Author: Andreea

Startup Scout Vacancy

Vacancy: Startup Scout

ARE YOU READY TO BUILD TOMORROW’S LEADING FIRMS? YES!Delft is hiring a Startup Scout! (1,0 FTE)

YES!Delft – Building Tomorrow’s Leading Firms

YES!Delft is the startup incubator that supports entrepreneurs in building and growing technology companies in the Netherlands. Over the last 13 years YES!Delft has become one of the leading incubators in the world. YES!Delft offers distinctive services to graduates, scientists, engineers, professionals and corporates in their start-up journey. Our services turn promising technology ideas into solid startups and help them grow into successful companies. Entrepreneurs get access to mentors, experts, investors and corporate partners who share their know-how and experience. Basically, we support entrepreneurs and connect them to the world! 

You, your purpose & the ideal outcome 

Your purpose is to get the best tech entrepreneurs of the country (and Europe) to YES!Delft. You basically headhunt tech entrepreneurs. You constantly look for new and efficient lead generation tactics and strategies to find promising founders, technologies, teams, and startups. We expect a data-driven and structured work approach. Together with our marketing team you explore and test on and offline channels to see which scouting tactics help you achieve your goal. With the campus of the Delft University of Technology nearby, you identify our most important sources of contact and professors within the TU Delft, Dutch field labs and other technical universities in the Netherlands, in order to secure a close relationship and collaboration. You inspire tech-minded people to explore the world of entrepreneurship. You keep in close contact with our student board, as students are the next generation of entrepreneurs! You will also be working on screening & selection of the teams for our corporate programs and challenges. Most important: You are the first point of contact for tech startups, you represent YES!Delft and explain our purpose, and our services to entrepreneurs. The ideal outcome would be a database containing high-quality startups which converts to high-quality applications consisting of enthusiastic & committed teams for our incubator and our services. 

Competences:
  • You’re a hustler and highly energetic. You define your target, a strategy, potential tactics and go at it full-speed. 
  • You are able to check if a tech startup has potential (from a business, a technical, but most important from a team perspective).
  • You are data-driven, you have the ability to work with large databases, structure them and get the right insights. 
  • You are solution-oriented, proactive, flexible and a real team player.
  • You work structured, organized, well-planned, and you master Microsoft Office suite. 
  • You understand online and offline marketing, especially lead generation tactics and tools.
  • You also understand the world of recruitment, HR and startup funding.
  • You are able to make fast connections and introductions.
  • You can level with people who have technical ideas and you are able to understand difficult high-tech ideas and concepts (from Artificial Intelligence to Robotics, Aviation and more).
Job requirements:
  • You have a completed WO education (for example in the direction of HR, psychology, commercial business, or tech) or have obtained this level through work experience.
  • In addition, you have at least five years of relevant work experience.
  • You are experienced with dealing with startups (either by working at a startup, founding a startup, or from a VC or corporate perspective)
  • Fluent in both spoken and written Dutch and English. 
We offer you

A world-class incubator: An inspiring startup environment where you have the opportunity to develop yourself in a unique way and where you are able to implement your ideas and improve our services wherever you see fit. You will work with a diverse, driven and ambitious team that goes above and beyond to support startups and builds a thriving ecosystem, day-in-day-out. YES!Delft offers a truly unique opportunity in the Netherlands to contribute, learn and grow in the world of tech-entrepreneurship. Of course, a one-year contract, laptop, and mobile phone are a given. Two electric BMWs which you can use for client visits, a Swapfiets for visits within Delft, and vrimibos on location are a bonus. 

More information and application procedure

We look forward to your application. Please send your application to robertjan[at]yesdelft.nl to the attention of Robert Jan van Vugt before Sep 19th (17:00), 2018. Keep a slot open on 23 or 24 September for the first interviews. For questions please contact Robert Jan van Vugt at robertjan[at]yesdelft.nl

Project Manager YES!Delft

Vacancy Project Manager

ARE YOU READY TO BUILD TOMORROW’S LEADING FIRMS? YES!Delft is hiring a Project Manager (1,0 FTE)

YES!Delft – Building Tomorrow’s Leading Firms

YES!Delft is the start-up incubator that supports entrepreneurs in building and growing technology companies in the Netherlands. Over the last 14 years YES!Delft has become one of the leading incubators in the world! YES!Delft offers guidance and support to graduates, scientists, engineers and corporate professionals in their entrepreneurial journey. Our services turn promising tech-ideas into solid start-ups and help them grow to successful companies. Entrepreneurs get access to mentors, experts, investors and corporate partners who share their know-how and experience. Basically, we support entrepreneurs and connect them to the world!

