Call for innoVaction

Innovation comes
into action.

Innovation comes<br>into action.

The collection of applications for this edition has

The program
The program

innoVaction is Vodafone Italia's new acceleration program dedicated to startups, scaleups and SMEs to jointly develop innovative projects and solutions that can integrate deeptech technologies with Vodafone infrastructures and platforms.

innoVaction Day
innoVaction Day

On Novembre 14th at the Vodafone Theatre in Milan we talked about innovation and the new innoVaction program together with startups, PoliHub and innoVaction's partner customers.


What we offer


Financial resources for technical development

  • Up to €25,000, equity free, for all Finalists for the creation of a Prototype of the new solution operating in Vodafone technology
  • Up to €300,000, convertible into equity, for the Winners of the "Seed-Capital" path to support the technological development of the Product co-designed
Vodafone MEC

Edge Cloud resources and technical support

  • Access to the MEC (Multi-access Edge Computing) experimentation infrastructure, the Vodafone cloud at the edge of the network for applications that require low latency, scalability, distributed intelligence or orchestration of connected and collaborative objects
  • Technical support for the design of the solution architecture, optimization and access from the 5G or 4G Vodafone network
Consulting and Customer Validation

Mentorship, Customer Partners and visibility

  • Vodafone Mentorship on technical and business issues
  • Possibility of co-planning with Vodafone Partner Customers in the various phases of the program
  • International scale up with Tomorrow Street after the commercial launch in Italy
  • Visibility during and after the program
Open Lab 5G & nb-IoT

Spaces, infrastructure and test devices

  • Access to the Vodafone laboratory in Milan, where you can test the integration with the Vodafone experimental infrastructure, in a dedicated "plug&play" environment
  • Dedicated support from specialized technicians for the necessary configurations and optimizations
  • 5G/4G test device and sim to test the end-to-end solution and verify its latency and throughput requirements
Vodafone STEP

Cooperative mobility platform

  • Access to Vodafone's pan-European cooperative mobility platform, STEP (Safer Transport for Europe Platform), which brings together automotive operators to make mobility safer and more accessible, in particular for the most vulnerable road users
  • Consulting and technical support with access to the STEP development environment through the use of dedicated SDKs and APIs
Supporto PoliHub

Coaching and dedicated services

  • PoliHub coaching throughout the program
  • Consultancy and professional services on specific needs (e.g. pitch design, business model, financial plan, patent search)
  • Technical consultancy in collaboration with the Politecnico of Milan on specific topics

Timeline innoVaction

What are we looking for

Innovative projects that apply deeptech technologies for the Consumer or Business market, synergistic with Vodafone in the sectors of interest where Vodafone technologies and platforms enable/improve distinctive and high-potential features.

innoVaction terms&conditions

Download the terms&conditions to find out more details about the innoVaction program


In collaboration with:

PoliHub PoliMi

Partner customers

ARISTON GROUP AstraZeneca atac Boston Scientific IVECO GROUP PIRELLI


How to submit a project
How can I submit my project?

Click on “Apply to the innoVaction”, create your account and fill in the application form by 11:59 p.m. on Junuary the 15th, 2024. You can complete your application gradually, saving the filled information as you go and by clicking on “Complete application” submit it. The participation is free of charge, and there are no obligations.

Can I submit more than one project?

Yes, by creating an innoVaction account for each project.

Which documents should I enclose to my application?
  • A clear and concise presentation of the project in 5G and the business opportunity (PDF, max. 10 Mega).
  • The URL of a video pitch lasting 4-7 minutes, uploaded onto a free platform (like YouTube or Vimeo) in which the team introduces itself and describes the project. Remember to provide the password if the access is protected.
  • Any further technical documentation with more details on the architecture and the solution. Optional file. (PDF, max. 10 Mega).
  • LinkedIn profiles for all team members.

All the documents can be either in Italian or English.

What must the presentation contain?

The presentation must include the competitive scenario, the need satisfied by the solution and the reference target, the technology developed and/or adopted and future evolutions, the business model and the development plan (times and costs) for each phase of the innovaction program. It must describe the strengths of the proposed solution showing how Vodafone technology improves existing functions or enables new ones.

