Helping engineers eliminate repetitive work
Reinier van Dijk and Max Baan, two co-founders of ParaPy, have an ambitious plan: to help automate repetitive and time-consuming design processes and give engineers more space to test creative iterations of their products. With an investor and Fokker Aerostructures as their first big customer already onboard, the two are definitely on the right track.
“Our vision is that, nowadays, engineers are a bit too much of an assistant to their computer. Many of them are sitting behind their screens, pressing buttons and doing repetitive work… We hope to reverse [this trend]: We want to make applications that become an assistant to the engineer again.”
FROM A SIMPLE IDEA
Reinier and Max, both with a background in aerospace engineering, met a bit over a year ago and quickly bonded over their enthusiasm for building a software platform that would help engineers do their work faster and more easily. They developed ParaPy (short for Parametric Python), a platform consisting of source code libraries that developers use to make applications. These applications, in turn, “enable them automate design processes […] for complex products”, Reinier explains. Such products include “aircraft, boats and cars, where a lot of time is currently spent on repetitive work like 3D modeling and simulations.” While customers can use ParaPy’s libraries to single-handedly create applications that serve their own needs, they can also outsource the application development process to ParaPy’s team.
The goal of it all is to help engineers become more productive by doing things faster, and by testing multiple iterations in a process. “We envision that companies will easily be able to do tens of thousands of iterations to come up with the best products,” Reinier said.
THROUGH YES! DELFT
After months of research and some initial prototyping, ParaPy was officially founded in April 2016, with Reinier, Max and their first investor onboard. Also in April, the team secured a three-month pilot project with aviation company Fokker, which has become one of their first big customers together with the TU Delft. Reinier and Max are looking forward to a one-year project with the company, during which they will work on developing applications.
Apart from that, the team has also negotiated a five-year deal with the TU Delft to use their technology for research on the one hand, and to teach a course in Knowledge-Based Engineering on the other hand.
Helping them along the way has been YES!Delft, whose Incubation Program the two co-founders describe as a one-of-a-kind learning experience.
“We learned a lot in a very small amount of time,” Max said, referring to the myriad of workshops on different topics that they have gone through. “Also, it has been a good reality check for us, to have [experts] critically look at our company – the team and the product – and get some assessments. Now we are better prepared for what’s coming.”
And what’s coming is actually a whole lot. As a main priority, Reinier and Max are looking to attract more projects in similar industries. “We have one good market fit, but that’s only for aerospace engineering,” Max said. “We’re curious to see if that’s also the case for the automotive industry or maritime, among others.”
In the meantime, the team will be working to improve their product and deliver exceptional quality to their first customer, Fokker, by creating applications that would offload engineers from a lot of their repetitive work.
At the end of the day, the mission is clear: Engineers should once again have the space to “ask the questions, come up with the ideas and then have the tools to help them in answering them quickly.”
– Founded company
– First investor onboard
– Pilot project with Fokker
May 2016 – Admission to YES!Delft’s Incubation Program
November 2016 – First industrial customer (Fokker) signed
For more info check www.parapy.nl
The printing tech that doesn’t need cartridges
Ever wanted to print something important only to find out last-minute that your printer ran out of ink? Rest assured, you’re not alone. Soon enough, however, your printing problems will be solved. The team of Tocano, a Delft-based startup, has developed an entirely inkless technology that would allow businesses and households alike to print on all paper types at any time. No ink, no hassle.
FROM A SIMPLE IDEA
About four years ago, Industrial Design student Venkatesh Chandrasekar was on the lookout for a topic to write his Master’s thesis on. “I realized I found it so frustrating that all the printers of today use consumables like toner or ink,” he says, explaining that those cartridges and toners are expensive and not good for the environment.
“So I got the idea to create a printer that works without ink.” An idea that throughout the years would turn into a growing business.
Working side by side with professors from the TU Delft, Ven developed an inkless printer concept that uses controlled burning, or carbonization. This process changes the color of the paper eliminates the need for ink or any other consumables. It was all theoretical until he met Arnaud van der Veen, now co-founder, at a ‘Ready to startup’ course at YES!Delft. The two decided to team up and lay the foundation of Tocano and their product, Inkless.
Today, they are part of a core team of six, working hard to bring their inkless printing technology to market.
“When we started the company, our main goal was to build an inkless printer that has the same properties as any conventional printer,” Ven says. “We had a benchmark of reaching the speed and quality of [existing] printers on the market.”
The endeavor took a good three years but as of the beginning of 2016, the team is able to print with the same speed and quality as any other printer out there, yet without any consumables. “This is a big milestone for us,” Ven says with a sense of pride in his voice.
