Author: Tessa van Breeden

SLAM Orthopedic: the innovative drill for trauma surgeons

Imagine breaking your wrist and needing surgery for proper healing. Currently, Surgeons measure the bone thickness manually to determine screw implant length. However, SLAM Orthopedic has created an automatic drilling solution to improve fracture treatment.

When co-founder and CEO Just Schornagel came into contact with Bas de Hartog, he learned that, though the field of medicine has advanced much, many trauma surgeons’ instruments are still the same: for example, the device that measures the length of the bone. Unfortunately, using this instrument takes valuable time, and 9% of the measurements lead to wrong screws being inserted that pose a risk for the patient and then have to be replaced. So together with their other co-founder Bart Kölling, they created a solution that would measure the bone automatically during drilling, making the measurements more accurate, shortening the operation time, and reducing patient risk.

Working on the weekends

They started working on a solution on weekends while working full-time at their corporate jobs and studying full-time. Then, they realized they could create a functional product that could be commercial at the same time. Schornagel, the CEO of SLAM Orthopedic, quit his job to pursue this opportunity. They joined the YES!Delft Medtech validation program and moved into the YES!Delft building. 

“The program taught us to go outside the office and talk to our potential customers. We spoke with doctors across Europe. We spent three months creating our value proposition, which has greatly helped us.” Just Schornagel, CEO and co-founder of SLAM Orthopedic

Helping trauma and orthopedic surgeons

SLAM Orthopedic has designed a sensor system to assist trauma and orthopedic surgeons during surgery. The doctors often work in trauma centers and academic hospitals, much like Bas, one of the co-founders of SLAM Orthopedic. The fracture can heal once surgeons put in a metal plate and fasten those with screws. Those screws should be precisely the right length. If they are too short, the metal plate may become unstable. However, if the screws are too long, they might damage surrounding tendons and muscles, resulting in complications. Using the sensors of SLAM Orthopedic is more efficient, as measurements take place while drilling. This way, the operation time is shorter, and the surgeon can focus on the patient. 

Additionally, SLAM orthopedic has considered its product’s environmental footprint. For example, suppose a screw needs to be taken out during surgery because it is not the correct length. In that case, it is thrown away, resulting in unnecessary waste. Using the sensor system of SLAM Orthopedic will make measurements more precise, resulting in fewer screws thrown away. Also, the sensor lasts for 20 surgeries because of the battery lifetime. After that, hospitals can send it back to SLAM Orthopedic, where they will replace the battery and send it back to the hospital. 

“We believe that by enabling surgeons with more innovative equipment, they can focus on the most important parts of the surgery. This way, we help the patients, too.” – Just Schornagel, CEO & co-founder of SLAM Orthopedic.

Preclinical trials

SLAM Orthopedic is currently in the preclinical phase. They have already done trials with the Reinier de Graaf and UMCG hospitals, demonstrating that their sensor measures more accurately than traditional instruments. During the summer of 2023, they plan their first in-patient clinical trial with the ErasmusMC. The next step is getting the proper medical CE certification to ensure the safety of the intelligent sensors. Finally, they want to do a round of seed funding later in 2023 to ensure they have the resources to apply for certification and the production process. Overall, SLAM Orthopedic is taking significant steps this year to advance its business.


Your dream can become a reality too. As long as you want to make a change, don’t miss the opportunity to boost your start-up by joining the YES!Delft Validation Lab or Accelerator Program. However, if working for a start-up resonates more with your ambition, we got you! Check out the vacancies on our YES!Talents page!


CyberHydra: Transforming Chemical Research with Automation

Suppose you want to produce something new, such as medicine, dyes, or fuels. These processes usually start in a chemical reactor. Unfortunately, this research can be time-consuming because scientists must carefully monitor the chemical process to fully understand what is happening. CyberHydra has found a solution to make these processes more efficient.

