Meet our Accelerator Program Batch 2020

Meet our accelerator program batch 2020

We would like to present to you the six startups who are part of our 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. Read all about it in this article.

Breeze

“We once heard that ‘a dating app’ used to be used as an example of a startup you would never see at YES!Delft. And here we are. We are an unusual big group of cofounders with an unusual product and market for this incubator. Yet this accelerator program is a good fit for us. Not only because of the in-house experience and knowledge, but also because of the drive and mindset of the people we meet here. It will definitely help us in scaling and reaching our goal of changing the online dating industry. We look forward to getting to know the ecosystem and add to it with our enthusiasm and fresh perspective. Want to know more about Breeze or a do you just want a coffee date? Drop by our office (B5 1.03)!”

All popular dating apps work in the same way: there’s superficial swiping, a lot of chatting but rarely real dating. With Breeze we critically reduce the effort it takes to meet someone you’re attracted to face to face. Our active users receive two high match potential profiles each day, suggested by our algorithm. If there is a match users cannot chat, instead they go directly to our date picker where they find a suitable day for the date. The unique thing about Breeze is that we organize the date for you. Matches can choose out of relevant date activities, depending on the user profile, season and the current corona situation. We let you know where to be at what time, the rest is up to you!

Villari

Steel is the cornerstone of modern-day construction. Bridges, cranes, ships, windmills and offshore platforms could not be built without this material. When steel bends due to millions of loading cycles, small cracks start to appear which are the primary reason for replacing these structures. Villari provides breakthrough permanent monitoring and guarding of such aged assets using wireless sensors. This leads to elongated structural lifetime, less unneccesary repairs, and reduced cost of inspections.

“These days, a lack of continuous information leads to huge amounts of preventive repairs and premature replacements of large steel assets such as highway bridges, container cranes, and shipping vessels. We are working hard to revolutionize the way people think about predictive maintenance and repair in the coming years. Through the peer-to-peer sessions with other startups as well as the large network of mentors,  advisors, and other partners at YES!Delft we have been capable of making leaps forward in a short amount of time. Not only as a company, but as founders too.”

VOYC

“This call may be recorded for quality assurance and training purposes”.

You may be familiar with this phrase, but did you know that on average only 2% of call center calls are monitored by companies? Call monitoring is essential to identify potential risks, improve agent performance and ultimately enhance the overall customer experience. Companies may be aware of the benefit of ardent call monitoring but, the high cost of employing human capital and limited call center capacity means most business will settle with just the “tip of the iceberg” approach.

Voyc does the impossible by enabling business to QA 100% of calls. Voyc eliminates the tedious task of listening to lengthy call recordings and provides companies with the right toolset to focus on implementing change. Voyc promises a self-service user experience with bank-grade security. With Voyc assisting with call monitoring, business is enabled to dedicate their time to training and coaching agents and improving customer satisfaction.

“At Voyc, we are on a mission to ensure the fair treatment of companies and their customers. We envision a world where customers decide which companies to trust based on the fact that Voyc is monitoring their call centers.
Being part of the YES!Delft Accelerator has been great because it has enabled us to spend more time with other like-minded founders and learn from each other through the peer-to-peer sessions.”

Sensible

Sensible is dedicated to a healthier humanity through modern, connective and unnoticable sensing of parameters that characterize common diseases such as diabetes. Sensible’s first product, idi, is a glucose sensor that feels like a normal bandage patch and integrates seamlessly with any patient’s treatment preferences.

“We are honored to be part of such a diverse community of entrepreneurs. Only when such a myriad of different industries, backgrounds and stages of development are represented can every single meeting be valuable.

Craytive

With 25 years of experience in 3D Geological Reservoir Modeling in the Oil and Gas Industry, we are a software development company providing innovative cloud solutions and mixed reality experiences to optimize remote operational workflows.

Craytive develops tablet and mobile apps, cloud based infrastructures and desktop applications. Using latest technologies as Microsoft HoloLens and Augmented Reality, we incorporate 3D Geological models into real-world environments to optimize the 3D modeling processes and team collaboration.

“Craytive Technologies stands for creative and innovative software solutions in the area of 3D Visualization and Collaboration. We are using state-of-the-art technologies like Mixed and Augmented Reality and Microsoft HoloLens to develop the future of 3D Remote Collaboration which can be applied in many different industries. By working together with Yes!Delft and various other startups we expand our network and knowledge, we validate our products and we develop the right business strategies. We are proud to be part of this high-tech and world-class innovation center!”

BBBLS

“A next generation greenhouse design for growing with unprecedented efficiency”

BBBLS uses an innovative method of providing extra insulation for greenhouses with soap bubbles. This enables the production of high quality food with much less energy. Our vision is to create a desired growing climate, accounting for external climate and seasonality to provide the most favourable conditions for greenhouses, or short: Controlled Climate As A Service.

“We are building climate-neutral greenhouses by using smart insulation with bubbles in a double roof construction. Our greenhouses are so economical that 4.5% of the Dutch climate objectives will be achieved if all Dutch greenhouses are replaced. Thanks to the YES!Delft Accelerator Program we want to lift the organization to a higher level and accelerate our growth.”

