Iberia had something a reputation to be a sleeping husband when it comes to deep technological innovation. Countries like Spain have been criticized for being friendlier markets for copy ecommerce ideas true cutting-edge innovation — but that’s all starting to change.
Spain now produces global quantum computing startupswhile Portugal has AI unicorns like Unbabel, as well as rising stars like Sensei Automated Retail Startup.
A recent plan from the European Commission also presented a roadmap to create “deeptech valleys” across the continent, as well as new training programs to prepare Europe’s next generation of deeptech talent.
In this article, we asked four of the region’s leading deep tech investors to pick some of the most exciting companies they see in areas such as AI, AR, photonics, cybersecurity and big data. date. There was only one rule: they could only choose one portfolio company!
Here’s who they chose to spotlight.
Rocío Pillado, Partner — Adara Ventures
Adara Ventures was founded in Madrid in 2005 and invests in start-up B2B companies working in areas such as cybersecurity, big data and digital health. The company’s portfolio companies include cybersecurity provider AlienVault, consumer artificial intelligence platform Seedtag and AI optimization startup Apres.
KIT-AR — Lisbon, Portugal
KIT-AR is an end-to-end solution that uses augmented reality (AR) to improve the performance of manufacturing workers. Combined with an AR headset, the technology gives workers “computer vision” of components, allowing them to implement quality assurance checks with greater reliability and less training.
Spotlab — Madrid, Spain
Microscopic analysis remains a highly manual, very difficult, and non-standardized skill performed with the naked eye. Spotlab turns any smartphone into a microscope analysis tool, using an AI model to reduce misinterpretations and help professionals make data-driven decisions.
Computers Nearby — Barcelona, Spain
The number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices is growing exponentially, with 43 billion devices expected to be deployed by 2023 (three times more than in 2018). This paradigm shift will require moving from “cloud computing” to “edge computing” (where the data is processed closer to the data source rather than in a central cloud server). The Near Computing product enables customers working with complex networks of devices to create a flexible and easily manageable edge computing architecture.
One of the portfolio: Iomed — Barcelona, Spain
Up to 80% of information in a hospital is unstructured and cannot be used for medical research. Thus, clinicians spend thousands of hours manually structuring data to perform large-scale studies. This results in narrow data samples, very long delays and a very inefficient process. Iomed’s neurolingusitic programming models automatically structure medical texts, creating a data infrastructure that enables multiple “microservices” to perform medical research, in a fully GDPR-compliant process.
Miguel Arias, Partner — Fonds K
K Fund, based in Madrid, is one of the top ranked early stage investorsand recently launched a new fund focused on deep technologies, Leadwind. Leadwind is still in its infancy, but K Fund has invested in cutting-edge technology companies such as AI insurance platform Bdeo, no-code data analytics startup Graphext, and visual processing platform Wide Eyes data.
Ipronics — Valencia, Spain
Ipronics has a large technical team, coming from the Polytechnic University of Valencia, with numerous patents around programmable photonics (optical computer processing using light particles). The company’s processor reduces development time for building programmable photonic systems.
Tinybird — Madrid, Spain
Today, real-time data analytics is a must for many businesses, given the vast amount of information that is constantly being collected across many verticals. Tinybird transforms raw data into real-time information, helping companies quickly build data products and APIs. The company raised the largest Series A in Spain to date, a $37 million round led by CRV and Singular Ventures.
Voicemod — Valencia, Spain
Sound identity will become a very important part of how we express ourselves in the metaverse. This Valencia startup has millions of monthly users who use Voicemod to modify their voice, in contexts like gaming, via the company’s AI technology.
A Barcelona startup, building an infrastructure for live NFTs that scale as their owners use them. They have just raised a series A of 10 million euros.
Patricia Pastor, Managing Director — GoHub Ventures
GoHub Ventures is the venture capital arm of Valencia-based water company Global Omnium. The company has invested in companies including robotics startup Inloc Robotics, AI component servicing platform Fracttal, and IoT cybersecurity startup Barbara IoT.
Quibim — Valencia, Spain
Quibim applies artificial intelligence and advanced computer models to radiology images. The technology allows healthcare professionals to objectively measure the changes produced by injuries or pharmacological treatments, providing additional quantitative information to the qualitative approach of human-directed radiology.
Radiology has traditionally depended on skilled physicians visually evaluating medical images for the detection, characterization, and monitoring of disease. Quibim is disrupting the space with an AI-based image processing model that reduces the man-hours needed to analyze X-ray images.
Connecting Realities — Barcelona, Spain
This Barcelona-based startup develops identity tools for the metaverse through photorealistic avatars. They work with cutting-edge technologies such as computer vision, machine learning, and blockchain to deliver a product that will have real utility in the immersive future to come. We believe they are creating a passport to the metaverse, a user-centric world where everything will revolve around the user’s identity.
One of the portfolio: Galgus — Seville, Spain
Galgus is shaking up the connectivity industry with a solution that allows users to manage and build high-performance wifi networks. The technology can be used by customers like airlines and football stadiums, to create user-friendly and cyber-secure Wi-Fi networks.
Pedro Ribeiro Santos, Partner — Armilar Venture Partners
Armilar Venture Partners is headquartered in Lisbon and focuses on deep technology investments with a “global mindset”. The fund’s investments include machine-learning payment fraud prevention platform Feedzai, the no-code unicorn Outsystems and digital avatar startup Didimo.
Smartex — Porto, Portugal
Smartex is a Portuguese startup, led by Gilberto Loureiro, which helps the textile industry to reduce waste and save cost. It does this by transforming the basically manual task of quality inspection into a real-time, AI-powered process that allows operators to quickly identify and correct manufacturing defects. They have had an impressive growth trajectory and recently won the WebSummit startup contest.
Stratio Automotive — Lisbon, Portugal
Commercial fleet operators have long sought technologies to optimize their operating and maintenance costs, with a particular focus on predicting failures and mitigating downtime. But with today’s highly diverse fleets, with so many on-board components with different data access protocols, this is by no means an easy task.
Stratio, a Portuguese startup, rose to this challenge by spending several years doing R&D on low-level reading vehicle data and how to use it to create AI models to predict breakdowns. Today, they have converted this technology into one of the leading predictive fleet maintenance platforms.
Freeverse — Barcelona, Spain
Last year, NFT sales grew more than 200 times and reached $17 billion in market value. Despite user demand, NFTs still have limited utility – being mostly collectibles – as they are immutable after being minted on the blockchain. Freeverse has developed a Layer 2 technology that allows NFTs to adapt and evolve according to the creator’s rules – a revolutionary infrastructure-level technology that opens up many potential uses for NFTs with real utility and appropriate economic value, rather than speculative value.
One of the portfolio: Didimo — Porto, Portugal
Didimo has developed a technology stack to automate the creation of photo-realistic and fully animatable human avatars in seconds from a photo taken with any handheld device. Traditional processes use a piecemeal sequence of technology, several hours graphic designers and computer processing (or they produce cartoons avatar). Its technology opens new models of interaction with vertical applications such as entertainment, games, and retail, and brings digital humans into the metaverse at scale.
Tim Smith is Sifted Iberia’s correspondent. He tweets from @timmpsmith