | Australia
We sensorise existing installed Fiber Optic cables (usually telco fiber in cities, or for subsea High Voltage lines dark fiber installed along the cable, for overhead OPGW fiber is usually already available).
FSIGHT – Energy Flows | Israel
State-of-the-art artificial intelligence software solutions for the energy market. FSIGHT’s AI technology platform is specifically built to take advantage of the new decentralized energy market and smart metering data to increase revenues and reduce costs.
Gilytics | Switzerland
Gilytics delivers a Cloud GIS-based platform and service solution allowing users to calculate alternative routes for power lines, pipelines, roads, and railways, helping energy, engineering and transport companies save time, money and CO2 with better data, visuals, and communication to grow.
Go To-U | USA
GO TO-U is a platform for electric vehicle (EV) charging management and operations. Our proprietary software technology enables charge point operators to drive 2x higher utilization of charging locations, enhancing EV drivers’ satisfaction and loyalty.
GreenValley International USA | USA
The company provides a wide-range of advanced aerial,terrestrial, and mobile LiDAR survey and mapping hardware systems as well as cutting edge software and service solutions.
Gridcognition | Australia
Creates a sophisticated digital twin of your existing and future energy projects, running thousands of simulations in a single click, optimising technology & commercial decisions across far more variables than was previously possible, to drive the best possible environmental and financial outcomes.
gridX | Germany
gridX uses edge and cloud services to develop digital solutions for smart charging and energy management to make renewable energy accessible to all, independent of manufacturers.
HyBird | United Kingdom
Through its unique 3D reality models, AI algorithms, and workflow integration, Clarity delivers benefits in business continuity, knowledge management, cost reduction, remote cooperation, and digital transformation.
KelTech IoT | Ireland
Our Dual Distributed Network (DDN) solution optimises the deployment of communication networks by combining electricity and fibre in an ‘all-digital’ solution using Digital Electricity.
LiveEO Berlin | Germany
LiveEO applies tailor made machine learning algorithms to satellite and aerial imagery in order to assess the vegetation risk alongside TSO & DSO networks globally.
Liight App | Spain
Liight incentivises users to adopt sustainable habits like walking, cycling or recycling through gamification, smart-city mechanisms and artificial intelligence.
Measurable.energy | United Kingdom
The measurable.energy (m.e) Platform is the ultimate building control, automation and management system to eliminate wasted electricity and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.
Nuventura | Germany
Nuventura develops sustainable gas insulated switchgear (GIS) for medium voltage (MV) electricity grids.
Plexigrid | Sweden
Plexigrid develops network management platforms for DSOs and distributed resources management platforms for retailers and aggregators.
Prescinto Technologies Pvt Ltd | India
Prescinto’s AI-powered SaaS platform collects solar plant data, applies data science models to identify causes for underperformance, and suggests work orders to increase power generation.
PROXXI | Canada
Proxxi is a smart sensor that protects workers by sensing when they get too close to an electrified device.
REBASE Energy | Sweden
Rebase Energy provides data and digital tools for forecasting, optimisation and trading of weather-dependent distributed energy resources.
Social Energy SE Group | United Kingdom
Our Artificial Intelligence and predictive analytics make profit from the growing number of prosumers and renewable energy assets on the grid.
SubSea Mechatronics | Spain
Over the years, we have developed pipe-inspection services with ROVs and AUVs and their maintenance and repair together with IoT for water applications, besides a range of underwater inspection products.
Tacit.io | USA
An integrated solution that is designed to provide field employees in industries such as Power/Utilities, AEC/ Construction, Industrial Equipment and Oil/Gas and others an integrated experience for real-time collaboration, knowledge management and to leverage remote experts who can better help them get their job done.
VECKTA | USA
VECKTA is the Energy Transition Market Platform, empowering a more sustainable, profitable and distributed energy future.
Voltaware Europe | United Kingdom
Voltaware is a London-based startup using smart meter data to create game changing products that help utilities engage customers and generate new revenue streams.
Yotta Energy | USA
Yotta Energy (Yotta) has created the first panel-level energy storage solution that fits perfectly behind any industry standard solar module, neatly integrating into PV racking.
