Slovakian Startup Excalibur Wins €500k Telekom Innovation Contest

By David Knight |

A Slovakian startup which turns your mobile phone into a universal authentication system has won the Telekom Innovation Contest – and with it up to €500,000 of Deutsche Telekom resources to develop the product. Excalibur saw off 11 other teams – including three from Germany – having emerged out of a total of 444 entries from 45 countries.

Its founders’ argument that the trust between a customer and their telco could be leveraged to allow multiple layers of authentication using phones won over the international jury at the DT building at Ernst-Reuter-Platz on Monday.

Excalibur boasts a single sign-on system where users just need to scan a QR code once to be automatically logged into every website, single click logout, cookie sandboxing and a host of other security features. The four founders – Ivan Klimek, Peter Luptak, Tomas Korenko and Marian Keltika – say their unique crypto-scheme makes your sensitive information all-but invulnerable to attacks.

Ivan, the CEO and CTO, said: “Excalibur is a big solution to a big problem. We solve not only existing problems with authentication, but are prepared to serve the authentication need in the world of tomorrow – where everything is connected to the Internet.”

The winning team will develop a development and business plan together with DT experts, using resources of up to €500,000 including business coaching, hardware and software and access to infrastructure, and will present the final product in December at the Innovation Day in Poland.

Hungarian startup Cubilog claimed second place with its cloud-based ultra-modular universal measurement, data acquisition and control system, while one of the German teams, Homee, from the startup Codeatelier, claimed third with its smart living assistant. Both won iPads and will work with Telekom in future, with the telco giant also keeping tabs on three other finalists as well.

The competition was organised by T-Mobile Poland, Magyar Telekom in Hungary and the Telekom Innovation Laboratories in Germany. It was also supported by Deutsche Telekom’s international incubators – hub:raum Germany and Poland, UQBate and Kitchen Budapest – which took part in the selection process and the final.

Other German teams in the running included Janus-Device, which allows you to connect to a trusted Internet access point – for example your home connection – from anywhere in the world, and Six-Dot, which helps blind and visually impaired people to do everything by themselves and their social network.

The event was hosted by Telekom Innovation Laboratories’ Cem Ergün Müller.