BBBLS: The company that uses soap bubbles to make horticulture more sustainable

“The Dutch horticulture industry emits five million tons of CO2 every year and we’d be able to cut out about four million tons of that. That’s the impact we can make.” 

As co-founder and managing director of BBBLS, Anton Paardekooper knows what it takes to be a small company with a big mission. He and his team have developed an innovative technology, based on soap bubbles, that provides extra insulation for buildings. Their current focus is on greenhouses, helping their owners decrease energy emissions. 

“The world’s population is growing, and we need to start eating food that is healthy and has an ever-smaller CO2 footprint. We need to start growing climate-neutral fruits and vegetables.” 

Using soap bubbles for better insulation

The concept that BBBLS is built on is not necessarily a new one, but until less than 10 years ago, it was not used even on a semi-industrial scale, Anton says.

“If, between two surfaces, you have air that doesn’t move, you can use it as insulation. The same goes for soap bubbles,” he explains. “In any building with a double wall you can put bubbles. They serve as insulation and help decrease energy loss.” 

Yet, soap bubbles can also have another function. While in the winter, they help keep the warmth in, in the summer when there is a lot of sunlight, they help control how much of it goes through a glass surface. This is particularly useful in greenhouses where climate control and the right amount of light are key. 

Anton and his team have chosen horticulture companies and greenhouses as their main market for a reason: they can help them become more sustainable. About 30% of the expenses of a greenhouse are for energy, he says, and better insulation can really make a difference. 

Learning to build energy-saving greenhouses

Anton joined the company in 2014 and is one of four co-founders. For a few years, they used grants, their own financial resources and first revenues to keep the company running. Their first project was with ReKlima in Norway, who is one of the early adopters of the BBBLS technology. 

“Norway is a bit more advanced in terms of sustainable innovations,” Anton says, “but we are happy to be seeing more of that in other places, including in the Netherlands, now as well.” 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that their prototype greenhouse is in Norway, and it is operating for a third season in a row. “At the moment, we are able to build small greenhouses up to one hectare and it takes us about eight months to have one of those up and running.” In June, the team closed a deal with one of the early adopters in Dutch horticulture to build a large demonstration greenhouse and will be sharing more details in the near future.

For all the projects, BBBLS works with a number of long-term partners responsible for different scopes of the work, including its construction or the climate control it requires. The automation of the BBBLS technology is something the team does almost entirely on their own. 

To date, the company has enjoyed the support of a number of organizations, too, of which YES!Delft has played an important role. “The main benefit of joining YES!Delft has been the access to talent,” Anton says. “We have been able to hire new employees and trainees that have come through their network. When it comes to fundraising, we have also learned a lot, especially in our sparring sessions with Jan Geert van Hall, their Investment Director. Just recently we were awarded a donation from the Rabobank Innovation Fund, solid proof of Rabobank’s “growing a better world together.” 

Over the past years, BBBLS has raised 1.3 million euros and is looking towards a Series A round of 1.0 million euros in the near future. “We are looking for funding both in the Netherlands and abroad, but our experience so far is that it is good to be close to your investors. We are looking for smart money so a good match and proximity to each other would be crucial.”

A successful next round of investment would also mean growing the team and scaling their production processes and technology. There are certainly big plans ahead of the team and they seem to be ready for that next step.

Check out the open vacancy from the YES!Delft startups, and be the next talent to join their team!

Check out the YES!Talents jobs page

Prognoix: The tech company behind better analysis and care management for sexual dysfunctions

There is a wide range of medical conditions that patients simply don’t feel comfortable talking about – neither to their family or friends, nor to their doctor. Founded in 2018, Prognoix is a company that sees the need to provide a safe environment – next to a great tech solution, of course – to tackle a group of such stigmatized disorders: sexual dysfunctions. 

The startup’s mission is to bridge the gap between the healthcare system and its patients, and create an inclusive and open environment that allows diagnosis and treatment of these conditions in the comfort of people’s homes. Prognoix’s first product is an innovative tool that diagnoses the cause and severity of impotence (erectile dysfunction or ED) in order to prescribe the right care required for alleviating it.

