SocialTech: the way forward in solving the health and societal challenges of tomorrow

The past year has posed challenges that many of us had never even thought about. Challenges to our health, to the way we interact with each other, and to the way we go about our day-to-day lives.

Yet, with new challenges come new solutions, and the Dutch innovation ecosystem has not fallen short of that. SocialTech has gained vital importance, with entrepreneurs looking for smart solutions to today’s most pressing societal issues.

To clarify why we need SocialTech, our program manager Noortje van Sambeek and our partners explain more about the rise and potential of this new domain, and look into its role in the future healthcare system.

The rise of SocialTech

Over the past year, two main trends have come to the fore with regards to smart social tech solutions. One is focused on directly tackling the health and societal challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the other is more focused on prevention, ensuring that health and societal challenges do not become an issue in the future.

Both trends have played a significant role, and arguably, the prevention aspect may become even more crucial as we move forward.

For Peter Hulsen, Advisor and Changemaker at the Nederlands Centrum Jeugdgezondheid (NCJ) – the Dutch Center for Youth Health – the prevention of health problems is crucial, and it starts at a very early stage in one’s life.  

“We see a great urgency to tackle health issues in young children as early as possible in their lives. It is crucial to give them a strong foundation to grow up on so there is no need for interventions later on.”

And it is not just about health, he adds. “It is about how our cities and villages are organised and spatially arranged. How much space there is for children and young people to move around.” Fostering a healthy and nurturing environment both in and outside of one’s home is not just a nice-to-have. It is a necessity.

The potential of SocialTech

SocialTech has the potential to transform our communities to make us more resilient, and as a result, stronger, too.

For sure, technology and innovation can help bring positive change to society, but it is important to remember that it’s not all about tech itself. It is also about the context, identifying the gaps in our community and finding ways to close them using innovative technology. 

This is also the motivation behind launching the SocialTech Validation Lab, a program developed by YES!Delft in partnership with Erasmus University Rotterdam.

A new program for new challenges, says Noortje. “Our goal with this Validation Lab is to make innovation happen that can help society. We are bringing together people from many different backgrounds to create the best teams and the best solutions.”

The challenges we face today are global, but the solutions are to be found locally.

This is confirmed by Ed Brinksma, President of the Executive Board of Erasmus University Rotterdam. “The province of South Holland, particularly the Rotterdam region, is a rich breeding ground in terms of diversity and entrepreneurship. A multidisciplinary approach is vital for innovation and especially for solving the social issues in this region. In this way, together, we can advance inspiring SocialTech ideas and make a tangible contribution to a resilient and healthy society. “

Organisations such as EUR, NCJ, Social Impact Fonds Rotterdam and Health Holland are among the partners that would support the selected startups in developing the solutions that society needs the most.

There is a great relationship of trust between YES!Delft and its partners.“The past performance of YES!Delft and their recently started SocialTech Validation Lab both provide the essential moral trust and intellectual support for social technology entrepreneurs that strive to create positive impact,” said Nico van Meeteren, Executive Director and Secretary-General at Health Holland.

 

The SocialTech Validation Lab is currently accepting applications until April 7.

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Towards the healthcare system of tomorrow

A lot has changed concerning how our healthcare systems work. 

We are at the start of the transformation of healthcare, says Noortje. “We see it moving more and more towards people’s homes. Smart technology is making it possible to move towards the social domain and developing solutions that can make it more efficient.”

Today it’s clear that the pandemic has accelerated healthcare’s move in that direction.  

In the past year of having COVID-19 among us, we have learned that people don’t always need to interact directly with a healthcare professional. They are a lot more open to the idea of relying on websites and chatbots for information. This is a positive development given the fact that our healthcare system has been squeezed for resources during the pandemic,” Peter says.

In other words, innovation can help create solutions that take away some of the more repetitive and simple tasks that are still part of the day-to-day of medical professionals and instead help them focus on the cases that they are most needed for.  

There is still a lot that technology can bring to the medical domain.

“This past year we’ve had to leapfrog when it comes to the digital evolution of healthcare,” says Noortje. “There is a lot more potential to be discovered, and we want to create the right environment and ecosystem for that to take place.

The SocialTech Validation Lab is looking for promising startups that want to bring innovation to society. The program will help these entrepreneurs find their product-solution fit and develop the business case around their idea.

Apply before April 7 for a chance to join the program!

