Building a Better Future
The latest edition of 4YFN was held recently, the main event in the world of startups, this time within the framework of MWC21. 4YFN is an opportunity to connect startups, investors, and companies and launch new businesses together. In a very unusual edition, this year’s 4YFN was held within the same venue as the MWC, giving much more visibility to the nearly 400 participating startups. Thanks to their contributions and employment of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations, these startups help us make the world we live in a better place.
IQS was present once again through its entrepreneurship centre IQS Tech Factory, the first industrial accelerator in Spain with the mission of supporting the creation of new generations of industrial companies. In a largely digital environment, IQS Tech Factory occupied a very attractive booth that received numerous visits and gave great visibility to the ten technology-based startups that participated in this year’s edition. In the words of Oriol Pascual, director of IQS Tech Factory, “for yet another year, IQS has solidified its leadership position in the world of industrial technology entrepreneurship.” He added, “this year’s edition has allowed us to reconnect the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Barcelona.”
Ten technology-based startups through IQS
At this year’s edition of the fair, the Tech Factory stand showcased technologies applied to areas such as healthcare, advanced industrial technology, additive manufacturing, robotics, and food.
For example, Oxeen, a startup created by researchers from the Universitat Ramon Llull (IQS and La Salle), has developed a non-invasive hospital monitoring system for patients within a ward, which consists of a “smart band” that measures patients’ vital signs and the hardware they designed that sends the information to the healthcare professionals. They currently have a pilot test underway at the Avant Mèdic clinic in Lleida. “IQS Tech Factory has greatly helped and supported us, expertly guiding us on how to move forward.”
Mixo presented its dispensing machine that mixes drinks for nightclubs and festivals. The idea for the dispenser, which aims to keep people from waiting in lines, came from an IQS Undergraduate Programme in Marketing student and four other classmates, and has welcomed collaboration from engineers who have worked at Seat and Disney. The dispenser is currently undergoing the patent process. They stated that “Oriol has really helped us in terms of following the best path and turning our idea a successful reality.”
Bitmetrics is a startup that works in the field of industrial process automation based on vision. Their technology consists of a camera that integrates software based on deep learning, which enables robots to pick up and place objects in changing contexts and adapt their trajectory in real time. Bitmetrics was chosen as the most promising startup at the 2020 edition of the IQS Tech Factory Acceleration Program. “It has given us a lot of visibility, and Tech Factory made it really easy for us to connect with the industrial ecosystem.”
Bronze presented its “smart toaster”, an intelligent toaster that doesn’t burn toast and adjusts its heat according to the colour that the user seeks. It works with artificial vision through a camera they developed. The toaster is their proof of concept and their goal is to incorporate this technology into larger appliances such as ovens or barbecue grills.
Engidi is a company that aims to improve workplace safety in extremely dangerous spaces by developing electronic devices such as the device integrated within a work safety helmet that monitors the user in real time and reports emergency situations they may be in to and from any point around the world. It works with IoT technology and has been designed for the petrochemical industry, ports, open pit mines, and power companies, among others. It is a device that complies with ATEX regulations and is in the process of being certified. Pilot tests are currently being carried out with petrochemical companies in Tarragona.
In the area of animal feed, Kibus Petcare presented the first food processor that prepares food for dogs using healthy dehydrated food that is introduced into a dispenser in which it is hydrated. The hydrated food goes into a bowl ready for the pet to eat. The system is controlled through a mobile application. “We were introduced to IQS Tech Factory at 4YFN-2019. They have been immensely helpful, especially considering that Tech Factory is one of the few, if not the only, technology-based startup accelerators in Spain. I would also like to highlight the excellent training and support they offer through mentors who are also entrepreneurs.”
In the area of healthcare, New Born Solutions has developed a pen-shaped medical device called Neosonics to diagnose childhood meningitis, which is currently performed by a highly invasive lumbar puncture. It is a non-invasive device that works with high resolution ultrasound, and without using gel, that detects the level of leukocytes in the cerebrospinal fluid – as a diagnostic marker of infection – through a direct reading on the baby’s fontanelle. It is currently being used in hospitals including Sant Joan de Déu in Barcelona, La Paz in Madrid, and in Mozambique.
Also in the area of food, Nova Meat was once again present at this edition with its technology for manufacturing vegetable meat using vegetable proteins with 3D printing. Nova Meat’s plant-based meat technology has vastly improved, compared to what they presented at 4YFN 2019, and they now have partnerships in place with restaurateurs and the aim of increasing production to reach supermarkets.
Plug&Health presented their Sentinel device for remote patient control. The device is a “telemedicine” system that monitors a patient’s vital signs in real time and remotely, which are sent to the doctor through an application thereby enhancing patient mobility.
Finally, and also in the area of advanced industrial technology, Steering Machines showcased Moby, a robotic platform designed to facilitate the creation of autonomous and personalized robots. The robots are designed with “legs” so that the solution tailored to each user can be created on the top. “IQS Tech Factory has helped us immensely as a startup, from the prototype to the commercial product.” Steering Machines was honoured as the most promising industrial startup at the 2019 edition of the IQS Tech Factory Acceleration Program.