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ISTART I – Call for Investment Opportunities

Important Information

Investiment up to 300.000 € (can be higher)

Pre-application until October 26, 2012 (5 pm)

Final application until November 16, 2012 (5 pm)

Objectives and priorities

Innovation is one of the three strategic pillars of Instituto Superior Técnico, alongside teaching and research. It is therefore a central goal of the School to create conditions for market players to create economic value from the knowledge produced at Técnico. Among the various forms of knowledge valuation, Técnico encourages the creation of spin-offs, in particular those promoted by their professors, researchers or students.

To pursue this objective, Técnico promoted the creation of a venture capital fund, named ISTART I and managed  by Espírito Santo Ventures. This fund has particularly favorable conditions to finance technology-based entrepreneurship with high growth potential. The fund is composed of public and private capital, began its operations in 2012 and, like any investment fund, aims at capital appreciation, competing with other investors in the market.

This call for investment opportunities for the ISTART I fund, aims at:
  • finance the transition of projects from a context of scientific research and development to a business environment that maximizes its potential economic value and the associated knowledge and scientific work;
  • extend the career prospects of students, researchers and professors interested in technology transfer from the university to the industry.

Priority will be given to projects that combine technological knowledge and technology excellence with the resolution of global problems of high economic value.

Types of projects

Will be eligible for investment projects resulting, for example, from:
  • research projects;
  • PhD theses;
  • master’s theses.

Projects must fall within the following areas:

  • Life Sciences
  • Basic Sciences
  • Energy, Environment and Mobility
  • Information and Communication Technologies
  • Nanoscience, Microtechnology and Materials
  • Production Engineering and Technologies
  • Technology Management and Entrepeneurship

The investment can be used for the following purposes:

  • patent applications;
  • development of industrial prototypes;
  • conducting a proof of concept;
  • preparation of a detailed business plans;
  • company establishment costs.

The protection of all intellectual property is a critical factor and will therefore be preferred projects that are not in the public domain.


May apply individually or in association:

  • students, researchers and professors of IST, actual or potential holders of intellectual property, with the common goal to constitute a company to exploit the project;
  • newly established firms to exploit a technology.

Territorial scope

Can be supported business projects that develop or may develop their activity in the NUTS II region of North, Centre, Lisbon and Alentejo, regardless of the geographical location of its markets of operation.

Budget allocation

The ISTART-I fund has a budget of 1.15 million euros for projects in the NUTS II North, Central or Alentejo, and 1.5 million for projects in the NUTS II Lisbon and can invest a maximum value of € 300,000 per project.

Projects that require investments of over € 300,000 are note excluded since the differential can be framed by other funds managed by Espírito Santo Ventures or by other companies or vehicles.

Submission of applications

Applications must be submitted to the IST Technology Transfer Office until 5 pm on November 16, 2012.

To aply, the following presentation must be filled and sent by e-mail to the address

Additionally, a pre-application can be submitted until 5 pm on October 26, 2012, with a subset of the information to allow the selection commitee to help improve the final application. This information should be introduced in the form available at the following address, and a message should be sent to indicating interest in the assessment of the pre-application:

Methodology and selection criteria

The selection of the projects will be held in two phases:

  • selection of a shortlist of projects by an expert panel (incorporating elements of Técnico and ESV);
  • analysis of the shortlisted projects by the Investment Committee of the ESV.

The investment criteria include, among others:

  • degree of innovation of the project, seen as the economic value of the need that the product or service fills (usually achieved with disruptive solutions);
  • level of protection or exclusive technology that can assure the company to create;
  • time-to-market.

In the end, a proposal for financing will be presented to the promoters of the projects approved by the Investment Committee of the fund.

Aditional information

TT@Técnico – Technology Transfer Office of Instituto Superior Técnico

Corporate Partnerships Unit (NPE)

+351 21 841 74 18 | |


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