Praxa Sense: Leveraging smart technology to better monitor heart disease

What does it take for two product designers to create a medical device that may well be the future of monitoring cardiac arrhythmias? For one, it takes a lot of hard work, especially in times of uncertainty. It also takes commitment to develop a device that can detect possible heart problems with high accuracy.

Meet Leonard Moonen and Liselotte Stolk, the initial co-founders of Delft-based startup Praxa Sense and the two product designers from the paragraph above. With little business experience of their own (at least initially), they have managed to not only develop a product the medical industry needs but also find their fit in just the right market. 

The wearable that detects cardiac arrhythmia

Detecting cardiac arrhythmias can be somewhat of a challenge and new technologies are always welcome in making the process more hassle-free. At the moment, it requires a patient to undergo a thorough monitoring procedure, which may not even yield accurate results as arrhythmias often happen sporadically. 

“Atrial fibrillation is the most common sign of cardiac arrhythmia but detecting it is not always that easy,” says Leonard. “In fact, there are a lot of people out there that don’t even know they have it.” Because it doesn’t occur consistently, atrial fibrillation can sometimes be overlooked – unintentionally of course – by current monitoring methods. People with this condition are also five times more likely to have a cerebral stroke, Leonard adds. 

That is how he first came up with the idea of a wearable that would monitor heart rhythm in a simple and non-intrusive way. 

“We’ve developed Afi, a small, user-friendly device that can detect heart rhythm disorders with high accuracy. It requires little to no manual effort and extends the time frame, in which a patient can be monitored.” If worn continuously, it can essentially monitor a patient 24/7 without interruption.

From a university project to a business venture

For Leonard, it all started during his studies of Integrated Product Design at TU Delft. There, as part of CardioLab – an initiative by the university and de Hartstichting focused on using smart technologies to detect cardiovascular diseases, he designed the first prototype of what would later become Afi. 

He saw the business potential of the solution, but he knew that a good idea and a nice design were not going to be enough to run a company. “I knew I had to learn more about startup life,” Leonard says. “I also knew that I would need a co-founder and I had just the right person in mind.” 

It didn’t take much convincing to bring Liselotte on board. And so, the two of them were ready to experience what having a startup would be like. 

Almost immediately, they signed up for the EIT Health Validation Lab in Dublin and went through eight weeks of market validation and meeting potential clients across Europe. “It was an intense program but it really helped us understand what it’s like to run a company and match its offering to the needs of customers.” 

One of the stops was YES!Delft and Leonard remembers how nice it felt to be so close to home. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that Liselotte and himself later became a part of YES!Delft’s Accelerator Program. That was also the time when they were joined by Pourya Omidi, who became the third co-founder of Praxa Sense.

Positioning Afi where it’s most needed – in hospitals

One of the key lessons that the co-founders have learned along the way is that being a part of a strong network is invaluable. 

“The community that we have around us at YES! is a great asset,” Leonard says. “If I have an industry-related question, I can go downstairs and just have a cup of coffee with the founders of Momo Medical, another MedTech startup. Or if I need advice on strategy or funding, I could walk up to the team of YES!Funded. It’s really that easy.”

Today, Praxa Sense is a team of eight and they are about to launch their first clinical trial in the Netherlands. This is a big next step, as their solution will make its way to Reinier de Graaf Gasthuis hospital in Delft and be used to monitor patients. 

As the year progresses, the team will continue to iterate their product, especially as they receive feedback from the trial, and will work to set up more pilot projects. Hospitals are on top of their list as potential clients, followed closely by e-health companies. 

So far, Praxa Sense has grown steadily, including during the past year with COVID-19 around. With their first clinical trial coming up, they are about to gain more insight into the potential and application of their product. It is only a matter of time for them to implement it and further improve it.