Can I participate if my startup is in the establishing process?

No, the startup must have already been established when the project is submitted.

I'm not a startup but a company with an innovative project, can I apply?

Yes, you can apply if you are a Scaleup or innovative SME with a project for which Vodafone technology is distinctive and enabling. You must also have assets, resources and teams dedicated to the project you intend to present.

Is the call open only to Italian companies?

The call is open also to international companies operating in Italy or wishing to start their business in Italy.

Can I participate in the call innoVaction if I have a company that does not operate in Milan?

Yes, it is not necessary to operate in the Milan area.

If my project works with the existing 4G/4.5G/NB-IoT technologies, can I participate in the call?

Yes, but to be selected, the project must include the development of new or improved functions/services enabled by Vodafone technologies and platforms (5G, MEC Edge Cloud, STEP platform for cooperative mobility, Mobile Private Network).

Can I participate in the call if my project is still an idea without a prototype?

Yes, but only in the case of innovative ideas that can be developed exclusively to finalize the solution co-designed with Vodafone and validate the business model and the value proposition with potential "end user" customers in the sector pertaining to the project.

The call phases
If my project would be selected, should I sign a contract with Vodafone?

Yes, it is necessary to sign a Framework Agreement that regulates access to the various phases, to services in kind and to fundings convertible into equity. Inside the Regulation you will find the main contents of the Framework Agreement

What do you offer in the Design phase?

The selected companies will receive advice from Vodafone experts and access to technical-specialist services from PoliHub and/or Politecnico di Milano according to the specific needs of each startup/SME to finalize the design of the solution using 5G and/or Vodafone trial platforms and the related business model. It will be also possible to access the Vodafone Italia Open Lab in Milan to test the latency and throughput requirements of the end-to-end solution.

What is offered in the Prototype development phase?

In this phase, the finalists will receive a cash contribution up to € 25.000 equity free for the construction of the first prototype running with Vodafone technology and/or platforms and technical-specialist advice from Vodafone according to specific needs. Startups/Scaleups/SMEs will also be able to access the 5G areas of the Vodafone Italia Open Lab in Milan to develop, integrate and test their project.

What will I present in the Design phase?

You will be required to submit a project review that includes the business and the pricing model, the customer experience and the architecture of the solution including end-to-end data flows, the development plan and a 3-years financial plan, indicating the funding required, along with the detailed spending plan for the Prototype phase. A mock-up/demo of the product must also be presented and the presentation of the results of the customer validation on at least 3 potential "end-user" customers.

What will I present at the end of the Prototype phase?

You will be required to complete the development, optimization and engineering of the hardware and/or software solution integrated with Vodafone technology and platforms. You will also have to carry out a Pilot with an "end user" client company that has expressed interest in testing the solution in the field. The Pilot may have a duration of 3-6 months, in agreement with the customer and based on the business and technical KPIs to be monitored.

What will I present at the end of the Product Development phase?

You must have completed the development, optimization and engineering of the hardware and/or software solution integrated with Vodafone technology and platforms and carried out a Pilot with at least one "end user" client company that has expressed interest in testing the solution in the field. The Pilot may have a duration of 3-6 months, in agreement with the customer and based on the business and technical KPIs to be monitored.

What is STEP?

STEP is the Vodafone's open, secure and reliable pan-European platform that distributes, mediates and validates V2X messages in real time using 5G, Edge Cloud and public cloud technologies through the use of SDKs and APIs. If you have a V2X solution, you will be among the first to be able to integrate your solution within STEP. The platform works on 5G technology but also on existing cellular networks and existing mobile phones handset on legacy vehicles. Smartphone apps can incorporate the V2X SDK to display alerts and events through simple information. For a user driving a vehicle that supports Apple CarPlay or the Android Auto car assistant, the notification can be sent directly to the car's dashboard for increased convenience and safety for drivers. It is also possible include handsets carried by pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists to create a system that is readily available. However, thanks to 5G technology offering higher speed and capacity achieving millisecond latencies, STEP enable massive and critical deployments for mobility and smart cities. With 5G in-car connectivity revolutionizes V2X deployment, allowing seamless and cooperative communication between vehicles, infrastructure and surroundings.