You, your mission & the ideal outcome

Your mission is to make sure our corporate programs go exactly like planned and the ideal outcome would be that our corporate partners find solutions for their challenges, are able to connect with start-ups in our ecosystem and everyone in our community is able to find the right partner at the right time. You work within our Innocubes team which is responsible for all our corporate offerings and as a project manager you will work together with our event, marketing, communication, and program teams. In short: you are a true project manager!

You are familiar with Agile working, and are structured and pragmatic. As our Innocubes proposition is growing you are able to juggle 10+ projects at the same time without dropping the ball. You have a few years’ of experience within a similar position (project manager, innovation manager). Ideally, you are familiar with corporate innovation trajectories and know their pitfalls and how to cope with them. YES!Delft is expanding rapidly, that’s why life at YES!Delft is a rollercoaster, and it is important that you have a flexible attitude in general.

Competences:
  •  A true, practical multitasker
  • You are solution-oriented, pro-active, flexible and a real team player
  • You can show you know how to organize (large) projects (like challenges, hackathons, ideation workshops, masterclasses) and you have a representative image
  •  You are able to make fast connections and introductions and are able to manage corporate stakeholders
  • Work structured, organized and well-planned
  • Experience with managing (small to medium) budgets
  • A love for technology & startups and the possible impact of those on society
Job requirements:
  • You have a completed WO/HBO (+) education or have obtained this level through work experience
  • In addition, you have at least two to five years of relevant work experience
  •  Proficient in both spoken and written Dutch and English
We offer you

An inspiring startup environment where you have the opportunity to develop yourself and where you are able to implement your ideas and improve our programs wherever you see fit. You will work with a driven and ambitious team that goes above and beyond to support start-ups and builds a thriving ecosystem, day-in-day-out. YES!Delft offers a truly unique opportunity to contribute, learn and grow in the world of tech-entrepreneurship. We offer a one year full-time contract, or the option for a ZZP structure.

More information and application procedure

We look forward to your application. Please send your application to david[at]yesdelft.nl to the attention of David Beijer before August 22nd (17:00). Keep a slot open on 26 or 27 August for interviews. For questions please contact: David Beijer via david[at]yesdelft.nl. 

NOWI: A startup story about connecting the future

Twenty-three billion. About this many were the connected devices in the world in 2018, and this number is not here to stay: In less than a decade, it is expected to triple. That is a good 75 billion devices, connected and in need of constant supply of power.

The team of NOWI figured that using cables and changing batteries would soon become overwhelming – to say the least, so they created a solution – a small chip that enables Internet of Things devices to live forever. Instead of needing to continuously bring energy to connected devices in the form of cables and battery changes, NOWI’s technology enables companies to use the energy that is already available around the devices. This can be light, heat, movement or even radio waves.

The power of IoT technology

For co-founders Simon van der Jagt and Omar Link, the idea behind NOWI shaped up gradually while they studied Strategic Product Design at the TU Delft. The program gave them a kickstart: It taught them how to give meaning to technology and use it to solve problems. And so, Simon and Omar decided to apply their knowledge to the Internet of Things (IoT).

Today, technology is getting better, smaller and as energy efficient as ever before, so powering devices requires only a fraction of the energy that was needed decades ago. The question of how to harvest that power is one that Simon and Omar seem to have an answer to: by using the signals that are all around us.

“Energy is all around us. Even the light from lamps in an office, or the temperature difference between our skin and the air can generate enough power to sustain low-power devices. At the moment, frequencies [such as WiFi] are mostly used for communication, but they also send out power,” says Simon.

Join the ComplexTech Validation Lab!

Growing with the help of industry experts

After a bit over a year of founding their company in July 2015, Simon and Omar became part of Yes!Delft’s program. At the time, their team consisted of five people, including a professor from TU Delft. Since then, they have won several international innovation awards and completed an investment round. Most recently, the company has secured a 1-million-euro investment from RVO – The Netherlands Enterprise Agency.

“YES!Delft is one of the highest rated incubators in Europe, and especially when it comes to hardware startups. It is really about problem-solving. There’s [also] so much knowledge walking around here, and that has been very valuable to us,” says Simon.

