On June 16, after more than two years of construction, the Tech Hub cooperation space was opened at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of Vilnius University (VU EVAF). The premises will bring together start-ups of the Tech Hub pre-accelerator run by the Innovation Agency together with Vilnius University, the premises will also host various events, hackathons, conferences, and workshops.
“The first time I heard the words “Tech Hub” was three years ago. Back then, not many people had heard of it or knew what it was. But obviously, in three years this concept has taken root in life and activities, and now in space. It reveals the tendency and desire to integrate science, studies and business and to bring students back to university so that they not only participate in lectures and seminars but also discover other new, meaningful activities here,” said VU Rector Prof. Rimvydas Petrauskas.
Many guests from the start-up and innovation ecosystem attended the event. Vice-Minister of Economics and Innovation Vincas Jurgutis said he was pleasantly surprised and inspired by the hustle and bustle of the start-ups. “Lithuania’s ambitions are impossible without creative, hard-working and educated people. Lithuania is gradually embracing the fact that if we want a breakthrough, the most important things are communion and the exchange of knowledge. We hope that these premises will nurture a lot of new business and investment,” he said.
Prof. Dr Aida Mačerinskienė, Dean of VU EVAF, was also happy with the opening: “These spaces confirm the fact that the 440th anniversary of the university not only commemorates the historical importance of the university but is also a way to be modern. We look forward to seeing new business ideas come into being inside these spaces,” she said.
The event also featured a pitch battle of the best Tech Hub pre-accelerator start-ups. The representatives of 8 teams talked about the problem their start-up would address and the proposed solution, introduced their teams and achievements. The winner of the battle was chosen by a commission of three experts, taking into account the quality of the presentation and the potential of the start-up.
Seqvision, a start-up from the fifth pre-accelerator cycle, won the title of the best starter. SeqVision has developed a solution for biotechnology laboratories that work with plasmids - synthetic DNA molecules created by scientists. A DNA plasmid is a sequence of genetic information. Once this molecule has been created, its correct sequence needs to be verified and confirmed. It is a tedious, time-consuming process that requires reagents. The start-up’s proposed plasmid sequencing service facilitates this process by providing more sample information in less time and easier sample preparation than other sequencing platforms.
VU Technology Port, together with the Innovation Agency (formerly the Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA)), has been running the Tech Hub pre-accelerators for almost two years. It is a three-month intensive training for start-ups where teams gain knowledge of business development, receive mentoring, stay in touch with investors and business angels, and can turn their idea into a minimal product.
So far, 110 startups from Lithuania and abroad have completed the programme, while another 20 are currently participating. 6 pre-accelerator cycles were held over a two-year period. The teams participating in the programme consist of over 300 people. Some of the startups, e.g., benme,Oxus.AI, Curtains Calculator, and others, have already attracted investments, while others have participated in acceleration programmes abroad, and received funding from various EU support measures, private investors and business angels.
All pre-accelerator participants will be able to use the Tech Hub space. The university community and the entire innovation and start-up ecosystem will be invited to participate in various events related to the promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship.