Interview with Thomas Kösters, International Outreach Lead, EIT Digital: “Romania has proven that it can bring out very successful scale-ups

EIT Digital Accelerator’s Access to Market support is tailored to help you grow your business quickly on an international scale. Working from 11 countries, the EIT Digital Accelerator leverages a network of over 1000 corporate clients and provides access to an ecosystem of almost 200 industrial and academic partners.

We interviewed Thomas Kösters about the companies they are looking for and the interest in scouting for scaleups in Romania.

**Who is EIT Digital?

EIT Digital is a leading European digital innovation and entrepreneurial education organization driving Europe’s digital transformation. Its way of working embodies the future of innovation through a pan-European ecosystem of over 200 top European startups, SMEs, universities, corporations and research institutes, which collaborate in an open innovation setting.

EIT Digital invests in strategic areas to accelerate the market uptake and scaling of research-based digital technologies (deep tech) focusing on Europe’s strategic, societal challenges: Digital Tech, Digital Cities, Digital Industry, Digital Wellbeing, and Digital Finance. EIT Digital breeds T-shaped entrepreneurial digital talent focused on innovation through a blended Education Strategy that includes a Master School, an Industrial Doctoral School and a Professional School.

Through ARISE Europe, EIT Digital is active also in Romania and other SSE European countries. Locally, following a national selection, Techcelerator was elected to collaborate with EIT Digital. The role of the Romanian acceleration program is to look for and connect to the European organization, local startups with high growth potential (scaleups).

**What kind of companies are you looking for? There is no mutual consent on a “startup” or “scaleup” definition. What a “scaleup” maturity looks for you?

Scaleups are industry ready startups who have proven themselves in their home market and are ready to grow internationally. We are very practical and look for companies that are ready in terms of their experience level and manpower. We have the skills- and tools-set to follow-up with a wave of high-level introductions with leading corporates around Europe who might become customers or partners. Usually companies who have a revenue above 500,000 € in the B2B sector have this kind of maturity. And we are particularly experienced in supporting deep tech scaleups, offering products or services based on disruptive solutions that are built around unique, protected or hard to reproduce technological or scientific advantages.

**What does EIT Digital offer for young technology scaleups?

We have a business accelerator for international expansion. Our senior market access experts are active in 10 countries and maintain a strong network among corporates and mid-sized companies predominantly in the manufacturing, telecommunications, health and wellbeing as well as financial services sectors, but not limited to that. Scaleups participating in our accelerator receive a tailor-made business expansion plan with direct introductions to leading corporate players as well as international Series A investors. All with the goal to bring early scaleups to a multinational level within one year.

**Can you give us a few examples of scaleups supported by EIT Digital this year?

Definitely a great overview of companies we work with is the annual EIT Digital Challenge competition, where we select 10 leading deep tech scaleups in Europe, who are invited to enter our acceleration program. There is for example the Icelandic scaleup, SidekickHealth, which offers a digital therapeutics platform to prevent and manage chronic diseases, or the French CERBAIR, who uses drone detection and neutralisation via radio frequencies. You may see the 10 winners here.

Our track record shows that companies can swiftly engage with around dozens of corporates in a short time and subsequently close deals or raise investments. For example, the scaleup Minut from Sweden closed with us an $8mn Series A round in 2019.

**Is EIT Digital also offering investment?

No, we are not investing ourselves and are not taking equity. But we are helping with fundraising. We are offering fee-based internationalization services.

**Why is EIT Digital interested in scouting for scaleups in Romania?

Romania has proven that it can bring out very successful scaleups like your first unicorn UiPath. We, at EIT Digital, have the ambition to identify every promising tech scaleup around Europe and be the first to discover rising stars from Romania. That is why we have established a strong partnership with Techcelerator in 2019 and continue it next year.

Are you a scale up? Did you proved your maturity in the local market, have you reach 4-500k revenues? Do you serve a B2B market? You might be a good fit for a partnership with EIT Digital. Send us a presentation at INFO@TECHCELERATOR.RO