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Instamic wins 1st place and €250,000 in the Next Step Challenge startup competition

2016-09-13

The San Francisco startup Instamic has won the 1st prize of €250,000 in the international Next Step Challenge accelerator program and startup competition based in Denmark. The startup was awarded 1st prize for their unique ‘GoPro of microphones’ that’s smart, small, affordable and easy to operate.

Instamic has developed a tiny smart microphone that’s ideal for musicians, filmmakers, journalists, bloggers or anyone who need a simple and effective means of capturing sound. The idea started in San Francisco in the start of 2015 when filmmaker and documentarist Michele Baggio saw a huge market need for professionals and consumers to capture audio like they never imagined before. Today the tiny, wearable, wireless & waterproof Instamic microphone is on the market and set a whole new standard in recording.

During the last eight months Instamic has been competing in the Next Step Challenge startup competition against 15 international startups within two program tracks: Sound & Home Integration and Smart Energy & Digitalization. In a public award show on September 7th in Denmark Instamic was selected as the winner of the 2016 program among 15 high-potential growth startup companies.

“We are incredibly happy to win the Next Step Challenge 2016 in fierce competition with many highly skilled entrepreneurs and startup companies from around the world. The Next Step Challenge program has been intense and brought our business plan, sales and marketing strategy to the next level,” says Michele Baggio, CEO of Instamic, and continues: “We moved to Denmark to gain access to the European market and brand Instamic with a strong Danish touch. In only one year from our crowdfunding campaign we went really far and winning the €250,000 prize is an amazing achievement. We are full of joy and energy and can’t wait to get back to work and find talents in the audio industry in the Silicon Valley of Sound.”

Huge market potential
During the Next Step Challenge program, the startups have been mentored and accelerated by Accelerace and been able to test their technology and gain access to skilled experts within their fields in Danish utility company SE and the Danish design icon and consumer electronics company Bang & Olfusen A/S. The startup companies were all judged by their business opportunities, team, development through the program, growth potential and how they were going to use the prize money.

Søren Bech, head of research at Bang & Olfusen A/S and member of the jury says: “It was a close race this year but Instamic stood out on several areas. They are ready to market their technology, their production is already up and running and they have identified a clear need in the market. During the program they have built a network with the Danish world-class audio R&D organizations to optimize their product and business.”

Peter Torstensen, CEO of Accelerace, who was part of the Next Step Challenge judging panel says: ”It has been a difficult decision for the judging panel since the competition is full of talented startups with incredible ideas and innovative foresights about the technology of the future which can be developed in Denmark. Instamic wins the first prize for the solution to digitalize and revolutionize an industry. During the program they have developed their technology and attracted many new customers. We believe they have a huge potential.”

Lisbeth Valher CEO of SE Next Step says: ”Next Step Challenge has a high international standard and have created the ideal test environment for the development of new innovative technologies. Over the course of three years we have invited high-potential companies from all over the world to join.  We believe that the combination of many global leads, a focused selection process, a systematic innovation process, close partnership with larger corporations and a strong network of mentors is the right combination to create success. The companies are all seeking to develop the technologies of tomorrow whose success can pave the way for other new technologies.”

Instamic has been on the fast track since they started in 2015 and recently raised an impressive $400,000 on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to produce, market and ship the Instamic microphone to their more than 3000 backers.

The Next Step Challenge investors’ choice award of 25,000 DKK plus two exclusive Bang & Olufsen speakers went to fintech and iBanking startup Cogni from Ireland and Australia.

See Instamic’s spotlight video here:

Read more about the Next Step Challenge participants here: http://nextstepchallenge.com/participants/

Read more about Instamic here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/instamic-the-smartest-microphone-ready-to-record-video-music

Read more about Cogni here: http://www.cogninow.com/

During the Next Step Challenge program all companies have been interviewed about their startup and the startups have also produced a short video. Read Instamic’s interview and watch their video here: http://nextstepchallenge.com/portfolio_item/instamic/

Also, we captured the announcement of the winner on Facebook – view it here: https://www.facebook.com/NextStepChallenge/videos/vb.200673160056479/387139314743195/?type=2&theater

Participating companies: Certware (Denmark),Cinemood (Russia), Cogni (Ireland/Australia), DFT (Cleveland, USA), EEme (Pittsburg, USA), Instamic (San Francisco, USA), Linguoo (Uruguay), Okeanos Technologies (Cincinnati, USA), Qarnot Computing (France), Sensewaves (France, Greece), Shared Electric (Switzerland), Soledge (France), Telewander (Chile, Russia), Tracktl (France), Zylia (Poland).

http://nextstepchallenge.com/participants/

About Next Step Challenge

The Next Step Challenge is a Danish internationally focused accelerator program and startup competition that supports promising startups through a 8-month program, which will all be wrapped up at an award show where €250.000 is granted to the winning startup. The program has participants from USA, Greece, Australia, Uruguay, Poland and many more. All companies have products within the two program tracks Sound & Home Integration and Smart Energy & Digitalization. The competing startups are all relocated to Next Step City in Esbjerg and Nupark in Holstebro. The Next Step Challenge is created by Accelerace, SE, Bang & Olufsen A/S, FærchFonden, Nupark & The Region of Southern Denmark. Read more about the Next Step Challenge on www.nextstepchallenge.com

Instamic wins Next Step Challenge 2016. Photo by Christina Simonia Straarup.

The happy Instamic team after winning Next Step Challenge and the 1stprize of €250,000. From left: Sandra Åkerling and Michele Baggio, CMO & CEO at Instamic. Photo by Christina Simonia Straarup.

The Instamic microphone in action. Photo by Instamic.

Instamic – the world’s smartest microphone. Photo by Instamic