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Thursday, April 22. Billed as the “Grandest showcase of unconventional solutions for the most game changing startups”, Get in the Ring’s Global Startup Competition drew to a close with the Global Final, which premiered on April 21, 2021.

The Global Final is the culmination of a year-long startup competition with 100+ online and live events and 25,000 startup applications from 107 countries. Adapting to the pandemic, Get in the Ring transitioned all scheduled live pitch battles into online events with a focus on dealmaking. 

This season, the Global Startup Competition collected numerous stamps on its virtual passport – from Miami to Osaka, New Delhi to Barranquilla and Khartoum to Budapest. Over 100 winning startups from each city event were invited to the Global Meetup starting in March 2021, where they competed in the semi-finals but most importantly were matched with industry-leading corporates, investors and governments to have dealmaking meetings to help scale their solution.

The two boldest startups from each of the four key domains – Health, Energy, Food & Agriculture, and FinTech – were chosen to pitch at the Global Final, in front of a jury that included Tanja Kufner (Expert Advisor -European Commission), Kees Koolen (Founding Partner – EQT Ventures), Witte van Cappellen (Chief Supply Chain Officer – Hero Group), Artem Khlebnikov (Director Open innovation & Strategic Partner – Danone), Pascal Huijbers (CTO – Wester Europe, Fujitsu), Nadine Klokke (CEO – Knab) and Hendrik Halbe (CEO – Unknown Group), amongst others. Also on the jury were Dror Tamir (CEO – Hargol FoodTech) and Valer Pop (CEO – Lifesense Group), both of whom were global winners of the Get in the Ring Global Startup Competition in 2017. After winning Get in the Ring as a one-product company Lifesense Group quickly scaled both their product portfolio to 5 health continence solutions which are currently being sold in 98 countries worldwide – an inspirational example for the finalists of this year what a journey could look like after winning the Get in the Ring competition. 


The Battles

In its unique and engaging format, Get in the Ring pitch battles showcase two leading startups, represented by their founders in a boxing ring, competing back-and-forth over five 30-second rounds on the following criteria: team, achievements, business model and market, financials, and proposition and to conclude a freestyle round. The battles are followed by audience questions and finally, the Champion Jury vote, which decides the winner.

In the battle of carbon-neutral heavyweights in the Energy Battle, QPinch from Antwerp, Belgium overcame Portugal’s Omniflow. QPinch’s heat transformer helps industries save over 50% of their energy bills, while Omniflow reduces the energy consumption by 90% with their smart lamp poles. 

In the food and agriculture battle, Canada’s LOOP competed against the UK’s Vertical Future. While LOOP brings back value to rejected food by transforming them into products, their opponent Vertical Future are pioneers of fully automated vertical farming. In a closely contested showdown, Vertical Future was able to convince the jury of its business case and potential to scale. 

LOOP, however, didn’t go home empty-handed as they clinched the Public Voting Winner Award for the most popular solution at the Global Meetup 2021.

0,0002 seconds – that’s how long it takes Hungary’s Oncompass Medicine to choose the best therapy for cancer patients. They faced off against Israel’s, 6degrees, whose wearable device gives people with disabilities the ability to use smartphones seamlessly. The impact potential of Oncompass Medicine’s solution was too irresistible for the jury to ignore, giving the Hungarian startup the win in the Health Battle.

In the battle of Fintech ventures, it was Japan vs Switzerland. While EAGLYS Inc enables large organizations to process customer data in an encrypted way, Apiax provides software to banks to manage their compliances fully digitally. In a tightly contested battle, EAGLYS Inc took the win.

At the Global Final premiere, it was also announced that Israel’s Plastic Back was awarded the “Future Star Award” for their innovative chemical oxidation process to break down polymers that are turning the tide on plastic waste. 

Jurgen Nieuwenhuijsen, Director of Get in the Ring said: “In this unprecedented season of the Get in the Ring, we’ve been impressed by the high quality of startups from all corners of the world. It’s also been incredible to see the enthusiasm with which our dealmaking partners are helping these ventures test and scale their solutions. This is a special crop of winners and we’re excited to see them leverage the Get in the Ring springboard to take their solutions worldwide!”

As the current Global Startup Competition season ends with a flourish, the new season of Get in the Ring kicks off. With the goal of hosting 150 events around the globe over the coming season, the Get in the Ring Global Startup Competition will provide an even larger and more expansive podium for unconventional solutions from around the world to scale their solution.

Missed out on the Global Finals? We’ve got you covered.


About Unknown Group

Unknown is an early-stage venture capital and business development firm, supporting founders and industry leaders to successfully bring innovations to the market: a “Venture Engine®”. With a fresh approach delivering venture success, lining up the industry and creating a pool of solutions ready to be adopted by the market. Through Unknown Group, Get in the Ring was created as a global startup competition to find and support promising startups from all corners of the world to test and scale their solutions with governments and industry leaders. 


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Rayhaan Imam