The final gala of the VI edition of the PFR Pioneers School took place at the Warsaw’s CDT. School of Pioneers is an educational and venture building program in which 50 participants form teams to develop ideas for technological solutions. The three winning projects receive grants of 50,000 or 30,000 PLN to start their activities.
Pioneers develop their projects during over two weeks of intensive business workshops led by market specialists from technology, business and startup fields. This year, the workshops took place in Warsaw and in Prague, Czech Republic, in collaboration with CzechInvest and Impact Hub. With the support of mentors, the teams worked on creating their business models, prototypes of their solutions and investor pitches.
Eight teams of the project participants that were best rated during Demo Day on October 27 presented their projects before the judges representing PFR – Polish Development Fund, PFR Ventures – Polish public fund of funds, Allegro – biggest Polish e-commerce and program partner, and VC funds. The solutions were:
- Jidoka – a platform allowing small and medium-sized businesses to automate processes and implement AI solutions.
- MedNotes – an AI-driven engine for collecting, analyzing, and inputting data into medical documentation.
- Joyn – a social network for parents.
- OptiFood – a tool for measuring food waste in restaurants and preventing it.
- Goodbye Fifi – green, forest burial places and biodegradable urns for pet burials.
- Snapskill – a platform for learning future skills directed at students and teachers.
- Well Bioprints – a project for accelerating drug research using 3D models.
- Trill – a platform connecting musicians with experts from the music industry (producers, record labels, managers, etc.).
The first place, and 50 000 PLN for their product creation and growth was given to Jidoka. OptiFood and MedNotes were also recognized and awarded 30,000 PLN each.
- We spent a long time trying to find a common denominator for eight very different projects. We concluded that the winner should have the potential for global development on one hand and act quickly to gather information about potential clients and partners on the other. Jidoka is a solution that has truly enormous potential said Dawid Sugier from Inovo VC, a jury member.
Six editions of the program – 220 million PLN in funding
The sixth edition of the program is also a time to summarize the previous. Previous edition alumni were also awarded – including the team that received the highest funding, employs the most people, expands internationally, or adds value to the ecosystem. Among them were VividQ, Znika, HearMe/Emplomind, and Jutro Medical. Awards were also given to individuals who have been involved with the program from the beginning.
This is already the sixth edition of the PFR Pioneers School, and during this time, almost 300 people have completed the program, 90 teams have formed, and 50 companies have been established. Out of them, 29 are still active, and some of them have attracted ex ternal investors – a total of 219.5 million PLN in funding. As PFR, we were also pioneers in the venture building market in Poland, and we strongly believe in this model of working with talented individuals. The successes of School of Pioneers graduates are the best evidence that the mission we set out to achieve with this program is effective
said Eliza Kruczkowska, Director of the Innovation Development Department at the Polish Development Fund.
- Allegro has been with the PFR School of Pioneers from the beginning - said Marta Mikliszańska from Allegro. - I had the pleasure of being at every gala. During this time, the world has changed - she added, mentioning events such as Brexit, the emergence of technologies like blockchain, metaverse, NFTs, and the Covid pandemic. - During these times of uncertainty and change, startups are important. Pioneers are passionate people – passionate about changing the world and the future. They want to find answers to social, economic, civilizational, and all other challenges that lie ahead of them - she concluded.