Author: Andreea

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

10 startup success stories from our tech incubator

Our tech incubator kicked off 2019 in absolutely stellar fashion, so even though it’s only February we have some amazing success stories from our ecosystem (yes, already!).
Here we shine a well-deserved spotlight on all of them:

 

1. Bird Control Group

The startup is implementing their innovative technology, the Agrilaser Autonomic, with great success in Belgium to protect crops from bird damage. This solution has now proven to completely prevent the loss of crops, and moreover has built-in safety features to prevent harm to humans and wildlife. Scaling globally is one step away!

 

2. Kitepower

They have been constructing their largest kite yet, a whopping 60m²! These kites are mobile airborne wind energy system that produces clean energy cost-effectively, making green electricity affordable for everyone! Fun cleantech innovations? YES!

 

3. aQysta

This startup is making waves – the video of their hydro pump Barsha in action is going viral! The pump uses energy from flowing water and so does not require fuel or any other energy source to function, meaning it had zero operating costs and is pollution free.

 

4. Somnox

And their sleep robot have been selected for the second stage of the RobotUnion Acceleration program! In this Product Acceleration Phase, they will receive 120 000 EUR in financing and assistance from Robotic specialists and a Technical Mentor to help perfect the development of their sleeping robot. They are really onto sweet dreams!

 

5. Physee

This growing team and their solar-powered windows are featured in a deep dive by ScaleUpNation, reflecting on their journey through last year’s Runway Program and their mastering of the art of scaling.

 

6. We4Sea

The off-shore startup received funding from ENERGIIQ, the energy innovation fund for South Holland to help realize the ambition to help save 1 million tons of CO2 in the maritime industry by 2020. We4Sea offers a unique solution in analyzing and reporting fuel consumption and the associated CO2 emissions of seagoing vessels based on a unique Digital Twin concept.

 

7. VSParticle

The startup was not only prominently featured in NRC, but now co-founder Aaike van Vugt landed a spot on the Forbes 30 under 30 for Europe in Manufacturing and Industry! Our tech incubator has been attracting ambitious youngsters since 2005!

 

8. Hardt Hyperloop

This team has been on an upward trajectory and recently they landed a well-deserved spot on the list 25 European IoT and hardware startups to watch in 2019.

 

9. Eternal Sun Group

The group welcomed ABN AMRO Energy Transition Fund as their new shareholder, taking a majority stake in the group. This new shareholder structure and the additional funding will accelerate growth for the group. Eternal Sun Group is one of the first startups incubated at YES!Delft! Joining a tech incubator in the early stage of your startup pays off like this! 

 

10. Reboocon Bionics

The startup unveiled their innovative IntelLeg Knee (ILK), a powered knee prosthesis, that enables amputees to walk more symmetrically and also climb stairs in the natural step-over-step manner.

 

 

Register for our newsletter to always be up to date with more success stories from our tech incubator!

 

Sign-up for YES!Delft Newsletter

We launched Biotech Focus Area

Biotech Campus Delft and YES!Delft partner up to support promising European biotech startups

Delft, February 11, 2019 – Biotech Campus Delft together with its main stakeholder Royal DSM and YES!Delft have partnered up to support biotechnology startups through a special Biotech Validation Lab. As of today, (industrial) biotech startups can apply to join the program to validate their business plan and to define a clear strategy to success. Both Biotech Campus Delft and YES!Delft support promising biotech startups to accelerate innovations and boost the transition towards a sustainable, bio-based economy.

The validation program is open to European startups with innovative technologies and disruptive solutions in (industrial) biotechnology. Technology fields in the scope of the program are genetic and metabolic engineering, fermentation and downstream processing. The scope of application includes food, fuel, bio-based molecules, and bio-materials. The 10 best teams will be selected and invited to join the Validation Lab. Each team will be matched with relevant mentor(s) from biotech-related business and/or technical experts, all leading professionals in their field. During 12 sessions the startups will be trained on opportunity framing, customer validation, team building, pitching and value proposition design. Biotech Campus Delft offers this program free of charge to the selected startups. On the final day of the Validation Lab, the teams pitch their business plan for a jury. There will be an additional prize for the best startup: a voucher providing office space and a lab at Biotech Campus Delft.
Calls for entry start February 11th, and application is easy through the Biotech Validation Lab page. The deadline for completed entries is April 5th. The Biotech Validation Lab takes place from May until July in Delft, the Netherlands. The startups will present their pitches after the 10-week learning journey in the Validation Lan on the final day on July 31st, 2019.

Cindy Gerhardt, Business Director Biotech Campus Delft: “We are very excited about this partnership with YES!Delft. The next level biotechnology offers the opportunity to build our bio-renewable future. 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. The Biotech Campus Delft, its main stakeholder Royal DSM and YES!Delft understand these challenges and are determined to support the startups in this field to define a clear strategy to success.”