Is your startup ready to be part of the next Accelerator Batch?

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Erasmus University Rotterdam

Erasmus University Rotterdam and YES!Delft join forces

“Together we can accelerate innovation in South Holland”

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), TU Delft and the Municipality of Delft have decided that EUR will become a shareholder of tech incubator YES!Delft. This means that YES!Delft will be part of the recently established Erasmus Enterprise. All parties aim to further stimulate the region’s innovation potential. EUR, TU Delft and the Municipality of Delft see innovation as a key opportunity to have impact on concrete social issues.

“The collaboration with YES!Delft is a natural progression of the convergence strategy of EUR, Erasmus MC and TU Delft, and further enhances the use of knowledge with respect to several big social themes. We aim to connect the Rotterdam and Delft ecosystems and link our expertises. The regional innovation climate will receive a boost through stimulating diversity in startup teams (tech, Business and Social)”, thus Rutger Engels, Rector Magnificus of Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Innovation through diversity

The Rotterdam region is a rich breeding ground for diversity and entrepreneurship. A multidisciplinary approach is vital for innovation and to find solutions for challenges in the region. Innovation demands a combination of different perspectives (tech, social, commercial) starting both from the solution as well as the need. Startup teams that can make use of that diversity can innovate faster and better, which is why the convergence of EUR and YES!Delft is an important driver of enterprising initiatives. The synergy between EUR disciplines on the one hand and TU disciplines on the other, results in more diverse teams that can better respond to social challenges. We believe that we can accelerate startups in this way.

“Successful startups always have a diverse founder team in which the team members complement each other and often differ in profile. This collaboration enables us to bring together EUR Business talent and TU Delft technical talent, so that we can form optimal startup teams in the region”, explained Evert Jaap Lugt, managing director of YES!Delft.

Entrepreneurship as vehicle for social impact

In the context of its Strategy 2024, in the coming years EUR aims to increase its impact in the Rotterdam Delft region. This is why we are investing in entrepreneurship. “Entrepreneurship offers a route to create that social impact. Together with YES!Delft, existing EUR initiatives, such as ECE and ERBS will form one entrepreneurial community within Erasmus Enterprise. The collaboration with third parties will be stimulated and facilitated here, and innovative students, staff and alumni can find space here to collaborate on their social initiatives and/or innovative startups”, stated Rutger Engels.

In addition to the initiatives offered in locations in Delft and The Hague, in Rotterdam YES!Delft is going to offer programmes that connect to the expertise on the Woudestein campus. YES!Delft is concentrating here on specific focus areas (verticals) such as Social Tech. Here resolving urban issues, such as children and family services and care for the elderly, have an important position. “Technology enables us to have a huge impact in the social area; an area that has been neglected by the market for too long. We want to use this collaboration to change this”, stated Evert Jaap Lugt.

The Municipality of Delft is wholeheartedly supporting this development, explained deputy mayor Bas Vollebregt from the Municipality of Delft. “YES!Delft has proved hugely successful in supporting promising companies. Together with the other shareholder, TU Delft, we are implementing a strategy in which we aim to increase this impact. This includes expansions to other strong economic clusters in the region in which the collaboration with Erasmus University is a perfect match. The technical talent from Delft and economic talent from Rotterdam can complement each other beautifully.”

[Picture] Prof.dr. Vareska van de Vrande Academic lead Erasmus Enterprise and Michiel Muller chairman of the Erasmus Trustfonds and EUR Alumnus.

YES!Delft regional incubation powerhouse

YES!Delft was founded by TU Delft, TNO and the Municipality of Delft, and the incubator plays a key role in the innovation ecosystem in TU Delft and the South Holland region. “TU Delft is proud of the success of YES!Delft. Various spin-offs have been able to develop successfully there, and the incubator is a household name on TU Delft Campus. Different companies have joined in from the Rotterdam region in recent years, and we are now joining forces to stimulate entrepreneurship in our region on important social themes. This is a perfect match for the close collaboration between TU Delft, EUR and Erasmus MC”, stated Executive Board Chair, Tim van der Hagen.

Top 5 incubators

In the annual UBI ranking, YES!Delft is considered to be one of the top 5 incubators in the world. With over 120 tech startups in the incubator, over 100 mentors and over 40 corporate partners, YES!Delft manages the largest startup ecosystem in the Netherlands. Examples of successful initiatives with a social approach include the Somnox sleep robot (now established in Rotterdam as a spin-off from TU Delft) and, something vital in these times, UV Smart, in which medical equipment can be disinfected in seconds using UV light.

Thanks to this agreement, all the parties involved want to stimulate the region’s innovation potential, and YES!Delft is planning to become a major player inside Rotterdam’s Tech Ecosystem.

Online Pitches during the Deep Tech Validation Lab

Online PITCHES during the Deep tech VALIDATION LAB

On the 21st of April our very first, fully online program kicked-off! 9 startups joined us for a 10 week program, to validate their business idea. Before the current pandemic we used to end the Validation Labs with a final event, where startup pitch the idea they worked on during the program. This time we asked our startups to sent in a pitch video, which makes it possible for us to create an even bigger online stage from them!  So are you interested to see where this period brought them? Watch the online pitches of our Deep Tech Validation Lab batch below!