APPLY NOW FOR THE VALIDATION LAB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Startup Success Stories: March

Spring has arrived and our startups are in full bloom! Somnox, Breeze and STIL all made great tv appearances, and Manometric and Dawn Aerospace secured investments! Curious about these and other stories? Read on in this month’s Top 10 Startup Success Stories!

1. Somnox

Julian Jagtenberg pitched his scaleup Somnox in the first episode of the new season of Dragon’s Den. All the dragons were ready to join Somnox’s sleep revolution. Watch the full episode now (with Julian his pitch starting at 41.25) and check out the negotiations yourself.

2. Techleap

This was not the only success of Somnox! Techleap announced the 10 companies that have been selected for their Compass program! Both Somnox and Mapiq made it to the program!

3. Breeze

Not only Julian starred in Dragon’s Den this month also Joris van Doorninck and Marsha Goei pitched their dating app Breeze! And this was not without success! Check out their performance if you missed it. In addition, the startups received great publicity after their performance at the television show, like an interview with Marsha in LINDA.meiden!

4. Manometric

Manometric got two new great investors on board! The startup received a capital injection from NextGen Ventures and InnovationQuarter, to strengthen their team and scale up their unique technology!

5. Bird Control Group

Wageningen University released their research on a poultry farm that suffered visits from wild waterfowl, which are a source of avian influenza virus. The study, which was done with Bird Control Group, revealed that when the laser was in use a 99.7% wild bird reduction rate was recorded.

6. STIL

After more than 3 years of development, STIL proudly presents its anti-tremor. For this, the startup started a project together with the Hersenstichting, where they ask attention for people who suffer from severe tremors. Like, for example, with Parkinson’s disease. Check out the anti-tremor brace demonstration at RTL Boulevard.

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SocialTech Validation Lab

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7. Loop

Loop had again a month full of great publicity! Founder Bob Hendrikx was for example interviewed by the BBC about the Living Cocoon and the use of mycelium.

8. Dawn Aerospace

The aviation startup has been awarded €116,000 by the province of South-Holland to further develop the company’s Mk-II Aurora Spaceplane for European certification. The goal of Dawn Aerospace is to make spaceflight affordable and commonplace by applying the operational model of aviation to space transportation. The Mk-II Aurora is the latest in a series of test vehicles that will one-day launch satellites into space.

9. Villari

This month Villari installed a large number of next-generation Sensor Units onto a Rijkswaterstaat bridge. This new type of Villari Sensor Units continuously monitors the integrity of steel joints in the bridge’s deck, transmitting data wirelessly such that manual interventions become unnecessary. With this installation, Villari is able to provide a meaningful contribution to Rijkswaterstaat in assessing the structural state of their steel bridges.

10. VideowindoW

After a fierce competition, VideowindoW came in second for the SXSW Lufthansa FlyingLab Pitch: Future of Travel.

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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!

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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.

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Smart-Ship: Control levers that help you make informed decisions in real-time

Ships experience a lot of forces sailing through head waves on the open sea. Information systems onboard monitor those forces and notify the crew about changes in their surroundings, yet there seems to be a problem. “The information from the automation systems is transferred in such a way that the human operator doesn’t understand what to act upon,” says Brent Kok, co-founder of Delft-based startup Smart-Ship. To ensure that vessels operate as best as possible, the company is developing a smart solution that can feed the captain real-time data on the performance and state of the ship so they can make informed decisions in the moment. 

FROM A SIMPLE IDEA

It was a couple of years back when Brent’s brother Roy came up with the idea for Smart-Ship and decided to turn it into a business. He had just graduated from his studies in Biomechanical Engineering and Maritime Technology at the TU Delft and had built a throttle lever for small fast ships that could warn the captain if he was sailing too fast through head waves. 

Roy saw potential in the product and was looking to join YES!Delft and take his first step to becoming an entrepreneur. “Roy called me one day and said that he wanted to start a company, but YES!Delft had advised him to find a co-founder,” Brent remembers. “He wanted to know if I could recommend someone in my network, which would be mostly fellow finance professionals. I had a person in mind straight away. Me.” 

And so their journey began. 

It all started with the two of them trying to make it easier for captains to keep track of what’s going on with their ship at all times and respond quickly to any unexpected developments. 

“Currently, a lot of information from the ship is being transmitted to the captain through audio and visuals, which can become overwhelming next to everything else he is doing,” Brent says. “Vessels have a lot of systems that provide useful information, but if the captain cannot process it at the right time, it doesn’t really work.” 