Since August 2015, the company has developed their proof-of-principle to a product-ready chip that has recently been combined with Huawei’s NB-IoT chip at Mobile World Congress in Shanghai.

Finding the right partners to collaborate with

From a startup, NOWI has grown to be a high-tech company with several pilot projects and collaborations established with market-leading companies in smart city applications, smart wearables and NB-IoT sensors.

In the fields of smart wearables, NOWI has caught the attention of Swiss watch manufacturer MMT. The world’s first Plug&ForgetTM smart watch which never requires user-charging can be achieved when the NOWI Power Module is integrated in the MMT smartwatch module.

Recently, NOWI also announced its collaboration with Huawei to create the first energy autonomous NB-IoT solution.

Together with seven patents in energy harvesting, NOWI has won several international innovation awards including the Accenture Innovation Awards, the Semiconductor Innovation Award from Chinese Advanced Semiconductor Association (CASA) and the IoT Innovation World Cup 2019.

A story with the potential to get bigger and better has just only started.

Join the Accelerator Program!

MILESTONES

  • July 2015: Company founded
  • March 2016: Demo and proof of concept
  • August 2016: Prototype ready
  • November 2016: Won the Accenture Innovation Award
  • May 2017: Won the Smart City Innovation Award
  • August 2017: Smart City Pilot project with DEWA – Dubai
  • October 2017: Smart Road Pilot project with BAM and T-Mobile
  • March 2018: Received €5m Venture Capital investment
  • October 2018: Collaboration with MMT to create the first hybrid smartwatch
  • November 2018: Semiconductor innovation award from Chinese Advanced Semiconductor Association (CASA)
  • January 2019: Raised €1 million from RVO – The Netherlands Enterprise Agency
  • February 2019: Won the 2019 IoT Innovation World Cup Series – Industrial Category.
  • March 2019: First hybrid smartwatch PMIC prototype
  • June 2019: Collaboration with Huawei to create an energy autonomous NB-IoT Solution

Vacancy Intern Program Coordinator

ARE YOU READY TO BUILD TOMORROW’S LEADING FIRMS? YES!Delft is hiring a Program Coordinator Intern
4 to 5 days a week from the end of August till the end of December (dates are flexible). Remuneration is available.

YES!Delft – Building Tomorrow’s Leading Firms

YES!Delft is an international startup incubator that supports entrepreneurs in building and growing technology companies in the Netherlands. Over the last 13 years YES!Delft has become one of the leading incubators in the world! YES!Delft offers guidance and support to graduates, scientists, engineers and professionals in their startup journey. Our programs turn promising technology ideas into solid startups and help them grow to successful companies. Entrepreneurs get access to mentors, experts, investors and corporate partners who share their know-how and experience. At the moment there are 101 startups in the building and we host more than 100 events a year.

YES!Delft Programs

YES!Delft offers multiple start-up programs, based on the process most, if not all, tech start-ups go through.

  1. Co-lab is a workshop aimed at giving you the right tools, knowledge, and network to find your co-founder and team members to build your startup with;
  2. Co-founding teams continue towards our Validation Lab: a 12-week part-time program for graduates, scientists and (young) professionals with the ambition to start a tech business. Testing their ideas & finding potential customers is the core of the program. Validation Lab is all about finding customers and creating the insight that they are the key to a profitable business;
  3. Once the startups have a validated product-market fit they can enroll in our acceleration & incubation programs where the focus is on sales, scaling and funding. The basis of these programs is mentoring, one-on-one coaching and small masterclasses on subjects like negotiations, growth hacking or investments.
Function

You will learn to manage all of the programs planning. You work with the entire program team, as well as multidisciplinary. As the eyes and ears of the department, you are the general point of contact for all the participants of the programs trainers, experts, and mentors. One of your most important responsibilities is to help set up the programs we offer (organization, planning, and registrations). Besides our regular programs, you will also help coordinate corporate challenges and organize events together with the event manager. In the administrative field, you are responsible for keeping the CRM system up-to-date and to work with our online learning platform. Life at YES!Delft is a rollercoaster; therefore, it is important that you have a flexible attitude in general. You will be in contact with all kinds of people from different countries all over the world.

