Tag: startup story

Scoozy: A safe mobility scooter

Using a mobility scooter is a great way to get around if you are less mobile. However, they come in many shapes and sizes, so determining which type of mobility scooter suits your needs and is safe to use can be challenging. Luckily, Scoozy found a solution and has developed a safe and neatly designed mobility scooter. 

Driving a mobility scooter is not always as safe as you think. For example, the number of mobility scooter accidents per 100.000 users is 15 times higher than with bikes. Furthermore, 75% of these accidents are unilateral, meaning that the mobility scooter causes the accidents rather than other vehicles. These numbers, plus the fact that there is a particular image that driving a mobility scooter is not cool, inspired Scoozy to develop a new product. Job van de Kieft and Jan Willem van Gent, the founders of Scoozy, wanted to create a safe mobility scooter with an excellent design. Back in 2018, Scoozy was well underway with the development of such a mobility scooter. Fast forward to 2023: let’s see where they stand. Sneak peek: they have progressed a lot.

A rocky start – safety comes first!

When Scoozy created the prototype in 2017, the team was enthusiastic about testing it. Then, unfortunately, there was a work accident. It was an intense and tumultuous time; not only was a co-worker hurt, but it also raised many questions about safety in the workplace. It is why safety is the core focus of Scoozy and one of the core features of the scooter. Furthermore, their scooter is medically certified, and Scoozy is audited yearly.

“In a sense, I am grateful that we had the accident in the early beginning. We had to mature quickly as a business. It gave us a laser-focus on safety.” – Job van de Kieft, co-founder and CEO of Scoozy.

Scoozy for all

There are other features that customers like about Scoozy: the radius is around 100 KM, and the design is unlike any other scooter. Instead of an auxiliary appliance, they think of it as a gadget. It makes it possible to go to nature or other places outside our regular infrastructure, a significant added value for many people.

“Our current target audience is around 65 years old. We found they like to do online research first instead of going to the dealer directly.” – Job van de Kieft, co-founder and CEO of Scoozy.

Usually, the Scoozy mobility scooters are sold via distributors, but because the Scoozy is fundamentally different from other mobility scooters, they decided to do the marketing themselves. They target their audiences with a website per country in that language. They are also experimenting with Facebook and Google advertisements. This way, they can distribute their marketing leads to their dealers. Besides, requesting a test drive in nature is possible, which also works for people who are hesitant to go to a store.

From startup to scale-up

Since the beginning, they raised 4 million euros in funding and experienced a 50% growth in the Netherlands. There are currently 3 generations of Scoozy mobility scooters. Versions A and B sold successfully in 2019. During Covid, Scoozy focused entirely on creating the C-line and expanding internationally: Scoozy is currently active in 10 countries with 60 dealers. 

Scoozy started in the YES!Delft building in 2016. Since then, they’ve outgrown the building and now have their own office. Still, they work together with DotRobot, another YES!Delft startup. They are growing towards a scale-up and, in that sense, are also busy raising more funds for their ever-expanding plans. For example, they are trialing with Scoozy as a Service – a subscription model for using the mobility scooter. They also want to adapt their marketing to reach more international audiences. Product-wise, they are implementing a new, comfier chair while keeping the design nice and modern. Last but not least, they plan to create another version of the Scoozy with a regular steering wheel that can compete with more traditional mobility scooters.


Your dream can become a reality too. As long as you want to make a change, don’t miss the opportunity to boost your start-up by joining the YES!Delft Validation Lab or Accelerator Program. However, if working for a start-up resonates more with your ambition, we got you! Check out the vacancies on our YES!Talents page!


SLAM Orthopedic: the innovative drill for trauma surgeons

Imagine breaking your wrist and needing surgery for proper healing. Currently, Surgeons measure the bone thickness manually to determine screw implant length. However, SLAM Orthopedic has created an automatic drilling solution to improve fracture treatment.

When co-founder and CEO Just Schornagel came into contact with Bas de Hartog, he learned that, though the field of medicine has advanced much, many trauma surgeons’ instruments are still the same: for example, the device that measures the length of the bone. Unfortunately, using this instrument takes valuable time, and 9% of the measurements lead to wrong screws being inserted that pose a risk for the patient and then have to be replaced. So together with their other co-founder Bart Kölling, they created a solution that would measure the bone automatically during drilling, making the measurements more accurate, shortening the operation time, and reducing patient risk.

