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Lighthouse: Lighting the way for European scale-ups

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - Startup Lighthouse (Lighthouse: Lighting the way for European scale-ups)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2019-12-31

Startup Lighthouse is committed to developing cross border connections within and beyond Europe. The project lights the way for startups within Europe by organising 9 Deep Dive Weeks in 4 ecosystems, meeting over 1,600 different ecosystem players in specific themes and culminating with a Lighthouse Award each year. Startup Lighthouse is a Startup Europe initiative.

Qualified matchmaking with corporates and investors actively looking for tech or partners. It’s faster than an accelerator and with no bullshit classrooms. Scaling Managers are assigned to help identify and schedule key meetings, follow up and overall provide startups with a tailored experience. Run by company builders, accelerators and investors. Successful participants were considered for higher value activities: such as Europass (access to top conferences and invite-only opportunities), Scouting Missions to New York, Silicon Valley and Israel - as well as winning the Lighthouse Top 10 Awards in front of our most distinguished investors!

As you read these words, Startup Lighthouse is reaching its end.Two years (2018-19) of connecting startup ecosystems. Two years organising nine Deep Dive Weeks for 120 startups on the forefront of mobility, IoT, travel, healthcare, smart cities, fintech, blockchain, analytics, gaming and edutech. Two intense but rewarding years of bringing ecosystem players together across Europe to support these highly promising companies to scale further and faster.

The fundamental question behind our work has always been the following: how can we create meaningful and longlasting business connections to startups who attend a one week programme in a new ecosystem? It is a question that business developers, accelerator managers, VCs, startup event organisers and many others have faced for years. Our particular approach focused on identifying opportunities for collaboration: with local companies, public organisations and other startups. Instead of focusing overwhelmingly on finding investors and funding, this approach intends to give startups the chance to prove themselves through their work, not through their pitch deck. This puts us in the world of open innovation: stimulating cooperation between different types of organisation in the development of new products or services. This is a concept that is increasingly popular but, as with accelerators 10 years ago, there are few proven successful methods of implementation.
This was why it was particularly interesting for us to run nine Deep Dive Weeks, each of them differing and evolving in structure and methodology. We ran two programmes in each of our main ecosystems - Berlin, Dublin, Vilnius and Lisbon, as well as one one programme in Helsinki, adapting them to the local resources, needs and overall learnings. Lisbon, for example, as an up and coming startup hub, showcased how local companies and ecosystem builders are increasingly welcome to international startups. Dublin, with its established transatlantic business ecosystem, connected startups with successful founders in the same industry. Vilnius boasted the most fintech friendly ecosystem. Berlin, on the forefront of open innovation, ran different programmes bringing together corporates and startups. We did this with our strong local partners in each of these locations, who rallied the ecosystem together for each of the programmes: DCU Ryan Academy (Dublin), FastTrack (Lisbon), etventure startup hub (Berlin), Startup Division (Vilnius). All supported by the coordination of Vilabs and F6S.

Throughout these two years, we learned a lot. One of those main learnings was that both startups and innovation-starved organisations crave closer collaboration in different and new formats. Pitches are not enough - they want more time to go deeper and explore potential synergies. Our programmes evolved to reflect this; becoming more oriented towards solving specific challenges from our partners and finding a fit with the technology and know-how the startups bring.
"We’re sure open innovation programmes will continue to evolve. We’ve made our small mark: leaving a Deep Dive Week framework for others to learn from - and stimulating learnings by running these programmes across the world. Most of all, by setting an example of how to build bridges across European startup ecosystems, we hope more and more organisations look beyond their country for their innovation needs. This is how we build a Europe that is closer together: by working together for our mutual benefit.


– Startups supported: 120 out of +600 applications
– Generated +2000 leads for new clients, partnerships and collaborations
– Support startups to raise investment of over +8.3M to date
– Engage community of +3000 investors, startups, policy makers, mentors and ecosystem builders
– Connect startups to talent: +500 new team members across Europe"