Competences

You are:

  • A true multitasker
  • Solution-oriented, pro-active, flexible and a real team player
  • Open and make fast connections and introductions
  • Structured, organized and a good planner: being organized is your # 1 skill
Job requirements
  • You are in the last phase of your hbo Bachelor (relevant studies such as office management, event management, or facility management are considered a pré)
  • Demonstrable experience is considered a pré
  • Good Dutch and English language skills, both verbal and written. English is the primary language for this internship.
We offer you

An inspiring international startup environment where you have the opportunity to develop yourself and implement your ideas. You will work with a driven and ambitious team that goes above and beyond to support startups and builds a thriving ecosystem, day-in-day-out. YES!Delft offers a unique opportunity to contribute, learn and grow in the world of entrepreneurship.

More information and application procedure

We look forward to your application. Please send your application to programs@yesdelft.nl to the attention of Jasmijn Giohalas before August 16th. For questions please contact Jasmijn Giohalas or Laura de Meij (program coordinators) via programs@yesdeft.nl.

From one email straight into the largest tech incubator – Evelien de Vries

Evelien de Vries joined the YES!Delft incubator without even knowing at first, through Startup Corner platform. Then she tasted the power network of co-founders by attending the UNconference even without having her startup in YES!Delft’s portfolio. That’s when she knew she had to make it into one of the largest tech incubators in Europe. 

Evelien de Vries adventured in the entrepreneurship world little over a year ago. Having worked at StartupDelta previously, the name of YES!Delft was familiar to her.  

However, her first step of tasting this startup ecosystem was when she received an email with a call to action to join the platform Startup Corner — which promised to offer support to tech startups in areas such as legal, HR, finance, marketing and more. The email was from Marie José van den Boomgaard, Liasion Manager Startups at KPN. “I was already familiar with Marie José and KPN, so when she recommended Startup Corner I thought “Why not?”,” Evelien remembered. 

Through Startup Corner, she got in contact with one of the corporate partners – Arnold & Siedsma. Evelien got help for free from them, mostly through emails and phone calls. Having help from Arnold & Siedsma on patents, helped Evelien and her co-founder move with some decisions. 

Not long after that, another email landed in Evelien’s inbox: Startup Corner’s newsletter. In that newsletter, there was an invitation to register for the UNconference. She read that it was a bi-annual event in the YES!Delft community, where co-founders set the agenda of the event with topics that contain both challenges and successes to learn from their peers and this way speed the learning process.

UNconference

“One thing I learned in the last year is that it always helps to engage with different groups because you never know what inspiration you get,” Evelien remembered. “  That’s why I signed up to the Unconference. In the end, it totally paid off. A five hours event only with co-founders, where everybody shared knowledge”. 

It was at the UNConference that Evelien and her co-founder met David Cerda Salzmann, currently a partner at FORWARD.one and one of the co-founders of Ampelmann (one of the firsts YES!Delft incubated startups). After connecting with David at the UNconference, they went to his office to talk about the strategy of their startup where he helped them on the spot. When Evelien told him they were thinking to join YES!Delft, David said it would be very useful and suggested them to apply to the AI/Blockchain Validation Lab. “He specifically advocated for the network and support we would get access to”, she says. 

Register for the next UNconference Digital in our The Hague Office!

AI/Blockchain Validation Lab

This was the opportunity that Evelien looked for so she could join YES!Delft. Not even a month later, she and her then co-founder started the AI/Blockchain Validation Lab and became part of the YES!Delft ecosystem. From having access to YES!Funded and YES!Talents to having one-on-one sessions with experts from our incubator, the two co-founders entered a 10-week part-time program geared on helping them find their product-market fit. In the end, for her startup, the program revealed a team misalignment, resulting in the founders parting ways. 

On the 25th of July, the teams participating in the AI/Blockchain validation lab graduate with the Pitch Day event. This celebration will take place at the YES!Delft’s Digital Hub in The Hague, which opened earlier this year and focused on AI and Blockchain. 

Apply to the coming AI/Blockchain Validation Lab!

In the end, for Evelien, having access to Startup Corner, joining the UNconference, and later joining the AI/Blockchain Validation Lab, gave her not only 360-degree help on her startup, but it also shifted her entrepreneurship journey to 180 degrees, as well. “During the Validation Lab I have learned not only new business validation skills, but also valuable lessons on the foundation of a startup. Especially concerning what building a team really is. Although I’m disappointed that this startup didn’t work out, I’m really excited for new opportunities. Being part of the YES!Delft ecosystem reinforced that being an entrepreneur is want I want to do.

