YES!Delft and UtrechtInc in Top 10 Global Business Incubators

Toronto, February 23, 2018 – Dutch business incubators were ranked again by UBI global for the top business incubators 2017/2018. YES!Delft ranked second, and UtrechtInc ranked tenth. This was announced on Thursday night in Toronto during the World Incubation Summit. The two Dutch incubators receive international recognition for their support of startups.

This year, UBI global defined 4 categories. YES!Delft and UtrechtInc were respectively ranked 2 and 10 in the category: World Top Business Incubator – Affiliated with University. In 2015 YES!Delft ranked 9th on the global list. “This result proves that our programs really are of world class”, says EJ Lugt, Managing Director of YES!Delft. “With our Discovery Track, Validation Lab and Accelerator program we help startups grow successfully within 9 months from business idea to investor-ready.”


UtrechtInc also maintains a top position on the international international list by UBI Global and is glad to receive this recognition. Managing Director Jorg Kop: “We offer supporting programs to researchers of Utrecht University and UMC Utrecht to bring research to the market. This way, we contribute to the valorization of scientific knowledge and making this publicly accessible.” Since 2009 the incubator supported 184 startups.


Startup-envoy Prince Constantijn congratulates YES!Delft and UtrechtInc. “Incubators and accelerators can play a crucial role in the valorization of scientific data and supporting academic startups. The universities of Delft and Utrecht must be proud of the successes of YES!Delft and UtrechtInc, who are contributing immensely to the Dutch startup and scale-up ecosystem.


Every two years UBI Global, a renowned Swedish research- and advicebureau in the field of business incubation, conducts research amongst 500 incubators and accelerators in over 70 countries. An example of a selection criteria are the accessibility to capital and economic impact of the incubators. In 2016, the 259 participating programs supported over 10.000 startups in total, research shows. T

The total number of employees was 72.000. In the past 5 years, the startups raised a total of 4,7 billion euros and had a total of 3,2 billion in revenue.

See the entire global ranking list here.


Building Tomorrow’s Leading Firms

At YES!Delft we believe in the impact tech companies can have, because they provide a crucial contribution to the progress of our economy and society. We foster technological startups to become leading in their industries. We promote and stimulate entrepreneurship to accelerate solutions to modern day challenges. At YES!Delft we unite the forces of startups, coaches, investors, and innovative corporations to fuel entrepreneurial success. We offer guidance and support in building and growing a company and we encourage students, professionals and scientists on their path of entrepreneurship. Because we put the entrepreneurs interest first, promising ideas of ambitious people can be turned in to solid startups and successful companies.

Contact: Kartika Sidabutar, Marketing Manager / 06-39880971


Bright entrepreneurs, healthy society

UtrechtInc is the incubator for Utrecht University, UMC Utrecht and Hogeschool Utrecht and supports researchers, alumni and entrepreneurs to successfully start their tech companies. Within the fast-paced startup program startups build a scalable business model and a working product, win paying customers and find the founding team. Next to content-based acceleration programs, UtrechtInc also offers financing, office space, coaching and a startup community. Since it’s start in 2009, 184 startups have been supported.

Contact: Elina Schafer, Marketing Manager / 06-16290321

YES!Delft is hiring an Event Manager (1,0 FTE)


YES!Delft is a tech startup incubator that supports entrepreneurs in building and growing technology companies. YES!Delft offers guidance and support to graduates, scientists, engineers and professionals in their start-up journey. Our programs turn promising technology ideas into solid start-ups and help them grow to successful companies. Entrepreneurs get access to mentors, experts, investors and corporate partners who share their know-how and experience. We also help corporate organizations innovate faster. We are licensing our programs to corporate partners and other organizations nationally and internationally that want to accelerate the growth of startups.

The YES!Delft community consists of 200+ companies (and even more founders and employees). All with their own network of customers, suppliers, investors and advisors.