Evgeny Uslamin and Robbert van Putten are alumni of the TU Delft. They are very familiar with the time it takes to do research in the field of chemistry. Then, they had an idea to automate the monitoring of catalytic systems: processes that produce high-value fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals that use catalysts to speed up chemical reactions. So they started CyberHydra, currently an early-stage startup that developed a patented technology automating these processes.

An Automated Reactor

Doing research in fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals often comes with long horizons. The work can be tedious, as researchers closely monitor every process step. For this reason, researchers spend much time in their laboratories. Automation can improve the consistency and efficiency of the production process and reduce the need for manual labor. It allows highly-qualified experts to focus on more creative work and to innovate faster.   

Photo made by Fred Leeflang

The co-founders of CyberHydra worked to develop a system that would automate processes and have software to analyze the results, aided by master student Nathan Jiscoot. They recognized their system’s potential to help other researchers and companies become more efficient in their research. Then, with help from Delft Enterprises, they applied for a patent for their solution. It was a vital step that boosted an idea to start a company. 

“As a post-doc, you have tremendous amounts of work to do. You might call us lazy, but we didn’t want to sit beside a reactor all day. So, Robbert and I started looking for a solution to help us be more efficient and get more work done. It led to the innovative idea of CyberHydra.” – Evgeny Uslamin, co-founder of CyberHydra.

From convenient idea to commercial product

CyberHydra works with the fine-chemical and pharmaceutical industries, especially those companies’ R&D laboratories. Also, they work with academia, as there is a general need for effective experimentation and more high-quality data in the chemistry and pharmaceutical fields. 

Photo made by Fred Leeflang

To get more knowledge on business aspects, the co-founders started with the ‘ready to startup’ course from YES!Delft students. After completing the ‘ready to startup’ course from YES!Delft students, they moved on to the validation lab and followed the accelerator program. CyberHydra learned a lot from the YES!Delft community. The combination of all kinds of different expertise is inspiring and helpful. In addition, the programs helped to get their problem-solution proposition just right.

The end-game: data-driven and efficient processes

The ultimate goal of CyberHydra is to accelerate chemical research by introducing data-driven practices. CyberHydra is still in the validation phase of their product, as they want more customers to test it. The first system was built partly using a 3D printer. Some parts were vibrant pink simply because it was the only color available. The current pilot projects look promising: using the system has already saved money and the time of qualified researchers. Advancing science by automating it saves time and helps accelerate science. 

“Delivering the first system was quite exciting. Suddenly you see something you spend much time developing in a completely different environment. Other researchers know to use your equipment and benefit from your solution; that’s very nice.” – Evgeny Uslamin, co-founder at CyberHydra.

CyberHydra has received the Take-off Phase 1 grant from the NWO. Because CyberHydra is a spin-off of Delft University, the University is a shareholder and has provided funds and resources. So far, they have primarily used public funds to develop the product, even though there have been a couple of paid pilot projects.

Steps for the upcoming 12 months

In the upcoming year, CyberHydra will raise more funding, either through more public funding or through investors, to expand the team and finalize the development of the product. They plan to conduct a few more pilot projects and use customer feedback to improve their product. CyberHydra expects to be ready with a marketable product this year: the current product already works but anticipates some improvements in the user experience and the software interface. 

“Many students are interested in creating innovative technology in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry but sometimes are hesitant to work at a startup. Try it out: if you don’t like it, you can always do something else. Take some time to work at a startup if you are interested. Validate your own life.” – Nathan Jiscoot, software developer at CyberHydra.


Your dream can become a reality too. As long as you want to make a change, don’t miss the opportunity to boost your start-up by joining the YES!Delft Validation Lab or Accelerator Program. However, if working for a start-up resonates more with your ambition, we got you! Check out the vacancies on our YES!Talents page!


Nurtio: technology to monitor your office plants on a large scale

Don’t you love it when you walk into your office and are greeted by plants, providing you with a healthy work environment throughout the day? Well, don’t take them for granted. Behind those plants is the interior landscaping industry, which involves designing, installing, and maintaining indoor plants and gardens for commercial and residential settings. Maintaining these environments can be very costly.