FIX

FIX is a startup that wants to unlock the construction industry with affordable environmentally friendly houses. We take construction out of the age of craftsmanship into the age of eco-industry. Our houses are not built on a construction site, but manufactured with the latest green- technologies. Reducing construction time from years to months. Offering high quality architecture on a budget. Our houses are affordable, circular and energy and carbon neutral.

CorrelImage

Correlimage developed the Corrosion Imager, a simple tool that researchers can use during the development of their next generation coatings. The Corrosion Imager makes use of scientifically proven image recognition software to assess the degradation in coatings and other surface treatments up to 10 times more accurate and is 3 times less expensive compared to the current methods. Interested to have this Corrosion Imager in your lab? Reach out to us and let’s organize a live demonstration!

Appsilon Enterprise

Appsilon Enterprise is a deep tech company that grows diamonds in the lab. We re-create the earth’s process to grow diamond. Our plasma chamber is like the Sun on the Earth. Atom by atom, the diamond lattice form and it’s the same with how diamond forms in nature. 

Diamond is a key material for future technologies like quantum. As Appsilon, we are here to make the highest quality diamond accessible for the  current sensor technologies. 

The Helia

At The Helia, we design, build and manufacture renewable energy systems that can deliver power wherever you need it, whenever you need it. Our goal is to make renewable energy the standard and not the exception.

Bluemethane

Bluemethane will develop innovative technology and business models to capture methane emissions and generate energy from them, allowing selected hydropower plants around the world to generate up to 8% of additional installed capacity, even under the most challenging environmental conditions and with minimum or no intervention on the existing infrastructure.

NLR-RebelLion

Marc de Smit, Maria Montero and Gerrit Kool founded the startup NLR-RebelLion in 2020.  After many years of experience with metal 3D printing, they developed the SpreadChecker™ for measuring the powder performance in the printing process. This idea was born after disappointing results from the currently available testing tools for this purpose. NLR-RebelLion delivers easy-to-use inspection tools and qualification services for who is involved in 3D metal printing of high-tech products.

Flapper Drones

Flapper Drones takes inspiration from nature to develop animal-like flying drones for events, concerts, and theme parks.

Flapper Drones fly by flapping their wings, like hummingbirds and insects. Thanks to their light weight and soft wings, they can be operated safely near people. They produce natural, flapping sound, which, together with their animal-like appearance, makes them attractive and engaging, in comparison to conventional drones. They can be operated autonomously – individually or as a flock.

SolvGE

At SolvGE we are producing the world’s first hydrogen peroxide printer for on-site, on-demand and safe access to rocket grade hydrogen peroxide. With our printer, access to this green energetic fuel has never been more convenient, flexible and cost-effective. Our vision is to provide green sustainable solutions for the space propulsion industry and many others where hydrogen peroxide is currently in use. 

SolvGE, fuelling the rockets of tomorrow and more.

IPCITA

Hi, we are Berend and Jai’ Amir from IPCITA. We studied biology at the Utrecht University. We developed a method where we can directly capture CO2 from the atmosphere with microorganisms. These organisms are able to capture the CO2 and use it to grow. With this microorganism biomass, we produce a biobased form of carbonblack through an anaerobic burning process. Now we are looking for help in realizing our mvp and experts in growing biomass on a large scale.

Interested in joining our incubator as well? Apply now for our upcoming programs!

top 10 startup stories

TOP 10 Startup Success Stories: June

While temperatures were rising this month, our startups and scale-ups were not slowing down! From securing investments to partnering up with big corporates and winning awards. Are you curious to read all about this? Find it here, in this months Top 10 Startup Success Stories.

1. Blue Tulip Awards

We would like to kick-off this months successes with the three YES!Delft startup who won a Blue Tulip Award. DeNoize won their award in the Living & Working category, UV Smart in the Health category and PATS Indoor Drone Solutions took the award in the Nutrition category back home. Very well deserved!

2. Gradyent

Capricorn Partners, Helen Ventures and energy innovation fund ENERGIIQ jointly invest € 1.9 million in Gradyent. This investment, which was obtained with the help of our service YES!Funded, will enable the startup to further develop its innovative software and commercialize its services.

Do you need help with becoming investor ready?

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3. Aquablu

Aquablu wants to show that by purifying water, the best water is local water: without CO2 emissions from transport, plastic bottles and other waste that contributes to the plastic soup. To make people more aware, they went to Amsterdam to turn canal water into clean and safe drinking water. Every year 60,000 kilos of plastic, 700 dead animals and 12,000 bicycles are fished out of the canals in Amsterdam. Although the quality of the canal water is getting better and better – especially during the lockdown – it has never been drinkable before.

4. Hardt Hyperloop

This startup is developing an affordable, zero-emission, high-speed transportation with their hyperloop. Hardt Hyperloop conducted a study, together with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, which shows that their hyperloop can be a sustainable alternative for the short-haul flights, and therefore accommodates the growth of the airport in the upcoming decades.

