Winners of the Blockchain Startup Contest Announced: Etherisc and Status

The Blockchainhub Graz and industry partners recently finished a Blockchain Startup Contest that offered 15,000 € in prize money. Challenging participating startups with two categories of ‘Software’ and ‘Hardware Startups’, this contest was created to improve awareness of the blockchain and its potential applications. The Blockchainhub Graz purposely chose a very broad jury with different backgrounds so that all ideas and projects would get the same chance to win.  

According to the original press release from the Blockchain Startup Contest, entrants had little requirements to participate in the contest:

“The entry requirements are quite low: every startup or idea that are not older than 2 years since the last pivot are allowed. And the concept does not necessarily have to use Blockchain technology, but you should enrich the ecosystem of decentralized technologies, e.g. by improving the robustness of the network (e.g. Parity while DDoS attack on Geth), or by using existing platforms to build on top of it (e.g. IOTA for IoT solutions). Also making todays platforms more decentralized (e.g. Bitsquare a decentralized Bitcoin exchange) or creating new networks which are independent from the world wide web (e.g. combining BlockchainID and decentralized storage) are possibly use cases you could apply with.”

The two first place winners are startups working within the Ethereum ecosystem with two very different use cases. Both applications are clear advents of Ethereum reaching mainstream adoption with their viable end-user friendly projects. Etherisc, a London-based startup, is working on a decentralized insurance solution for airplane flights that may become delayed or canceled altogether. Status, a Singapore-based startup, is creating an open source light client that operates similarly to a messenger app for users’ mobile phones. These applications present a great opportunity for Ethereum to broaden its user scope. 

Below is the full press release for the Blockchain Startup Contest winners:

Press release

30 November 2016
Winners of 2016 Blockchain Startup Contest announced

  • Five winners were chosen out of 80 submissions from 29 countries
  • Erste Group and Steiermärkische Sparkasse among the contest’s main sponsors

Nearly 80 blockchain-focused startups from 29 different countries took part in the Graz-based Blockchain Startup Contest, with representatives from the top 20 entries invited to present their projects at a demo day held on Monday, November 28. An international jury of five blockchain experts then awarded two first and three second places. The winners were chosen on the basis of the criteria timing, team, concept and business model, with social impact being an additional important assessment point.

The following teams received their rewards from the sponsors which were transferred in either Bitcoin or Ether to their cryptocurrency accounts live on stage:

First places – EUR 5,000 each, transferred in Ether:

  • Etherisc from London who are working on a decentralised insurance solution based on Blockchain technology. The first operational application was a fully automated flight delay insurance that directly accesses passenger data and automatically pays compensation in case of a delay. The award was handed over by Mag. Kerber from Steiermärkische Sparkasse and Mag. Niederländer from Erste Group Bank AG.
  •  Status from Singapur, an Ethereum browser for mobile phones combining messaging, payments and DApp. The transaction was conducted by Mag. Thomas Wiedner from Energie Steiermark.

Second places – EUR 1,670 each, transferred in Bitcoin:

  • Bernstein from Munich, making it possible to anonymously document the development history of intellectual properties in terms of both content and time. This allows, for example, to prove the development history of an invention in case of a patent application. This award was transferred by Mag. Grossek from eCounting.
  • Minebox from Austria, a decentralised and safe cloud solution in which others’ memory capacities can be used for own backups and own capacities can be offered to others. The accounting is automatically done in the background. This award was handed over by Ms. Langerwisch from eCounting.
  • Helperbit from Italy, who are creating a decentralised donation and insurance platform that automatically pays donations and insurance claims based on data from earthquakes or other disasters. This award was transferred by Dr. Kappe from Kapa Ventures.

“As a bank, when we approach the blockchain issue, we do so from the vantage point of finding concrete responses to our clients’ needs and raising customer satisfaction with regard to the speed and availability of digital services,” says Petia Niederländer, Head of Retail and Corporate Operations at Erste Group and one of the banking group’s blockchain experts. “As one of the sponsors of the Blockchain Startup Contest, Erste Group is particularly pleased at the fact that all of the many interesting submissions for this competition have a similarly strong focus on the customer.”

Steiermärkische Sparkasse and Energie Steiermark joined Erste Group in serving as the main sponsors of the financial technology competition’s inaugural edition.

Thomas Zeinzinger, the founder of BlockchainHub Graz and one of the organizers of the Blockchain Startup Contest, also appreciated the Austrian participation in the competition: “We were, of course, very excited to Erste Group is the leading financial services provider in the Eastern part of the EU. Approximately 46,700 employees serve 15.9 million clients in nearly 2,700 branches in 7 countries (Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia). As per Q3 2016, Erste Group had EUR 206.8 billion in total assets, a net profit of EUR 1.18 billion and a core capital
ratio (CET1, Basel 3, phased-in) of 13.2%. 2/2
receive submissions from all over the world. But we are also particularly proud to see some very interesting ideas from the Austrian participants in the competition.”