Berkeley SkyDeck Europe, Milano: selected 9 startup

Berkeley SkyDeck Europe, Milano today announced its first Demo Day showcasing the first nine startups to take part to Italian and international investors. The program, launched in December 2021 by UC Berkeley SkyDeck (the accelerator of the University of California, Berkeley), the Italian innovation hub Cariplo Factory, and the international real estate, infrastructure, and urban regeneration group Lendlease, announced the first participants in the six month acceleration program in May 2022. The selected startups each received an equity investment of €145,000, the opportunity to present their project to a network of international investors and a chance to meet relevant companies that could be interested in a commercial collaboration.

The nine startups were selected from 571 applicants. The companies are working on innovative projects in many technological sectors, including biotechnology, fashion-tech, data collection and analysis, robotics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, mobility, and more. Here is a short description of each startup:

  • BiomimX: a technologically advanced Organs-on-Chip (OoC) solution that allows to discover better and safer therapies, filling existing gaps in strategic therapeutic areas.
  • HopShop: this “Shazam for fashion” is a mobile app that helps shoppers find and buy any clothes and accessories they have seen on the web, on social media, or in real life. 
  • HyLight: a low carbon and cost-effective solution for long range aerial data collection and analysis (power line, pipelines, railroads inspection, cartography, and agriculture). 
  • Katakem: the first robot chef for chemists that automates their more manual, repetitive, and prone-to-error tasks.
  • Quasara: an “AI Assembly Line” that helps Computer Vision & NLP teams to industrialize their machine learning products & services.
  • Revisior: a customer-feedback and NPS (net promoter score) system that helps form a positive brand reputation by improving the quality of service, identify and solve customers’ problems quickly.
  • SWITCH: a DSS (Decision Support System) / DA (Decision Analytics) platform for urban space management. It allows cities to make better shared-mobility decisions, and shared mobility operators to increase profitability.
  • THEO: Europe’s first semi-autonomous delivery robot, optimized for bicycle lanes. It perfectly fits into the new pioneering L4 autonomous driving law in Europe and can reduce the cost of the so-called ‘last mile’ by up to 80%.
  • Wave: A patented optical technology for the three-dimensional display of contents in holographic projection devices, such as augmented reality head-up displays (AR HUD) for automotive and aerospace applications. These devices expand awareness of the surrounding environment, decreasing distraction and increasing user response times.

During the program, the startups have had the opportunity to interact with advisors of SkyDeck Europe and Berkeley SkyDeck, one of the most prominent accelerators in Silicon Valley. Moreover, Lendlease has invested € 145,000 in each startup, as part of the group's strategy to support the growth of MIND’s ecosystem.

SkyDeck Europe, created with the contribution of Lombardy Region and Cariplo Foundation, aims at shaping a strong European ecosystem of innovative companies. The project’s objective is to improve research through the integration of methodologies and best practices, thanks to the collaboration of the University of California, Berkeley. It also aims to strengthen the local ecosystem by pooling the skills of universities and local incubators through a model of widespread collaboration. The goal of SkyDeck Europe, Milano’s acceleration program is to accompany the growth of startups over three years (2022-2024) and to connect them with qualified financial operators that can support them with equity investments.

We are thrilled with the inaugural class of cohorts from Berkeley SkyDeck Europe and how they represent the impressive innovation taking place across Europe,” said Caroline Winnett, Executive Director of Berkeley SkyDeck. “It has been especially exciting to leverage the resources of UC Berkeley, including our impressive pool of advisors and alumni, to help support the future of tech in Europe. We are eager to see how these companies continue to learn and scale while leveraging the Berkeley SkyDeck ecosystem.

The conclusion of this first acceleration program is an important goal for the whole project of SkyDeck Europe, Milano. Also, for the involved startups, it’s a first step towards success: now, they have the means to enter the market on their own feet and be potential game-changers in their industries – said Enrico Noseda, Chief Innovation Advisor of Cariplo Factory. – Thanks to top-level advisors, a solid network of academic and business partners, and a dedicated fund, SkyDeck Europe, Milano aims to become the reference hub for startups across Europe, effectively reversing the classic 'brain drain' paradigm.

We have added a further, cardinal brick in our role of enabler of research and innovation ecosystems, a role that we have been promoting in Europe and globally since the creation of MIND. In this view, we have invested in the startups that have partaken in the Skydeck Europe, Milano program – explained Andrea Ruckstuhl, Head of Continental Europe at Lendlease. – We have always supported smart communities, hence we invest our capital and our partners' capital in various sectors, from more traditional real estate, to site infrastructures, to public and strategic infrastructures (such as schools, universities, and research centers), and now in venture capital and venture building too. The whole of our operations fully represents our impact-investing strategy."

The Lombardy region is becoming the 'international home of startups' – added Guido Guidesi, Lombardy Region Councilor for Economic Development. – With this initiative, which sees the participation of world-famous realities, the city of Milan and the Lombardy region prove jet again to be a point of reference for innovative companies from all over Europe. The selected startups operate in the most relevant technological sectors, confirming how much Lombardy is becoming a worldwide destination for all those entrepreneurs who want to transform an idea into a solid project.

Today is a very important day for Berkeley SkyDeck Europe, Milano, because we celebrate the completion of the first acceleration path that has provided the 9 start-ups, selected across Europe, with the tools to compete on a global scale, as well as the opportunity to engage with investors and commercial partners – concluded Carlo Mango, Director of the Scientific and Technological Research Area of the Cariplo Foundation. – This day also marks a fundamental step for this project, proving that a shared vision between very diverse players (private and public, profit and non-profit), a vision that is oriented towards the creation of value, can generate many opportunities for young companies, and also help the development of the Italian ecosystem of innovation, making it more solid and attractive at an international level.