Zinier | USA
Low-code Field Service Automation Platform, powered by AI. We empower field service organizations to reach their full potential, delivering always-on service, while future-proofing for the unexpected.
re_source is the digital open innovation program by Sociedade Ponto Verde, focused on circular economy and digital disruption of packaging waste.
Being a Portuguese waste packaging management body whose mission is to manage the “take-back and recovery” of packaging, Sociedade Ponto Verde has brought re_source, in partnership with Beta-i, to bring new insights, technologies and scalable innovations to the packaging waste sector.
re_source is the way for international startups and innovators to develop, together and in collaboration with the pilot partners, the most innovative solutions to address challenges in this industry.
And who are these brave partners with whom the startups will work with, you ask? We answer – and you may find more about them in re_source’s website.
We have already 13 green rockstars in the source of innovation:
(re_source can still have more, though. If you’d like to join as a pilot partner, contact the team here)
The Municipality of Mafra mission is to plan, organise and implement policies that promote inclusive, smart and environmentally sustainable growth of the territory. The idea is to boost innovation and digital transformation, aimed at creating well-being for the citizens and generating value for investors.
- Cascais Ambiente
Cascais Ambiente is responsible for the urban cleaning and waste collection services in Cascais and is responsible for managing urban green public spaces, gambling and recreation, natural resource management and the coastline. https://ambiente.cascais.pt/
Manufactures recycled paper for corrugated cardboard. It has four lines of business: manufacturing of recycled paper for corrugated paper (Saica Paper), waste management and environmental services (Saica Natur), production of corrugated paper packaging (Saica Pack) and flexible packaging (Saica Flex).
Mail delivery service, both physically and digitally. Also includes services such as savings management, credits and insurance. Its mission is to foster innovation and forge relationships built on trust, through proximity and excellence, connecting both people and companies.
Manages, recovers, and treats the municipal waste produced in eight municipalities of the Greater Porto Area, in Portugal. Every year, it treats around 500,000 tons of municipal waste, promoting the adoption of integrated systems and the minimization of waste disposal in landfills. Four core areas of strategy: Multi-material Recovery, Organic Recovery, and Energy Recovery.
Leader in the production and commercialisation of disposable aluminium packaging for more than 40 years. Develops its activity in: cash & carries, food industry, patisseries/bakeries, catering and take away industries, including stores and supermarket chains.
Swiss multinational food and drink processing conglomerate corporation, present for over 150 years now. Nestlé unlocks the power of food to enhance the quality of life for everyone, today and for generations to come.
Urban hotel with a sustainable tourism concept, certified according to standards ISO 9001, 14001, and 45001, and the Green Key certification. Open since 2011, it has also won the We Care and We Share seals from the AHP, the Green Project Award, and the Zero Carbon Certification.
Projects, produces and commercializes a complete set of solutions for temporary waste containerization and related services. As the Iberian market leader of recycling containers, it has approximately 200 thousand units of its star product, CYCLEA, installed.
Founded in 1934 as a major beer seller company. Nowadays part of the Heineken company, SCC is a leading company in terms of innovation in the drinks market, and aware of its potential as a driving force for growth and development.
Major Portuguese soft drinks company with a multi-brand, multi-market strategy, whose core business is based on its operations in the Beer and Bottled water businesses. Includes soft drinks, wines, malt production and marketing and tourism.
Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) company. Responsible for integrated management of municipal solid waste produced in the municipalities of Cascais, Mafra, Oeiras and Sintra, in Portugal.
Vidrala (founded in 1965) produces glass containers for a wide range of food and beverage products. It is the 4th largest manufacturer in Western Europe, with eight complementary production centers located in different countries (Spain, Portugal, Italy and UK) and around 3500 employees.
It’s very exciting to have all these pilot partners on board.
The selected startups and innovators will be able to work together with a varied range of experts to disrupt the packaging waste system. Startups and innovators can apply to re_source until May 16, 2021.
Now in its fourth edition, The Journey returns to help disrupt the tourism industry, especially in demanding and urgent times like 2021.
The Journey – innovation for tourism
As every sector, Tourism has always had to adapt to external variables. The year of 2020 in particular, due to the covid-19 pandemic, has proven that adapting to challenges is key for the success and sustainability of the whole sector.