The fundings
How many funds are available?

The funds in Seed Capital are disbursed in cash, with no obligation to repay, with the possibility for Vodafone to convert them into equity. Cash contributions are subject to compliance with the milestones and acceptance of the deliverables by Vodafone envisaged in the development plan and are disbursed in tranches upon presentation of appropriate expense documentation.

How many winning projects will there be?

Up to 3 winners of the “In-Kind” category or “Seed-Capital” one.

Can I decide whether to compete for the “In-Kind” or “Seed-Capital” category?

Yes, at the time of the finalists selection by the Evaluation Committee you will be asked to choose whether to compete for the “In-Kind” or “Seed-Capital” category.

Will the “In-Kind” winners receive cash contributions?

No, but they will receive technical consultancy services from Vodafone, access to Vodafone experimental platforms to finalize the development of the solution and bring the first commercial trials to the field. In addition, they will benefit from visibility during and after the program.

What will the “Seed-Capital” winners receive?

The Winner of the “Seed-Capital” category will receive from Vodafone technical consulting services, access to Vodafone infrastructure and Vodafone trial platforms as well as cash contributions up to € 300,000 (convertible into equity) to finalize the development of the solution and bring to the field the first commercial trials. In addition, will benefit from visibility during and after the program.

Are there any cash contributions in the Design phase?

No, in this phase the pre-selected projects will receive technical-specialist and business consultancy services from Vodafone and / or PoliHub experts to finalize the design of the solution and the business plan.

How much will be disbursed in the Prototype Development phase?

Each of the finalist projects that will enter the Prototype Development phase will receive funding to cover the costs related to the 5G prototype creation, up to € 25,000 (equity free).

How will fundings be disbursed?

Fundings will be disbursed in cash and / or services subject to the signing of a Disbursement Agreement which defines terms and conditions.

What does the Seed Capital funds disbursement consist of?

Vodafone will provide cash funds for project development by acquiring, among others, the right to enter into the financed company capital.

What does the In-Kind funds disbursement consist of?

In-Kind funds are disbursed in services, such as technical and business support, access both to laboratory and the 5G infrastructure and Vodafone trial platforms to support the development and commercial launch. Vodafone will acquire, among others, the rights for commercial exclusivity or most favoured customer treatment.

What is the Pre-Seed funds disbursement?

Pre-seed funds are disbursed in equity-free cash to support the prototype development by acquiring the rights for a free and exclusive use license for 24 months.

What happens if the submitted plan is delayed?

In case of the agreed plan is delayed the subsequent disbursement will be suspended without approval by Board.

Will Vodafone market the developed product?

Yes, if the developed product successfully passes the market validation phase with a potential customer and solution integration into the Vodafone product Portfolio is approved by qualifying the partner as a supplier. In such a case the communication and go to market activities will be supported by Vodafone with own resources and sales structure.

What is the collaboration with Tomorrow Street for the international scale up?

Tomorrow Street is a joint venture between Vodafone and Luxembourg's technology incubator, Technoport. It provides business development and operational support to navigate the corporate environment, and access Vodafone's global scale. Winners of innoVaction will be given the opportunity to introduce themselves to Tomorrow Street, after the successfull commercial launch in Italy.

Intellectual property
What happens to intellectual property rights existing before entering the call?

The selected company will retain the ownership of the intellectual property rights accrued before entering the call innoVaction.

What happens if intellectual property rights emerge during the call phases?

The selected company will acquire the ownership of the intellectual property rights, granting Vodafone the free and exclusive use right and the economic exploitation.

Is it possible to enter into an NDA to protect the confidentiality of my idea/project?

Yes, an NDA will be signed between the candidates and Vodafone in order to guarantee the mutual confidentiality of information, data, and documents of private or confidential nature. Information on the chosen project may be made public while still maintaining the confidentiality of its innovative content.

How to contact us