The Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program (CMU Portugal) has provided conditions and opportunities for some of the faculty members, students or alumni to launch their own entrepreneurial initiatives. The Program has supported the creation and development of 11 startups which have attracted more than $118 million in venture capital investment, of which $67 million in risk capital financing, and created more than 400 highly qualified jobs.
Among these 11 startups are companies that are already references in their sector. As an example, Feedzai, which is involved in fraud prevention in electronic payments, was listed for the second consecutive year on the Tech Tour list, that highlights the 50 companies with the highest growth potential in Europe.
Dognaedis is a startup established by Mário Zenha-Rela, faculty at the Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra (FCTUC) and Francisco Rente, a Ph.D. student. The main business focus of this company is Information Security, focused in three major activity areas: Security Audit and Consultancy, Software Assurance and Business Continuity Support.
This start-up was created because of all the involvement that Mário Zenha-Rela has had within the partnership: he spent a semester at Carnegie Mellon in the beginning of the Program to get the accreditation to teach some courses. During this stay he felt that Carnegie Mellon faculty were encourage having a strong relation with the industry world, through de consultancy services or even creating their own companies. When he returned to Portugal, he started working in both, and after a while he decided jointly with a Ph.D. student to create his own company. Dognaedis works for the Portuguese central administration: the Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, and the National Health Emergency Institute, and to several companies.
FeedZai is another start-up created as a result of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program. Paulo Marques and Pedro Bizarro, two faculty members of the Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra (FCTUC), and Nuno Sebastião, product manager at the European Space Agency (ESA), embarked on the adventure to create a startup specialized in processing large volumes of data with low-latency producing actionable information in real-time.
This company brought to the market a revolutionizing product in terms of real‐time data processing, which allows companies to look into their data in real‐time, as things are happening, and understand in detail what is going on. It allows a telecommunication operator to know in real-time how its network traffic is behaving and if it is following a ‘normal’ pattern or not; it allows an electrical utility company to understand in detail the load that is taking place in the network and if there are ‘unexpected leaks’ occurring. The partnership with Carnegie Mellon University was very important in this process. Both, Paulo Marques and Pedro Bizarro were adjunct professors at Carnegie Mellon University which granted the company a high degree of credibility which was critical when trying to convince an established company to try out a new technology. On the other hand, there are a number of activities that the Carnegie Mellon Portugal program has been promoting, where this startup have been present, which opened FeedZai to new markets.
GeoLink is a start-up created by Michel Ferreira, faculty at the Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto (FCUP), focused in the management of geospatial information. This start-up is fully involved in the Carnegie Mellon Portugal partnership throught the participation on the research project approved for funding in the Call of 2008: DRIVE‐IN ‐ Distributed Routing and Infotainment through Vehicular Inter‐Networking, which equipped 500 taxi cabs in the city of Porto.
Geolink has a team with an expertise in the area of technology systems for the management of spatial information that joins research and helps to solve problems of high complexity finding innovative solutions grounded in technology.
Mambu is a startup company established by two alumni of the Master in Human Computer Interaction, namely Eugene Danilkis and Frederick Pfisfered. This company was designed to support the unique needs of small and medium sized organizations (MFIs) providing microcredit services. It was built by working closely with organizations, observing their work and determining their needs and challenges.
The idea to create this company started during their Professional Master when they made their Capstone Project, a mandatory project were students work in interdisciplinary teams with an industry sponsor to produce a working prototype that serves as a proof of concept of a novel service or product idea. Mambu was the name of the project created by these two entrepreneurs with more colleagues, which goal was to build an online portfolio management software service for growing microcredit organizations.
Established in May 2011, Orange Bird is a startup created by Paulo Silva Pereira, Pedro Domingos and Yoann Nesme, all 3 full-time students of the International LisbonMBA, together with Professor Pedro Oliveira from the Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics and director of the dual degree doctoral program in Technology Change and Entrepreneurship offered by Católica-Lisbon, IST/UTL and CMU in the scope of the Carnegie Mellon Portugal Program, who is conducting research on the role of users in developing innovative financial services, including crowdfunding.
