Tjarda Voorneman – the Project Manager of EIT Health Validation Lab that takes place in Delft for more than four years – talks about the successes of the collaboration between EIT Health and YES!Delft in this period.
This year we are again proud to organize the EIT Health Validation Lab in our incubator in Delft! The unique two-month pressure cooker program allows aspiring entrepreneurs from all over Europe all the way to Delft in The Netherlands to discover the business potential of their MedTech ideas. Tjarda Voorneman, the project manager of EIT Health Validation Lab looks back ahead of the 5th edition.
After 4 successful editions EIT Health Validation Lab, what has changed?
“One of the amazing things that have happened over the course of the last four editions, is the steady growth of the European network. This results in new and powerful partnerships from which everyone benefits. We have many great partners in this program, such as TU Delft, LUMC, UMCG, Biocat, Copenhagen University, and FAU Erlangen- Nurnberg. In turn, this also attracts startups of course, not only in the Netherlands but from the whole of Europe. Since the start four years ago, the majority of European countries have been represented in the program.”
“We have many great partners in this program, such as TU Delft, LUMC, UMCG, Biocat, Copenhagen University, and FAU Erlangen- Nurnberg. ”
Tjarda Voorneman, Project Manager EIT Health Validation Lab
What is it that makes the program so successful?
“The power of the program is the process of validation. EIT has ideation events, such as the Innovation Days and Summer Schools. Validation Lab is a very logical next step from that. We have a strong core program here in Delft that yields results. This is why Validation Lab is one of the Bootcamps offered now in the EIT innovation funnel. The teams get the chance to travel through Europe to validate their business assumptions further, which is an incredibly valuable and rewarding experience. The extensive EIT network is highly beneficial for this.”
There have been many excellent entries in the EIT Health Validation Lab, what are the criteria for winning?
“Winning is not just about having an amazing product, but it’s mostly about how the team has gone through the process of validation. The main goal is finding a product-market fit, and it’s amazing to see how the teams manage to make such massive strides on a European level in such a relatively short time.
Last year’s winners, Smart Medical Optics, are a prime example of this. Through the course of the validation program, they realized they needed to pivot in terms of their beachhead market. They started to focus on research institutions in Europe, which really helped them take off. Participation in EIT Health Validation Lab can help you grow really rapidly. When you go through the process of validation well, you could be pitching before an audience of a thousand peers from the medical sector.”
“The most valuable lesson for us was market-fit: we found potential launching customers not only in Africa, but also in Europe. The Validation Lab really challenged us to think critically about our ambitions and business plan and identify our a beachhead market – Europe. Our ultimate ambition is still to make an accurate and fast malaria diagnosis available in remote parts of the African continent. But the European market is also interesting for our technology – research institutes working with malaria benefit from the fast and accurate reading of blood samples.”
Mirthe Vendel , co-founder Smart Medical Optics
EIT Health Validation Lab draws an international selection of startups, but also from different backgrounds. How important is this diversity?
“During Validation Lab the teams learn a lot from each other. Not only about their countries and the medical fields there but also about the different backgrounds. Some teams are already fully fledged companies. Others are working on projects within major European universities and then some are fresh graduates. They all have different experiences, different perspectives and that enriches the Validation Lab environment. For example, pitching is a skill very central to Validation Lab, and the levels of experience can vary incredibly. To me, it’s amazing to see the journey of all the participants.”
Biotech Campus Delft and YES!Delft partner up to support promising European biotech startups
Delft, February 11, 2019 – Biotech Campus Delft together with its main stakeholder Royal DSM and YES!Delft have partnered up to support biotechnology startups through a special Biotech Validation Lab. As of today, (industrial) biotech startups can apply to join the program to validate their business plan and to define a clear strategy to success. Both Biotech Campus Delft and YES!Delft support promising biotech startups to accelerate innovations and boost the transition towards a sustainable, bio-based economy.
The validation program is open to European startups with innovative technologies and disruptive solutions in (industrial) biotechnology. Technology fields in the scope of the program are genetic and metabolic engineering, fermentation and downstream processing. The scope of application includes food, fuel, bio-based molecules, and bio-materials. The 10 best teams will be selected and invited to join the Validation Lab. Each team will be matched with relevant mentor(s) from biotech-related business and/or technical experts, all leading professionals in their field. During 12 sessions the startups will be trained on opportunity framing, customer validation, team building, pitching and value proposition design. Biotech Campus Delft offers this program free of charge to the selected startups. On the final day of the Validation Lab, the teams pitch their business plan for a jury. There will be an additional prize for the best startup: a voucher providing office space and a lab at Biotech Campus Delft.
Calls for entry start February 11th, and application is easy through the Biotech Validation Lab page. The deadline for completed entries is April 5th. The Biotech Validation Lab takes place from May until July in Delft, the Netherlands. The startups will present their pitches after the 10-week learning journey in the Validation Lan on the final day on July 31st, 2019.
Cindy Gerhardt, Business Director Biotech Campus Delft: “We are very excited about this partnership with YES!Delft. The next level biotechnology offers the opportunity to build our bio-renewable future. However, operating a startup in this field can represent a challenge due to the capital investments, scale up hurdles and long development times related to it. The Biotech Campus Delft, its main stakeholder Royal DSM and YES!Delft understand these challenges and are determined to support the startups in this field to define a clear strategy to success.”
“YES!Delft is very pleased to partner with Biotech Campus Delft”, says Evert Jaap (EJ) Lugt, managing director of YES!Delft. “Bundling our strengths, their industrial expertise with our unique incubator ecosystem, we can make a real impact in biotech innovation. The Biotech Validation Lab will be an amazing opportunity for startups with top-notch ideas to accelerate and be part of the transition to a sustainable bio-based future.”
Biotechnology refers to the use of (parts of) living organisms as cell factories to make useful products from renewable feedstocks. Historically, humankind has used biotechnology in food production (wine, beer, bread, cheese etc.) for centuries. In the past century, its application has been industrialized and expanded to pharma, agriculture, and production of bio-molecules. Today, the next level biotechnology represents a bigger opportunity than ever to build our bio-renewable future. It allows us to move away from non-renewable fossil sources and therefore diminish greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time offering an opportunity to address future challenges related to food, health & energy.
About Biotech Campus Delft
Biotech Campus Delft is developed by founding father Royal DSM to accelerate biotech innovations. Its open innovation campus offers a biotech ecosystem in which cooperation and knowledge transfer between companies and knowledge institutes is encouraged. Located on DSM’s site in Delft, over 1200 people work on developing, scaling up and commercializing bio-based innovations. Besides DSM and pilot factory BPF, Biotech Campus Delft also houses startups, SME’s and established companies.