Along the way, the team has been guided by several startup organizations, including Climate-KIC and YES!Delft. They started out by joining YES!Delft’s LaunchLab to learn how to find their target market and align their product. “It helped us choose the right customer segments and to focus more on the market side than on the technology alone,” Ven says.
They later moved on to its Incubation Program: “YES!Delft is great in that you see a lot of fellow entrepreneurs […] that you can always seek out for questions. It’s quite likely that they have faced similar problems as you in the past.”
TO A GROWING COMPANY
With a wide and resourceful network around them, the startup has been able to reach a number of important milestones, among which securing two investment rounds and achieving proof of concept.
In addition, the team has recently embraced a strategic shift from printing on just normal copy paper to printing on all kinds of paper-based substrates, thus expanding their offering to new markets. For example, apart from printing on conventional paper types, printing on packaging is also possible. This opens complete new markets for Tocano.
“Our main priority now is to partner up with one or multiple large printer manufacturers that can implement this technology into a final product,” Ven says. “We are already in talks with several big printer companies for this.”
This is an important next step for the ambitious team, which has set itself one main goal: to bring their inkless printing technology into the homes and offices of people, as well as for everyone in the coding and packaging market.
End of 2013 – Company founded
End of 2014- Admission into YES!Delft’s Incubation Program
Summer of 2015 – First investment round
Summer of 2016 – Proof of concept: Able to print with the same speed and quality as ink-based printers
Summer of 2016 – Second investment round
Our current Managing Director is leaving YES!Delft. As of February 2017 Pieter will pursue a new career opportunity. We are hiring a new Managing Director.
Pieter will pursue a new career opportunity; a one-year executive MPA (Master of Public Administration) at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, Germany. Pieter has been active for YES!Delft for almost 7 years. As alderman for the city of Delft responsible for knowledge economy, he was a member of the Board of Commissioners of YES!Delft from 2010 till 2014. Afterwards Pieter joined YES!Delft as Managing Director.
Over the last 2.5 years Pieter led the incubator to a #4 position in Europe (UBI index), grew the team to 14 people, attracted more public and private partners and built a financially stable YES!Delft. Pieter will leave YES!Delft at the end of January 2017.
A personal note from Pieter on his decision:
It’s with mixed feelings that I’ve decided to take this decision. Delft and YES!Delft are in my DNA. After working in Delft for many years I’m very excited to explore a new environment in Berlin. This next step allows me to broaden my view, continue my personal development and further shape my public ambition at an international renowned institute.
I’m very confident that the YES!Delft team will continue the pace. With 14 people strong they will continue to focus on supporting YES!Delft startups, further build the network and keep building tomorrow’s leading firms.
During our New Years drinks on 12 January, Pieter will wave goodbye. An invite will follow soon.
Interim Managing Director
Daan Domhof (Incubation & Growth Manager, YES!Delft) will take on the interim role of Managing Director, next to his current role as Incubation & Growth Manager.
Vacancy – new Managing Director
The profile for a new managing director is published on our website. The Board of Commissioners, together with the YES!Delft team will source and interview potential candidates. Applications for this vacancy are now open. We will announce the new YES!Delft Managing Director in 2017.
From cameras for surgeons to fast-growing plants and a sustainable shower. Ten promising early stage startups joined the YES!Delft LaunchLab pressure cooker program three months ago. On Thursday, excited participants revealed their progress and ideas to almost 150 visitors during LaunchDay. And the winner is: Meds2Go. This all-female-founder startup develops a portable container that keeps medication safe and cool for up to seven days without the need to charge.
After a heated round of pitches at YES!Delft on Thursday (see all teams in the attachment) both the Launchlab jury and audience chose their winners. Kitepower was the audience favourite, developing kites that harness the sustainable power of the wind. “A renewable, cost-effective source of energy that is an alternative to wind turbines”, the team says.
Lots of exploring resulted in serious progress for all the teams though. From contacts with angel investors to pilot projects and finding the right coach. “The team of Crescent managed to speak to over one thousand possible customers, partners and other relevant sources, Arthur Tolsma, Program Manager LaunchLab says. “LaunchLab turned out to be a great way to explore the business opportunities, leading to a focus on the medical market.”
During LaunchLab, the teams tested the riskiest assumptions about their business models, validated solutions to problems and searched for the right product-market-fit. “LaunchLab is a tailored program developed by YES!Delft for (aspiring) entrepreneurs to explore business opportunities”, says Pieter Guldemond, Managing director of YES!Delft. “In just three months’ time, participants not only know whether their business model looks good on paper, but also if it responds to the needs of the market.”