Working on the weekends

They started working on a solution on weekends while working full-time at their corporate jobs and studying full-time. Then, they realized they could create a functional product that could be commercial at the same time. Schornagel, the CEO of SLAM Orthopedic, quit his job to pursue this opportunity. They joined the YES!Delft Medtech validation program and moved into the YES!Delft building. 

“The program taught us to go outside the office and talk to our potential customers. We spoke with doctors across Europe. We spent three months creating our value proposition, which has greatly helped us.” Just Schornagel, CEO and co-founder of SLAM Orthopedic

Helping trauma and orthopedic surgeons

SLAM Orthopedic has designed a sensor system to assist trauma and orthopedic surgeons during surgery. The doctors often work in trauma centers and academic hospitals, much like Bas, one of the co-founders of SLAM Orthopedic. The fracture can heal once surgeons put in a metal plate and fasten those with screws. Those screws should be precisely the right length. If they are too short, the metal plate may become unstable. However, if the screws are too long, they might damage surrounding tendons and muscles, resulting in complications. Using the sensors of SLAM Orthopedic is more efficient, as measurements take place while drilling. This way, the operation time is shorter, and the surgeon can focus on the patient. 

Additionally, SLAM orthopedic has considered its product’s environmental footprint. For example, suppose a screw needs to be taken out during surgery because it is not the correct length. In that case, it is thrown away, resulting in unnecessary waste. Using the sensor system of SLAM Orthopedic will make measurements more precise, resulting in fewer screws thrown away. Also, the sensor lasts for 20 surgeries because of the battery lifetime. After that, hospitals can send it back to SLAM Orthopedic, where they will replace the battery and send it back to the hospital. 

“We believe that by enabling surgeons with more innovative equipment, they can focus on the most important parts of the surgery. This way, we help the patients, too.” – Just Schornagel, CEO & co-founder of SLAM Orthopedic.

Preclinical trials

SLAM Orthopedic is currently in the preclinical phase. They have already done trials with the Reinier de Graaf and UMCG hospitals, demonstrating that their sensor measures more accurately than traditional instruments. During the summer of 2023, they plan their first in-patient clinical trial with the ErasmusMC. The next step is getting the proper medical CE certification to ensure the safety of the intelligent sensors. Finally, they want to do a round of seed funding later in 2023 to ensure they have the resources to apply for certification and the production process. Overall, SLAM Orthopedic is taking significant steps this year to advance its business.


Your dream can become a reality too. As long as you want to make a change, don’t miss the opportunity to boost your start-up by joining the YES!Delft Validation Lab or Accelerator Program. However, if working for a start-up resonates more with your ambition, we got you! Check out the vacancies on our YES!Talents page!


CyberHydra: Transforming Chemical Research with Automation

Suppose you want to produce something new, such as medicine, dyes, or fuels. These processes usually start in a chemical reactor. Unfortunately, this research can be time-consuming because scientists must carefully monitor the chemical process to fully understand what is happening. CyberHydra has found a solution to make these processes more efficient.

Evgeny Uslamin and Robbert van Putten are alumni of the TU Delft. They are very familiar with the time it takes to do research in the field of chemistry. Then, they had an idea to automate the monitoring of catalytic systems: processes that produce high-value fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals that use catalysts to speed up chemical reactions. So they started CyberHydra, currently an early-stage startup that developed a patented technology automating these processes.

An Automated Reactor

Doing research in fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals often comes with long horizons. The work can be tedious, as researchers closely monitor every process step. For this reason, researchers spend much time in their laboratories. Automation can improve the consistency and efficiency of the production process and reduce the need for manual labor. It allows highly-qualified experts to focus on more creative work and to innovate faster.   

Photo made by Fred Leeflang

The co-founders of CyberHydra worked to develop a system that would automate processes and have software to analyze the results, aided by master student Nathan Jiscoot. They recognized their system’s potential to help other researchers and companies become more efficient in their research. Then, with help from Delft Enterprises, they applied for a patent for their solution. It was a vital step that boosted an idea to start a company. 

“As a post-doc, you have tremendous amounts of work to do. You might call us lazy, but we didn’t want to sit beside a reactor all day. So, Robbert and I started looking for a solution to help us be more efficient and get more work done. It led to the innovative idea of CyberHydra.” – Evgeny Uslamin, co-founder of CyberHydra.