5. Conference Compass

Conference Compass, the startup that makes it possible for you to get in touch with your members anywhere and at anytime; before, during and after an event, got funded by Rabobank, which enables them to accelerate their growth and to launch a number of product updates fast than ever.

6. Dutch Analytics

Also the AI startup Dutch Analytics got an investment from Rabobank. This will help with speeding up the development of the Xenia platform, which helps companies to operationalize, manage and integrate data science models in an accessible way with existing IT systems.

top 10 startup stories

7. Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge 2020

BBBLS, the startup that is currently enrolled in our Accelerator Program, GoodHout and aQysta got selected out of 650 applications as two of the 25 nominees for the Postcode Lotteries Green Challenge 2020, one of the largest competitions for sustainable entrepreneurship. All three startups are in the run to win €500,000.

8. Circularise

Circularise secured € 1.5 million funding from Horizon 2020, a program of the European Commission to stimulate European research and innovations. In addition, the co-founder of Circularise Mesbah Sabur was named as one of the 2020 “30 under 30” by GreenBiz, based on a their goals that helps shaping the next generation of sustainable businesses.

Are you interested in joining our next AI/Blockchain Validation Lab and follow in the footsteps of Circularise?

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9. Ampelmann

The YES!Delft scale-up Ampelmann, the global offshore access provider, has secured a contract with Dutch shipyard Royal Niestern Sander, member of the Royal Wagenborg Group, for the sale of a winterised A-type, a new motion compensated gangway system that has the ability to operate in extreme cold weather. This will enable year-round safe transfers of the crew to and from platforms.

10. Techleap.nl

Techleap.nl showcased 200 Dutch Tech Heroes that are fighting the Coronavirus, and YES!Delft startups BI/OND, Momo Medical, UV Smart, Praxa Sense, Medvice and Voyc.ai are featured among these heroes!

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medtech

Blue Sparrows: The medtech investment fund made by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs

Incubators and communities like YES!Delft are there to offer startups the support and know-how they need to start their innovative businesses and grow. They introduce them to a network of fellow innovators that they can draw resources and inspiration from. And every so often, that network yields some pretty interesting collaborations. This time focused on medtech

Bo Wiesman is a seasoned entrepreneur and the CEO of NewCompliance, an innovative company that offers predictive dashboarding and analytics solutions to hospitals. As of a few years ago, he is also the co-founder of Blue Sparrows, an investment fund for early-stage medtech companies.

Bo started Blue Sparrows together with six fellow medtech entrepreneurs and as a group, they are an example of what networking at YES!Delft can lead to. 

“We are all entrepreneurs from YES!Delft and this is where it all started back in 2014,” says Bo. “Because we were such a strong group of entrepreneurs, we got many requests from other medtech founders to provide advice or coaching, so we came up with the idea of setting up our own investment fund.” 

It took Bo and the rest of the team about four years to set the fund up and get it to do what it was meant to do – invest in high-potential medtech companies from across the country. Today, it also has two experienced fund managers onboard, whose expertise complements the entrepreneurial experience of the rest of the team.

An investment fund run by entrepreneurs

What makes Blue Sparrows different from other funds is that while it does have people with an investment background onboard, it is first of all run by entrepreneurs. 

Having built – and some even sold – their own business in the medtech sector, Bo and the rest of the team know what it takes to create a company from scratch. They have been through the ups and downs of being an early-stage company and can guide current startups to success, while avoiding the mistakes that they had once made. 

“We can help startups on a very operational level – from validating their idea or already existing product, to creating a business model that works, to clinical validation and medical certification,” says Bo. As a team, they believe that adding actionable knowledge and experience to a company early on can significantly increase their chance of success. They also look beyond the financials and at the potential that a startup holds. 

“We are entrepreneurs and not fund managers, so we can determine from our own experience whether a specific proposition has the potential to be successful. And because we are entrepreneurs, we can determine that way more clearly than fund managers can. They look mainly at the financial aspects, while we look at the product, the business model and the team – and help make adjustments where necessary.” 

Focusing on early-stage medtech startups – a conscious choice

A lot of people might think that investing in an early-stage, innovative company is risky business. And they wouldn’t be wrong. Yet, for Bo and the rest of Blue Sparrows, it was very clear why they should focus on that specific group. Making one wrong step early on in a business can be detrimental, so getting the right knowledge and advice at the right time is crucial. The team of Blue Sparrows is, therefore, of the opinion that they should only invest in companies that they can add real value to. 

“We tend to invest in the areas that we know extremely well, and that is medical technology,” says Bo. “It is not only about the money we invest, but also about the knowledge and coaching we can offer. That, too, has to be on a high level.” 

To date, they have made five investments in startups that they believe have the potential to develop a solution, which creates value for both patients and doctors. In the initial stage, Blue Sparrows invests typically between 200,000-250,000 euros per startup, and mentorship and coaching come as part of the package. The fund subsequently continues to invest as the company grows and achieves new milestones.

One of their most recent and also successful investments has been in a startup called UV Smart, which has developed an innovative solution based on UV light that helps disinfect medical instruments and devices within seconds. “We invested in UV Smart about 18 months ago, as we recognized that they have a great team and an advanced technology,” says Bo. 

