The Digital Top 50 Awards have been designed by Google, McKinsey and Rocket Internet to recognise and reward bold talent, cutting-edge innovation and sharp business acumen.

All applications must be received by October 1st 2016.


Who is eligible to apply (definition of entities and territory, e.g. EU, EFTA, etc.)?

The Digital Top 50 Awards are open to entries from Start-ups, Scale-ups and Tech For Social Impact Companies with headquarters in EU and EFTA countries. Please note that we will not accept applications from companies with revenue or valuation greater than EUR 1bn. A digital product or service must be the central element of your company's business. You will have to show that you fulfill this requirement by pointing to a publicly available URL or App as part of your application to the Awards. Please consult our Terms of Participation to observe the details.

Do the founders have to have EU/EFTA citizenship in order to apply?

It is not required for founders to have EU or EFTA citizenship.

How and where can I apply?

Applications have to be made through the Digital Top 50 Awards website and must be received by October 1 2016, 23:59:59 CET.

Why do you only require the contact details of one person for an application?

We require one person per application who we shall contact should we require any further information to supplement the application. Please note that the person confirming the online application and stated as the contact must be legally able to represent the company applying and have clarified all information accompanying the application with co/founders etc.

Can people only self-nominate or can one nominate another team / start-up?

For several reasons we decided to only offer application via self-nomination. But of course we will be happy if you suggest others to apply for the Digital Top 50 Awards.

Is it possible to apply as a single person?

Yes, there are no restrictions on the minimum number of company personnel.

What information must applicants provide to enter?

Applicants should ensure to answer all relevant application questions in detail and provide information as required to each question when specified. However, to ensure a fair and equal process for all applicants throughout the Awards process, you must not submit any business sensitive and/or highly confidential information.

Must applicants submit a business plan?

No. Submitting a business plan is not necessary, however please ensure that you answer all questions relevant to your application comprehensively and with as much detailed information as possible.

Will the application form allow for pitch decks to be submitted?

No. But you will have the chance to upload a short video presenting your team and your business.

How many stages would a competitor need to go through before they win?

There is no official number of stages between application receipt and final selection. However, we will select a shortlist of 50 Top companies which we will invite to the award ceremony to Slush in Helsinki where we will announce the 5 winners out of the Top 50.

Who does the initial application screening?

All applications will first be submitted to a sanction screening by the Digital Top 50 Awards team, whereby given information will be checked to be true and certify whether all legal requirements have been met.

What assessment criteria will be used to filter applicants and decide the winner(s)?

Applications will be filtered based on criteria defined by the Digital Top 50 Jury Committee, generally based on the following:

In the B2B and B2C Start-up categories: Degree of innovation of the participant’s digital product or service. Value added for the users of the participant’s digital product or service.

In the B2B and B2C Scale-up categories: Ability to scale the participant’s business and to compete with other offerings in order to create sustainable growth of the Participant’s business.

In the Tech for Social Impact category: Potential to have a lasting impact on society with a socially-oriented digital product or service that is scalable in order to benefit the largest number of people in the most meaningful way. Please consult our Terms of Participation to observe all assessment criteria.

What if multiple applicants present the same project/business plan? Will they still be equally eligible?

Two or more applying companies presenting the same, or a similar idea, will have no automatic advantage or disadvantage between them. We are very aware that companies may be working on solving the same, or similar problems. However, it is highly unlikely that two start-ups or scale-ups would be working on the exact same thing and in the exact same way. Regardless, we are always interested in observing the various approaches between companies and seek to understand their approach/es and the reasoning behind them.

Will there be interviews?

There will be no official “Interview Stages”, however, the Digital Top 50 Awards Jury may contact you, post-application, to obtain written clarifications of apparent errors in your application (e.g., obviously wrong data inserted).

Will we receive feedback on our application, regardless of the outcome?

Due to the lengthy and time-consuming processes involved in application screening, unfortunately it will not be possible to provide feedback on each individual application.

I have a solid business plan but am struggling on the technical side. Is it still worth applying?

Of course. With our “Start-up” categories we focus on the early-stage digital entrepreneurs. However, you must already be able to provide us with a publically available URL or link to an App (e.g., demo video showing what the final app/service will be like, as long as it is publically available, non- business sensitive and/or not highly confidential).

We have been in business for some time, and don’t really want/need funding, are the Digital Top 50 Awards still right for us?

Definitely! In this case, we would strongly suggest you consider applying for a “Scale-up” category, where applicants would normally have already participated in funding round(s) and do not necessarily require a cash prize. Successful applicants will have the chance to win invaluable support in professional development and contact to decision-makers, helping them to advance prosperously and thrive.

What is the maximum age a company can be in order to apply?

For our “Start-up” categories you must not be older the 18 months. However, if you apply for one of our “Scale-up” categories or as “Tech for Social Impact” we do not have a maximum company age.

Are there any limitations regarding applicant companies’ revenue or valuation?

Companies with revenue or valuation of over EUR 1bn cannot apply.

Is it possible to apply for different categories?

We have designed the 5 Digital Top 50 Awards categories with the specific intention that companies see themselves, and fit within the pre-requisites, of one category only. During the application process you will have the opportunity to state why you believe your chosen category to be the most fitting for your company.

Is it possible to apply with more than one idea?

Each application is limited to the presentation of one company only; companies are not permitted to submit multiple applications.

Will applications from Start-ups that do not operate online still be accepted?

Companies must have a publically available URL or application to submit, in order to be eligible for the Digital Top 50 Awards.


When and where will the award ceremony take place?

This year’s Digital Top 50 Awards ceremony will be held at Slush, Helsinki, Finland, that takes place from November 30th until December 1st 2016. The exact day of the ceremony is still to be confirmed.

Who will be invited to the ceremony?

The Top 50 shortlisted applicants, as determined by the Digital Top 50 Awards Judging Panel, will receive one invitation per company to the Slush conference and our award ceremony.

Is it possible to obtain tickets for the Slush conference without having applied for the awards or being shortlisted as a Top 50 company?

Of course you can obtain tickets through the official Slush website.


Why did you choose the name “Digital Top 50 Awards”?

The Digital Top 50 Awards have been created to recognise and award the Top 50 Digital Start-ups, Scale-ups and Tech For Social Impact in Europe. The name has been chosen because it’s clear, it’s uncomplicated, and it’s accurate - exactly how our candidates should be presenting their fantastic business ideas!

What are the prizes?

All category winners will be invited to Google’s I/O event in California, will receive consulting and coaching sessions with McKinsey as well as feedback and fundraising support from Rocket Internet. In addition: Top B2B, B2C Start-ups and Tech for Social Impact winners will be awarded a cash prize of EUR 50,000 each towards their venture, plus support from the Digital McKinsey unit. Top B2B and B2C Scale-ups will receive invitations from McKinsey to a renowned leadership event as well as the 1-month support of a Rocket Internet expert The Top 50 shortlisted startups and scale-ups will each receive an invitation to the prestigious award ceremony, to be held during Slush in Helsinki.

Who should I contact for media enquiries?

For all media enquiries, please contact one of the three partners Google: [email protected] McKinsey: [email protected] Rocket Internet: [email protected]