Berkeley SkyDeck Europe, Milano: Fourth batch of startups has collected € 1.3 million in equity investments

Since the start of operations, over 5 million have been invested in startups from all over the world


An AI-based learning optimization technology, innovative nano-based inks, a coating to prevent ice formation on wind power lines, a talent intelligence platform, an AI and biomechanics technology that helps runners reduce the risk of accidents, a system for data-based strategic business decisions: these are some of the innovative projects created by the 9 startups that have been presented today to international investors during Berkeley SkyDeck Europe’s Demo Day.


Berkeley SkyDeck Europe, Milano is the acceleration program for startups that are interested in a growth path in the European market. It was launched by UC Berkeley SkyDeck (the accelerator of the University of California, Berkeley), the Italian innovation hub Cariplo Factory, and the international real estate group Lendlease. The project is financially supported by the Lombardy Region and the Cariplo Foundation.


Milan, April 23rd 2024 – With today’s Demo Day, Berkeley SkyDeck Europe’s fourth acceleration program reaches its completion. Today the startup founders have had the opportunity to present their projects to potential investors and stakeholders. Berkeley SkyDeck Europe, Milano was launched by UC Berkeley SkyDeck (the accelerator of the University of California, Berkeley); the Italian innovation hub Cariplo Factory; the international real estate, infrastructure, and urban regeneration group Lendlease. It was created with the contribution of Lombardy Region and Cariplo Foundation.


The nine startups have taken part in the 6-month acceleration program in Berkeley, California and Milan, Italy (at MIND Milano Innovation District). Their endowment at the end of the program consists in 1.3 million euros in equity investments and direct contact with Italian and European investors and stakeholders.


The acceleration program and the selected startups


The program has given these startups the opportunity to get in touch with both the Californian and European ecosystems, as its first month took place at the headquarter of Berkeley SkyDeck, one of the best accelerators worldwide and was curated by Berkeley SkyDeck’s team, while the final part of the program took place in Milan, Italy, at the MIND, Milano Innovation District.


Each startup has been supported by 3 mentors from Europe and the United States, selected on the basis of their experience and areas of expertise. Moreover, each startup has been given access to an international network of investors and was trained on fundamental topics such as go to market, product development and fundraising activities.


The program also provided the founders with the resources and networks of some of the best Italian Universities, selected through a tender by Cariplo Foundation. The Universities that took part in the program are: Milan Polytechnic University, University of Milan, IULM Free University of Languages and Communication, University of Eastern Piedmont “Amedeo Avogadro”, University of Insubria, University Institute of Higher Studies of Pavia, and University of Bergamo.


The nine startups were selected among many applicants from all over the world (Canada, Singapore, Kenya, Armenia, India, Romania, USA, UK, France, Spain, etc.). The companies are working in various technological sectors, including EdTech, Sports Tech, GreenTech, HR Tech, Cybersecurity, New Materials, Enterprise Software:


· (UK): is positioned in a rapidly growing market, that of “knowledge workers” which has reached a value of over $169 billion globally in 2022, with an annual growth projection of 8.9% until 2027.


· Distinkt (Spain): develops innovative nanotechnology-based fluorescent inks that can be used to print signs, barcodes or QR codes on any material or object, thus certifying their authenticity. Distinkt has patented the technology and a reference market (Anti-Counterfeiting Packaging Market) which is worth $105 Billion with a CAGR of 7.8%.


· INRŌ (France): is an AI-enhanced direct marketing tool for digital brands. Inrō enables brands to nurture a conversation with each customer at scale and engage them with personalized messages based on engagement & purchase history.


· Kfobix Inc. (US; Delaware): its patented superhydrophobic nanocomposite coating, which is lightweight, low-cost, durable, and easily applicable, prevents ice formation on power lines and wind turbines, enhancing electrical distribution safety and renewable energy efficiency.


· Klaaryo (Italy): Klaaryo is the talent intelligence platform that helps HR teams to find and engage with the best candidates on the market.