Startup Story: IMSystems

Machines and, in particular, robots are increasingly aiding – if not even substituting – people with their work. Yet, those machines often lack the strength and precision necessary to create real impact. Or at least that was the case until IMSystems came around.

Led by scientist Jack Schorsch, a team of four Co-Founders – including Matthew Corvers, Thibaud Verschoor and Rory Deen – are working on the Archimedes Drive, an invention in mechanical power transmission that can make any electrical engine simultaneously stronger, more precise and more efficient than anything currently on the market.

FROM A SIMPLE IDEA

The idea behind the Archimedes Drive had been evolving in Jack’s mind for years, during which he did research in the fields of prosthetics and exoskeleton design. In his work, he often faced the challenge of making those wearables small, lightweight and easy to use.

The Archimedes drive is a compact gearbox that uses traction instead of gear teeth, allowing it to make electrical engines – and the machines they power – lighter, more precise, stronger and faster than ever before.

“We took part in a course [aimed at] turning technology into a business,” Matthew recalls, where they were given a patent by a TU Delft researcher, without knowing the exact application of the invention. “We had to brainstorm it ourselves, because inventions can often be used for much more than their original application.”

A few brief months later, Jack’s Archimedes drive had proven to have a market fit, and so the team set out to launch IMSystems.

THROUGH YES!DELFT

IMSystems’ product is the first drive to use friction instead of gear teeth as a means of powering electrical engines – and it seems to come with a list of advantages. “We can get to about half the size and a quarter of the weight [of our competitors’ drives],” Matthew explains. “What’s more, we are not limited by the gear ratios and how strong we can make an electrical engine.”

With multiple subsidies and a loan already secured, IMSystems has been able to develop its first metal prototype with a gear ratio of 10.000:1, which is about 25 times more than what most drives on the market can currently achieve. A relieve for robotic companies that are waiting for decades for this kind of precision. Other than this great achievement, IMSystems developed transmissions for multiple pilot projects. E-Bikes, prosthetics and robotics are one of the few we have designed and tested so far.

The team’s progress so far, however, hasn’t been without the help of YES!Delft and their Incubation Program, which Matthew describes as fantastic. “You’re here with about 80 other companies; there are always people who have been at the point where you are, so you can just walk up to their office and discuss how they did things. Having this network is very useful.”

In 2018, IMSystems did get the opportunity to move to the incubator of RoboValley. At this point, IMSystems has a team of 12 fte and expect to grow to over 20 fte by the end of this year using the Series-A investment they are currently working on.

Apply to the Complex Tech Validation Lab

NEXT STEPS

From this point on, IMSystems is looking forward to growing. They have already signed with multiple clients, and are working towards adding more to their portfolio. Focussing mainly on robotics. Expanding the team is, thus, certainly among their next steps if they want to be able to deliver timely and quality results. By the beginning of 2020, IMSystems wants to deliver their first of the shelf R&D products to different clients. A great possibility for companies who want to try out this latest technology for reduced costs.

One thing is for certain: We will sure be hearing more from IMSystems in the future.

Milestones:

January 2015 – The team came together for the Master’s course (turning technology into a business)

February 2016 – Admission to YES!Delft’s Incubation Program

June 2016 – Founded company

August 2016 – First client signed

Q1 2017 – Pilot projects prosthetic elbow and an E-bike

September 2017 – Technical milestone: Archimede Drive had 10 million input cycles

Q1 and Q2 2018 –  € 300,000 UNIIQ investment. Pilot project with industrial robot giant started and moved to RoboValley

Q3 and Q4 2018 – € 600,000,- Lucros and Innovation Quarter investment. Pilot project with second robotic tech giant started

Q2 2019 – Launch of our first Archimedes Drive development kit

Q3 2019 – Series-A investment

Apply to the Accelerator Program

Join the Energy Transition – Shell New Energy Challenge 2019

To support the transition to a low-carbon future, Shell, Rockstart, YES!Delft and Get in the Ring launched the fouurth edition of their signature startup challenge. The New Energy Challenge is designed for European and Israeli startups and scale-ups to tackle the future of energy. Are you ready for a challenge? Deadline for applications is 24th of May!

Clean Tech challenges are myriad, but in essence, Clean Tech is about increasing productivity while decreasing energy use, pollution, the overall impact on the environment and cost. In our tech incubator, we learned from our beginning in 2005 how challenging it is to operate a Clean Tech startup. What it comes down to, is that if a startup wants to have impact on a global scale, they will always encounter large corporates, governments, infrastructure organisations, and more.

