Data Pitch, a €7.1m three-year European Union (EU) programme aimed at supporting startups, has announced €100,000 in funding for each of 18 companies across Europe.
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The University of Southampton, the Open Data Institute, Portuguese company Beta-i, and French data marketplace platform Dawex have combined forces to deliver the programme, which is funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation initiative.
“This first Data Pitch cohort of startups shows the best of European data talent,” said Elena Simperl, a professor at University of Southampton and Data Pitch project director.
“From identifying breaks in human bones with tools fuelled by machine-learning algorithms, to online concierge services for local authorities, to predictive maintenance algorithms for car repair shops, the first cohort of startups are tackling challenges for our health, transport and tourism sectors in new and unexpected ways.”
Mohamed Taha, founder of one of the supported startups – Nanovare, a French company which has developed a way of measuring male fertility – said it was trying to use machine learning to remove the guesswork from identifying fertility issues.
“While medical practices have taken great strides to address couples facing fertility issues, the current process of trying to naturally boost fertility rates in men still comes down to a guessing game,” said Taha. “With the support of Data Pitch, we are looking to take the guessing game out of the diagnostic process by leveraging the power of machine learning to identify both the issues and causes of male fertility.”
The first successful cohort also includes companies from the UK, Italy, Germany, Estonia, Denmark, France, Spain, Portugal, Lithuania and the Netherlands.
Deutsche Bahn and Portuguese retailer Sonae are among the big European companies setting what the programme calls “challenges”.
Next Question, based in the UK, but with employees in Lithuania, is developing what it describes as a self-optimising, machine-learning retail inventory management system, alongside Sonae, to predict retail and stock trends.
Another startup joining the programme is Ubiwhere from Portugal, which has developed an urban mobility platform that collects, processes and allows open access to transport data. It will be helping Deutsche Bahn.
Transformative AI, based in the UK, but with team members from Estonia, is using artificial intelligence (AI) and analysis tools from CERN to identify minute physiological changes in hospital patients that typically precede chronic conditions.
And Pharmawizard from Italy is developing an app to help people search for information on medicines, find the best prices and locate the nearest stockists.