Iryna van der Meij and Marco Zijlstra founded Nurtio to help monitor and maintain indoor plants in commercial real estate using advanced technology. It helps avoid long-term problems and is cost-effective because gardeners can work more efficiently.

Building a High-Tech Solution

In 2016, Iryna van der Meij relocated from Kyiv, Ukraine, to the Netherlands to participate in an international MBA program. Nine years before, in 2007, she had started her own company in her home country: a landscaping and gardening service for corporate customers. Now, she remains a non-executive director at that company and is currently focused on building Nurtio Technologies as a co-founder and CEO. This company was born as a solution to the pains she experienced in her first company: mainly the inefficiencies in maintaining interior landscapes, especially for real estate. Therefore, she aimed to create a high-tech solution for the interior landscaping industry and streamline the processes to become a category-defining enterprise in the connected plantscaping industry, including outdoor landscaping, cityscaping, and horticulture.

Nurtio is also the first company to build a centralized data pool to see how plants are maintained indoors on a large scale. As a result, Nurtio already sees dependencies between light, temperature, ambient climate, season, and the plant’s life cycle, which allows the company to build accurate predictive models of plants’ future behavior.

“The idea of this company was born from the pains I experienced in my first business. There are many inefficiencies in processes in the landscaping service industry. For example, plant technicians don’t see plants every day. Sometimes they even have to use their fingers to test the soil’s moisture, and it’s easy to miss long-term problems such as a plant not getting enough sunlight. As a result, maintaining many plants on various sites costs time and money that could be used otherwise. Regardless, it’s the 21st century, so things shouldn’t be so outdated.” – Iryna van der Meij, CEO and co-founder at Nurtio.

Target Audience

Nurtio works mainly in the B2B industry. Their primary target audience is professional plant service companies that maintain plants in the office, hospitality, or real estate environments. They take care of hundreds of thousands of plants daily. Therefore, the scale of operation is very different from the existing consumer solutions. A solid business case exists for those companies: using Nurtio’s technology saves money and enables growth. The primary focus of Nurtio is on the interior landscaping markets in the USA, the United Kingdom, and the Nordics.

“I just came back from a big event in the USA. I see a huge market opportunity worldwide. But first, you need to understand the market, as it has a complex composition and supply chain. But this is where our strength in Nurtio lies: we come from the B2B plantscaping industry. So we can confidently say we know it inside out” – Iryna van der Meij, CEO and co-founder at Nurtio.

Entrepreneurial Journey

Back in 2018, Nurtio joined the validation program of YES!Delft and learned how to do market validation. Afterward, they immediately proceeded to the Accelerate program. Thanks to YES!Delft, Nurtio had a solid base to create a minimal viable product. Currently, four people are working at Nurtio: the co-founders, a senior software engineer, and a project manager for marketing.

So far, Nurtio has been funded mainly through governmental grants. In January 2023, Nurtio closed its first institutional funding from Shamrock Ventures, a Dutch early-stage impact venture capital fund. They primarily fund early-stage companies that positively impact society and the environment. It is an excellent opportunity for Nurtio to test several new product ideas and improve its portfolio.

“We have an experimental mindset at Nurtio. We experiment with the sensors at our homes, too. We do dozens of small daily experiments; if something fails or underperforms, we have the mindset and capability to change direction fast.” – Iryna van der Meij, CEO and co-founder at Nurtio.

Making significant impact

Nurtio is preparing to raise more capital, and the funding round remains open. They are quite meticulous about finding other partners that are an excellent match to accelerate their growth. Nurtio looks to build its presence in the USA for the upcoming year. There are also big plans on the technical side, such as developing new software features and releasing a new version of hardware for the new market segments. They will take every opportunity to make an even more significant impact.


Your dream can become a reality too. As long as you want to make a change, don’t miss the opportunity to boost your start-up by joining the YES!Delft Validation Lab or Accelerator Program. However, if working for a start-up resonates more with your ambition, we got you! Check out the vacancies on our YES!Talents page!


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