Milestones
  • October 2017: Leonard Moonen graduated from Delft Cardiolab with first prototype of Afi
  • October 2017: Leonard showcased Afi at Dutch Design Week 2017
  • April 2018: Praxa Sense B.V. was founded
  • June 2018: EIT Health Validation Lab in Dublin, Liselotte joined as co-founder
  • November 2018: YES!Delft Accelerator Program, Pourya joined as co-founder
  • May 2020: Received Innovation Loan from Rabobank and funding from ZonMw
  • October 2020: Funding from Innovation Quarter for R&D of Afi
  • September 2020: Expanded team from three to eight
  • January 2020: A larger new corner office at YES!Delft

It’s time to celebrate the YES!Delft Awards 2020

What a year 2020. Fortunately, we have left it behind, but we cannot avoid rewarding those startups that have distinguished themselves within our ecosystem.

So, the tradition of the YES!Delft Awards continues.
This year’s categories are:
– Rookie of the Year
– Rising Star
– Scaleup of the Year
– Best Promo Campaign

Rookie of the Year – Unpluq

Startup Awards

These guys rocked during our Validation Lab. They also have already launched their product, a physical key that wants you to regain control over your smartphone, generating more than 500 sales. Isn’t that exciting?

Rising Star – Villari

Startup Awards

Their infrastructure monitoring technology has already convinced the city of Amsterdam, where they will conduct a feasibility study for the continuous monitoring of bridges in the city. This year they also secured a launch pilot with Rijkswaterstaat.

Scaleup of the Year – SenseGlove

Startup Awards

With their new product SenseGlove Nova, a Haptic Force-Feedback Glove For Professional VR / AR Training, SenseGlove confirms its enormous potential. Their technology has already convinced big brands like Volkswagen, Honda, and P&G Health. We are sure that soon we will see it everywhere.

Best Promo Campaign – Loop Biotech

Startup Awards

These guys have dominated the headlines of international magazines like the BBC, The Guardian, Vice, NOS, and The Telegraph thanks their Living Cocoon. Let’s see what the future holds for them.

THANK YOU!

Thank YOU for being part of our journey, and creating an ecosystem to be proud of. We survived 2020 together, it still doesn’t seem true to us. Today we are stronger and united because we found out that YES!Delft is not just a building. Take a look at the video to find out what we are today and celebrate with us.

 

Top 10 Startup Success Stories: February

While we went from ice-skating to enjoying warm spring temperatures, our startups were also busy celebrating successes this mnonth! From being featured by big news outlets to getting a loan, entering new markets, and starting new partnerships. Read all about it in this month’s Top 10 Startup Success Stories!

1. Innovators of 2021

Dutch newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad presented the innovators of 2021! They are young, maximum 35 years old, and will set the tone in the Netherlands and beyond. Amongst these 50 talents are YES!Delft entrepreneurs Just Schornagel from SLAM Orthopedic, Lethabo Motsoaledi from Voyc, Olivier Baas from Villari, and Daan Hoek from UV Smart.

2. Companies we should keep an eye on

Besides the list of innovators there was also a list of start- and scaleups we should keep an eye on this year! A team of experts at Sifted made a list of more than 100 companies they think you need to know about, including Nowi, Somnox, Laevo, Delft Circuits, Parkbee, and Plotwise!

3. Aquablu

The Alumni Chain of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, highlights startups that make a positive impact. This month they shared the story of Aquablu! Check out the great video they made below.

4. Solar Monkey

Solar Monkey choose a female CCO! Annemarie de Jong will help Solar Monkey to conquer Europe in their highly competitive sector.

“Recently, I have already been able to take a look in the kitchen. The enthusiasm to contribute to the energy transition is overwhelming. I see many opportunities for rapid growth and for conquering Europe. Solar Monkey is really building the sustainable future.”, says Annemarie.

5. UbiOps

UbiOps announced a partnership with cloud solution provider Ekco. With this partnership, organizations can use UbiOps as an on-demand, scalable service on the Ekco Private Cloud, without having to think about the infrastructure.

