EIC Investor Day: Women in Tech 2.0 – women supporting women
The amount of women-led companies in the European Innovation Council (EIC) portfolio has almost double since the beginning of this year. To further support the role of women-led companies within the EIC, a second EIC Investor Day: Women in Tech-event was organised on 17 and 18 December 2020. In total 19 women-led companies had the opportunity to pitch in front of more than 20 investor firms.
Female entrepreneurs still face obstacles and underrepresentation in the tech-sector and the current COVID-19 pandemic is impacting this even more. Be it on assuming leadership positions or raising new investment rounds, the hurdles are still there. The participation of women in deep tech is not only a matter of fairness, but also a case of excellent science and economic business diversity. EIC is proactively seizing this great opportunity for growth. To help tackle this issue, the latest EIC-calls stated that at least 25% of applications invited for the second stage of evaluations should come from women-led companies. As a result, the amount of selected female owned startups went from 7% to 34% compared to the previous EIC-call.
The second EIC Investor Day: Women in Tech 2.0. featured several panels on female leadership and breaking the glass ceiling. And of course, an EIC Investor Day wouldn’t be complete without pitching competitions. Three dedicated rounds, respectively focused on Biotech, MedTech and ICT, led to three lucky winners, who were selected both by the investor juries as well as their peers. Daniela Marino, CEO of Swiss-based Cutiss, Diane Abensur, CEO of Israel’s Nanosynex and Esmeralda Megally, CEO of Swiss Xsensio won their respective session during this year’s last EIC Investor Day.
Every year in the world, more than 50M patients suffer from skin defects (e.g. burns, excision, etc.) and need surgical intervention to restore skin function. Cutiss, who was pitching in the Biotech-round, received a Phase II-grant of €2.4 million to develop denovoSkin™, a patented, personalized, autologous bio-engineered human skin graft classified as Advanced Therapy Medical Product (ATMP). When Daniela founded the company, she focused heavily on automation: “If you don’t automate, skin is technically too large and it would be difficult to scale-up. We started pitching to investors and they were puzzled as to why we want to tap into engineering and machines, a bit too risky for their taste.” With that in mind, they decided to focus on the EIC-grant, obtaining both a Phase I as well as Phase II. The grants were crucial in Cutiss’s further development, with Daniela commenting that “the grant meant almost everything to us, we wouldn’t know where we would be without it. Luckily the EIC saw the potential and now investors are climbing onboard as well.” In addition to obtaining exposure with dozens of investors, Daniela also attended the Investor Day, determined to give back to female founders: “I know how hard it is to be the only woman on stage, so I promised my daughter to share my experience, to support women, at every opportunity possible.” As to what the future holds for Cutiss, Daniela concluded by saying “at days like this, you never know what a first looks leads to. Perhaps winning this also adds to that exposure. In addition, I saw some other interesting EIC-funded companies with whom I could develop some synergies. That’s worth as much as the actual funding.”
With the help of a Phase II-grant € 2.563.400 Nanosynex is developing a diagnostic platform that provides a highly accurate, ultra-fast AST (Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing). It will allow physicians to better and faster prescribe antibiotics by delivering same-day testing results in less than five hours, and as little as 2 hours for certain bacteria type. Diane Abensur, CEO of Nanosynex, has been part of the EIC Community for several years, starting off with a Phase I: “During the Phase I we had a coach that really helped us grasp the industry needs and analyse the competitive landscape”. Commenting on the EIC Investor Day: Women in Tech she noted that she already got more out of the event than she was anticipating saying that “we wanted to get exposure to investors in the field since we are currently raising our Series A. In the end there was also this additional layer of peer to peer learning, where we got the listen to other women innovators. I was not expecting this when I applied.” Working in the healthcare sector, Diane highlighted that “we are all trying to make the world a healthier place. I’m glad I had the opportunity to attend this event, it creates a sense of togetherness, knowing that there are other women-innovators out there also delivering impressive innovations to the world.”
Xsensio is an innovation-driven Swiss company dedicated to solving one of the biggest challenges for personalized medicine: the lack of real-time, continuous monitoring of health parameters in patients. With their Phase II-grant, worth €1.756.694, Xsensio has built the highly modular CytoTrack breakthrough sensing platform to continuously and non-invasively track biochemical information as a wearable system and offer critical health insight in real time. CEO Esmeralda Megally is currently looking for a Series A-investment and noted that “We have something unique at hand, so we welcomed the opportunity to present Xsensio to European investors and share our vision, the progress we made and how and why we want to tackle these issues in an innovative, new way.” Esmeralda praised the credibility that comes with the EIC-grant, commenting that “the fact that we have been selected out of many applications is very positive, something that is received very well by our stakeholders.” In addition to the actual funding and networking, Esmeralda also highlighted the coaching that comes with the EIC-grant: “For Phase I we worked with a coach that had experience in diagnostics. Right now we have a coach specialised in bringing semi-conductor technologies to market. All in all, this is a big bonus for our work.”
Looking for ways to connect to top-class investors and peers?
We host regular EIC Investor Days, as well as ePitching with Investor-sessions, all based on your company profiles in ScaleUp EU. Applications for the EIC Investor Day: Digitalization of the European Industry, taking place on 23-24 March 2021, are still open.
Keep an eye on our events page for more information on future events. If you are interested in joining, don’t miss out and update your profile information straight away. If you need help, please contact us through our contact page (choose ScaleUp EU: claim access).