From convenient idea to commercial product

CyberHydra works with the fine-chemical and pharmaceutical industries, especially those companies’ R&D laboratories. Also, they work with academia, as there is a general need for effective experimentation and more high-quality data in the chemistry and pharmaceutical fields. 

Photo made by Fred Leeflang

To get more knowledge on business aspects, the co-founders started with the ‘ready to startup’ course from YES!Delft students. After completing the ‘ready to startup’ course from YES!Delft students, they moved on to the validation lab and followed the accelerator program. CyberHydra learned a lot from the YES!Delft community. The combination of all kinds of different expertise is inspiring and helpful. In addition, the programs helped to get their problem-solution proposition just right.

The end-game: data-driven and efficient processes

The ultimate goal of CyberHydra is to accelerate chemical research by introducing data-driven practices. CyberHydra is still in the validation phase of their product, as they want more customers to test it. The first system was built partly using a 3D printer. Some parts were vibrant pink simply because it was the only color available. The current pilot projects look promising: using the system has already saved money and the time of qualified researchers. Advancing science by automating it saves time and helps accelerate science. 

“Delivering the first system was quite exciting. Suddenly you see something you spend much time developing in a completely different environment. Other researchers know to use your equipment and benefit from your solution; that’s very nice.” – Evgeny Uslamin, co-founder at CyberHydra.

CyberHydra has received the Take-off Phase 1 grant from the NWO. Because CyberHydra is a spin-off of Delft University, the University is a shareholder and has provided funds and resources. So far, they have primarily used public funds to develop the product, even though there have been a couple of paid pilot projects.

Steps for the upcoming 12 months

In the upcoming year, CyberHydra will raise more funding, either through more public funding or through investors, to expand the team and finalize the development of the product. They plan to conduct a few more pilot projects and use customer feedback to improve their product. CyberHydra expects to be ready with a marketable product this year: the current product already works but anticipates some improvements in the user experience and the software interface. 

“Many students are interested in creating innovative technology in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry but sometimes are hesitant to work at a startup. Try it out: if you don’t like it, you can always do something else. Take some time to work at a startup if you are interested. Validate your own life.” – Nathan Jiscoot, software developer at CyberHydra.


Your dream can become a reality too. As long as you want to make a change, don’t miss the opportunity to boost your start-up by joining the YES!Delft Validation Lab or Accelerator Program. However, if working for a start-up resonates more with your ambition, we got you! Check out the vacancies on our YES!Talents page!


Nurtio: technology to monitor your office plants on a large scale

Don’t you love it when you walk into your office and are greeted by plants, providing you with a healthy work environment throughout the day? Well, don’t take them for granted. Behind those plants is the interior landscaping industry, which involves designing, installing, and maintaining indoor plants and gardens for commercial and residential settings. Maintaining these environments can be very costly.

Iryna van der Meij and Marco Zijlstra founded Nurtio to help monitor and maintain indoor plants in commercial real estate using advanced technology. It helps avoid long-term problems and is cost-effective because gardeners can work more efficiently.

Building a High-Tech Solution

In 2016, Iryna van der Meij relocated from Kyiv, Ukraine, to the Netherlands to participate in an international MBA program. Nine years before, in 2007, she had started her own company in her home country: a landscaping and gardening service for corporate customers. Now, she remains a non-executive director at that company and is currently focused on building Nurtio Technologies as a co-founder and CEO. This company was born as a solution to the pains she experienced in her first company: mainly the inefficiencies in maintaining interior landscapes, especially for real estate. Therefore, she aimed to create a high-tech solution for the interior landscaping industry and streamline the processes to become a category-defining enterprise in the connected plantscaping industry, including outdoor landscaping, cityscaping, and horticulture.

Nurtio is also the first company to build a centralized data pool to see how plants are maintained indoors on a large scale. As a result, Nurtio already sees dependencies between light, temperature, ambient climate, season, and the plant’s life cycle, which allows the company to build accurate predictive models of plants’ future behavior.

“The idea of this company was born from the pains I experienced in my first business. There are many inefficiencies in processes in the landscaping service industry. For example, plant technicians don’t see plants every day. Sometimes they even have to use their fingers to test the soil’s moisture, and it’s easy to miss long-term problems such as a plant not getting enough sunlight. As a result, maintaining many plants on various sites costs time and money that could be used otherwise. Regardless, it’s the 21st century, so things shouldn’t be so outdated.” – Iryna van der Meij, CEO and co-founder at Nurtio.