6. Envision

Envision partnered up with Extra_Japan, which means that their glasses are now also available in Japan! The AI startup not only added Japan to the list this month cause they also entered Belgium, by partnering with Integra!

Are you having an innovative AI/Blockchain or Social Tech idea? Sign up for our next Validation Lab.

AI/Blockchain Validation Lab

SocialTech Validation Lab

7. VideowindoW

Out of more than 500 companies, VideowindoW was selected as a finalist in the Smart Cities category for the SXSW 2021 Pitch Event. The winners for each category will be announced on the 18th of March.

8. Sensible Healthcare Systems

The MedTech startup successfully applied for a Rabobank Innovation Loan. With this loan, Sensible Healthcare Systems is able to accelerate R&D on the world’s smallest glucose sensor and paving the way for the future of glucose monitoring.

9. Philips Innovation Award

Villari, XO Sight, Loop, and the startup who just joined our Validation Lab, DuckDuckGoose, made it to the semi-finals of the Philips Innovation Award. Eventually, five Innovators and three Rough Diamonds will be selected to compete in the Grand Final.

10. Circularise

The blockchain company Circularise announced their new partnership with Marubeni.

“By working together, Marubeni and Circularise will contribute to the realization of a sustainable society and over the years put all supply chain actors in the position to implement circular economy practices at scale,” says Jordi de Vos, co-founder of Circularise.

Don’t miss out on the successes anymore!

SIGN UP FOR THE NEWSLETTER

Top 10 Startup Success Stories: January

2021 only just started but we already have so many great success stories from our startups to share with you! From new projects and products to investment announcements and winning prizes. Read on and find out all about the January Startup Success Stories from our tech incubator!

1. Somnox

Somnox won the KVK Innovation Top 100! Somnox is hereby the most innovative company of the chamber of commerce and took over from PHYSEE, the winner of last year’s edition.

2. PHYSEE

This scale-up secured €4 million in the first half of our Series A investment! This investment is the company’s first step in the global rollout of SmartSkin.

3. ARCEON

ARCEON got selected for European Space Agency’s (ESA) “Euro Material Ageing” Project. As a part of the project, the startup will be implementing 4 distinct samples of their material on International Space Station (ISS) and study the aging of the material for a minimum of 6 months.

4. Effect.AI

Effect.AI shared their brand new project: Effect Pieces! Effect Pieces is a blockchain-based crowdsourced art project founded with the purpose to raise money for displaced and disadvantaged people across the globe and connect them with impactful opportunities to change their lives for the better!

Are you having an innovative AI or Blockchain idea? Sign up for our next Validation Lab.

Get to know more

5. SenseGlove & STIL

SenseGlove is bringing a new sense to your VR/AR Training by introducing Nova. This glove combines the most advanced haptic technologies and smooth hand tracking. Further, SenseGlove is also joining forces with STIL in a MIT R&D project, where they will develop a product that could aid both the tremor market, as well as the VR/AR and tele-robotics market. This project, with a budget of €515.000, was made possible by the Dutch Provincie Zuid-Holland.

6. DeNoize

DeNoize received an investment of €200.000 from UNIIQ – Finance for the Future! This investment will bring their technology closer to a market-ready product. Also, did you catch this startup on RTL Nieuws this month?

7. Aquablu

The first step towards sustainability at the Dakar Rally is a fact. In collaboration with the startup Aquablu, Dutch Team Coronel is the first Dakar Team to survive in the desert without bottled water!

8. Villari

Out of almost 50 contenders, Villari was selected as one of the eight parties to conduct a feasibility study for the continuous monitoring of bridges in Amsterdam.

9. Circularise

Circularise will be amongst the 20 best circular projects in The Netherlands in 2021, according to Versnellingshuis Nederland Circulair!