To tackle this challenge, Smart-Ship has so far developed several haptic levers that send valuable real-time data to the captain and warn him in case he needs to change course or adjust speed. The levers have both a hardware and a software element to them, so they can analyze the performance of the ship and send the captain a physical signal – in the form of a vibration, for example – if he needs to take action. They can also be used to make sure that the vessel is sailing as environmentally-friendly as possible.

THROUGH YES!DELFT

Starting their company with the YES!Delft community around them has been of great value for Roy and Brent. “We first entered the Validation Lab and looking back, it has been the most useful program so far. It forced us to go out there. We learned that it’s not just about having nice technology but that you need to find the people willing to pay for it.” 

In just over two years, the two brothers have brought a third co-founder onboard, Jelle Tiemensma, and have built a small team around them. They also took part in the YES!Delft Accelerator program, which is when Brent says “things really kicked off.” 

With their technology validated, it was only a matter of time for them to find the right clients. 

TO A GROWING COMPANY 

When they first started out, Roy and Brent were focused on getting the attention of the small fast ship market. They knew there was potential there, but they also knew it wasn’t big enough to build an entire company on it. 

“The small fast ship market is very specific so, soon enough, we had to start exploring the needs of other stakeholders in the industry,” Brent remembers. They got interest from tug boat and dredging companies, and today they have pilot projects with clients such as the Royal Netherlands Navy, DEME Group and VSTEP Simulation.

Alongside the four levers that the team has developed, they are also working on a haptic joystick to be used by crane operators. The key to Smart-Ship’s products is that they can be used to control a ship, crane or other asset, while at the same as a medium to transfer information. “The maritime sector is quite conservative so we are offering a product that looks traditional, but the tech underneath it is revolutionary,” Brent says. 

With several pilots already on the way and a first investment round from early-stage innovation fund UNIIQ, Smart-Ship is looking forward to its next milestones. 

“Our goal for 2021 is to get on the water,” Brent says. “All of our projects so far have been in simulation and we feel it’s time to test our technology on an actual vessel.” And with that, they are getting ready to take the next step of their entrepreneurial journey. 

Milestones:
  • Installing Smart-Ship tech on several vessels (tug boat, small fast ship, inland ship and dredger) – Q4 2021
  • Setting up partnerships with renowned maritime integrators and shipyards – Q2 2021
  • Successful implementation of new haptic joystick – Q3 2021
  • Successful implementation of most recent product, maritime dashboard logging all user data providing useful insights for operators, fleet managers and insurance companies – Q3 4 2021

 

Bi/ond: Taking the step towards personalized medicine

“Our mission is to create a world where personalized medicine will be made available to everyone. We want to achieve this by merging microelectronics with biology.”

Nikolas Gaio is the CTO of MedTech startup Bi/ond and together with his co-founders Cinzia Silvestri and William F. G. Solano, he is looking to bring innovation to the medical field.

“Microelectronics is being used in a lot of markets but in biology, it has still not been utilized to its full potential,” Nikolas says. “We want to take advantage of that and make a difference.”  

FROM A SIMPLE IDEA

The idea behind Bi/ond evolved as a result of years-long Ph.D. research at the TU Delft. The three co-founders were fascinated by the possibilities that personalized medicine had to offer but were struggling with the little progress that was being made in that field. So they took things in their hands.

“At the moment, medicines and pharmaceutical products are developed based on middle-aged white men, so people from other ethnicities and women are rarely taken into consideration during these development processes,” Nikolas says. “The number of genetic differences plays an important role in how medicines affect different ethnicities, age, and sex.”

The reason why there is not enough progress in the field, he believes, is because current technology is not accurate enough to handle the complexity of the differences between people. Bi/ond hopes to change that.

What the startup is working on is a technology for more accurate drug testing and simulations of any tissue type. “We’ve developed a computer chip with a small blood vessel that can nourish, stimulate and monitor cells. For example, it can stimulate cells in the heart to keep it beating or in the lungs to help them keep expanding,” Nikolas says.

THROUGH YES!DELFT

Supporting the team along the way has been YES!Delft and their community of mentors and experts. One of the biggest challenges for Nikolas and his co-founders has been turning Bi/ond from a research project into a business.  

“We were and still are engineers, so YES!Delft have helped us a lot in improving our technology while also teaching us how to build a company. They took us out of our engineering bubble and showed us what it’s like to run a business,” Nikolas says.