Creating the solution that patients need

Founder Abhinav Jain knows that being proactive and addressing health concerns in time is crucial for staying in good health in the long run. Yet, to achieve that, patients need to feel comfortable to address those concerns in the first place. 

What’s more, certain sexual dysfunctions, such as ED, may even indicate early onset of diabetes or cardiovascular diseases. At the moment, there are no simple and objective tools available to diagnose ED, and because of that, the precious window of opportunity to reverse the problem is often lost. This serves as a motivator for the Prognoix team to utilize their medical device development and clinical expertise to create solutions that help both the patients and the clinicians serving them.

“I love the journey of designing a product,” Abhinav says. “It’s always unique, customer-centric, and meant to serve a purpose.” His passion and the relationship of trust he shares with his business partner – Timo Tscharnkte, have allowed the two men to develop innovative products by adopting an ambitious, yet pragmatic approach.

Prognoix takes into account that ED can be caused by various reasons – physiological and quite often, psychological too. To develop a solution that fits the needs of the specific target audience, “we have gathered feedback from more than 250 patients and medical professionals. Sadly, we have also learned that more than half of all ED patients experience depression or anxiety because of the condition,” Abhinav says.

It is essential to clearly identify the cause of the problem first before starting a treatment. The solution that Prognoix has developed will be initially used as a prescription tool under the strict supervision of clinicians. The startup is currently working with a Dutch academic hospital to conduct clinical studies to ensure their product matches customers’ and regulatory expectations. 

The long-term ambition is to have this solution available as an over-the-counter product, thus reaching out also to the patients who are uncomfortable to even talk about this topic with their doctor. 

Finding just the right product-market fit

For a long time, the startup has been bootstrapped by the founders and has also secured funding and commercialization support from JUMPstart, a MedTech-focused accelerator in Singapore.  

The team also received a boost when Dr. Christoph Pies, a renowned German urologist who has been regularly seeing ED patients for the past 24 years and authored three books on men’s health, made an investment in Prognoix and joined as their medical officer. This is especially important as it validates the market needs and enables the startup to develop a product based on them.

Prognoix is looking to raise up to €800,000 over the course of the next year. 

Starting with Europe as its beachhead market, Prognoix aims to expand to its main target market in the US. While the company started and is currently registered in Singapore, Asia does not seem to be their key focus at the moment, Abhinav says. “Unfortunately, sexual dysfunction is still seen as a wellness problem in several Asian countries with little to no push from their healthcare systems.”

Prognoix has also taken part in YES!Delft’s Accelerator program, which has helped them secure several partnerships with product developers and manufacturers, as well as clinical studies. In the short time that they have been around, they have checked off quite a few milestones – and have many more lined up.

THE KICKOFF OF THE FIRST SOCIALTECH VALIDATION LAB

THE FIRST SOCIALTECH VALIDATION LAB IS FINALLY HERE!

At YES!Delft we aim to achieve societal impact by supporting startups to apply smart and innovative technologies. That is why we decided it is time to kick off our brand new program: SocialTech Validation Lab. Partnering up with Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) enables us to produce the best curriculum and ecosystem to make disruptive social innovation happen. It is the first of many programs we will be organizing under the roof of the brand-new incubator at the EUR, Erasmus Enterprise. Thanks to the collaboration and the hard work all our experts put in, we managed to once again exceed our goals.

We are proud to present to you the 6 startups who enrolled in the program at the end of April, and are currently validating their business idea through our 10-week lab. Scroll down, and find out about their mission and ambitions.

EMOSYS

Emosys aims to alleviate the burden of epileptic seizures. For this, they combine the latest findings in neuroscience and wearable technologies and power it with artificial intelligence (AI).

“The first generation of our smart wearable system will detect seizures with unparalleled accuracy. The second generation will also predict seizures before happening. These innovations will free the patients from the need of constant supervision.”

 

HABLE ONE

“Imagine not being able to use your smartphone. Your world would become incredibly small. For millions of people with blindness this is the case.”

The Hable One is a smartphone controller that allows people with blindness to fully operate their phone in a simple, fast and private way. With a combination of eight buttons, you can type, move over the screen or use shortcuts, all whilst the feedback is in the form of audio. With Hable people with blindness regain control over their phone.