As with all medical technologies, though, certification takes a long time and first revenues do not come in overnight. The current COVID-19 situation, however, has created an urgency for a solution like the one of UV Smart. “Normally they wouldn’t be selling yet, but due to the circumstances, they have had  their product medically certified last  month,” adds Bo, whose team has been advising the startup in the process. 

It is surely of great value for a young medtech company to have experienced advisors – with the right business and industry knowledge – supporting them. Especially in times of uncertainty. 

Blue Sparrows have found just the right niche to focus on. From here on out, they are looking to add new companies to their portfolio and later raise a second fund to continue investing in early-stage medtech startups. In the end, the only way to add value to the sector is to keep supporting its rising stars. 

Startup Success Stories

TOP 10 Startup Success Stories: May

We are almost halfway through the year, and although it sometimes may feel like you are not getting anywhere within this changed situation, the startups are there to prove us wrong! Continue to work hard, keep on building tomorrow’s leading firms, and don’t lose sight of your goals. Read where that mindset brought them in this months Top 10 Startup Success Stories!

1. UV Smart

UV Smart announced that their D25 has officially been registered as a CE certified medical device. This allows the startup to support even more healthcare institutions in need to disinfect their medical instruments and devices.

2. Medvice

The MedTech and AI startup successfully applied for a Rabobank Innovation Loan. With this loan Rabobank is supporting clinical pilots and further development of the MIA suite of Medvice. 

3. Praxa Sense

The corona crisis is showing the importance of the ability to monitor patients remotely. This is exactly why Rabobank also granted their Rabobank Innovation Loan to the MedTech startup Praxa Sense. This loan will help the startup accelerate greatly while they also deploy Afi for the monitoring of COVID-19 patients.

Do you need help to get investor ready and make a funding plan?

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4. Tradecloud

Alfen, a specialist in smart energy solutions, launched the Tradecloud Supply Chain Platform. With this platform they would like to optimize their supply chain management in the coming years.

5. Villari

The ComplexTech startup, who are currently enrolled in our Accelerator Program, has been granted a VroegeFaseFinanciering (VFF), which consists of a € 350.000, loan by The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). The startup will use the fund for further developing their next generation wireless crack monitoring sensors.

6. Supersola

Electro retail gigant BCC starts selling the startups innovative plug and play solar panels. BCC sees that consumers experience the step to solar energy as very complex, but with the modular design of the Supersola panels, everyone can easily and quickly produce green electricity. 

7. Gerrard Street

The startup who makes a fully modular headphones system, by which all parts can easily be (dis)assembled by head, got selected for the Sustainable Young Top 100 of 2020. You still have time to vote!

8. Birds.ai & Geronimo.AI

Both startups only just finished our AI/Blockchain Validation Lab, and already worked on a case of Rijkswaterstaat, together with Data Science Initiative (The Hague). With the help of Netherlands Space Office, they set up a manual on how to use satellite data and aerial images to solve challenges within governmental institutions.

Are you interested in joining our next AI/Blockchain Validation Lab?

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9. Somnox

The scale-up that develops products and services for a better night’s sleep, has raised a growth capital from the Dutch investment fund of Health Investment Partners (HIP). HIP indicates that especially in the current situation it is essential to invest in sleep to build a good resistance. HIP’s growth capital is supplemented by bank loans from the Rabobank.

10. DeNoize

The startup that brings an active noise cancellation technology integrable inside window frames is one of the finalist of the Accenture Blue Tulip Awards. This year-round ecosystem-driven program has its online Final Stage on the 11th of June.

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Urbandine: The hospitality solution for the 1.5-meter economy

The hospitality industry has taken a hit over the past months, with the COVID-19 outbreak keeping restaurants, bars and cafes closed. Opening up again, while impatiently awaited, may turn out to be a slow start for many of those businesses. Urbandine, a YES!Delft startup, has developed an intelligent mobile ordering and payment platform that allows customers to order and pay directly through their smartphone. This is hospitality solution that can make work at 1.5m distance that much easier. 

FROM A SIMPLE IDEA

Urbandine is the brainchild of Jaikishen Jayesingha, Jay for short, and Bhagya Goonewardhane, two friends who first met in high school in Sri Lanka. While they have known each other for over 13 years, they have not walked the same paths. After high school, they each pursued their own interests – Jay went to the UK to study Mechatronics, while Bhagya made his way to Singapore for a degree in Biomedical Engineering. 

While in Singapore, Bhagya made his first steps in the hospitality solution industry by working on a food discovery platform. He wrote more than 350 for the platform’s blog until it was acquired by the Uber equivalent of the region. By writing all those reviews, Bhagya learned a fair bit about the inefficiencies of how restaurants operate, especially when it came to customer experience. 

He knew that technology could improve customer experience and started looking into mobile ordering as a way to do that. Around the same time, he reconnected with Jay and found out that his friend, too, was thinking of starting a business along the same lines. They joined forces and laid the foundation of Urbandine. 