“YES!Delft is very pleased to partner with Biotech Campus Delft”, says Evert Jaap (EJ) Lugt, managing director of YES!Delft. “Bundling our strengths, their industrial expertise with our unique incubator ecosystem, we can make a real impact in biotech innovation. The Biotech Validation Lab will be an amazing opportunity for startups with top-notch ideas to accelerate and be part of the transition to a sustainable bio-based future.”

About biotechnology

Biotechnology refers to the use of (parts of) living organisms as cell factories to make useful products from renewable feedstocks. Historically, humankind has used biotechnology in food production (wine, beer, bread, cheese etc.) for centuries. In the past century, its application has been industrialized and expanded to pharma, agriculture, and production of bio-molecules. Today, the next level biotechnology represents a bigger opportunity than ever to build our bio-renewable future. It allows us to move away from non-renewable fossil sources and therefore diminish greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time offering an opportunity to address future challenges related to food, health & energy.

About Biotech Campus Delft

Biotech Campus Delft is developed by founding father Royal DSM to accelerate biotech innovations. Its open innovation campus offers a biotech ecosystem in which cooperation and knowledge transfer between companies and knowledge institutes is encouraged. Located on DSM’s site in Delft, over 1200 people work on developing, scaling up and commercializing bio-based innovations. Besides DSM and pilot factory BPF, Biotech Campus Delft also houses startups, SME’s and established companies.

Read the full press release on Biotech Campus Delft website 

YES!Delft launches YES!Funded

YES!Delft launches YES!Funded: a brand-new initiative to support startups in their quest for funding

Startups need substantial funding to develop their products, as it happens to all highly innovative companies. However, the ‘funding journey’ may be arduous and startups are not always able to complete it successfully.

This is why at YES!Delft we have just launched a new service called YES!Funded, which has a unique flavour among all those offered by incubators all over our country. In a nutshell, YES!Funded assists entrepreneurs in their financial lifecycle strategy and finds money to fund their companies tapping into the most appropriate (private or public) available sources.

An active role in seeking funds for startups

The YES!Funded team plays an active role in seeking funds for companies: it does not just connect you with prospective investors or point you out at the right public funding source, but it actually negotiates deals with investors and writes grant applications for you. This means that entrepreneurs can focus on the growth of their companies while our YES!Funded team seeks the adequate ways to fund them.

The seniority of our team is another distinctive feature of YES!Funded as we have selected two of the most experienced professionals in The Netherlands to assist our startups in their quest for funding: Giovanni Pazienza and Jan Geert van Hall. Giovanni holds a PhD in Artificial Intelligence and in the last two years he has consolidated his position as one of the most successful grant writers in The Netherlands, with success rates in the Horizon 2020 programme that possibly are unmatched in Europe. Jan Geert was the group controller and chairman of the investment board of KPN before becoming CFO of a group of Dutch tech companies; he has an extensive network and an impeccable reputation among private investors.

The business model of YES!Funded is simple to explain: startups that receive funding thanks to the actions of the YES!Funded team pay a small success fee (below market standards) so that the initiative can be extended in time and expanded in scope. This way, successful startups will contribute to the growth of YES!Funded so that more companies can use this service.

Planning companies’ financial lifecycle strategy and much more

YES!Funded is not only about securing funding, but also about planning the appropriate lifecycle financial strategy for the startups. Giovanni and Jan Geert are also available to review financial plans and answer any doubt related to financing in general. Furthermore, they will be involved in the Validation Lab, Acceleration-, and Growth programs at YES!Delft. All in all, they will contribute to turn ‘inventors’ into successful entrepreneurs.

On January 31st, these first 5 YES!Delft companies have been officially enrolled in YES!Funded.

Apart from these 5 YES!Delft startups, there is room for many more candidates. Are you interested in this initiative? Check out the website www.yesfunded.nl or send an email to yesfunded@yesdelft.nl.

Not a YES!Delft startup? No worries, YES!Funded is a national initiative that reaches beyond the borders of YES!Delft. Contact us and we will tell you more!

Pitch Day – December 2019

On Thursday December 13th we hosted a unique edition of our Pitch Day! No less than 16 tech startups took the stage in front of partners and investors from the YES!Delft ecosystem.

Nine startups from the Complex Tech Validation lab were joined by seven startups from the EdTech Validation Lab. As the highpoint of the two month learning curve where they validated their business and market, the startups pitched their businesses and products. Everyone had the chance to meet and talk at the networking session after.

 

 

Feeling inspired?

Apply for the 2019 Accelerator Program now!

 

The participating startups were: AeroPro, Dynachain, HybridVisie, Leaseplan, Medical VR, NLR, Noria, Oregano (TNO), SmartShip, BLACKBEAR®, Hubert AI, iThrive, HyperSay, Maester, PlagScan GmbH, and Play2Speak.