HEALTH-THING

“Have you or your loved ones ever experienced an endless search to what could possibly improve their personal well-being? Through our online learning environment – we bring people together, collect experiences that we harmonize, analyze and translate into practical insights, curated by us or involved experts. Insights enabling citizens to truly learn from each other and work on their quality of life more effectively.”

Health-Thing challenges and guides them so that they do not have to endlessly search.

HARRY SENIOR

Harry Senior is here to give you access to a network of verified and trustworthy service provides who can help solve issues in and around the home for the aging population, empowering them to be independent for a longer time.

“Our parents got older and we found ourselves struggling to help them with tasks they cannot do themselves. That’s why we build our platform that brings the network of trustworthy service providers to help with their tasks.

Leave the annoying stuff to us and go have fun!

We are Harry Senior and we are here to help.”

FINANCIAL FIT

Financial Fit helps employers address financial stress in the workplace. They do this by focusing on prevention, awareness, trust and support.

“In this way, we work to create a situation where the employer and employee feel free and safe to discuss money worries, and where the employer has the knowledge and skills to provide effective support to the employee. Our ultimate dream is to completely eliminate financial stress.”

SKETCHOAR

SketchoAR develops an online platform consisting of multi-sensory contents using Augmented Reality, customised virtual space for education and online collaboration, and sharing content platforms.

“Our mission is to make a virtual space entertaining by sparking people’s imaginations. We research how we can make a virtual space to boost creativity and engagement and have a better experience of learning, creating, and communicating.”

IS YOUR STARTUP READY TO BE PART OF THE SOCIAL TECH VALIDATION LAB?

GET TO KNOW MORE 

Meet the accelerator batch 2021

MEET OUR ACCELERATOR PROGRAM BATCH 2021

We are excited to present you the nine startups who are joining the latest Accelerator Batch! With the help of our experts and mentors, and through workshops and one-on-one sessions the startups are more than ready to change the world with their innovative ideas. Learn more about their goals, aspirations and cutting-edge technologies in this article.

MYST WORKS

Myst Works are building aerial robotics solutions (ARS) for emergency services. The goal is to increase the safety & efficiency of emergency responses using aerial robotics with simple operation. These robotic solutions will integrate to provide increased situational awareness to front line workers.

Myst Works are determined to realise the full potential of aerial robotics and we are already seeing that! They have participated in Y Combinator School, located in Silicon Valley. Next to that, they got to the semi-finals of the biggest student entrepreneurship award, Philips Innovation Awards. In 2021 Myst Works were ranked as one of the top 50 Industry & Infrastructure innovations of the Blue Tulip Awards.

We are extremely passionate about aerial robotics, and its potential to change the world for the better. Our vision is to build a suite of different ARS that have a direct and marked positive impact on the safety and efficiency of frontline workers.

“This picture marks the beginning of our team, where we all met together for the first time and discussed our vision of the future during our hikes in the Swiss alps.”

UNPLUQ

Tim Smits and Jorn Rigter, the founders of Unpluq, know how much time you spend on Social Media apps. Just like many others, spending three, three and a half hours a day on WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, was normal for them. During their studies, they were often distracted by their smartphones, and noticed this with many people around them as well. When talking to Millennials, they discovered that most of them found that current software solutions don’t work – they’re too easy to turn off or circumvent, and therefore don’t change your habits. That’s when they created their own solution, where a physical input makes the choice for using distracting apps more conscious.

Unpluq is a combination of Android software and a USB key, with two modes. The normal mode enables you to access all of your apps. When you plug out the physical key, distracting apps of your choice are blocked, and their notifications are blocked as well.

“Smartphones have started to take over control, we want to give the control back to you. We want you to regain control over your smartphone usage. With Unpluq users save an average of 69 minutes of smartphone screen time per day!”

OSIRIS

Osiris have experienced what it is like to be restricted as a musician and audio professional. Being part of the audio engineering industry as researchers and specialists for 10 years, they have discovered the problems that limit the productivity of musicians and audio professionals.  That’s why they designed a hardware that helps audio professionals to save cable-management time and discover new creative possibilities.