YES!Delft is looking for an energetic Event Manager

You are responsible for the planning, development and production of YES!Delft events. These events play an important role in expanding and connecting the unique YES!Delft community of startups, scale-ups, investors, corporate partners, launching customers, talent and industry experts. During all kind of events there is one common goal; innovating faster together.

What will you do:

  • Together with our program & partnership team you are responsible for the event strategy & planning.
  • You organize & coordinate events that connects startups with partners, launching customers, investors and talent (15 up to 500 guests, from matchmaking diners, pitch & demo events to hackathons).
  • During our events you will manage the complete project from initial concept and validation up to planning, program, budget control, promotion, registration, logistics, through to ensuring everything runs smoothly on site and follow up.


  • Great organizational skills and ability to prioritise tasks
  • 3+ years experience in event management
  • Proactive and flexible attitude
  • Creative with attention to detail
  • Ideally you have experience in the startup scene
  • Being able to manage the demands of different stakeholders
  • Communicates and connects easily with people on all levels
  • You know how to get things done independent and within a team
  • Fluent in English & Dutch

What we offer you
Being actively involved in the development of dozens of inspiring, disruptive innovations and work with smart, ambitious and successful entrepreneurs. An inspiring startup environment where you have the opportunity to develop yourself and implement your ideas. You will work with a driven and ambitious team that goes above and beyond to support startups and builds a thriving eco-system, day-in-day-out. YES!Delft offers a unique opportunity to contribute, learn and grow in the world of entrepreneurship.

Application procedure
Send us the following before Aug 30, 2017:

  • Application video in English (1 minute)
  • Resume in English
  • Please send your application video and resume to Fabienne van der Klugt Gram via
    First round of interviews will take place on Sept 6 in the afternoon

More information
For more information about YES!Delft go to For questions please contact: Fabienne van der Klugt Gram via or 06-20580214.

Q&A with Mazdak Zareei

YES!Delft’s ‘house doctor’

One of the main goals of an incubator is to provide entrepreneurs with an ecosystem that helps them grow. An incubator as YES!Delft wouldn’t be able to exist without the help of partners, among which is one of the biggest banks in the Netherlands: Rabobank. Mazdak Zareei is an Iranian-born, Dutch-raised financial specialist who has made it his top priority to help innovative entrepreneurs run sustainable businesses. As Account Manager at Rabobank and part of the bank’s Innovation Team at YES!Delft, he says his days are never boring: from giving financial advice to connecting founders to potential new customers and partners.

In the following Q&A, Mazdak talks about his role as an Innovation Adviser, the potential – and successes – of YES!Delft entrepreneurs, and the need for people to work together to bring the Dutch startup scene to the next level.

Q: Being a part of Rabobank’s Innovation Team, what is a work day at YES!Delft like for you?
A: Think of me as the house doctor. I’m in YES!Delft at least once a week, and on those days I make two to three appointments with entrepreneurs who want to speak with me. But the truth is, you never know how your day is going to be. You always get to know new people of meet familiar people with new ideas – whether it’s by the coffee machine or as you walk by the offices. There are no boundaries to who you can and will meet.

Q: In what ways do you support the entrepreneurs in the YES!Delft community?
A: The first thing we do is help identify the entrepreneurs with the most potential. We are part of the selection committee [for YES!Delft’s programs] and it’s our job to see if a team has what it takes. We are able to do that due to our experience with innovative companies, like Ampelmann, Bird Control Group, Eternal Sun and Senz umbrella’s.

Of course, we also offer all the services that you can expect from a bank – from opening an account to insurance and pension schemes. But that’s not all.

One other thing that get’s more and more important is to open our network for the startups and scale-ups in this community. In practice that means we advise our clients in both the local context and international context. So if we know, for example, that a foreign market player is looking for a specific solution and a YES!Delft company is working on something similar, we try to get them in touch.

Our services are all customized. It’s not possible to do the same for everyone, because things are changing every day. It’s very exciting and that’s why Rabobank is here.