“We started out by developing a solution that would allow customers to order and pay at restaurants directly from their mobile phones. At the same time, we were also doing market research and we looked at Singapore as a possible entry market,” says Bhagya. Yet, with some competition already there, they quickly changed course and turned their eyes to Europe. “We had both been to the Netherlands for leisure and had noticed that there were always a lot of vacancies for restaurant or cafe personnel. We thought this might be a good place to start, as there is certainly a product-market fit.”  

What also tipped the scales towards choosing the Netherlands were the possibilities that it offered to non-EU entrepreneurs. Jay flew in in late 2018 to meet several facilitators who could help them apply for the Startup Visa. YES!Delft was one of them. 

In proving that they can add business value to the Dutch market, Jay and Bhagya applied for YES!Delft’s Blockchain/AI Validation Lab, sailed through their Selection Day and joined the program in early 2019. The rest is history.

THROUGH YES!DELFT

The Validation Lab turned out to be exactly what Jay and Bhagya needed to establish their solution on the European market. “During the 10-week program, we got to meet with over 60 restaurant owners and validate the need for our product,” Jay says. “We quickly identified beach clubs as a potential market segment, as they often have large terraces that are difficult for waiting staff to service at all times. We ran a pilot with two beach clubs in Scheveningen, starting in August 2019, and managed to bring in new revenue lines for them.” 

While beach clubs rely on customers to sit down and order at their location, with Urbandine they could also get orders from people on the beach, thus getting a boost in sales. This finding proved to Jay, Bhagya and restaurant owners alike that there is unexplored value to be derived from a solution like Urbandine. 

Still, having only beach clubs as customers was not going to be enough to run a self-sufficient company. It is a seasonal business and the two co-founders knew that rather well. 

TO A GROWING COMPANY

Between the end of the season for beach clubs, which is around October, until February 2020, Urbandine made itself known in a different market segment. “We offered our technology for use at events and made it possible for visitors to order food and drinks from a number of different vendors,” Bhagya says. 

One of those events was Horecava, the largest annual hospitality trade fair in the Netherlands. For the vendors at the event, having Urbandine as the solution to order food and drinks meant more business, while for the event organisers, it meant more interaction on the floor. 

For Urbandine, the buzz generated by this move was crucial. It was an opportunity for them to have restaurant owners, who were the key target audience of the event, experience their solution from the other side of the table, as the customer. “The feedback we got was invaluable,” Jay says.

hospitality solution

It would only be fair to say that Jay and Bhagya have made leaps of progress since they first moved to the Netherlands just over a year ago. They have also secured a convertible loan of 100,000 euros from six Dutch investors and UK-based entrepreneur Agash Navaranjan, who has since joined Urbandine as co-founder and CTO.

To keep growing at the same, and an even higher pace, the team needed to kick 2020 off strong. For one, they wanted to make sure that they open the season together with terraces in the Netherlands. Yet, nobody could have predicted a global pandemic slowing them down as it did. 

“March has been quite dormant for us, but that doesn’t mean that we have not been working on our proposition,” Jay says. “We have stayed in close contact with our customers and are jointly looking for ways to restart operations once the current measures have been lifted.” 

“We want to offer Urbandine for two months for free to help restaurant and cafe owners to get back on their feet as quickly as possible,” Bhagya adds. “So far, restaurant owners have reported a loss of about 90% of revenues due to closing down their physical locations and they’ve had to cut ties with a lot of their flexible workforce. It is much harder to bring workers back than to let them go, so we want to help owners in this transition phase. We are preparing the restaurant market for a scenario where they would have to work with fewer waiting staff and keep 1.5m distance to their customers.” 

At the moment, the team is talking to more than 150 customers and is aiming to launch their solution with them as soon as the restrictions have been lifted. Urbandine wants to make it easier on restaurant, bar and cafe owners to do their job post-COVID-19, but they also want to establish themselves as the go-to solution for even better and more efficient customer service. 

Given their growth and business approach so far, even in difficult times, it is clear that Urbandine takes challenges in stride and turns them into opportunities. And it can only go up from here.

Milestones 

Jan 2019 – POC pilots in Sri Lanka 

February 2019 – Joined YES!Delft’s Blockchain/AI Validation Lab

June 2019 – MVP built and validation completed

July 2019  – 100K pre seed convertible loan secured

August 2019 – Beachhead market pilots at Beachclubs 

October 2019 – Joined YES!Delft’s Accelerator Program

October 2019 – Exhibited at CES Unveiled in Amsterdam

November 2019 – Agash Navaranjan joins Urbandine as co-founder and CTO

November 2019 – First trade show as partner – Strand Nederland Beurs

November 2019 – Selected to represent The Hague at Web Summit ALPHA AI stream

December 2019 – First flagship location – Stads Koffyhuis

January 2020 – Official launch of Urbandine at the Horecava Innovation Lab and Expo

February 2020 – Exhibited and partnered with HorecaBeurs trade show in Goes 

startup match

Delft Circuits and YES!Funded: Matching the right startup with the right investor

Collaboration is a key ingredient in every startup-advisor relationship out there. Especially in their early days, startups need specialized advice and support in order to steer their business in the right direction. Yet, what they also need is a strong business case to start with. The startups with the strongest product, service or technology are the ones that would make it all the way. Only then, in fact, can a startup-advisor relationship really thrive.