Target Audience

Nurtio works mainly in the B2B industry. Their primary target audience is professional plant service companies that maintain plants in the office, hospitality, or real estate environments. They take care of hundreds of thousands of plants daily. Therefore, the scale of operation is very different from the existing consumer solutions. A solid business case exists for those companies: using Nurtio’s technology saves money and enables growth. The primary focus of Nurtio is on the interior landscaping markets in the USA, the United Kingdom, and the Nordics.

“I just came back from a big event in the USA. I see a huge market opportunity worldwide. But first, you need to understand the market, as it has a complex composition and supply chain. But this is where our strength in Nurtio lies: we come from the B2B plantscaping industry. So we can confidently say we know it inside out” – Iryna van der Meij, CEO and co-founder at Nurtio.

Entrepreneurial Journey

Back in 2018, Nurtio joined the validation program of YES!Delft and learned how to do market validation. Afterward, they immediately proceeded to the Accelerate program. Thanks to YES!Delft, Nurtio had a solid base to create a minimal viable product. Currently, four people are working at Nurtio: the co-founders, a senior software engineer, and a project manager for marketing.

So far, Nurtio has been funded mainly through governmental grants. In January 2023, Nurtio closed its first institutional funding from Shamrock Ventures, a Dutch early-stage impact venture capital fund. They primarily fund early-stage companies that positively impact society and the environment. It is an excellent opportunity for Nurtio to test several new product ideas and improve its portfolio.

“We have an experimental mindset at Nurtio. We experiment with the sensors at our homes, too. We do dozens of small daily experiments; if something fails or underperforms, we have the mindset and capability to change direction fast.” – Iryna van der Meij, CEO and co-founder at Nurtio.

Making significant impact

Nurtio is preparing to raise more capital, and the funding round remains open. They are quite meticulous about finding other partners that are an excellent match to accelerate their growth. Nurtio looks to build its presence in the USA for the upcoming year. There are also big plans on the technical side, such as developing new software features and releasing a new version of hardware for the new market segments. They will take every opportunity to make an even more significant impact.


Your dream can become a reality too. As long as you want to make a change, don’t miss the opportunity to boost your start-up by joining the YES!Delft Validation Lab or Accelerator Program. However, if working for a start-up resonates more with your ambition, we got you! Check out the vacancies on our YES!Talents page!


Oasys Now: dealing with your DNA data ethically

Have you ever wondered what happens with your information once it’s processed within a database? Nowadays, every online activity on the internet is valuable both in terms of time and money. Your data is collected, processed, and sold on a daily basis by a variety of companies, websites, and analysis firms.

Every piece of information that we produce is important and says something about us. One of the most important data is our DNA, since it contains the instructions that our body requires to grow, develop, and reproduce. The question is: how can we protect our genomic data (DNA)?

Oasys Now is a start-up that protects your DNA data, founded in 2018 by Nima Salami, Soroosh Torabi, and later joined by  Sara Okhuijsen and Viktor Koppenol. In short, Oasys Now provides a secure storage and computation platform for DNA testing companies & research institutes. Once the data is safely stored, the ownership of this data is given back to the individuals, they can now decide whether they would like to share their data for research purposes in exchange for rewards.

The idea started with a personal story:

Around 12 years ago, Nima – originally from Iran, left the country together with his parents. They moved from country to country before arriving in The Netherlands. Every time they had to travel, what they couldn’t take with them was their medical records. Especially for his mom, this was very important since she had several diseases including asthma. Whenever they would arrive in a new country she would have to be diagnosed over and over again before getting the required medical prescriptions. Nima then realized that the waiting procedure could be deadly for some people, so he wanted to come up with a solution.

“I believe that we have reached a point of advancement in technology where we can practically provide ownership of data to every individual, this is not only the right thing to do with regards to control and transparency but also stimulates scientific repurposing of data.”- Nima Salami, CEO and Co-founder at Oasys Now 

After 2 years, Oasys Now joined the validation program of YES!Delft after they had learnt that the market in which they would like to operate is not easy to enter, especially as a start-up. That’s when they made a pivot to the new idea which has the same mission and vision: bringing technology to the healthcare field and making individuals the owners of their health data; the only difference is that now they focus on genomic data (DNA data) rather than general medical records. Oasys Now started working on validating its new pivot with the help of YES!Delft.