Q: What do you like most about the community at YES!Delft?
A: What I like most is the positive energy. You get addicted to what’s going on here. People are trying to change the world; they’re looking for new ways of solving problems. It’s a very stimulating environment.

There’s a common goal in here – to make it a success. And you can only do so if you work together with other people. The world is small, everybody knows each other, and you have to collaborate to do things well.

Q: How has the startup scene in the Netherlands developed over the past years?
A: One thing I’ve noticed is that YES!Delft has grown, and the companies in the programs are becoming bigger and more professional as well. They all understand that if you want to keep up with the competition internationally, you have to have your standards up high.That’s a very positive development.

Another great trend is that more and more entrepreneurs come from different places. We have French founders, English, American, Indian, among many others. The environment is becoming more international and that’s important for all of us to act globally. Of course, it’s good to have Dutch connections and clients, but the Netherlands is small and you have to think big. You have to go out and see things from different perspectives.

The most successful companies here are the ones made up of different cultures.

Introducing Evert Jaap Lugt

We have a new Managing Director! As per 1 June 2017, Evert Jaap Lugt, will join the YES!Delft team full-time.

Evert Jaap Lugt, or EJ, is a successful serial entrepreneur. He founded Nimbuzz in 2006, raised 50 million in capital and eventually sold the company to the British internet company New Call Telecom for 137 million euros. One of the largests tech exits in the Dutch startup scene to date. This 57-old Rotterdam native brings in years of entrepreneurial experience having founded various successful companies including NGTI and @Media (sold to Dutch Public Broadcast – NOS). Currently he’s active as a Partner at Business Openers, counseling companies on innovation strategy.

Here’s what EJ has to say about his new role: ‘’I’m very motivated to bring YES!Delft to the next level. This incubator has big ambitions and a strong track record in building tech startups. YES!Delft, together with TU Delft and TNO, is an important player in the realization of the Next Economy in the Netherlands. With my experience as an entrepreneur I can further grow the network of YES!Delft and make sure we become the best incubator in Europe by 2020.”

He is very involved in the startup scene giving lectures in innovation management at Nyenrode Business University and is active in the European startup scene as board advisor, investor and co-founder.

As of June, 2017 you will meet Evert Jaap in the incubator and externally at events and meetups throughout the Netherlands.

Daan Domhof, our current Managing Director (a.i.) will resume his role as Incubation & Growth Manager.

We are very excited to work with EJ!

Why corporate startups can never be truly disruptive and successful

As Commercial Director at YES!Delft I speak to a lot of big national and international corporations about their ambitions to innovate. Almost all corporates claim to have set up corporate startups, but none of them seem to grow out to be truly disruptive and successful – doing things radically different from their mother company.

By corporate startup, I mean an internal startup that is set up by a corporate, which is different from a spin-out because a spin-out becomes a separate entity. A corporate startup remains within the walls of the mother company.

Give me one example of a corporate startup that does things radically different, and is successful in the process? I have asked dozens of innovation managers and directors this same question. None of them can mention examples however.

Pretty weird when knowing 15 out of 20 corporations have set up those time- and money-consuming startups. But also logical when knowing that doing things radically different is practically impossible within the boundaries of a corporate environment.

I’ll tell you why. Corporations all make the same basic mistakes when setting up corporate startups. First, they take the wrong examples. Which innovative companies are exemplary for your own innovation models? – I ask those corporates next.

Airbnb, Uber, Google, Nest, Facebook, Tesla…corporations either feel threatened by these kind of companies or want to do something similarly disruptive. Which is both noble and understandable, but also the wrong way to go.

Practically all of the examples mentioned weren’t even close to being profitable in the first five years of their existence. Uber alone reported losses of more than $3bn over 2016. And no corporate innovation manager is allowed to lose that much money, year after year.

I haven’t found an innovation manager yet that is able to get enough support internally, as well as the financial means to set up the next Uber or Tesla. And I don’t think I will. It simply takes too much time and money to get it done and it yields too little profit in the short term.