“We design our line of products to fill the gap in the market that was restricting our workflow as musicians and audio professionals.”

LOX SOLUTION

Every day 1.3 million parcels are being invoiced incorrectly on the European Parcels that are either not being delivered, have incorrect surcharges, or are just invoiced against the imprecise amount.

Recognising that this has a huge impact on the e-commerce industry, Lox came up with a solution to audit the carrier invoices and make sure we the correct amount is paid, by handling the claim.
With powerful dashboard that provides clarity on logistics, all insights in a single touch, the easiest set up procedure, and all the popular carriers, Lox Solution is on the way to refining how we deliver parcels.

“Why do e-commerce companies choose for Lox? Because it is a success-fee model and starting is super easy. Just share your carrier invoices”

VENTURI AVIATION

Over the last decade air travel has almost doubled, and it is expected to double again in the coming decade. This growth is not without consequences on emissions and ultimately our climate. The time for radical innovation in aviation is needed now.

Venturi’s mission is to enable 100% sustainable regional air travel and in turn improve airlines flight operating costs. To ensure zero emission regional air travel, Venturi aims to deliver world’s first all-electric zero emission aircraft, seating 50 passengers with a flight range of 1000 km, by 2027. Supported by Venturi’s own ultra high-speed Recharge Network we guarantee competitive aircraft turnaround times. In other words, we make aviation greener, simpler and cheaper.

The future of sustainable air travel is electric! And YES!Delft team can’t wait to help Venturi accelerate this transition!

SOURCE

Source is creating a sustainable and fair food system by accelerating the transition to greenhouse agriculture.

“We are making greenhouses more scalable by developing the world’s most advanced artificial grower. Our software and AI models help growers to define optimal seasonal crop plans and provide greenhouse autopilot functionality to ensure flawless daily growing operations.”

Source has received funding from MIT’s venture capital fund (E14) and several leading Dutch industry players. We are in an exciting phase of growth and are actively developing and testing our software in some of the most advanced greenhouses in the world.

The founding team has deep experience in developing and deploying artificial intelligence software solutions at scale in large complex operations.

MICRO-COSMOS

More than half of the patients leaving the hospital have sleep deprivation. Meanwhile, sleep is vital for physical and mental recovery. Furthermore, patients lack the availability to control their environment and do not have any privacy during the day.

Micro-Cosmos is here to change this, through innovative technology that helps the patients’ ability to recover, rest and improve the hospitalisation period.

“At Micro-Cosmos, we help hospitalized patients who want to recover faster by reducing external stimuli, giving patients a more private and secure environment which they are able to control, so they can sleep better and go home faster. Our dome provides a personalized, healing environment for patients.”

Micro-Cosmos has participated in the EIT Health Validation Lab and are fully suited to join our Accelerator Program.

ADDOPTICS

Addoptics are game changers in the manufacturing of High Precision Optical Products. Delivering fully functional prototype optics within 6 working days, at affordable price point, while capitalizing on the benefits of Additive Manufacturing for Sustainable production processes. The combination of 3D Printing & Casting technologies for optimal Design and Manufacturing Flexibility allows for fast-tracking your product development cycle.

“We offer a flexible manufacturing service for prototyping and series production of custom optics. We reduce manufacturing time from 6 weeks to 6 days, through innovative 3D printing and vacuum casting techniques. Not only does this make custom optics manufacturing cost effective but also closer to achieving environmental sustainability in this field.”

DAPHNE TEXTILE RESEARCH

At YES!Delft we have mission to bring the best sustainable innovations to market. Daphne Textile Research is one of them. Using cutting-edge biofabrication techniques, Daphne Textile, are accelerating the sustainable transition in the textile industry.

“The clothes on your back: Cotton? Woollen? Synthetic? No matter what makes up our everyday textiles, mass-produced raw materials are not sustainable. Daphne Textile Research BV is using cutting-edge biofabrication techniques to propel the ancient industry of textiles to a cleaner future.”

 

IS YOUR STARTUP READY TO BE PART OF THE NEXT ACCELERATOR BATCH?