“Genomic data is a defining pivot from general health data, since it is the most interesting data from our point of view. It presents many challenges, which we are excited to solve and see as opportunities.” – Sara Okhuijsen, CSO and Co-founder at Oasys Now

Target market

Oasys Now is a secure data-sharing platform with three main stakeholder groups. The first group is the individuals (citizens, patients) who had their DNA tested, the company /institute who holds their data is the second group, and the third group is the company/ institute who uses this data for (scientific) insights.

The people interested in the data are researchers, which Oasys Now calls the data consumers. They use the data to conduct large research or case studies in the field of healthcare. Therefore, since there is demand, Oasys Now wants to be the enabler for these transactions to happen ethically. On their platform, the individuals are the decision-makers on what happens to their data.

The individuals are eventually at the core of what they are doing from an ethical perspective, but it’s the data consumers that are the major source of income for Oasys Now. They want to serve the individuals, not monetize from them.

Stage in which Oasys Now is at the moment

Oasys Now is in the product development phase whereby they are piloting their solutions with several customers to make sure that everything is set down correctly since they work with sensitive data. The market in which they operate is relatively new and in some ways, they are at a level of ‘market creation’. There are several parties and organizations in this field, and the goal of Oasys Now is to bring them under the same umbrella and help them work seamlessly together enabled by their platform.

How has YES!Delft helped Oasys Now along the way?

Oasys Now validated the idea with YES!Delft after their pivot. Nima attended many events and programs at YES!Delft through which he learned a lot about entrepreneurship. At the moment their office is located at YES!Delft Rotterdam. The association with the Rotterdam office made sense since it focuses on Social and ClimateTech.

Your dream can become a reality too. As long as you want to make a change, don’t miss the opportunity to boost your start-up by joining the YES!Delft Validation Lab or Accelerator Program. However, if working for a start-up resonates more with your ambition, we got you! Check out the vacancies on our YES!Talents page!


SHE LEADS in TECH | 17th of November 2022

Press Release | SHE LEADS in TECH | 17th of November 2022

Date: 11-10-2022

YES!Delft launches a new conference: SHE LEADS in TECH with a focus on female-led impact startups. A co-production with Erasmus Center for Entrepreneurship and Erasmus Enterprise.

The annual SHE LEADS event of the Erasmus Enterprise Community in Rotterdam gets a Delft-based partner event: With SHE LEADS in TECH, the leading tech incubator YES!Delft in collaboration with Erasmus Center for Entrepreneurship and Erasmus Enterprise, launch a new conference platform for (future) female founders and leaders in tech. SHE LEADS in TECH focus on impact-driven female founders with a focus on impact by technology: health tech, climate tech and deep tech.

With SHE LEADS in TECH YES!Delft, we want to showcase outstanding female tech leaders and female-led startups from YES!Delft and the wider ecosystem, as well as connect future (female) talent to tech startups through YES!Talents. YES!Talents is a new service by YES!Delft that helps to build winning startup teams and recruit the right talent.

Anna Handschuh, Managing Director, YES!Delft Rotterdam about the new conference:

“You cannot be what you cannot see. We have two goals with SHE LEADS in TECH: First, we want to inspire the next generation of female tech entrepreneurs by showcasing the startups of great female tech leaders. Secondly, we want to build a community around this outstanding female talent. From my experience, female founders are substantially more driven by creating a significant impact on health and climate through tech. We want to give these female tech trailblazers a stage with their great companies and technologies. The challenges ahead of us are gigantic – they range from the age of pandemics to the escalating climate crisis. These women add a much-needed, new perspective to the male-dominated tech sector and make sure that we have fantastic high-impact technologies, health tech, climate tech and deep tech.”

With SHE LEADS in TECH, we would like to create an inclusive community for (emerging) female tech leaders. And SHE LEADS in TECH is for anyone interested in impact-driven entrepreneurship in health tech, climate tech and deep tech and who is looking for outstanding talent in this space.

SHE LEADS in TECH is jointly organised by the Erasmus Enterprise community consisting of the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, YES!Delft, ERBS – Erasmus Research & Business Support, and in collaboration with partners from the innovation ecosystems from Erasmus University Rotterdam and TU Delft.

Visit the website: SHE LEADS in TECH for more information and a detailed program with speakers and startups participating.