10. Mapiq

The COO of Mapiq, Lesley Fockema Andreae-Mulder, made it to the top 25 of Leaders in Software of Europe for 2021!

Don’t miss out on the successes anymore!

SIGN UP FOR THE NEWSLETTER

Voyc: Turning customer call analysis into a superpower, with the help of AI

Customer support has always been key to successful business strategies and plans, yet it is not always without misunderstandings. Startup Voyc is tackling this problem by ensuring that both customers and companies are treated fairly during verbal exchange. How? Voyc’s artificial intelligence (AI) software enables companies to gain deeper understanding of their customers’ needs and problems, and resolve issues as efficiently and fairly as possible.

FROM A SIMPLE IDEA

Call monitoring is essential in identifying potential risks, improving agent performance and enhancing the overall customer experience.

In their venture to ensure understanding between companies and customers, Matthew Westaway and his co-founder, Lethabo Motsoaledi, developed an AI-based solution that adds value to customer service. “We hope that one day everyone will feel trusted and that their voices will be heard,” says Matthew.

Currently focused on the insurance sector, the startup is working with more than 10 companies, enabling them to maintain strong and positive relationships with their customers.

The Quality Assurance (QA) team plays a key role. It is in charge of recording and analyzing all calls that take place, and providing insurance companies with relevant information that allows them to handle clients’ requests fairly and reliably. Voyc’s AI-driven software is able to transcribe and analyze calls within minutes, and deliver data-packed reports to the team. 

“We basically give our QA Team superpowers to protect both the company and the customer,” says Matthew. “That way we can ensure that there are no issues between them.”

THROUGH YES!DELFT

Delft-based incubator YES!Delft and their professional network of experts have been a part of Voyc’s entrepreneurial journey so far. As one of the startups in its Accelerator program, Voyc has enjoyed the wide range of expertise they have had access to and the good connections they have been able to make. 

“YES!Delft’s strong network has been very valuable for our company, especially in the early days,” Matthew says. “It employs amazing people that are ready to help and that want you to do well.”

Today, two years after being founded, Voyc has a team of 10 who share the same passion and energy for establishing equal relations between companies and their clients.

TO A GROWING COMPANY

During this journey, the startup has gone through periods of trial and error that have expanded its understanding of the potential risks that both companies and their customers have to bear in the business world. 

“Most of the issues usually come up on service calls when customers are just extremely unhappy”, Matthew says. “It is often the case that customers misunderstand what service they are being offered and end up receiving something they never asked for.”

He makes another point that while customers could misjudge some of the information they are offered, misinterpretation on the company’s side is also a possibility. 

“Our clients, mostly insurance companies, generally have a lot at stake so being able to analyze their customer service calls is crucial for them,” Matthew says. “On the other hand, their customers can also end up largely affected should it come to a misunderstanding.” 

In a way, both sides have a lot to gain from a solution like that of Voyc.

The past two years of running their company has taught Matthew and his co-founder a lot not just about entrepreneurship but about their industry as well. For the coming months, they have locked their sights on expanding to the UK and establishing a foothold in the market there. 

With a few investments from accelerators such as Techstars and several Dutch angel investors, Voyc is certainly on the right path. From this point on, the team will be venturing onto even bigger and better business opportunities, both in the Netherlands and abroad. 

Milestones

Mar 2018: Founded company

Sep 2018: Joined Techstars SAP.iO Berlin

Nov 2019: Signed first large insurance company

Jan 2020: Hired 5th Team Member

Feb 2020: Setup HQ in the Netherlands

Mar 2020: Joined YES!Delft

Nov 2020: Signed 4th large insurance company

Dec 2020: Hired 10th Team Member

Dec 2020: Monitored the call of 100 000’th end-customer

Give your 2021 a kick start and sign up for our Accelerator Program! 