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Tarnoc: The heat pump technology that will help make homes more sustainable

Heat pump technology is a sustainable solution that has a lot of potential on the global market and – in due time – can help replace standard gas cooling and heating systems. Tarnoc – an innovator and designer of heat pump technology, and a member of the YES!Delft community – has made it its business mission to provide affordable heating solutions for Dutch households.

A heating system that is future-proof

The idea for Tarnoc came about as a result of its founders’ shared interest in heat pump technology. Tijmen de Jong and Vincent Wijdeveld both agree that heating systems have plenty of potential to become more sustainable and heat pumps are one way to achieve that. 

“At the moment, heating is largely done by using natural gas and we believe heat pumps are a replacement of that,” Tijmen says. “The problem with most heat pump solutions currently on the market, though, is that they are quite expensive. We see huge potential in solving this and believe that we can achieve that with our technology.” 

Tarnoc focuses on the electrification of Dutch households and understands the eco-friendly advantages heat pumps can bring. A lot of houses in the country are poorly – and at times not at all – insulated, which makes them very difficult to warm up. Heat pumps have the capacity to do away with that challenge. 

What’s more, “the Dutch have a resistance to the outside component,”, says Tijmen, pointing out that you don’t see many air conditioning systems in The Netherlands. Tarnoc’s solution seems to be just the right fit. “Because of their high capacity, our heat pumps can work entirely indoors and successfully transfer heat throughout the whole household.”

Vincent adds to the discussion by acknowledging that Tarnoc wants to end up replacing gas boilers instead of being just another solution next to them. This secures the company an advantageous position over its competitors.

Adopting a ‘learning by doing’ approach

In 2021, the team achieved one of its biggest milestones to date, as it successfully installed its first heat pump with a launching customer. Tarnoc’s launching customers are housing corporations, some of which have already shown interest in collaborating with the business in the future.

The startup has expanded its horizons by joining the YES!Delft Validation Lab in 2019, followed by their participation in the Accelerator Program a year later. The YES!Delft community has helped the team learn what it takes to run a company and secure their first customer. 

It has also brought them another key lesson – “to look for funding even if we don’t need it at the moment”, says Vincent. After all, there is no better time than the present to build a strong investor network. Funding for the company so far includes grants, subsidies and revenues gained from putting their first system on the market. 

In the coming months, the company will start testing eight new systems, along with expanding by adding an engineer to their team. They are looking forward to the initial results of their first project to be able to integrate the learnings in future iterations of their heat pump technology. Tarnoc has adopted a ‘learning by doing’ approach, which is bound to keep them moving forward and continuously improving their products. 

Top 10 Startup Success Stories: April

It’s has been a busy month at YES!Delft – we kicked off our Accelerator Program, AI/Blockchain Validation Lab and our very first SocialTech Validation Lab! And our startups have been hustling too!

1. Ampelmann

Jan van der Tempel, founder and CEO of Ampelmann, has been named finalist for the  European Inventor Award 2021! He got nominated by the European Patent Office for his invention of the Ampelmann motion compensated gangway system and for raising the standard of safety in the offshore access industry. Part of the event is also the Popular Prize, which will go to the finalist with the most votes from the public. Vote directly for Jan van der Tempel.

2. Momo Medical

Momo Medical signed a partnership agreement with the Stichting tanteLouise. Together the parties created a solution that is offering more overview and tranquility in the departments of the care facility.

3. YoooM

YoooM launched a new solution called 123familie, which provides simple video calling for people with dementia and their loved ones. This solution also won the JainChallenge, awarded by Alzheimer NL.

4. Qlayers

Qlayers completed their first investment round together with ECFG’s Eindhoven Venture Capital Fund II (EVCF II), and AkzoNobel. This investment is the next step in scaling beyond the European market, growing as a global leader in robotic coating application.

5. Physee

Physee got nominated for the Futureproof award: PropTech Company 2021 Global. If you think Physee deserves to win, you can help them by voting on their innovation.

6. Bi/ond

Bi/ond announced their newest product: The MUSbit™. This is the only Organ-on-Chip that allows you to create muscle microtissues combined with blood vessels. This provides the ideal environment to analyze the effect of drugs on the rate and force of contraction for efficacy and toxicity testing.