They learned the importance of validating their technology with potential customers and talked to tens of medical professionals to gain insights into their needs and challenges. Currently, Bi/ond is supplying its product to three academic hospitals across Europe and is mostly focusing on its cardiac application.

“Together with our customers, we are now mostly looking into cardiac toxicity,” Nikolas says, “which essentially means that we are trying to find out if a medication is affecting the heart in the wrong way.”

TO A GROWING COMPANY

While the startup does have competitors on the market, Nikolas believes that Bi/ond has a unique advantage. It is the only company currently that combines microelectronics with biology, making it possible to stimulate cells and “bring what is inside the body outside of it,” he adds.  

The hospitals that they are currently working with are different in their approach of using Bi/ond’s technology. Some of them are interested in only buying the chips, while others are also happy to work together with the startup and help develop the technology further.

A little bit further down the line, the team will aim to add biotech companies to its customer base, alongside hospitals. “Our goal is to strike partnerships with such companies later on and establish our credibility in the field.”

Today, Bi/ond is a team of seven and they are well equipped to tackle the challenges that lie ahead. So far, they have been financed via local and international grants as well as a first round of funding from UNIIQ, the proof-of-concept fund of South Holland. Going into 2021, they will be looking at a second, bigger investment.

Nikolas and the team have surely gained momentum over the past year and are moving closer to their mission of making medicine more personalized in the future.

Milestones:
  • Collaboration with a complementary biotech company for the development of a Heart-on-Chip model;
  • Integration of electrodes and sensors inside the Bi/ond’s product to guarantee “more-than-imaging” to our customers;
  • Deal with a pharmaceutical company.

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!

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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!

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YES!Delft The Hague moves to The Hague Tech

Tech incubator YES!Delft The Hague joins forces with innovation hub The Hague Tech. As one ecosystem the companies will collaborate on their combined mission: facilitate entrepreneurs in their growth and stimulate digital innovation.

For YES!Delft the move is an important step: “At YES!Delft The Hague we have three main activities. Obviously, we guide and support ambitious and promising tech startups in bringing their digital innovations to the market. Next to this we also support corporates in their innovation journey. And for the Public sector, we are rolling out an ambitious GovTech program to accelerate digital innovations in this domain. This resonates highly with The Hague Tech’s ambition and community. This is the reason why we moved to their location. Together with our joining startups and the local ecosystem we are confident to boost the broader adoption of innovative solutions”, Ras Lalmy, MD YES!Delft The Hague comments.

Olga Wielders, Co-founder of The Hague Tech is pleased with the move: “Together we can generate higher value and innovate faster. We ensure enrichment and a deepening of the program offered as part of the broad, innovative ecosystem. This program includes joint programs on artificial intelligence, diversity in tech, and GovTech; technologies designed for government purposes. We build a community around these programs by offering a location, getting partners involved, and work together on different problems. Jointly we can work on strengthening the digital startup ecosystem in The Hague and the IT & Security Campus.”

Saskia Bruines, Alderman and Deputy Mayor of the municipality of The Hague, welcomes the collaboration: “The coming together of these two organizations is a great step forward in further strengthening of The Hague ecosystem for innovative startups. The fact that they join forces will lead to an even stronger The Hague startup community”

Companies that are looking for a place to expand or accelerate their business, to co-create, or to cooperate in an innovative ecosystem are welcome to join. More information: www.thehague.yesdelft.com and www.thehaguetech.com.

 

About YES!Delft – leading tech incubator in Europe
YES!Delft helps to make a positive impact on the world through entrepreneurship and an extensive startup ecosystem. With its head office in Delft, YES!Delft The Hague opened in 2019, focusing on artificial intelligence and blockchain, and is about to open an office in Rotterdam, becoming the flagship incubator for the region of South Holland.

About The Hague Tech
The Hague Tech is a hub with a diverse and forward-thinking community and a platform for innovation. A vibrant community, co-working and co-creation options, meetings and events, and support in setting up business in The Hague are all part of the ecosystem.

 

Learn more about our activities

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Manometric: The 3D-printed braces that make a difference in people’s lives

Tailor-made hand braces and orthoses are expensive and not fully tailored to the needs of the person using them. Not to mention, they are not the most beautiful pieces out there. Pieter Smakman came across this problem during his graduation project at the TU Delft and together with his friend and colleague, Robin Jones, took on 3D scanning and printing technology to design and create braces that people love to wear. 