· MON5 (Italy): offers advanced cybersecurity solutions for the manufacturing sector, anticipating the migration of hacker attacks from the IT department to the OT department. Their platform also monitors the performance and power consumption of hardware devices. The startup already collaborates with large companies, including Leonardo.


· Ochy (France): has developed an advanced AI technology with a proprietary biomechanics algorithm to help runners run more efficiently, minimize the risk of injury and improve performance. Ochy provides lab-quality running form & gait analysis from anywhere.


· Plino (Italy): offers an immediate, error-free system for making strategic business decisions based on data. Powered by Gen-AI, the software integrates all business data, analyses them automatically and replies to any questions in natural language through an intuitive chat interface.


· SUPPLAI (Italy): is a streamlined procurement management platform for food and beverage manufacturers SMEs that easily integrates purchase orders, communication and payments with their suppliers. Being AI-powered, Supplai extracts data from files, provides suggestions and creates personalized insights, making procurement activities faster, more efficient and paperless.


SkyDeck Europe’s numbers to date


Today’s Demo Day comes at the end of the fourth acceleration program of SkyDeck Europe. In just 2,5 years, the program has selected 36 startups among 3,335 applications from all over the world. These startups have received 5.2 million euros of direct investments and 4.3 million euros of follow-on investments. On average, the 27 startups of the first three batches have registered an increase in their workforce of approximately 50%, creating 90 job opportunities.


The goal of SkyDeck Europe’s acceleration program is to accompany the growth of startups and connect them with qualified financial operators that can support them with equity investments. Indeed, SkyDeck Europe, created with the contribution of Lombardy Region and Cariplo Foundation, aims at shaping a strong European ecosystem of innovative companies. On the one hand, this 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. On the other, it aims at strengthening the local ecosystem by pooling the skills of universities and local incubators through a model of widespread collaboration.


“Our fourth cohort to complete the SkyDeck Milano program reminds us that not all startups are born in Silicon Valley, nor do they need to be in the Valley to succeed – said Caroline Winnett, Executive Director at Berkeley SkyDeck – These nine startups reflect the diverse perspectives that SkyDeck attracts, along with the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that can solve problems and succeed. Given the first three cohorts’ success, we anticipate these newest alumni will make their own marks on their industries.”


“We are very satisfied with the objectives that we have achieved so far, also thanks to the fundamental contribution of our network of advisors, universities and companies. SkyDeck Europe has now become a reference point in the European and international innovation ecosystems, and this is demonstrated by the increasingly high level of startups that apply and are selected – added Anders Nilsson, SkyDeck Europe Program Leader at Cariplo Factory. – Our ambition is to grow further: in the coming months, in fact, we hope to further expand our network to accompany startups to the market in an increasingly effective way.”


“This fourth edition of the Berkeley SkyDeck Europe’s acceleration program, hosted within MIND, has once again highlighted the remarkable potential and vivacity of the business ideas that SkyDeck can attract and evolve – stated Andrea Ruckstuhl, CEO of Lendlease Europe. – We are proud to contribute to this project and thus support the growth of this innovation district, the creation of a vibrant business environment in Europe, the positive impact of startups to the resolution of social and environmental challenges.”


“Skydeck Europe has become one of the main landmarks for global innovation. We receive ideas from all over the world and turn them into reality. Our challenge has been won” – declared Guido Guidesi, Councilor for Economic Development of the Lombardy Region. – “Our goal is indeed to transform ideas into stable companies that generate economic activity and new development opportunities. This is the opportunity that Lombardy offers to the entire world.”


“One of the most relevant features of this initiative is its impact on the Italian innovation ecosystem, thanks to the connection with the Universities, with the anchors of MIND Milano Innovation District, and also given the potential partnerships with Italian companies – concluded Carlo Mango, Director of the Scientific and Technological Research Area at Cariplo Foundation. – This is proof that the Italian research and innovation ecosystems can be attractive for startups coming not only from Europe but also from other areas of the world.”