First Grantees of the Vega Fund Received 14 300 Euros in support of Development
An international jury announced the first grantees of the Vega support fund created in cooperation of SEB bank and the University of Tartu. Three innovative development projects out of 35 project applications were supported with a total of 14 300 Euros.
According to Mart Maasik, member of the jury, Head of Business Innovation at SEB, almost all presented projects were strongly based on knowledge. “The existence of a scientific component was certainly a strength of the teams. In parallel, even more attention should be paid to the business side of the service. The content of the projects was good, but in many cases the package and business dimension needs more development,” said Maasik. He found that in addition to a strong idea, the common denominator of the funded projects was a team who makes informed decisions ad knows the market well.
Kalev Kaarna, Head of the UT Idealab and leader of the Vega fund explained that as funds were awarded from the Vega fund for the first time, the jury preferred supporting new teams who are just beginning the market launch or prototyping of their product. “The projects that received financing can be realised with the support of the Vega fund so that they support the application of the university’s knowledge and research in everyday use,” Kaarna added.
The first grantees of the Vega support fund:
2300 Euros were awarded to project CounterPhase by Taniel Põllu. The aim of the project is to develop electronic active silencers for ventilation systems that would be smaller but more effective than the analogous products currently on the market.
4000 Euros were granted to Margus Niitsoo’s and Kristo Käo’s project MatchMySound. The aim of the project is to develop a tool of mathematic algorithm-based automatic control for music teachers. “Until now, teachers have not been able to give homework that could be genuinely measured. This software solution will analyse the teacher’s performance and will compare it to the performance of the student, so that the students will know if they are already as good as their teacher,” Käe explains the working principle of MatchMySound.
The biggest grant of the Vega support fund, 8000 Euros, was given to the PL Space team, represented by Erik Kulu and Paul Liias with great potential in technology. Their idea is to develop mechanics for nano-satellites and sell their product developments on the international market. According to the members of the ream, the mechanics under development will be tested during the ESTCube-2 mission.
According to the jury, PL Space has much potential to conquer a large section of the international market as the customers can be sure that their mechanics are operative – the ESTCube-1 experience proves it. The jury believes that PL Space will develop into a brand as nano-satellite mechanics have their own niche market.
The application deadline for the II call of the Vega fund is 1 October 2014. The Vega fund is a financial support fund designated for knowledge-based ideas, created by SEB and the Idealab of the University of Tartu. Over the course of 3 years, SEB bank finances the application of innovative solutions in everyday use via this fund with 150 000 Euros.
The projects submitted to the Vega fund were assessed by an international jury, including Erik Puura, Development Prorector of the University of Tartu, Mart Maasik, Head of Business Innovation at SEB, Kalev Kaarna, Head of UT’s idealab, Pirko Konsa, CEO of the fund, Erki Mölder, angel investor at EstBAN, Petri Lehmuskoski, angel investor at Gorilla Ventures and Neil Thomas from Ventac Partners.
Images of the award of the Vega fund’s grants for the I call available at UTTV.