10 of the most promising Malta-based startups to watch in 2021

If you’re starting up in Malta, your entrepreneur stresses and strains can easily be balanced with a dip in the Mediterranean Sea, and a trip to one of the island’s stunning coasts or ports. Not so bad, on any accounts.

On a more strategic note, Malta is known to offer small but buzzing hub of activity for globally-facing blockchain, AI and travel tech focused startups. In fact, its location acts as a connection point between North Africa and Europe, with a number of startups using this location to straddle their HQs between Malta and other locations (including a few startups below).

While the travel industry has taken a hit in previous months, blockchain and AI startups continue to remain strong, with a number of Maltese startups having landed funding in 2020. Keeping this in mind, here you’ll find list of fresh faced and young Maltese startups, founded in the last few years, that we expect to zoom ahead in 2021 and beyond.

elrond – Founded in 2017, elrond was featured in one of our EU-Startups interviews last year, where we spoke about the blockchain revolution. Incorporated in Malta and growing in Romania, elrond is one of the top funded startups in the latter. Their offering? Easy access to the digital economy, for anyone, anywhere, by bringing a 1000x improvement in blockchain speed, scale and cost.

VAIOT – This startup was founded in 2018 and is combining AI and blockchain technologies to deliver AI assistants. What do these assistants do exactly? They can act as innovative distribution channels, and even legal assistants. Their team landed around €5 million in funding in September 2020, which they aim to funnel into first serving the car insurance industry, before taking on other sectors. 

Fracture Labs – Founded in 2018, gaming startup Fracture Labs has been working on a multiplayer survival role playing game, called Decimated. In this reality, civilization has collapsed, and a cyborg police force wields control over the wastelands. Players can either play a cyborg cop or a human citizen, and experience both sides. The team landed €375K last year, so keep an eye out for this gaming studio.

Colibra – Founded in 2018, Colibra gives users compensation for every 1 hour of flight delay – a service that’s further in demand due the recent pandemic-driven travel disruptions. Payouts are processed 24 hours after landing, and are valid for any reason, including weather or strikes. This startup is also one of many that takes advantage of the strategic location of Malta, with one HQ on the island, and other offices worldwide, including in Sofia, Bulgaria. 

EFFORCE – Founded in 2018, Valletta-based Efforce is a blockchain-based energy-saving platform. Their mission? To decentralize the energy efficiency industry, by allowing contributors to benefit from the energy savings generated by energy efficiency projects all over the world. In this way, through EFFORCE, energy savings are ‘tokenized’ and can be used by everyone. The startup’s co-founders include Steve Wozniak, a Silicon Valley ‘icon’ who helped shape the computing industry with his design of Apple’s first line of products.

Covery – Covery.ai, founded in 2016, is on a mission to solve fraud. Its global risk management platform offers benefits that help online companies in sectors like dating, gaming, payment service providers and e-commerce to prevent fraud, mitigate risks, and grow revenue. Covery can help with regulatory compliance, responsible gaming, KYC & KYB procedure automation, transaction analysis, risk management, chargeback mitigation, payment fraud, account theft, device emulation, and many others.

CIVIQUO – Founded in 2018, CiviQuo is one the world’s first Investment Migration Platforms, helping people find their next residency or citizenship destination. How do they do this? By bringing together a wide selection of alternative residency and citizenship solutions. In December 2019, the team landed around 1 million in seed funding to expand their solutions further. 

STASIS – St. Julians-based STASIS was founded in 2017, and aims to help its customers legally digitize any kind of financial asset in a secure and transparent way. This is done by way of tokenization, the process of representing real-world assets on the blockchain. Their name has a story, too: pronounced ‘stey-sis’, stasis refers to the balancing of various forces in order to reach equilibrium.

BrainTrip – BrainTrip, founded in 2019, has developed an algorithim that detects mental impairment, such as dementia. This electroencephalogram (EEG) based algorithm is used in elderly care facilities as a screening tool, takes a matter of minutes and is completely non-invasive. Medical dementia workups are expensive and invasive, so BrainTrip helps determine whether such procedures are worthwhile, benefitting patients and physicians. The startup has been nominated for the Global Startup Awards, having already won categories in the South Europe Startup Awards: Best Newcomer and Startup of the Year.

UpGames – UpGames, founded in 2016, is a gaming developer and publisher, focusing on social games. Their mission? To creating simple, light games that engage people in this world of too much information. Founded in Malta, and with a studio in Kiev, Ukraine, this startup is another example of a company taking advantage of the island’s strategic position between continents. They’re developing now the game CheckersUp, which focuses on the traditional game of Checkers, and allows users to play with friends and share emojis throughout.

By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!