Nokia Open Innovation Challenge

Selected start-ups working on solutions for the future of industrial automation are eligible to collaborate with Nokia and Nokia Bell Labs experts can  receive up to USD175,000 in financial support to help grow their businesses.

Technology start-ups with innovative and disruptive solutions for the emerging industrial automation era are invited to compete in this year’s Nokia Open Innovation Challenge (NOIC). Winners of this global competition will be provided with up to USD175k in financial assistance, and will have the opportunity to collaborate with experts from Nokia and Nokia Bell Labs to help grow their businesses by unleashing new levels of productivity for the industrial and public sectors.

This year’s NOIC specifically seeks out start-ups with disruptive ideas in industrial automation categories such as multi-robot collaboration, VR/AR driven human augmentation for industrial and enterprise use cases, digital personal assistants in enterprises, human machine / machine human communication technologies, edge computing, and artificial intelligence and related technologies.

NOIC Competition

Marcus Weldon, President of Nokia Bell Labs and Corporate CTO of Nokia, commented: “We believe that in the coming fourth industrial revolution, a convergence of operations technology (OT) and information and communication technology (ICT) will be the catalyst for wide scale automation in all industries and infrastructure – and our physical world as a whole. This will usher in a new era of productivity for many sectors of the economy. As we roll out end-to-end 5G around the world to deliver high performance local and wide area connectivity services, we are excited to connect with innovative start-ups, to allow them to come and collaborate with our experts, and for us to be able to support them to help grow their businesses and shape the future of industrial automation.”

The NOIC competition is organized in partnership with NGP Capital, a global venture capital firm, backed by Nokia.  NGP Capital has 14 years of expertise in evaluating, investing, and accelerating promising growth-stage companies from all around the world.

Bo Ilsoe, a partner at NGP Capital, commented: “We have met thousands of founders, invested in over 90 companies, and helped several all the way into outcomes like an IPO or merger/acquisition. In this NOIC competition, we will pay attention to great founding teams, who can demonstrate their deep domain expertise and prove they have the abilities to scale their business globally.”

Last year’s winner

The annual NOIC event offers the opportunity for pioneering start-up companies to showcase best-in-class products and solutions within the Industrial Automation domain. This year marks the seventh year of this global competition; the winner of the last similar competition was Spark Microsystems, a Montreal-based business that manufactures low power wireless transceiver chipsets designed for the Internet of Things (IoT).

For Spark Microsystems, CEO Fares Mubarak added: “We were honoured to win the NOIC 2018 competition amongst a stellar group of innovative companies. This recognition provided credible validation of our innovation from a technology leader and pioneer in our field, and had a significant positive impact on our employees, partners, customers and investors. We have already identified multiple collaboration opportunities within Nokia, with the help of the NOIC team, which is very timely as we are within a year of full production. We strongly encourage all start-ups to apply to NOIC, and expose their innovation ideas on one of technology’s highest stages.”

How to apply

Start-up businesses that want to enter need to submit their entries by June 30, 2019.  The NOIC competition’s website contains the complete rules and guidelines. Finalists will be brought to a mentoring event this autumn at Nokia Bell Labs in Murray Hill (NJ), where they will meet with leading innovators in Nokia and have access to lab resources to help refine the pitch for their innovations.

The selected finalists will then present their proposals to an international jury at an event located at Nokia’s global headquarters in Espoo, Finland. The selection jury will be chaired by Marcus Weldon and include business and technology leaders from across Nokia, Nokia Bell Labs and NGP Capital.

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