Get to know more

Top 10 Startup Success Stories: December

It is almost time to jump into the new year. It’s been a crazy ride but nonetheless a ride with a lot of ups for the startups along the way! So just before we pop the champagne bottle to celebrate that we made it to 2021, we would like to share the last startup successes of this year! Read all about it in the Top 10 of December, with this month not 10 but 11 success stories!

1. KVK Innovation Top 100

aQysta and Somnox got nominated for the KVK Innovation Top 100. On the 21st of January, we will get to know who will take over PHYSEE, the winner of last year’s edition.

2. Qblox

Qblox got awarded € 4.8 million in funding from the European Innovation Council! The startup applied for funding from the European Commission Accelerator Program in August of this year. Qblox is amongst the 1% successful DeepTech startups, only 38 companies, who eventually succeeded.

You only have a few more days to apply for our next DeepTech program. 

Join now

3. CES 2021

Circularise, Delft Circuits, Qblox, SenseGlove, Hardt Hyperloop, and Birds.ai are joining CES 2021, among the 80 most innovative Dutch startups and scaleups!

4. Loop

VICE Media has chosen Bob Hendrikx, founder of Loop, as one of the 20 Humans of the Year 2020! This is a list that honors scientists, engineers, and visionaries who are changing the world for the better.

5. Mapiq

Mapiq launched their brand new website. Paired with a fresh look and feel, and filled with new inspiration, the scale-up gets you ready for the next chapter of work

6. Supersola

The CleanTech startup Supersola installed four ready-made solar panels on the roof of the DreamHûs. This is a test house in The Green Village on the TU Delft campus where innovations are introduced first hand! The test results from this realistic usage situation will be used in a discussion to eliminate ambiguities in the legislation and regulations of solar panels.

7. UbiOps

UbiOps announced that BAM Energy Systems started using their platform for data-driven analytics. “We want to use UbiOps to further develop propositions for optimising energy consumption for our clients in both the utility and residential market.”

8.Effect.AI

Effect.AI has been recognized by the public and the Blockchain Netherlands (BCNL Foundation) being the best public solution made with blockchain technology in the Netherlands!

9. STIL

The startup that develops a wrist brace that suppresses tremor using the concept of noise-canceling won € 20.000, by making it to second place in the MedTech category of the EIT Health Catapult. 

10. Noria

Because of all the votes from friends, family, followers, and fellow fighters against plastic waste in our waters, this startup took home the Audience Award at the finals of the WIS Award.

11. Hardt Hyperloop

This month there were so many successes, so for once, we are adding an extra success! Just before the end of this month, Hardt Hyperloop announced the participation of the Dutch Government in their hyperloop development. Together with their partners Hardt Hyperloop have initiated the Hyperloop Development Program. This program is a public-private partnership to develop hyperloop as a high-speed, zero-emissions transport solution that could play a significant role in the climate transition. The Dutch Government grants a subsidy of € 4.5 million to these developments.

Don’t miss out on the successes anymore!

SIGN UP FOR THE NEWSLETTER

Summer is not slowing the YES!Delft startups

Top 10 Tech Startup Success Stories: JULY

Certainly, summer is not slowing YES!Delft startups! Are you curious to see what everyone has been up to? Read all about it in this top 10 tech startup success stories. Featuring among others: Hardt Hyperloop’s first functional hyperloop in Europe, aQysta’s brand new pump in Spain and last but not least, Envision and Dutch Analytics at Startup Tuesday in YES!Delft The Hague.
1.Hardt Hyperloop

Not too long ago we celebrated Hardt Hyperloop for their grand achievement of the first functional hyperloop in Europe. But summer is not slowing down the Validation Lab and Accelerator alumnus: CEO Tim Houter has been nominated by EIT for the Innovators Award.

 

Join the Accelerator Program!

2.Effect.ai 

This AI/Blockchain Validation Lab alumnus just launched the first phase of their decentralized AI platform. Consequently, data science teams can upload their vast quantities of data – for example for a chatbot. Finally, ambassadors around the world then structure, enrich and annotated it. In this aspect, it works similarly to Mechanical Turk. 