The teams receive input and feedback from fellow participants, experienced trainers and personal mentors. Resulting in a validated technology and business model that responds to the actual needs of the customer and market.
The next edition of LaunchLab starts on February 9, apply here!
On May 10, 2017 YES!Delft and Venture Café will connect the top of the Dutch corporates and the most promising tech startups at Techilicious 2017. This is a unique dinner with one goal: “Dine to Deal!”.
The first corporate leaders confirmed their participation at the ‘How To Get There Summit’ in The Hague. Startup Envoy Constan tijn van Oranje granted the CEO’s of Shell, KPN, Port of Rotterdam and TBI the opportunity to close lives deals with the most innovative tech startups in the Netherlands.
During the first edition of Techilicious this year more than 130 deals were closed between 50 CEO’S, CFO’S, CTO’s and 50 innovative startups. “An incredibly valuable event which offers us many commercial opportunities”, guests stated. This happens in the form of concrete business such as leads, pilot projects and funding. “Incubator YES!Delft transforms into a restaurant for one day to close deals”, says Pieter Guldemond, Managing Director at YES!Delft.
It’s an important issue, large corporates agree. ”By interacting with entrepreneurs we force ourselves to think out of the box, which is inspiring”, says Paul Smits, CFO of Port of Rotterdam. “This way we enable ourselves to be more innovative and efficient in introducing a new technology to the market”.
Through Techilicious YES!Delft and Venture Café facilitate a unique matchmaking event to innovate collectively. “This event is a great example of how this collaboration becomes really concrete“, says Constantijn van Oranje of StartupDelta. “To collaborate successfully it is essential that both parties focus on understanding each other, since innovation is stimulated best when you’re both on the same page. If it were up to me, Techilicious would be a monthly event in the Netherlands.”
Startups and corporates can sign up for Techilicious 2017 at www.techilicious.nl
Making corporate parking facilities available to the public
They solve the hassle of parking your vehicle in major cities by making parking garages of offices on A-locations, accessible to the public. The result: ample, affordable parking spots, bang in the middle of town and less CO2-emissions from hovering around looking for a place to park. Add the advantage of less newly built public garages, and ParkBee’s solution will change urban planning for good.
FROM ONE SIMPLE IDEA
In 2013 founders Tom and Jian were both working as expats in Amsterdam. They were lucky enough to be able to park their car safely and conveniently on the parking deck of their grey office block. At the end of a – long – day they left their spot with a sense of ‘guilt’, knowing that parking your car in the centre of Amsterdam is almost like an intrepid expedition. They noticed an opportunity in the evenings and on weekends: ample empty parking spots at offices, and many people driving around in circles looking for a place to park, whilst putting unnecessary amounts of carbon dioxide into the air. And when they find a spot in the end, they pay at least double the price of a cup of coffee by the hour. The soon-to-be founders went to talk to companies to ensure they were open to the concept and conducted thorough market research.
With their proof of concept Tom and Jian applied to YES! Delft to professionally mould their idea into an actual service. They realized that, at the core, ParkBee is a tech-company. There had to be a smart solution to open the barriers of parking decks and garages to the public. At YES!Delft, and within 18 months, they developed that technology and found their first locations; all with huge credit to YES!Delft’s network. It was that network that was utilised at full strength during the annual Network Event. Tom’s call to action on stage to introduce ParkBee to the right network of real estate owners and governmental parties assured him an introduction to the key council member in Amsterdam. Parkbee went into fifth gear at YES!Delft. And that’s exactly what the founders liked about YES!Delft.
“At YES! Delft having a start-up is not a lifestyle; it takes – a lot of hard – work and focus, that is something that is understood at YES!Delft”.
Many important decisions have been made and if you’d ask ParkBee for one of the most important lessons they have learned at YES!Delft is to dare to NOT do everything yourselves. For example: ParkBee’s partnership with Parkmobile (a parking app and market leader in The Netherlands) allowed the company a solid market entry and by October 2015 ParkBee was ready to serve their first customers.
TO A GROWING COMPANY
ParkBee has moved on and swapped the comforting bubble of YES!Delft for a beautiful office in Amsterdam. An old school building with stained glass windows, that they share with a large marketing agency. They have a fresh home cooked lunch and jugs with ice water on their desks. But the typical start-up spirit is still there; every once in a while they hop on bikes with the whole team to go on a scavenger hunt through Amsterdam or Utrecht hunting for new parking garages. The post-start-up ParkBee is creative but also a proper grown-up. With their YES!Delft baggage they are ready to tackle new problems that come with a growth spurt. ParkBee is becoming a success in The Netherlands and ready to take the next steps for worldwide parking ‘domination’.