Noise pollution is nothing new to people living and working in big cities, yet what many may not be aware of is that it is also a major health risk. Delft-based startup DeNoize knows all about it and has made it its mission to tackle the challenges of noise pollution and enable a healthier living environment. How? By installing its active noise cancellation technology – similar to that in noise-cancelling headphones – into the frame of windows, drowning out the noise of the busy streets underneath and the large planes flying overhead.
FROM A SIMPLE IDEA
During his studies, Aman was looking into how to design airplanes to be less noisy and more efficient, and had a strong interest in mitigating aviation noise. “There is a lot of potential in finding a way to make airplanes less noisy,” says Aman, “but if I were to turn that into an impactful solution business, it would have taken years and years.”
Instead, he wanted to create something here and now, so he focused on putting a new spin to his research and findings. “I started looking at the problem from a different angle and decided to tackle noise issues on the receiver’s end instead of its source,” says Aman. He joined the incubator program of Deep Science Ventures, a six-month pressure cooker for entrepreneurs who want to solve key societal problems, to help him kickstart his venture.
“That’s where the whole idea came together. I decided to develop a solution that can be integrated into the facade of a building and isolate it from the outdoor noise.” In a nutshell, he made a plan to create a new generation of smart windows.
With active noise cancellation at the heart of it, a very specific type of technology in itself, Aman saw the need to look for a co-founder. He found that co-founder in the face of Olivier Schevin, a fellow entrepreneur based in France, with years of experience in exactly this field.
With the Deep Science Ventures program behind him and a round of financing that he got at the end of it, Aman moved back to the Netherlands to continue working on the DeNoize technology. In December 2018, he and Olivier got accepted into YES!Delft’s Accelerator Program, which gave them the know-how and network they needed to take the startup to the next phase.
“YES!Delft is a specialized incubator that gave us the stamp of approval we needed in the market,” Aman says. “When we joined, we were also paired with a mentor, who has quite some experience in the glass industry, and that has been of great value to us.”
The community of startups that YES!Delft has built over the years has also proven to be beneficial to Aman and DeNoize.
“There are startups in different stages of their development so there is always someone who has been in your shoes and can advise you when you’re facing a challenge. Physee, for example, is working in the same market as us and it is always good to spar with them,” Aman adds.
TO A GROWING COMPANY
Today, in only two years’ time, DeNoize has grown from one man with an innovative idea to a team of over 20. Olivier is still based in France, with four students and an intern working alongside him. In the Netherlands, the startup has two full-time employees and three groups of students working on various design projects for it.
So far, the technology is in the prototyping stage and on its way to being converted into a product. “We’re working together with a glass manufacturer to make sure that our technology can fit into their products,” says Aman. “And based on recent tests, it looks good.”
While glass manufacturers could be a key customer segment for DeNoize, at this point they see them as their closest partners – working together on prototyping and knowledge-sharing. The product that will eventually be integrated in the frames of windows is planned to be ready within a year from now.
Keeping them going until then are several financing opportunities that the team has secured, including a loan from Rabobank, a round of funding from UNIIQ and grants from the government.
Perhaps one of the most notable achievements of the team so far is their collaboration with the Royal Schiphol Group, which they announced recently. The agreement between the two companies is for studying the effects of noise pollution on people who live in close proximity to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.
The research is planned to start in October 2020 for a duration of one month. The goal will be to understand the effects of noise on residents’ well-being and investigate how DeNoize can play a role in improving the quality of life of those living close to major noise sources like airports, highways, and train stations.
“We are doing research on people’s perception of noise with regard to their comfort, stress levels and mood. We then want to simulate how our technology can improve their acoustic environment,” Aman says.
While the technology is not market-ready yet, Aman and his team are already talking to potential customers to make sure they have them lined up when the time comes. DeNoize is mostly focusing on real estate developers such as Schiphol Real Estate and Heijmans, who can increase the value of their buildings by integrating the startup’s noise cancelling technology.
From this point on, DeNoize will be focusing on putting their technology on the market and getting the right partners and customers onboard. Working together with a partner like Schiphol Group is sure to boost the startup on its way to success.
March 2018: Aman started working on the DeNoize concept in London
May 2018: Founded DeNoize together with Olivier Schevin
July 2018: Raised £70,000 as pre-seed funding
August 2018: Built the first proof-of-concept prototype of DeNoize
October 2018: Joined the Get Started Program by ECE
February 2019: Joined the YES!Delft Accelerator Program
August 2019: 1st paid pilot with potential customers
October 2019: Raised €150,000 from Rabobank
December 2019: Set up a collaboration with a major airport
January 2020: Expanded the DeNoize team
With DeNoize set on a path of growth, the team is currently looking for programmers. Do you know someone or are you one? Get in touch with them now!
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