7. Breeze

After the successful pitch of Breeze at Dragons’ Den, the startup saw a surprising amount of young professionals signing up from Brabant. Breeze decided to listen to their users and is from now on also available in Breda and Den Bosch!

8. Gerrard Street

Gerrard Street got awarded with the Start in Circular, by the climate counselor of Rotterdam Arno Bonte. The jury unanimously chose Gerrard Street: ‘this initiative is truly circular: reduce, reuse and recycle are very well reflected in the concept’.

9. PATS Indoor Drone Solutions

At the end of March, PATS Indoor Drone Solutions had the opportunity to pitch to the members of the Rabobank Innovation Fund. The startup could now announce that the fund supports them with a grant of €25,000! The bank’s contribution will be used for further development of the solution for sustainable pest control.

10. Startups in the media

Multiple startups got featured by big media outlets this month! Het AD wrote articles about E-Trailer and Envision, and you could find SenseGlove in het Financieel Dagblad, Loop on Business Insider and Breeze in de Volkskrant!

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VideowindoW: smart technology that transforms windows into screens

The number of buildings and public spaces in cities is increasing, demanding from them to be more sustainable and to create a pleasant environment for the people who use them. Glass buildings and their facades, in particular, pose plenty of opportunities to make our surroundings more appealing. Remco Veenbrink, founder of innovative company VideowindoW – part of the YES!Delft community, saw the potential and made it his mission to turn any glass surface into an amazing video experience. 

‘It all started as an artistic endeavor’ 

The initial idea of VideowindoW was born when Remco passed through Amsterdam Airport Schiphol several years ago. “I walked through the traverse to the parking lot, which has glass-tiled walls. I wondered whether these could work like pixels in a screen, which was the first time I imagined what ultimately became VideowindoW,” he says.

While this may have been just an idea to someone else, for Remco it was all it took to embrace it and turn it into a successful company. As a commercial film director himself and with a background in advertising, he was well equipped to take on this project. And being as determined as he is, he didn’t waste time thinking about it.

Remco started work on a proof of principle, which resulted in 10x10cm liquid crystal mono-cells – or in other words pixels in a transparent screen. He quickly created a render of what he had in mind and went to Schiphol Media to present his idea: a transparent video screen to be used as a branding opportunity and experience for the passengers.

Schiphol Media liked the added experience and branding tool potential, but it needed to make more commercial sense. The resolution basically had to increase to use VideowindoW as a digital signage tool. This first customer validation encouraged Remco to continue developing VideowindoW as a transparent media platform. 

He asked Mark Oudenhoven, a long-time friend with a background in finance, to help further analyze the market potential and develop a business model.

‘Media platform becomes fun, profitable and sustainable glare control’ 

Their business plan soon led to government funding, after which Remco and Mark quit their jobs to officially found VideowindoW.   

They first developed a proof of concept to be able to showcase their solution to potential customers. This led to an innovation partnership with Rotterdam The Hague Airport and in September 2019, they installed a 25m2 VideowindoW in the terminal. The solution contributed to an improved passenger experience and created value for the airport. 

VideowindoW makes a strong case for sustainability, too. “Based on sensors and our algorithm, we constantly adapt the transparency of each individual pixel. Our innovative glare control reduces the need for artificial lighting and results in a more efficient use of climate control. Both help to reduce a building’s carbon footprint up to 30%,” Remco says.

VideowindoW is the first to introduce segmented tintable glass in the industry, and by using pixels it is able to transform an entire glass facade into an integrated media platform.

Besides commercial content, Rotterdam The Hague Airport also leverages VideowindoW by offering it as a platform for cultural and educational content. This generates additional regional support for the airport. For example, museums such as Boijmans van Beuningen and the Kunstmuseum Den Haag show content from their archives to a wider audience. Additionally, Willem de Kooning Academy students create video content for the airport.

Going forward, VideowindoW aims to expand beyond its beachhead market of airports and other public transport hubs, and install its solution in hospitals, offices, libraries and more. The startup wants to increase the sustainability of the build environment with its innovative glare control, while creating memorable video experiences.

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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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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

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