Contact Details:


Event location SHE LEADS in TECH |  November 17th: 


Molengraaffsingel 12

2629JD Delft

Event location SHE LEADS Annual Event | November 10th:

Erasmus Enterprise

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50

Erasmus Enterprise buildings (Q&N)

Rooms NT-02 to NT-05

3062 PA Rotterdam

Qlayers: translating nature into technology

Have you ever looked at the way nature sustains itself or at how everything is there for a reason? Well, if you haven’t, it’s never too late to dive into that. Take sharks as an example: they play a crucial role in the ecosystem. They remove both the weak and the sick from the oceans while maintaining a balance for species diversity. But what makes them so unique?

The sharkskin has tiny denticles which allow the sharks to swim faster and more quietly in the water since they decrease drag and turbulence. Imagine if planes, ships, race cars, or fast trains would have this feature on their surface to make them faster. This would automatically reduce fuel consumption, lowering CO2 emissions.

Ruben Geutjens (CTO of Qlayers) and Josefien Groot (CEO of Qlayers), who met back in 2017 through TU Delft, were simply inspired by nature and, in particular, the sharkskin. Therefore, they  came up with the idea to imitate it and develop a technology that can apply sharkskin microstructures on industrial surfaces to increase their functionality and make them more energy efficient.That’s when Qlayers was founded.

When Qlayers conducted market research and looked into big industries such as storage tanks, maritime and wind turbines, Ruben and Josefien realized that current coating applications are still done by hand. Therefore, they felt the need to disrupt the current methods and made a shift from developing sharkskin microstructures to first applying coatings automatically using high-precision robots.

Their first concept is the 10Q robot which was designed for the storage tanks industries, followed up by the 7CS robot (for the maritime industry) and the BL8 robot (for the wind turbines industry). The robots automate the coating processes for these certain assets.

Qlayers is developing a unique coating technology that will increase not only the safety but also the accuracy and productivity of coating operations. The shielding system on the robots prevents overspray and the release of paint chemicals and fumes into the air, making the process more environmentally friendly.

Qlayers’ 10Q paint robot is in the commercial phase and has been deployed in several coating projects in tank terminals around the world while the 7cs and BL8 robots are in the development phase.

Stage of the company:

“We went in just 5 years from the start-up to the scale-up phase and that comes with a lot of changes, but our team is ready to conquer the global industrial coating application market!”- Shadi Parsa, the Head of Marketing at Qlayers

Due to its unique technology, Qlayers receives interest from potential clients all over the world. The company’s expansion into the global market started last year with its first international projects in the UK and the USA. The company also launched its APAC subsidiary in Singapore in June and plans to open an office in the US and the Middle East by the end of the year.

How has Qlayers been funded so far?

The co-founders began with some non-dilutive capital (personal savings; contributions from family and friends who believed in their vision), as well as cash from prizes obtained. Their paying customers also played an important role, and since the company is expanding globally, they are looking for more investment.

One of the milestones of the company was to sign an investment round with ECFG (a venture capital from Eindhoven) and AkzoNobel– which is both a partner and an investor. The relationship with AkzoNobel goes back to 2019 when Qlayers won AkzoNobel’s “Paint the Future” award.

Concerning that, YES!Delft has also played an important role since Qlayers got their first customer through their network. YES!Delft provided a lot of opportunities and support at a very early stage of funding, as well as access to valuable information and office space.

“The relationship with YES!Delft has always been amazing.”- Shadi Parsa, the Head of Marketing at Qlayers

Steps for the upcoming 6-12 months:

Since the company is growing and is focused on expansion, they aim to create an excellent service experience for customers and distributors around the world. In 2023, Qlayers will produce additional 10Q robots to meet demand in various regions. in addition, there will be more demos and trials for the 7cs robot

Your dream can become a reality too. As long as you want to make a change, don’t miss the opportunity to boost your start-up by joining the YES!Delft Validation Lab or Accelerator Program. However, if working for a start-up resonates more with your ambition, we got you! Check out the vacancies on our YES! Talents page!

Be part of the change, as change starts with you…

DuckDuckGoose: making the online environment a safer place

Spending so much time in the online environment and being exposed to so much information can make it challenging for users to distinguish between what’s real and what’s not. But how do we know that the information is fake when our eyes and ears tell us otherwise? Nowadays, deepfakes are taking over the internet representing a threat to cybersecurity and society.

This problem didn’t go unnoticed by a group of students at TU Delft. Back in 2019, Parya Lotfi, together with four other students, analyzed this social technical problem and decided to talk with potential end-users to see if they would be willing to use their product and pay for it. The product they came up with is based on algorithms that can detect what the human eyes cannot: an image or video that has been manipulated or completely generated by artificial intelligence.