The goal of this startup is to promote the concept of crowdfunding (collective finance) in Portugal and to boost entrepreneurship and social development within the country, through a crowdfunding interface called PPL.
Prsma is a company created by a M-ITI team associated with an entrepreneur from the electronics industry, to commercialize “ENERGY SPECTRUM “, a system developed and tested in the framework of a success research project. Their sensing system is capable of disaggregating home energy consumption using a low-cost and effective non-intrusive approach. The sensing system is coupled with a middleware web system that supports novel eco-feedback strategies that are meaningful and compelling for families and households.
RedLight Software is a process-driven software company providing solutions for the health sector in Europe. It is a technlogical startup originated from the Carnegie Mellon Portugal initiative as a direct outcome of the multidisciplinary partnership in software engineering, quality processes (CMMI) and human-computer interaction. It was created by Mário Zenha-Rela, professor and researcher at Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia of the Universidade de Coimbra.
RedLight Software is developing a cloud-based multiplatform line of products targeting chronic disease management (starting with Type 2 Diabetes) to be launched at the first quarter of 2014. RedLight was incorporated in January 2013 and has currently clients in three European Countries.
Sentilant, a spinoff from the Universidade de Coimbra, created in the scope of the CMU Portugal Program, was co-founded in May 2013 by Bruno Cabral and Jorge Granjal, faculty members of the Universidade de Coimbra. The company is currently headquartered at Instituto Pedro Nunes, in Coimbra.
Sentilant provides services and software products that allow people and organizations to collect, analyze and share business and real-time sentient data from, and on, their mobile devices. The market will see the first version of their product next year. So far, Sentilant has won two technological innovation awards with a product that uses sensorial data collected from smartphones to help users improve driving efficiency: the Inov C Award (first place) of the Competition “Arrisca.C’2012 – Ideas, Business Plans, and Proofs of Concept”, and the second place in the PT Galp Innovation Challenge.
Streambolico technology provides scalable WiFi video streaming in high density scenarios, by making it possible to deliver video to 10 times more users per WiFi hotspot. Streambolico revolutionizes the video broadcast to any mobile platform using a ubiquitous new delivery channel, WiFi networks.
Users can watch their favorite TV channels in the food court, in the airport or in any other public venue using their smart devices, while fans in sport and music events can also view different cameras in their own devices. One of the co-founders was João Barros, former national director of the CMU Portugal Program, and Paulo Oliveira, a Ph.D student that spent several periods at Carnegie Mellon University.
Veniam’Works is a spin-off company of the Instituto de Telecomunicações and the Universities of Aveiro and Porto, which connects vehicles to the each other and to the Internet using vehicular mesh networking technologies Veniam designs, develops and deploys vehicular ad-hoc networks for any type of business. Using advanced simulation software, this startup is able to deliver detailed studies on the expected quality of service, bandwidth, latency and coverage for different cities, vehicle densities and traffic scenarios.
Veniam is a startup company created by João Barros, faculty at the Faculdade de Engenharia of the Universidade do Porto, and Susana Sargento, faculty at the Universidade de Aveiro. Veniam’Works is Track Winner of the Building Global Innovators Venture Competition.
Virtual Traffic Lights (VTL), LLC was founded in 2010 by Prof. Ozan Tonguz of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), along with co-founders Dr. Michel Ferreira and Dr. Luis Damas of the University of Porto, as a CMU spinoff targeting to solve some of the acute transportation problems of our times by using vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications paradigms based on the emerging Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) technology at 5.9 GHz in addition to other 2G, 3G, and 4G wireless and cellular technologies.
The proprietary technology (U.S. Patent pending) developed by VTL is proven to increase the traffic flows in urban areas by 60% during rush hours which seems pretty significant and revolutionary. Such an improvement has serious implications in terms of reducing the commute time of urban workers, mitigating congestion, lessening carbon footprint of cars, increasing productivity, and supporting a greener environment. In addition, the proposed technology and the core invention of VTL will be an indispensable building block for the ongoing research efforts on autonomous driving.