The Saarland-based start-up alocalo prevailed among strong competition in the final application phase of the European flagship funding programme for SMEs, the EIC Accelerator. By working with DORUCON, the company will receive around 2.3 million euros in grant funding as well as the option of an additional 2 million euros in equity capital to enter the market and scale the business model.
Revolution in retail: alocalo brings local shops on par with e-commerce
The challenge: Local, brick-and-mortar shops often have to close because the e-commerce market has become more attractive to end consumers than shopping in brick-and-mortar retail shops. The global e-commerce market is growing continuously and online purchases have increased not only due to the Corona crisis.
At the same time, the extinction of city centres continues to increase and stationary retail in Germany is recording high losses. For end consumers who actually want to shop locally, there are no platforms that offer the desired variety of products.
The solution: alocalo enables customers to shop at local retailers via a local online shopping platform, even if consumers search for products on existing shopping portals. The self-learning AI-based search algorithm uses existing shopping portals as input and searches for the same or similar products in the alocalo product database. In this way, the reach of retailers is massively increased as end consumers can use their usual preferred online shopping websites to be redirected to local retailers. This is the first time that retailers, regardless of whether they have their own online shop or not, will be visible on all classic online platforms.
The EIC Accelerator puts applicants to the test in a three-stage application process
The EIC Accelerator is one of the most competitive innovation funding programmes in Europe. With strong competition, participating companies have to prove themselves with their projects in an extensive application process. Across Europe, the chances of success are in the single-digit percentage range. The alocalo team was accompanied by DORUCON from the submission of a sketch to the full application to the pitch interview in Brussels. At the pitch interview in front of a jury of experts, alocalo was convincing and thus successfully brings funding to Saarland in cooperation with DORUCON.
In addition to alocalo, DORUCON was also able to secure EIC Accelerator funding of over 2.1 million euros for the Munich-based company Twaice.
About the start-up Alocalo
The start-up alocalo, based in Friedrichsthal in Saarland, began as a FITT project funded by IANEO and Globus and has been able to develop the prototype of its disruptive shopping platform since the project began in 2020 and the company was subsequently founded in May 2021. This supports local retailers in attracting end consumers to purchase their products instead of buying the products from large e-commerce platforms and thus contributes to the preservation of local jobs. The company around CEO David Eisenbeis now has eleven employees. The management team combines all the necessary skills and competences for a successful market entry. The management team is complemented by the two co-founders Prof. Hälsig and Mr. Frank, who are active in the day-to-day business as an internal advisory board.
About DORUCON – DR. RUPP CONSULTING GmbH
DORUCON – DR. RUPP CONSULTING GmbH advises companies throughout Germany and Europe, from start-ups and SMEs to large enterprises, on the realisation of their innovation projects and offers support in the promotion and financing of growth. The support includes a full service that covers the planning, application and processing of grants and financing. Our offer thus includes not only assistance with innovation promotion, but also with investment promotion and financing. DORUCON has more than 10 years of experience in technology and innovation funding at state, federal and EU level.
DORUCON has more than 10 years of experience in technology and innovation funding at state, federal and EU level. Supported funding programmes include the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM), KMU-innovativ, the research allowance (Forschungszulage), the EIC Accelerator, the GRW funding and go-innovativ (go-inno). DORUCON is authorised by the Federal Ministry of Economics to issue consultancy vouchers of up to 27,500 euros for the go-inno funding programme. In addition, DORUCON is certified by TÜV Süd according to ISO 9001:2015 and is a member of the Offensive Mittelstand and the Bundesverband mittelständische Wirtschaft (BVMW).