This is exactly the case with Delft Circuits, a young innovative company providing quantum hardware solutions, and YES!Funded, a service launched by YES!Delft to support startups with their funding needs.

Bringing startups and funding together

“If you want to be investor-ready and do things properly, you need to have the right knowledge and experience,” says Daan Kuitenbrouwer. As co-founder and COO of Delft Circuits, he knows what it takes to build a high-tech company and look for ways to make it financially sustainable. “You need guidance along the way and you need to always look ahead towards your next step.” 

Founded in 2017, Delft Circuits provides hardware solutions for quantum engineers and, in particular, flexible cabling for cryogenic systems. They are specifically focused on making cables that enable quantum computing in low-temperature conditions. It is a complex technology solving a complex issue for quantum engineers. 

The market potential for a niche solution like this is big, but potential alone is not enough to make it a success. Knowing this, the startup reached out to YES!Funded to help them find the right financing tools and connections, and eventually leverage that market potential. 

“We started YES!Funded about a year ago and what we soon found out is that startups don’t have much knowledge in how to structure their company or make it financially viable,” says Jan Geert van Hall, Investment Director at YES!Delft. “To help them, we decided to launch a program that would support startups in financial lifecycle planning and securing the right funds.” 

In essence, YES!Funded enables young companies to match up with the right investors, both public and private, and helps them apply for the funds that fit them best. The program is open to YES!Delft companies as well as to startups outside of the incubator’s network. The selection process, however, is strict and the startups that do make it into the program are the ones that (1) have a very strong business case and (2) are ready to look for an investor. 

“Each company we select needs to have something special,” says Jan Geert. “It needs to have market potential, but also be ready to take the next step in developing itself. When it came to choosing Delft Circuits, we were convinced from the start because what they have is world class.” 

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise then that soon after they started working together, the startup was selected for a project worth 2 million euros in a grant from the European Innovation Council to further develop their solution. 

The importance of choosing the right type of funding

The way to look at YES!Funded is as an independent party for startups’ funding needs. They are the ones assessing the funding needs of each startup in their program and looking for the right funding instruments for them. 

“For everybody who comes in, we make an initial funding plan and advise them on what to do,” says Jan Geert. “What most companies do when they come in is to ask us to find them an investor, but in reality most of them are not ready for that step. So what we try to do is, first, help raise their knowledge and expertise, and then start working with the ones that we think are ready and in need of a specific funding structure.” 

The startups that are considered ready are usually the ones that have a solid business plan, know their product-market fit and have a strong team already assembled. 

Perhaps one of the key unique selling points of YES!Funded is that they look at a wide range of financing instruments in order to find the most suitable for the startups in their network. “Most consultants tend to focus on one type of financing instrument, while for us it is crucial to do blended funding,” says Daan. 

Leveraging both public and private funds can eventually help strengthen a startup’s position in the market. A lot of governmental funds want to see a private investor vouch for a company before they decide whether or not to provide a subsidy, and vice versa. Many private investors want to know that a certain innovation technology or solution is backed by public funding before they assume any risk of their own.

“We see that it’s possible to leverage a lot of instruments simultaneously and that it can bring a lot of benefits, especially for a young company,” says Daan. With the recent public funding, Delft Circuits is clearly on the right path. It is only a matter of time for them to reach their full market potential. 

new business idea

TOP 10 Startup Success Stories: April

We started working from home almost six weeks ago already, and although it feels like more and more people are getting used to this new situation, we are still in a crisis. With this in mind, we are extra proud of our startup, who keep on building tomorrows leading firms from home. Their hard work led into us sharing another month of successes with you, all made possible by them! Here are some inspirational success stories for a business idea.

1. SD-Insights

A business idea SD-Insights has attracted its first investment. Three investors have bundled their capital and knowledge, and started to helping SD-Insights their coaching app NEXTdriver, which will make sure that the logistics sector is and remains sustainable and safe on the road.

2. Aquablu

The CleanTech startup announced that it will join forces with Waterluxe, a Dutch company specialist in water softening. Together they would like to make clean drinking water accessible to everyone in The Netherlands and Belgium.

3. BI/OND

This startup donates a set of chips to EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), which will be used for a Lung-on-Chip model. This donation will enable quick and effective drug testing. BI/OND challenges other Organ-on-Chip companies to start contributing as well by donating to research groups.

4. Mapiq

Although this post is called ‘Top 10 Startup Success Stories’ there is obviously also room for our scaleups. Mapiq, a developer of smart office software, got an investment of € 3.4 million. This capital injection, done by energy innovation fund ENERGIIQ, informal investors and existing shareholders, will be used to scale up the software platform of Mapiq.

Do you need help to get investor ready and make a funding plan?

Join YES!Funded

5. Craytive Technologies

This brand new edition to our ecosystem just launched their website, with which they kicked off their search for early adapters to test their initial versions. The startup incorporates 3D Geological models into a real world environment using Mixed and Augmented Reality, to optimize the 3D modeling processes and team collaboration around the globe.