The New Energy Challenge is open to young entrepreneurs in Europe and Israel who are developing advanced technologies and disruptive solutions that could be vital to meeting future energy needs worldwide. This is the perfect opportunity to overcome challenges in the roadmap of the CleanTech industry!

“Innovation is key in the energy transition and CleanTech startups play an essential role in transforming the energy business. The Shell New Energy Challenge is a great opportunity for you as a startup to boost your network and collaborate with the industry to create a lasting impact together. You will be able to implement your rapid innovation skills on a global scale and create impact with large industry players. With this program Shell, YES!Delft, Rockstart and Get in the Ring open the doors for you to meet the right people at the right time. This is your chance to make a difference!” – Maureen Gribnau, Innovation Manager, YES!Delft

The winning finalist receives at least €100,000 towards a proof of concept within the Shell GameChanger programme, giving them a quick and cost-effective way to test the technical and commercial viability of their solution.

Last year the New Energy Challenge welcomed 300 applicants from 49 countries. The top ten finalists were invited to Amsterdam. In the aftermovie from last year’s edition, you can hear from the finalists, winners, and runner-ups to inspire you further!

 

With this program, YES!Delft, Shell & Rockstart open doors to the industry and enable you to meet the right people at the right time. The focus is on startups and scale-ups that offer innovative, low-carbon energy solutions related to the future of mobility, energy management, energy storage, hydrogen, and the retail station of the future.

YES!Delft is involved in Track One, which offers early-stage startups a specially designed Validation Lab. In the intensive program, finalists validate their business plans and exchange ideas with coaches and experts. This is an actual pressure cooker program, a three-day sprint within the Finals Week. The finalists will get access to YES!Delft’s extensive network of coaches and experts, which will help them validate their business proposals, find their product-market fit and prepare to pitch for an expert jury during the Finals Day event.

 

Apply to the New Energy Challenge

Application deadline: May 24, 2019.

The startup mentor with customer perspective

Jan Willem Klerkx – entrepreneur, investor, and startup mentor of a number of YES!Delft startups – is the type of person that helps a company become a success story. With an academic background in Technology Management and early professional experience in IT sales, he quickly discovered that what he was actually meant to do is help businesses grow.

The revelation came early on in his career. He was asked to lead a small IT company that, at the time, was closing the year with a loss, so he made it his goal to turn it around. A few years of hard work later, that company was as profitable as never before. The thing was that, although the team already had a good business strategy before Jan Willem took over, it was simply not successful in executing it.

Strategy without customer-focused execution has little value, Jan Willem learned.  

“As I was helping that business grow by making the company more customer-oriented, I realized that I was sitting on the wrong side of the table at the quarterly shareholders meeting. I was making a lot of money for the shareholders, while taking home the same paycheck every month. That didn’t feel optimal,” Jan Willem recalls.

That was the point where he decided to develop his own approach. “I decided to look for companies with a great vision, excellent tech team, and technology, but with little focus on customers or little experience in sales. Then I’d invest money in exchange for equity, and work with the existing team on making them profitable.”

He told those teams that a great technology by itself does not lead to a great product. And even a great product does not equal a great company. A company should put all efforts and finding the right product-market fit, and once that’s done, turn early customers into ambassadors.

Over the past decade, Jan Willem has invested in and worked for five companies, two of which were acquired by Qualcomm, the world leader in developing 3G and mobile technologies. The first company, Euvision, was a market leader in image classification technology. The second, Scyfer was a leading company in Deep Learning, formed around Deep Learning celebrity Max Welling from the University of Amsterdam. One of the five ventures was focussed at elderly homecare and failed completely. The other two companies, SIG.eu and BONCode, are still in very good shape and growing.

As of four years ago, Jan Willem has also been active as a startup mentor at YES!Delft as well as at a number of other incubators. With a keen interest and expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), he is coaching startups as part of the AI/Blockchain Validation Lab at Delft-based incubator.

 

Apply for the AI/Blockchain Validation Lab

His experience is in helping find the best product-market fit. Finding that fit is not that easy, since most startups lack experience in sales or insight in how big corporates operate – and therefore have a hard time to really grasp the relevant part of customers’ feedback. On top of that, some startups tend to be so convinced of their technology or product that it does not help sales either. And in the mind of Jan Willem: “Sales is everything, the rest is cost”.

