L-R: Sasha Baillie, CEO of Luxinnovation; Franz Fayot, Luxembourg's Minister of the Economy; Credit: MECO

Luxembourg's Minister of the Economy, Franz Fayot, and Sasha Baillie, CEO of the national innovation agency Luxinnovation, unveiled on Thursday the names of the 20 startups that have been selected for participation in the 10th edition of the Fit 4 Start acceleration programme; the minister also summarised the results of the programme, five years after its launch.

Initiated in 2015 by the Ministry of the Economy, Fit 4 Start is managed by Luxinnovation in collaboration with Technoport, the Luxembourg City Incubator and the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA). Its objective is to support startups in the ICT, health technologies and space sectors from their startup phase. The programme offers tailor-made coaching over a period of four months and funding of €50,000. An additional grant of €100,000 is allocated to startups that have successfully graduated from the Fit 4 Start programme and succeeded to raise private capital in the six months following the end of the programme. 

Over 1,800 start-ups have applied to the ten editions of the programme organised so far. 78 startups have participated in the various support sessions and 56 have graduated. The start-ups participating in the first nine editions of Fit 4 Start have raised, since their creation, a total amount of more than €15.2 million from private investors.

Economy Minister Franz Fayot commented: “The tremendous evolution of Fit 4 Start over the past five years and the constantly growing interest shown by startups around the world clearly demonstrate the relevance of the programme and its importance in the start-up ecosystem, at the national as well as the international level”. 

“The programme has accomplished a two-fold objective: to attract international start-ups to Luxembourg and to be a springboard for Luxembourg start-ups going international,” added Sasha Baillie, CEO of Luxinnovation. “Fit 4 Start facilitates a real exchange and cooperation between participants, while also acting as a very efficient marketing / branding tool for Luxembourg at the international level”. 

A total of 476 startups from 60 countries responded to a call for applications launched this summer for the 10th Fit 4 Start edition. In the end, 79 startups pitched in front of a jury of experts during sessions that took place in early October. On 15 October 2020, the list of selected startups was unveiled. The 20 chosen startups (ten in the field of ICT, five in health technologies and five in space) come from eleven different countries, including two from Asia.

Three start-ups that have successfully completed the acceleration programme in the past, Passbolt (3rd edition), Salonkee (6th edition) and LuxAI (7th edition), also testified to how Fit 4 Start has contributed to the success of their journey as young innovative entrepreneurs. On behalf of Passbolt, Kevin Muller stated: "Fit4Start is a catalyst for growth that helps startups point their launchpad in the right direction: the moon". Tom Michels of Salonkee added: “The programme challenged all our initial assumptions on growth and go to market strategy. Shortly after this, we closed a one million seed round which took our company to an unprecedented path of growth"

The jury of experts have selected the following startups for participation in the 10th edition of Fit 4 Start. The new group, which will begin its activities in January 2021, is composed of (in alphabetical order):

ICT: Ceasy (Luxembourg); CleverYak (Luxembourg); Cybavo (Taiwan); EmoHack (Luxembourg); iRoboInvest (Bulgaria); Kidola (Luxembourg); Re(D)scue (Luxembourg); SM Cloud (Slovakia); TiQuest (Luxembourg); Zetako (Luxembourg);

Health technologies: PatchAi (Italy); Meracle pte Ltd (Singapore); Organo Therapeutics (Luxembourg); MyelinH (Luxembourg); Wavy Assistant (Netherlands); 

Space technologies: Numer8 (Czech Republic); OKAPI:Orbits (Germany); ReOrbit: AB (Sweden); SPiN (Germany); Vingineers (France).

Fourteen startups have also successfully graduated from the 9th edition of Fit 4 Start, which took place at the end of last year:

ICT: Anote Music; DataCue; Quantego; Rebolet; Symvio; WearHealth;

Health technologies: Sanascope (Xscope); ViewMind; HuMiX Biosciences; Cohesys;

Space technologies: NoHunger; RespectUs; WEO; GlobeEye

The call for applications for the 11th edition of Fit 4 Start will be launched in January 2021.