‘Distinkt’ takes to the Sky(Deck): ICN2 spin-off hits three new milestones

By December 29, 2023December 31st, 2023ICN2

The start-up company Distinkt, launched by the BIST community centre ICN2, the UAB, and CSIC, has recently received an ACCIÒ Startup Capital Grant, a NEOTEC Grant, and the occasion to participate in the Berkeley SkyDeck Europe accelerator. These milestones will enable Distinkt to accelerate the development of its innovative technology. Their high-security fluorescent inks have the potential to make a major impact on several industrial sectors.

Distinkt, a spin-off company of the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) and the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB), is making a meteoric career. In a short time, it has achieved impressive milestones by receiving public funding and private investments that will allow it to further develop their technology and bring it to the market.

ACCIÒ Startup Capital Grant: a €100,000 infusion

As announced last September (and now confirmed), Distinkt is one of 21 start-ups selected out of 81 applicants to receive the ACCIÒ Startup Capital grant, conferred by the Agency for Business Competitiveness of the Catalan Government (Generalitat). The 100,000 euros provided through this grant, which is designed to help companies in their early stages, will allow Distinkt to propel its business plan forward, from product development to administrative operations and market validation.

Berkeley SkyDeck Accelerator: investment and mentoring

Distinkt has been given the unique occasion to participate in the Berkeley SkyDeck Europe accelerator, a six-month programme that includes a €145,000 investment coupled with comprehensive mentoring. The company’s CEO, Luca Venza, and CTO, Dr. Àlex Julià-López, are enjoying an immersive experience in Silicon Valley. This transformative programme also entails a stay at the Cariplo Factory in Milan (Italy) and will culminate in an Investor Day in April.

Speaking about this opportunity, CEO Luca Venza expressed great enthusiasm for the chance to absorb the vibrant and dynamic Silicon Valley mentality and to benefit from Berkeley’s vast network: “It’s incredible to be able to spend some time in Silicon Valley and take advantage of the distinct culture and mentality that only exists here. You can immediately feel the urgency and the willingness to help (for free) from the entire Berkeley network, which is extensive. We are interchanging ideas with people who are so successful in their industry that it is hard to believe that they are interested in helping us, but they are. Now the challenge is to modify the ambition of the company and think big. We’re on it!

NEOTEC Grant: €335,000 for R&D advancement

Distinkt has secured an additional €335,000 for Research and Development (R&D) by earning the prestigious NEOTEC grant, awarded by CDTI-E.P.E., which is a public business entity under the Ministry of Science and Innovation that promotes technological development of Spanish companies. The NEOTEC Programme aims to support the creation and consolidation of companies rooted in scientific and technical knowledge, whose activity is focused on the exploitation of products or services.

This further important recognition confirms Distinkt’s great potential as an innovator in the development of smart inks for security applications.

Smart anti-counterfeiting inks: Distinkt’s cutting-edge technology

The cornerstone of Distinkt’s innovation stems from collaborative efforts between members of the ICN2 Nanostructured Functional Materials Group (Nanosfun) –Dr. Àlex Julià-López, Dr. Claudio Roscini, Dr. Jaume Otaegui, and group leader Prof. Daniel Ruiz-Molina– and the Department of Chemistry of the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB) –Prof. Jordi Hernando.

They employ nano- and micro-particles to produce fluorescent inks whose colour or fluorescence dynamically change under different light wavelengths. These adaptable inks, invisible to the naked eye but discernible under specific illumination, serve as robust authentication markers. Custom signs, barcodes or QR codes can be printed with these inks on any material or object, from banknotes to official documents, bags and cosmetic products, with the purpose of certifying their authenticity.

With these new cash injections and participation in the prestigious SkyDeck accelerator programme, the company is poised to revolutionise security standards with its innovative technology solutions.

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