6. FeedbackFruits

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, colleges and universities are in the need of solutions to continue their lectures online. University Business has listed FeedbackFruits as one of these solution providers, because they offer higher education resources at no charge. All institutions can now use their LMS tools without any financial costs until September 2020.

7. Nurtio Technologies

Nurtio Technologies, the startup incorporating the smart sensors and AI into the indoor gardening process, has received €300.000 of funding from the RvO (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland). This capital will help Nurtio finish their new prototype, go through the certification process, and prepare the product for the market launch. Now they continue working in their business idea.

8. Physee Technologies

Together with Kindow and Luxaflex, PHYSEE Technologies introduced a new energy-generating facade concept. The concept consist of PHYSEE’s energy-efficient glass facade and Kindow’s intelligent roller blinds, which provides 65% more daylight in buildings and 20% energy savings on cooling, heating and lighting. Luxflex supplies the mechanical systems and a premium awning fabric.

9. Philips Innovation Award

ADI (Applied Drone Innovations) and DeWarmte got selected as two of the five Innovators to compete at the Grand Final of the Philips Innovation Award 2020, which is the largest student-entrepreneur award in The Netherlands. On May 18th we will hear who is going to be this years winner.

10. Circularise

The Blockchain startup got selected by the Plug and Play Tech Center Italy, for their 12-week Business Development Program in the Sustainability Batch. The goal of Circularise is to focus on their development, according to expressed industry challenges and prepare themselves for implementing this with corporate partners.

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MYTHRONICS: ‘AI CAN HELP MINIMIZE FOOD LOSS IN THE VALUE CHAIN’

About a third of all food produced goes to waste, and more than 30% of that one third is lost before it reaches the supermarkets. This data may seem shocking, but what’s worse is that it’s real. The reason for this is that quality control with the products is often done by people and problems are not detected in time.

This doesn’t have to be the case, though. With their solution, the team of Mythronics makes it possible for vegetables and fruits to be graded and sorted autonomously, thus minimizing error and maximizing efficiency.

FROM A SIMPLE IDEA

For founder Soheil Jahanshahi, starting a business for the agricultural industry was not a hard decision. “When I was a kid, my father and my uncle had an apple farm back home in Iran, so agriculture has always been close to my heart,” he says. “In a time when people are moving more towards consumption of high quality fresh products, it is crucial that more and more fruits and vegetables (among others) reach the supermarkets in a good condition.”

The key to making that happen is by sorting and grading the product at the right time. Yet, in this specific industry segment, there has been – and still is – a shortage of qualified labor, Soheil says. Technology can fill this gap.

“From speaking to many (potential) clients, we found out that there are simply not enough people to do the job,” he explains. “Quite often, companies have to hire people from abroad and invest in training them, only to see them leave in a year. We want to avoid that.”

With a background in software engineering, Soheil knew that he could tackle this challenge and help decrease food waste in the value chain. With Mythronics, he and his team of three are developing solutions based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics that can: (1) detect when plants are ready for harvesting, (2) detect defects and other attributes in the product and (3) help with sorting it.

A simple idea that they have taken to the market in under two years.

THROUGH YES!DELFT

Soheil and his team are certainly up to something, with their ultimate goal to make AI more understandable and accessible to businesses in the agricultural industry. Naming the company Mythronics was also not a coincidence. “For many people, AI is still a myth and we want to change that,” Soheil says.

Supporting them along the way has been YES!Delft and their network of experts and mentors. Soheil joined the AI/Robotics Validation Lab in May 2018 and quickly learned about how to match his business proposition to the right target market.

“I met with a lot of potential clients, which helped me validate my idea and better understand the market I was aiming for,” says Soheil. “I also got exposure to a wide range of investors.” Only months later, Mythronics was accepted into YES!Delft’s Accelerator program.

TO A GROWING COMPANY

Today, the startup is already testing their product on several commercial solutions. The team is targeting two different market segments – greenhouse owners and growers on the one hand, and companies on the packaging and logistics side on the other.

For greenhouses, they have developed a mobile assistant that can autonomously detect problems with the crops. It can also tell them when certain crops are ready for harvesting, eliminating the need to train people for it.

On the logistics side, Mythronics has focused on developing an AI-driven solution that can help eliminate subjective quality inspections and ensure that all products are in the high quality sought after by supermarkets.

“We are building this product together with our customer, ABC Logistics,” says Soheil. “In essence, we’ve created a sorting box with sensors and an integrated technology that grades fruits. So you can put up to 60 different types of fruits on a conveyor belt, run them through the box, and it will identify each of them individually. As they go through the box, a robotic arm helps sort those fruits.”

In the relationship between the two companies, ABC Logistics has been providing a lot of the knowledge and a test site, while Soheil and his team have been bringing the technical expertise.

With two solutions already out for customers to work with, the team of Mythronics is well on their way to fulfilling their goal of reducing food waste, even if only on a local scale for now.

MILESTONES

2018

  • Company established
  • Accelerator Alumni at YES!Delft and RoboValley

2019

  • Team grows to three people
  • Received funding from Horizon 2020; pilot tests with first client

2020

  • Development of Robotic Sorting machine
  • Joined Startlife program from Wageningen

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