The journey

The prototype, which was created by one of the co-founders- Mark Evenblij, was presented to their potential customers (the police and the government) along with different case studies of fake news or false evidence that could happen in court. The idea was highly appreciated, and they gained valuable insights and feedback. As a result, they founded DuckDuckGoose in March 2020.

“Our goal is to create a safe digital environment where we can still believe what we perceive. Deepfake attacks have an impact on every level of society and we want to prevent that from happening.” – Parya Lotfi, CEO, and co-founder of DuckDuckGoose

At first, the focus of DuckDuckGoose was on the police industry and the government. During this period, the company noticed its reactive nature- meaning that something has to happen to take action. That’s when they realized that even though there is a lot of interest in their product, the process can take longer simply because there is a lot of bureaucracy involved. In consequence, they decided to investigate other markets, such as the digital identity verification market, with a focus on financial institutions.

“Nowadays, banks or other financial or governmental institutions verify the identity of their customers or new employees remotely. That can happen via a zoom call or asking them to take a selfie and a passport picture and send it through. All of them are vulnerable to deepfake fraud.”- Parya Lotfi, CEO, and co-founder of DuckDuckGoose

Since they founded the company, DuckDuckGoose has gained 5 customers that bring revenue along with the subsidies they receive from the government. Their team is growing, and their next goal is to work together with a couple of big American companies that are relevant to their scope. At the moment, they are in close touch with them, making it very likely to convert them into real customers. Once they do that, they would immediately become a scale-up.


DuckDuckGoose has a few competitors in The Netherlands, other European countries as well as in the United States of America. However, in The Netherlands, they positioned themselves as the experts when it comes to deepfake and synthetic media detection, since they have the first movers’ advantage and because they offer an explainable AI for deepfake detection. When they first entered the market and started interviewing people, they noticed there was no one doing what they do.

“How we distinguish ourselves is based on the technical aspects such as the explainable module. We do not only classify the input as deepfake, but we also explain the reasoning behind the decision of the neuronal network.”- Parya Lotfi, CEO, and co-founder of DuckDuckGoose

So far, DuckDuckGoose didn’t need to look for external funding since the revenue they generated could cover the expenses. However, they noticed the interest from investors in their idea and they are open to getting external funding since they want to grow their company even more.

How has YES!Delft helped DuckDuckGoose

The start-up benefited from access to the ecosystem of YES!Delft is defined by theoretical knowledge, networking events, and support from mentors and other experts, among other things. The two mentors that they worked together with, Ian Wachters and Jin Han, became part of their advisory board. Ian and Jin, having a very strong entrepreneurial spirit and detaining a lot of experience, shared their knowledge and expertise with DuckDuckGoose, contributing to their learning curve as well as helping them take their business to the next level.

In the upcoming six to twelve months, DuckDuckGoose wants to develop its technology even more by adding sound checks as well as improving its algorithm in terms of accuracy. When it comes to marketing and sales, they plan on visiting more events and making their name known in the market to gain more customers. 

Your dream can become reality too. As long as you want to make a change, don’t miss the opportunity to boost your start-up by joining the YES!Delft Validation Lab or Accelerator Program. However, if working for a start-up resonates more with your ambition, we got you! Check out the vacancies on our YES! Talents page!

Be part of the change, as change starts with you…

Breeze social: your atypical dating app

Baby Boomers, Millennials or Generation Z? Regardless of which generation you are part of, you have to admit that dating at all times can be challenging… Nowadays, dating apps are taking over, and things happen a lot in the online environment. But how do that impact face-to-face interaction and people’s way to perceive themselves?

The lack of success is one of the biggest problems of online dating apps. People are experiencing a lack of self-esteem since everyone seems to be evaluated, and it is determined whether they are interested in being dated based on their looks. This problem didn’t go unnoticed by a group of students at TU Delft.

Back in 2019, Marsha Goei, together with 6 other light-minded students, noticed how much time people around them spent on dating apps. Their friends would keep on swiping, deciding in a split second if they like someone based on appearance, or start talking to someone- sometimes even for weeks- without an actual result. That’s when they knew something has to change in the dating industry, and that’s how Breeze was created.

“It’s just so weird to me that we are constantly on our phones seeking for that human interaction or connection, but we eventually don’t even know each other in real life where the real spark really happens.”Marsha Goei, Co-founder of Breeze Social

The goal of Breeze was to create an environment where people emphasise on creating real-life connections rather than just sticking to the online environment. After they understood how the current dating industry generates revenue, the 7 co-founders came up with a different business proposition which is based on organizing offline dates.