Nowi, a YES!Delft startup developing climate sensors powered by WiFi, 4G and GSM signals, is one of the tech startups that has taken much of Jan Willem’s advice to heart. And especially so when it comes to their business model. While they used to focus on product sales as a sole revenue stream, they have recently established a second one: working directly with clients on applying their technology to various products.
“We already generate some revenues by applying our knowledge on energy harvesting and by developing the so-called ‘Plug & Forget’ sensors in pilot projects for various customers,” says Simon van der Jagt, CEO of Nowi. “Jan Willem has helped us with anything from business model ideation, to specific advice on how to best deal with a prospective large customer, or simply testing our assumptions with critical questions.”

To this day, Jan Willem remains a startup mentor to the team.

“I help startups get the customer perspective,” Jan Willem says. “Many of them have these huge dreams – and that’s great! But running a business is not a dream. It’s a lot of hard work of really understanding why customers might consider buying your stuff.”

 

Apply for the Complex Tech Validation Lab

YES!Delft The Hague Grand Opening

YES!Delft The Hague is the new branch of the incubator YES!Delft focused on Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain. It is located in the HeadQuarter building on the Wilhelmina van Pruisenweg, and the doors for tech startups opened in March 2019.

YES!Delft The Hague was opened by StartupDelta Special Envoy Constantijn van Oranje, YES!Delft managing director Evert Jaap Lugt, the Hague Alderman for Education, Knowledge Economy and International Affairs Saskia Bruines and the Delft alderman for Knowledge Economy Bas Vollebregt. The new Digital Hub has been realized in collaboration with the municipality of The Hague. At YES!Delft The Hague, ambitious and promising startups will accelerate the development of their innovations in Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain.

Experienced tech entrepreneur Ras Lalmy has taken up the position of managing director of YES!Delft The Hague:

“The focus of the new YES!Delft location in The Hague will be on two important technologies of the digital society: Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain. The Hague is the perfect location; close to relevant organizations such as government, business and knowledge institutions. Together with these parties, we are going to create a vital and highly innovative ecosystem for tech startups that want to make an impact.”

Key technologies

In the new Digital Hub of YES!Delft The Hague, the emphasis is on the technologies of Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain, the two key technologies of the digital society. The tailor-made programs of YES!Delft The Hague are aimed at enabling startups to grow as quickly as possible. At the same time, YES!Delft The Hague, together with its ecosystem, offers innovative programs for local businesses and government. In this way the brand new branch of YES!Delft will become the hub for technological innovation in the Netherlands.

Alderman Saskia Bruines adds:

“As the municipality, we are delighted with the arrival of YES!Delft to The Hague. This is because we are working on a strong regional knowledge economy. Close cooperation with universities and colleges of higher education plays an important role here because the entrepreneurs of tomorrow are trained within these institutions. YES!Delft is, therefore, a good addition to the economy in The Hague. In Delft, the organization has shown that it can create a large number of successful startups. “

The vision for the future

Meanwhile, the first startups have moved into the building, and the first specialized Artificial Intelligence & Blockchain program started on 21 February. In the Validation Lab program, startups test and prepare their products for the market. In the last week of February, the Digital Hub YES!Delft The Hague staged a week-long hackathon in which 10 international teams competed for the best sustainable energy innovation. This grand start is defining for the vision and ambition of YES!Delft.

This is underlined by Evert Jaap Lugt, the managing director of YES!Delft:

“With the ambition of YES!Delft to become the best tech incubator in the world, it is necessary to have a strong regional basis. The talent, knowledge, experience and innovation drive are there. The opening of the Digital Hub in The Hague is an important step in building an extensive regional ecosystem in which we facilitate the connection between the right parties with the right circumstances, experience, and expertise.”

YES!Delft

YES! Delft has grown since 2005 into one of the most successful startup incubators in the world. The tech incubator came second in the world ranking of UBI Global, a European body that annually publishes incubator rankings. The more than 200 startups in the portfolio have access to the unique YES! Delft ecosystem of mentors, experts, investors, and corporate partners, which can be regarded as one of the most extensive ecosystems in Europe. In close cooperation with TU Delft, young talent is guided towards successful entrepreneurship. YES! Delft offers eight focus areas, each with its own specialized network, varying from Aviation, Cleantech, Robotics to MedTech. The emphasis in The Hague will be on software-related startups.