There is another problem, preventing corporate startups from having a totally different business model from their parent and being successful. Large corporate environments usually lack the right startup-DNA, involving a 100 percent focus and the willingness to fail over and over again.

This DNA requires dedicated founders with the need to be successful, because a pay check isn’t guaranteed at the end of the month. Employees with a monthly paycheck and mortgage to pay for might have the willingness to succeed. The urgency for success is missing, because there are different powers at play in a corporate environment.

Now what? Should corporates choose not to look at disruptive companies in order to be successful? Yes they can, but they should also make fundamental choices when setting up corporate startups. Most important: ask yourself why you are doing this.

Do you want to start the next Uber, or do you have different reasons, such as researching a new technique? Both require a totally different plan of action. If you’re going for a business model that is truly different from the existing company – the only right option is to set up a spin-out.

This might be a scary option for some, because it feels like you’re giving up ownership over a great idea or plan, as you can only be a shareholder in the concept. But it also allows you to create the right fundamentals for success.

Last resort
Spin-out companies require an own management that becomes dependant on the success of the company, allowing them to do everything necessary to actually be successful – like getting funded and reaching the market ASAP. This makes the chance for the new technology to grow into a leading company a lot bigger, as compared to when it’s developed internally.

Stopping is a very last resort when spinning out, whilst innovation that is carried out internally is halted all the time – resulting in only a small report that is never read again – and a large loss of knowledge and money. A spin-out therefore is a much better insurance against failure.

I know this because I see it happening at YES!Delft every day, where hard-working entrepreneurs track down every little option of the market in order to be successful, pivoting more than once if necessary. Turning every stone and taking all the advice and help offered within the incubator to reach their goals. Even if this means they are eating bread and peanut butter only for months!

There is more money spend on corporate innovation, invested in corporate startups, than ever before whilst the returns decline. To all innovation managers I therefore say: have the guts to spin-out! You’re awarded with a much bigger chance of success, and a smaller chance of losing corporate innovation money.

And if you’re still doubting after this plea, I’d be happy to talk to you in person and give you a tour through YES!Delft – where successful examples are all around.

Nils Beers,

Commercial Director of YES!Delft

Pieter Guldemond is leaving YES!Delft

Our current Managing Director is leaving YES!Delft. As of February 2017 Pieter will pursue a new career opportunity. We are hiring a new Managing Director.

Pieter will pursue a new career opportunity; a one-year executive MPA (Master of Public Administration) at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, Germany. Pieter has been active for YES!Delft for almost 7 years. As alderman for the city of Delft responsible for knowledge economy, he was a member of the Board of Commissioners of YES!Delft from 2010 till 2014. Afterwards Pieter joined YES!Delft as Managing Director.

Over the last 2.5 years Pieter led the incubator to a #4 position in Europe (UBI index), grew the team to 14 people, attracted more public and private partners and built a financially stable YES!Delft. Pieter will leave YES!Delft at the end of January 2017.

A personal note from Pieter on his decision:
It’s with mixed feelings that I’ve decided to take this decision. Delft and YES!Delft are in my DNA. After working in Delft for many years I’m very excited to explore a new environment in Berlin. This next step allows me to broaden my view, continue my personal development and further shape my public ambition at an international renowned institute.

I’m very confident that the YES!Delft team will continue the pace. With 14 people strong they will continue to focus on supporting YES!Delft startups, further build the network and keep building tomorrow’s leading firms.

What’s next?

Farewell Pieter
During our New Years drinks on 12 January, Pieter will wave goodbye. An invite will follow soon.

Interim Managing Director
Daan Domhof (Incubation & Growth Manager, YES!Delft) will take on the interim role of Managing Director, next to his current role as Incubation & Growth Manager.

Vacancy – new Managing Director
The profile for a new managing director is published on our website. The Board of Commissioners, together with the YES!Delft team will source and interview potential candidates. Applications for this vacancy are now open. We will announce the new YES!Delft Managing Director in 2017.

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