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BIND: Connecting Startups with Industry Leaders for Innovation

Revolutionizing Open Innovation

The BIND program, based in the Basque Country, is an internationally acclaimed Open Innovation Platform designed to bridge the gap between dynamic startup teams and established Venture Clients through real, paid projects. This innovative program operates through three distinct segments, with BIND with Corporates being the flagship. This segment partners startups with 70 industry-leading companies across Industry, Energy, Health, and Food sectors. As it prepares for its ninth call for startups from July to September 2024, BIND offers a unique opportunity for startups to secure paid contracts with corporate clients during the acceleration and project implementation cycle from January to June.

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Driving Digital Transformation

The Basque Government and its business support agency SPRI established BIND with several key objectives:

  • Attract new emerging industrial activities and accelerate digital transformation.
  • Foster the development and implementation of innovation from startups worldwide.
  • Strengthen the Basque entrepreneurial and industrial ecosystem.

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Eligibility and Criteria for Aspiring Innovators

The BIND Program with Corporates specifically targets startup and scale-up profiles, especially those with technological products and solutions relevant to Intelligent Industry, Clean Energy & Sustainability, Health, and Food sectors. Firstly, eligible startups must have completed their technological development. Additionally, they need to be ready to access the market or already be in the marketplace. Furthermore, these startups must be able to offer a product, service, or proof of concept to one or more Corporate Partners. Moreover, startups must be legally incorporated, preferably with a product on the market. Importantly, they must not have participated in previous editions of the program. Notably, startups from anywhere in the world, founded between 2017 and the present, are welcome to apply.

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Focus on Cutting-Edge Technologies

BIND targets a variety of advanced technologies, including IoT/IIOT Sensors, Artificial Intelligence, and Collaborative Robotics. Additionally, the program is interested in Artificial Vision Systems, AR/VR, and Smart Energy/Grid Solutions. Furthermore, BIND focuses on Supply Chain Management, Additive Manufacturing, and Indoor/Geo Positioning. Moreover, new materials and medical devices are also areas of interest. In addition, the program seeks digital health solutions, smart sensors, and wearables. Batteries and e-mobility are equally important to BIND. Finally, hydrogen solutions, Clean Tech, and Food Tech are significant areas of focus as well. Each year, the program’s partners prioritize around 12 use cases addressing current industrial challenges, such as optimization of internal processes, quality control, innovation in industrial processes, traceability, monitoring of the production process, and improving energy efficiency and sustainability.

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Why French Startups Should Join BIND

French startups, in particular, should consider the BIND program for several compelling reasons:

  1. Paid Projects with Leading Clients: Startups can collaborate with top-tier corporate clients, gaining invaluable market validation and enhancing their solution’s credibility. Clients include industry giants like Mercedes-Benz, Sidenor, Iberdrola, Talgo, CAF(Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles), Cofares, Faes Farma, and Uvesco.
  2. Integration into the Basque Ecosystem: Participating startups can integrate into the vibrant Basque entrepreneurial and industrial ecosystem, known for its dynamic innovation culture and robust support for new businesses.
  3. Cost-Free and Equity-Free Program: Participation is free, and startups retain ownership of their products and technology. The program also includes mentoring, workshops, and connections with investors.
  4. World-Class Mentoring and Workshops: Startups benefit from top-notch mentoring and workshops designed to refine business models, enhance technical capabilities, and navigate scaling operations.
  5. Investor Connections: Access to a network of investors opens opportunities for funding and growth.
  6. Accelerated Digital Transformation and Innovation: Being part of BIND involves joining a growing ecosystem that shares the latest industry trends and success stories in Open Innovation.

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Inspiring Success Stories

BIND boasts numerous success stories, showcased annually at the Demo Day event, which validates startups’ solutions. Success stories include:

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Comprehensive Support and Year-Round Engagement

The program supports startups with a variety of activities, matchmaking events, connections with investors, and executive training. The 1:1 mentoring provides valuable industry insights and advice. Year-round support includes invitations to industry-related events and introductions to potential clients and other startup programs like BIND SME and GovTech.

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Collaborating with Industry Giants

BIND partners with 70 industry leaders in Manufacturing, Energy, Health, and Food sectors, including Mercedes-Benz, Sidenor, Iberdrola, Talgo, CAF, Cofares, Faes Farma, Gureak, Bayer, and Uvesco. The SME and GovTech programs offer additional opportunities to work with local SMEs and public sector organizations. Startups present their solutions through applications, reviewed by all 70 Corporates to decide collaboration opportunities. Pitching sessions and matchmaking are organized, with startups negotiating contracts and terms for collaborative projects. No equity is exchanged, and startups retain all intellectual property.

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Pioneering Areas of Innovation

BIND continually seeks pioneering solutions for pilot projects with partners in industry, energy, health, and food sectors. Technologies of interest include artificial intelligence, AR/VR, hydrogen, IoT, cybersecurity, cleantech, and foodtech.

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Dynamic Events and Networking Opportunities

Selected startups participate in an acceleration program featuring a week of immersion and networking in the Basque Country, participation in the annual BIND event with over 500 attendees, and validation of their solutions by partner companies.

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Streamlined Application Process

The application period runs from July 1 to September 6, 2024. Applications are accepted on the BIND website. Applicants must submit an application and a short informal video introducing the team, the problem their product solves, and the Corporates they are interested in working with. The BIND website details all phases of the application process.

By joining the BIND program, startups can significantly boost their growth potential, validate their solutions in a competitive market, and gain strategic advantages from being part of a leading innovation hub. The comprehensive support and opportunities provided by BIND make it an exceptional choice for startups aiming to expand their horizons.

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Cover Photo by Jorge Fernández Salas on Unsplash

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