Artificial intelligence: Enhancing people and businesses alike

Big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are no longer a vision of the future. In fact, they are already changing the way we go about our daily lives and work: from making processes more accurate and efficient, and deriving once-unthought-of insights, to developing life-changing applications. Their potential is undeniable and it is only bound to grow.

Tech startups, in particular, have identified and embraced this trend. Whether targeting business clients or end consumers, many of them have discovered the potential of machine learning and AI to bring unique value to the market.

AI for the maintenance industry

One of those startups is Dutch Analytics, a young company – co-founded by entrepreneurs Yannick Maltha, Jorick Naber and Victor Pereboom – that leverages machine learning and AI to help businesses improve their predictive maintenance capabilities.

Its innovative AI driven Predictive Maintenance platform collects and analyzes all types of data, providing users with quick and actionable insights about the state of their assets.

Dutch Analytics started in 2016 and grew out of a corporate-startup collaboration with BAM Infra Rail, a Dutch construction company, and with the support of the Venture Generator, a business bringing corporates and startups closer together. It is also a part of YES!Delft’s portfolio.

 The team’s decision to focus on machine learning and AI technology was largely based on the need of BAM Infra Rail to become more data-driven and efficient in optimizing their maintenance process.

“We live in an information-driven society,” Victor says. “There are large amounts of data that we need to measure, and AI enables us to squeeze more insights out of it.” That is especially true for businesses that deal with ever-growing amounts of data on a daily basis.

While many might see the deriving actionable output as their biggest challenge, Victor and his team think a few steps ahead: “The challenge is actually in getting the right input.”

Basing results on incomplete or not fully relevant data is as good as basing them on no data at all. Thus, Dutch Analytics – now a team of 13 – make sure that they are transparent with their clients and work hand-in-hand with them to collect, process and analyze their data. After all, the beauty of an AI platform is its ability to learn as more data comes in, so it’s crucial for it to be learning the right lessons.

 

Apply to the first AI / Blockchain Validation Lab in Europe

 

 

AI to help the visually impaired

Working closely with their customers is also AI startup Envision, part of YES!Delft’s community as well. Founded by entrepreneurial duo Karthik Mahadevan and Karthik Kannan, the company has developed an AI-powered tool that helps visually impaired people become more independent in their everyday lives.

It all started a few years back when Karthik M. visited a school for visually impaired children in India, and asked them about the biggest challenge they’re facing. The most common answer: to become more independent. That experience, together with a keen interest in AI, set him on a journey to find a solution. “I’m a designer,” he says. “Finding solutions is what I do.”

He teamed up with Karthik K. and in early 2017, they laid the foundation of Envision. In only a year, they have developed software that can be applied to a number of different platforms and is currently available as a smartphone app. With it, visually impaired people can use their phone to take pictures of objects, people or scenes, and immediately understand what is in front of or around them. In their own language, too.

As the technology is based on AI, users can tag objects and faces, thus teaching the app to automatically recognize their personal belongings, as well as family, friends, and more.

“The market has shown that they need an intuitive design,” Karthik M. says. In making that possible, the two founders spent a lot of time observing how visually impaired people use the app.

“A lot of them operate it with voice, so audio output turned out to be very important,” Kathik K. adds. “That was something we learned along the way and made sure to adapt to.” As a result of catering to the specific needs of their customers, Envision has been enjoying an increasing number of users every month.

While AI has great potential in improving people’s lives and enhancing business processes alike, it is still largely dependent on human knowledge and interaction. Startups understand that and are ready to build a future where people and technology work hand-in-hand to make each other better.

 

Apply to the first AI / Blockchain Validation Lab in Europe

 

Innovation fund FundIQare invests in Momo Medical

Yes!Delft startup Momo Medical had an amazing announcement at yesterday’s Venture Café Rotterdam. FundIQare wants to support Momo Medical with a financial injection to expand the production capacity and scaling up the startup. They will also get the opportunity to further develop their technology in a living lab environment.

 

Momo Medical, founded in 2017, is an initiative of the young Delft entrepreneurs Ide Swager and Menno Gravemaker. They developed a tech solution for the prevention of pressure sores (decubitus ulcera) in elderly and chronically ill patients. The technology consists of a compact combination of sensors that can be used flexibly in beds. A sensor plate is placed underneath the mattress, which is connected to a control unit. The smart sensors and advanced algorithms map the client’s lying behavior and communicate it in a clear manner to health care professionals.

 

Momo Medical co-founder Menno used a soccer analogy to refer to their 19-month journey as a startup. “There is the saying in soccer that you always have to keep an eye on the ball. We believe there’s more to it because if you only have the eye on the ball you forget what the goal is and you lose sight of the people around you. And at the end of the game, you also need to reflect in order to learn.”

 

You can read the whole story of Momo Medical here and their press release here.

Get in touch



© Copyright 2019 YES!Delft