• The initiative offers companies backing to help them grow, the support of major leading multinationals in their sectors and the ability to access high volumes of customers from day one of launch.
• Since its inception in 2020, Zone2boost has assessed more than 475 international projects aimed at creating new services for business and fintech sectors.
The international innovation initiative Zone2boost has ended its second year of activity with eight new start-ups joining its acceleration programme. Of those chosen, five are companies created by Spanish entrepreneurs (four from Catalonia and one from Madrid), while the other three are international projects (two from the United Kingdom and one from Ireland).
As a result, the programme which was launched by CaixaBank, Visa, Global Payments and Worldline to promote innovation in services for businesses has reached an investment commitment of 1.55 million euros for 16 companies. This includes the 750,000 euros Zone2boost has committed to the eight start-ups incorporated in 2021
The following companies have been selected this year:
- Optimus Price (Barcelona): a platform based on artificial intelligence aimed at price optimisation and stock management. The company was established by scientists from the Barcelona Supercomputing Center and retail sector experts
- StockAgile (Barcelona): a sales and inventory management software in the cloud, for stores, distributors, ecommerce and brands. Stockagile allows them to optimize their resources and processes, control stock, digitize their business and, above all, boost their online sales to help these companies grow without limits.
- Privasee (London-United Kingdom): a platform designed to help SMEs comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in an automated way
- Weecover (Barcelona): a platform that integrates the purchase of insurance products into an online store's paying process
- Sedicii (Waterford-Ireland): an AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and KYC (Know Your Customer) platform that uses advanced cryptography to facilitate data collaboration
- Boopos (Madrid): a platform that offers flexible financing for acquiring businesses, and for investing in companies, sectors or industries, with great growth potential
- Haddock (Barcelona): cost management software for restaurants that helps the hospitality industry improve business management, with an intuitive platform that offers income and expenses data updated in real-time.
- Personify XP (London-United Kingdom): SaaS for e-commerce customisation. It accumulates data from anonymous customers and allows improved segmentation to better target the content shown to them, thus increasing sales
Since its inception, Zone2boost has analysed a total of 475 projects from around the world. Plug and Play, the leading platform in open innovation, is a strategic partner in this initiative and collaborates in the process of looking for and analysing start-ups.
In addition to the investment, the companies selected by Zone2boost will enjoy the support of the programme's team and the possibility of developing projects in collaboration with the companies behind the initiative. Some of the start-ups selected by Zone2boost in the previous year are currently working on real pilots in collaboration with the platform partners.
As Ben Mercer, co-founder of Personify XP, highlights, "We are eager to work together with Zone2boost partners and grow our business around the world and, specifically, in the Spanish market". Rob Leslie, CEO and founder of Sedicii, believes that being one of the companies selected by Zone2boost is considered "a great backing", an opinion that is also shared by Jordi Pages, CEO and co-founder of Weecover, who points out that being selected "confirms that our proposition has room for development within the digital ecosystem". Carlos Fenollosa, CEO of Optimus Price, states, "Collaboration with the project's backers is essential. We look forward to them opening up the market for us, while Optimus Price provides them with a pioneering solution that can be added to their portfolio and with which they can expand the services offered to their customers."
Miquel Subirats, CEO and co-founder of StockAgile, believes that "the companies driving Zone2boost can provide us with many opportunities, while we can provide them with innovation, flexibility and business opportunities". Manuel Martinez, co-founder and CTO of Privasee, highlights that Zone2boost offers "the ability to rely on other founders working on other projects and industries. Often, a conversation or advice from someone who is going through a similar process or who has already overcome a similar challenge helps you identify solutions and create products that change the world". Juan Ignacio García, CEO and founder of Boopos, stressed that "in these stages of company’s life, where you are in the process of building, having support from good investors is better than money itself". For Arnau Navarro, co-founder and CEO of Haddock, "being part of the Zone2Boost family was a strategic decision to join a key ecosystem in the development of our business".
For the companies behind Zone2boost -CaixaBank, Visa, Global Payments and Worldline, all multinational in their scope and leaders in their respective fields-, the initiative is an opportunity to drive innovation and create new services for businesses.
The collaboration with start-ups and SMEs provides large companies such as CaixaBank, Global Payments, Worldline and Visa, with improved agility and efficiency in innovation, accelerating the journey from an idea to a new product or service launch, whilst helping them to identify talent.
For start-ups, collaborating with these companies allows them to scale quickly, as it gives them access to a multitude of highly valuable resources, while bringing them a significant portfolio of customers with a wide distribution channel, improving their brand positioning and generating visibility.
Innovative solutions for businesses
The mission of Zone2boost is to identify innovative business initiatives in the fields of technology, commerce and financial services, and to help them grow. The time period through which the entrepreneurs are supported varies from six months to two years, during which the new companies may evolve from very early stages (seed levels) to a level that can allow them to successfully access the market through A and B investment rounds.
Besides the investment, the business teams of partner companies are incorporating solutions and projects developed by the start-ups into their commercial offering, providing new innovative services that help businesses and improve the user experience.