It didn’t take long until the two of them founded Manometric, a Delft-based startup looking to make the above possible for people who need a brace. 

FROM A SIMPLE IDEA

“We believe that braces are a consumer product and the experience of wearing them is more comparable to wearing a watch than a bandaid,” Pieter says. “It enables you to work again and perform your job. A piece of plastic can make a huge difference to someone’s life so it needs to fit the person him- or herself.”

During his Master’s in Integrated Product Design, Pieter came up with the idea of using 3D technology to create 360-scans of a hand and based on them, design a brace that is fully tailored to the person who needs it. The first version of the scanner was far from perfect, but it bore the potential of what it could become. 

“The first time we tried to scan a hand was not easy at all,” Pieter remembers. “Someone had to put their hand up and sit on a turning plateau in front of the 3D scanner so we could capture every angle. You can imagine how hard it is to keep a hand in a steady position even for a couple of seconds, so this was definitely not a very viable solution to collect information.”

Today, close to four years after founding Manometric, Pieter, Robin and their team have made leaps both in terms of their technology and in running a successful business. They are accredited as an orthopedic company, which enables them to see patients and work directly with health insurers. Even during COVID-19 times, they have been able to continue doing that – under strict measures, of course – and it is something that gives the team not only new insights for their research and development, but also a lot of positive energy. 

THROUGH YES!DELFT

Supporting them along the way has been the community of experts at YES!Delft and their international network. Manometric joined the YES!Delft Accelerator Program in September 2017 and quickly learned what it’s like to run a business. 

“The first thing we had to get into our system was to stop being so busy with our technology and instead focus on validating our product. We had to find out if there was a market for it before we spent more resources and effort developing it,” Pieter says.

Their mentor wasted no time in throwing them into the deep. “We were advised to organize a demo day, promote it on Facebook and see if people were willing to participate and pay for it. We went for it, but we were terrified,” Pieter remembers. “It just didn’t feel natural to promote a product that was not fully developed yet.” 

And while the two co-founders were surely outside of their comfort zone, they quickly saw the benefits of approaching their target market early on. They communicated their demo day to a large group of patients and were surprised to receive more than 150 responses overnight. Eventually, about 20 people signed up and traveled from all over the Netherlands to experience Manometric’s technology 

 “That meant a lot to us and it was the point where we knew we were onto something,” Pieter says. 

Those initial insights were what they needed to continue developing their technology. Today, the startup has a 3D scanner that can perform a 360 scan in a hundredth of a second, a software that can automate the production of orthoses and works together with hospitals, clinics, health insurers and other orthopedic companies. 

TO A GROWING COMPANY

Starting out, Pieter and Robin’s goal was to leverage technology in such a way that they could provide patients with the best-fitting hand braces possible, which look good too. At the same time, they also wanted to make the design and creation of those braces more efficient and less labor-intensive. 

“If you look at the traditional patient journey, there is a lot of time from intake to delivering the final product. With our 3D technology, we can achieve results much faster.”

Manometric has been working together with Gerald Kraan, an orthopedic surgeon from Reinier de Graaf hospital in Delft, who has helped them immensely over the past years. With his support, they have been able to develop their software and algorithms, and to make sure that the braces they create perform as well as traditional ones, if not even better.

The startup’s goal going forward is to have their scanners placed in hospitals all over the Netherlands. “Our solution is scalable and we can’t wait to distribute this widely,” Pieter says. 

The process may take some time, but the team has already proven that there is great potential for their technology, across the country and beyond. 

Having been able to disrupt (in a good way) such a traditional industry has certainly brought Pieter, Robin and their team the feeling that they can change people’s lives with their work. What makes it all even more worthwhile, though, is actually seeing the impact of their technology. 

“Not too long ago, one of our patients brought her saxophone to our office, sat down and started playing,” Pieter says. “It was the hand brace that we made for her that enabled her to play her instrument again. You can imagine the surprise on all of our faces.

It is those moments that count the most. It is those moments that remind us of the impact we can make.” 

Milestones of 2020

 

  • A doubling of the team (now 11) with highly talented and experienced people
  • More than tripled the revenue of 2019
  • Accredited as official Orthopedic Company
  • CE Certification for the ManoX 3D Scanner
  • Contracts with all Dutch health insurers

 

Don’t forget to apply for our next Accelerator Program, the application deadline is on the 31st of January.

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