3.Skel-Ex 

Commercial Director Jaap Hoogland received the prestigious Red Dot Design Award for the design of the Skelex360. The design for the exoskeleton with its high ergonomic wearability was made in collaboration with Van Berlo. Above all,  The Red Dot jury praised the way the Skelex360 supports ­wearers without limiting their freedom of movement.

 

 

4.Physee 

Opened its doors for the GESTE summer school, which aims to make tech accessible to everyone. The Validation Lab and Accelerator alumnus believes age, nationality, gender or education systems shouldn’t be limiting factors of learning. Therefore, they welcomed twenty children between the ages of 10 and 12 during the summer school program, and help them get enthusiastic about tech! Gemeente Delft, TNO, YES!Delft, TU Delft, Designathon Works & Kids Akademie support this inaugural edition.

 

Join the Accelerator Program!

5.AidX Medical 

Last year’s EIT Health Validation Lab winners — AidX Medical got the chance to pitch on national radio, in BNR Zakendoen. Co-founder Mirte Vendel represented the MedTech startup and impressed the jury of entrepreneurs with her pitch. Their product makes malaria detection cheaper, faster, accessible to all and more reliable. Finally, their goal is to enable malaria diagnoses to be executed without the need for medical expertise, to be implemented in rural areas. 

 

6.KVK Innovation Top 100

Four YES!Delft startups, Physee, Envision, CloudCuddle, and Kitepower, have been nominated in the Innovation top 100 by the KVK (Dutch Chamber of Commerce).  Finally, the exact raking will be presented by the jury on September 25. Moreover, Robotics startup Somnox and CleanTech startup Qlayers were featured in the KVK YouTube series Beyond Business. 

 

7.Startup Tuesday in YES!Delft The Hague

On the 25th of June YES!Delft The Hague was proud to host Startup Tuesday! This weekly event is a collaboration between the innovative hubs in The Hague with the aim to strengthen connections and support impact-driven entrepreneurship. Certainly, it’s the perfect occasion to learn from experienced startup founders! Therefore, YES!Delft The Hague had local AI startups Envision and Dutch Analytics to pitch to the visitors. Startup Tuesday is a collaboration between The Hague Tech, Impact City, The Hague Humanity Hub, Apollo 14, and World Startup Factory

Join the AI/Blockchain Validation Lab!

8.aQysta 

The CleanTech startup operates in 19 countries worldwide already, but now they have broken new ground with their brand new HyPump. This second-generation hydro-powered irrigation-pump is stationary and specially designed for large volumes of irrigation. Furthermore, HyPump in Lliria (Spain) is estimated to pump 6 liters of water per second. So that comes to 500m3 per day up to the height of 35 meters or to a distance of 3.5 km, all without any fuel or electricity.

9.Nowi & VSParticle 

INSEAD Summer Start-Up Tour (‘SSUP!) is a discovery tour of the top entrepreneurial hot-spots around Europe and Asia. They interview entrepreneurs, angels, and VCs – and on their stop in the Netherlands they, of course, visited YES!Delft.  Therefore, our startup trainer Ruben Kranendonk took them on a tour of our incubator, and introduced them to Nowi and VSParticle, who for them exemplify inspired (deep) tech solutions at YES!Delft. 

 

10.VSParticle 

More good news from the NanoTech startup! They welcomed the EU Science, research and Innovation in Petten as a new customer. Therefore, the new customer will use VSParticle’s equipment to study the behavior of nanoparticles under ion and neutron bombardment, in view of radioisotope production studies. 

 

Join the ComplexTech Validation Lab!

Summer is not slowing YES!Delft startups, what about yours? Tip our PR Coordinator Nan de Bruin on nan@yesdelft.nl for the next top 10 tech startup success stories.

Get weekly updates of YES!Delft startups and incubator news

Get in touch