Taking Portugal’s case, tourism represents the sector with the largest economic export activity in the country – accounting in 2019 for 52.3% of services exports and 19.7% of the total exports, and tourism revenues contributing 8.7% to the Portuguese GDP. This reveals its innovation and strategy to be even more crucial.
Following the lead, The Journey program rises once again to its fourth edition, to find the most innovative solutions for the sector, focusing on its recovery and revamping.
This edition is 100% online, yet gathering international startups and the program’s partners to collaborate together into developing pilot projects that will be all about rapid test and implementation. These Pilots should be solving challenges felt in Hospitality, Parks & Monuments, Tours & Activities and Payments. This means that startups from all industries can take part in this innovation journey, given that the most varied technology will be creating positive impact.
The good news is that the Top 14 startups were already chosen for the bootcamp, where they will explore and establish pilot projects between them and partners. Here are the mighty fourteen:
Manages guided visits content used on the visitor’s mobile device and allows the analysis of usage data.
Travel tech company that provides Hotels, Airlines, and OTAs a scalable, white-label product to plan unique and personalized travel itineraries.
The first Cloud-driven tour guide system in app format and an alternative solution to traditional radio group guiding devices.
Transforms the way the world gets together in real life in a post COVID world.
Smart settlement / automation system for the hospitality industry.
AI-powered platform that converts any screen in the public and business domain into a smart, real-time engagement and performance measurement asset.
Frictionless payment through QR codes with no apps, emails, signups or contacts involved.
The google analytics for the physical world. Enables brick & mortar chains to make decisions based on the movement, behavior and interests of millions of people.
Order-and-pay solution for the hospitality industry. Restaurants, Pubs, Hotels, Arenas, and Resorts are made more efficient, while their guests are kept safe and secure.
Using data to help cultural spots (museums, restaurants, stores, and local brands) to understand the purchasing behavior of Chinese audiences.
Multifunctional product able to recognize a huge number of documents and barcodes with minimal energy consumption and maximum security.
Interactive virtual tours that increase only visibility thanks to the partnership with Google.
Solution to help companies/departments/teams to manage shifts to better fit the customers flows.
Digitalize in-person transactions for verticals such as hospitality, health care, retail, access control and ticket vending solutions for attended and self-service transactions.
After agreeing on a fit and work plan, startups and partners will be collaborating together. We’re looking forward to sharing some of those collaboration results in the near future.
Keep up with The Journey!
Beta-i carried out an Ecosystem Survey to understand the evolution of the innovation market over the past 12 months among players in Portugal’s tech community.
The survey’s results show a growth in innovation and digital transformation projects during the pandemic.
One year after the beginning of the pandemic, these were the main takeaways:
- 71% of respondents say that the number of innovation projects developed between startups, companies, universities, and research centres has increased between March 2020 and March 2021;
- 50% show an increase in their number of innovation partners to find new solutions to the pandemic’s challenges;
- 47% of respondents give greater preference to seeking local partners rather than entities outside of Portugal;
- Collaboration has also gained new strength, with over 70% of the community upholding the growth of this belief;
- Innovation and digital transformation as agents of change increased 47%;
- 52% of the respondents’ optimism about the future remains similar to the pre-pandemic period, being a more skeptical or pragmatic stance based on issues that go beyond the pandemic context – such as diversifying innovation funding models and reducing bureaucracy and public procurement rules;
- At Beta-i, we also saw our number of projects increase compared between March 2020 (15) and March 2021 (22 projects) and a 22% revenue growth in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 2020.
Alisson Avila, our co-founder and Communication and Knowledge Expert, explained that “the survey was conducted with people who work with innovation and digital transformation, during a year where this was paramount. A year later, this 12 month survey was undoubtedly crucial for the ecosystem to understand the way it deals with uncertain environments and, above all, rethink the way it approaches innovation.”
“However, we must understand the context of the data before assuming a positive correlation. The results show a solid upcoming scenario at a digital level; nevertheless, it may not represent higher revenue generation. It will be essential to align this through 2021, to confirm the trend that collaboration for innovation is a culture and process for generating results in the market,” adds Alisson.
The survey had the participation of 54 players from the technology community, including founders of startups, leaders, large companies’ executives, researchers, and investors, mostly of Portuguese nationality. The answers were collected between February and March, 2021.