The Biotech Mentors from DSM for the Biotech Validation Lab

In February 2019, Biotech Campus Delft, its main stakeholder Royal DSM, and YES!Delft started a partnership culminating in a dedicated Biotech Validation Lab starting in May. As all the startup programs from YES!Delft, this one attracted many exceptional mentors that will guide the entrepreneurs in the program.

Specifically for the Biotech Validation Lab, the biotech mentors from DSM went down memory lane and looked back at their own early career experiences. Moreover, they took a moment to reflect on the impact of meeting the person whose mentoring influenced the trajectory of their careers.

Biotech and entrepreneurial mentors

Starting a biotech startup is exciting! You get to shape your idea into a business that solves a real problem in the industry and market. However, operating a startup in this field can represent a challenge due to the capital investments, scale-up hurdles and long development times related to it.

In the Biotech Validation Lab, the mentors have many years of experience in the biotech industry. Some of them have over 20 years of experience at DSM – the largest Dutch multinational in the fields of health, nutrition and materials –  such as Herman Wories, Will van den Tweel or Henk Noorman. Some others have started their own biotech companies, such as Arthur Oudshoorn, Christian Koolloos or Theo Verleun.

A good mentor can impact your whole career: “I started my career as a chemist in the R&D labs of DSM,” Gerard Hardeman (BU Director at DSM) remembers. “And as a student from the “roaring ’70s” anarchy and total freedom were very important to me. With this attitude, I entered in the corporate environment. One of my first bosses was a former refugee who fled with his family from the Balkans because of the war. He showed me how to deal with a different culture and requirements that go against various beliefs. The most important thing he taught me was how to see the other side of the truth. I still value this highly.”

Apply to the Biotech Validation Lab

 

Career mentoring

The mentors in the Biotech Validation Lab are all people who experienced the power of having a mentor early in their careers themselves, “each of them valuable in their own way,” acknowledges Ruth Donners (Venture Development Manager at DSM Innovation Center).

“I started my career as a patent attorney, which is a rather specialized job. My mentor helped me understand that I am a generalist and I can use my skills in a multitude of different jobs. This experience has been an inspiration not only to start innovating products but also to keep innovating myself. Possibilities are endless; just put your mind to it,” says Ruth Donners, looking over 18 years of career in DSM.

Henk Noorman (Corporate Science Fellow Engineering Sciences at DSM): “Early in my career at DSM I had a mentor who played a crucial role in advancing my career. For several years, I doubted whether I should pursue my work in science or try to become an artist instead, as I have several skills and interests. One day we discussed this, and he stated: you will have to investigate these alternatives thoroughly. This simple remark gave me the feeling that my doubts were taken seriously, and I made some explorative steps. However, it became quickly evident that a career in science would be best, and I could still very well perform on stage outside my work. A simple question from a good and respectful mentor can help to make key decisions in life.”

Check all the mentors in the Biotech Validation Lab

 

Mentors are timeless

The role of a mentor in someone’s career has grown in popularity over the last few years. But the term is deeply anchored in its purpose, recalls Herman Wories (VP Global Business Incubator at DSM).  “When I was younger, we didn’t have coaches or mentors like they are called nowadays, but I did have support from senior managers. Those managers with more seniority, with more experience, enable you to look at things from a broader perspective. When you are early in your career, you tend to look at things from your perspective only. Having this kind of support helps you to not miss out on opportunities.”

No matter how to call a mentor, the role and impact that a person can have on your career is crucial. Biotech Campus Delft, together with its main stakeholder Royal DSM, and YES!Delft, one of the leading tech incubators in the world, have joined forces to create the first Biotech Validation Lab.

Theo Verleun, Jan Hunik, Frans Koster, Henk Noorman, Theo Stikkers, Pim van Hee, Ruth Donners, Rob Beudeker, Christian Koolloos, Oscar Goddijn, Gerard Hardeman, Marianne Kentie, Herman Wories, Will van den Tweel, and Arthur Oudshoorn are all mentors in the Biotech Validation Lab. The ten biotech startups that are going to be selected in the validation program will benefit not only from the commercial validation expertise from the leading tech incubator in Europe but also from the professional guidance of the DSM mentors.

Share this article with people involved in promising biotech startups, tell them to apply to the program by the 5th of April!

Apply to the Biotech Validation Lab

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