Press Releases

European commission distinguishes Sonae for investing in startups and innovation

2018-11-22
Sonae among the 36 most collaborative European companies with start-up

For the second year in a row, the multinational integrates the exclusive "Open Innovation Challengers” group working with startups in Europe. Sonae also received, for the first time, an award for its distinctive approach to open innovation with startups, through Bright Pixel, at the ceremony held today in Brussels.

Once again, Sonae was distinguished by the European Commission as one of the best European companies working with startups. The multinational made the exclusive list of companies classified as "Open Innovation Challengers”, by the Startup Europe Partnership on behalf of the European Commission. Sonae’s acknowledgement is a result of the opinion of European startups about the best companies to collaborate with when developing their projects and reflects the work developed by Sonae’s retail business, namely Information Systems (BIT), Sonae IM, NOS and Sonae Sierra.

Nuno Lopes Gama, head of Innovation and Emerging Technologies at Sonae, says, "Sonae is one more time awarded for its collaborative and fostering approach towards European startups. This international acknowledgement translates Sonae’s businesses ongoing investment in innovative projects founded in knowledge, entrepreneurship and a close cooperation with that ecosystem, aiming to create distinctive and long lasting competitive advantages able to reinforce the Group’s leadership positions.”

The "Europe’s Corporate Startup Stars” awards also distinguished Sonae with the "Open Innovation Innovative Approach Award” for its innovative work with startups, namely through Bright Pixel, a venture studio which has been investing in the capital of several European and worldwide projects, pushing disruptive initiatives forward to foster business.

Celso Martinho, head of Bright Pixel, tells us, "This is an important recognition of the work developed by Bright Pixel, which comes to strengthen our commitment to keep on investing in innovation, digital transformation, stratups approach and how they evolve from ideas to product, and create the conditions to develop sustainable businesses.”

Among the projects that were on the basis of this award, the highlights were Insert Coin and Gov Tech. The first one presents a concept of "startup on demand”, i.e., a call is put out to entrepreneurs for ideas to solve challenges given by Sonae for which the market hasn’t managed to provide an appropriate solution yet. Those selected are then supported by Bright Pixel throughout the entire process of creating the company.

In the other case, Gov Tech was a contest promoted in partnership with the Portuguese government, in which startups were challenged to present a prototype for one of the 17 sustainable development goals set by the UN and only three were chosen to win the €30,000 award to develop the idea. The process of electing the winners was made through a voting platform based in blockchain technology, developed by the Bright Pixel team, in which 4,959.400 virtual coins, from which 4,559.312 were invested on the best projects by the 1,734 investors that had applied.

The "Europe’s Corporate Startup Stars” ranking was put together by the open innovation advisory firm Mind the Bridge, together with Nesta, the UK innovation foundation, as part of the Startup Europe Partnership (SEP) initiative by the European Commission. SEP was created by the European Commission in January 2014 at the Davos World Economic Forum, and it is the first pan-European open innovation platform dedicated to transforming European startups into scaleups (companies with scale) by establishing partnerships with global companies and capital markets.

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