Fabian Demicoli

€100,000 for start-ups in first TAKEOFF Seed Fund Award

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.

The TAKEOFF Seed Fund Award is
the first programme in Malta to focus on early-stage technology and start-up
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.

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.

Start-up teams receiving TAKEOFF
Seed Fund awards are:

DiscountIF (€18,000): Start-up 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.

TAKEOFF which is situated at Dar Ġużeppi Zahra, in the
heart of campus, is a start-up development space that helps innovators and
aspiring entrepreneurs create thriving technology and knowledge-based ventures.
By providing fledgling start-up companies with private and shared work spaces,
and most importantly, business support, advice and vital connections, the
TAKEOFF business incubator aims to lower start-ups' costs and risks and improve
their chances of success.

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