“All the other apps earn money by making you addicted to the screen. They show you ads or sell you the ‘premium’ subscription. We work differently. We have established partners in different cities, and we charge you € 7,50/date and you also get a free drink.”Marsha Goei, Co-founder of Breeze Social

Since Breeze organizes offline dates in different cities across The Netherlands, their users are targeted mainly based on location, age, and interests (people who want to spend time offline dating). Usually, they have users between 25 and 35 years old, but they also see younger students or people older than 35 interested in the app. The main important thing is that “everyone is serious about dating or simply serious about going on dates”. The reason behind focusing on this age group is that they aim to increase the experience for them, however, in a later stage, they want to expand their horizon.

Stage in which Breeze is at the moment

The app has over 100 thousand users, from which 1/3 is active. Up until now, Breeze has organized around 35 thousand dates, being live in 15 cities and having 130 established partners. Given their progress, their team is growing steady (currently 15 employees), and they are more than proud to say that their app is the 3rd biggest fastest growing in terms of downloads.

“We have a Breeze baby! One of the couples that got together through Breeze has now a beautiful baby. We are beyond excited to see all the beautiful stories and people being happy together!”- Marsha Goei, Co-founder of Breeze.

In terms of competition, the only apps that get more downloads than Breeze, at the moment, are Tinder and Bumble. “The dating industry is an interesting industry where people have multiple apps on their phone”- Marsha Goei. A dating app is not a substitute product; therefore, users can have all of them at the same time, making it a highly competitive market. However, the concept of Breeze is so different that they get to speak with a whole different audience.

How has Breeze been funded?

Back in October 2020, they attracted some funding through a round of family and friends that loved the idea and believed in the concept. In 2021 they found two strategic angels that wanted to invest in them. They are currently in the process of closing their (pre)seed round, for which the goal is to gather more insights about the right marketing channels to use, how to scale abroad and to hire more key players in the team.

How has YES!Delft helped Breeze along the way?

As students, they followed all the events organized by YES!Delft, together with the courses and trips, and decided to apply for the program. Once they were accepted, they benefited of the support of YES!Delft’s community, their knowledge and network, as well as their guidance (from legal advice to finance and marketing).

“I’m kind of sad that we are not sharing the same building anymore… Yet, we always come back for the events!”- Masha Goei, Co-founder of Breeze

What’s next for Breeze?

Breeze has a lot of potential; therefore, their goal is to keep on growing. After closing their investment round, they have the time and resources to try out new things. Breeze wants to experiment with new marketing channels and new customer bases to learn what works best and implement that in new cities or countries.

“Experimentation has always been at the core of what we do. Everything leads to the product, which leads to organic growth.”- Marsha Goei, Co-founder of Breeze

Your dream can become a reality too. As long as you want to make a change, don’t miss the opportunity to boost your start-up by joining the YES!Delft Validation Lab or Accelerator Program. However, if working for a start-up resonates more with your ambition, we got you! Check out the vacancies on our YES!Talents page!

Mangostone: from a master thesis project to paying customers

The fashion industry, the 4th most polluting industry in the world, is known for the constant provision of new trends at extremely low prices. This led to a significant rise in the amount of clothing created and discarded in landfills.

Mert Ozturk, writing his master thesis in Supply Chain Management at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, started working with Climpex, a textile collection company, to help them optimize their processes. The thesis project, which started in 2019, led to the founding Mangostone in February 2020, with Climpex being the first paying customer.

How did that happen?

Climpex had multiple containers on the streets where people could discard their unwanted garments. The challenge they faced was that they did not know what and how much there was in the containers, making it hard to decide which roads to take.

“Textile is quite difficult to predict compared to general waste streams. We saw there was a lot of room for optimization. For example, there were times where the containers would be only 10-12% full, and they would need to drive 100 km for that.”- Bas Hoogakker

As a solution, Mangostone thought of a “centre that was better in terms of technology, but also cheaper”. That’s when they knew they had to create a whole cloud software package that works on centre data or predictions (using advanced preventive algorithms) to better optimize the processes.

The focus of Mangostone

The target market of Mangostone is defined by the textile collectors (both commercial and charities) that sell the clothes to textile sorters. After the sorting, everything gets in the hands of textile processors. The clothes end up either in the stores that resell the garments, either on the market of 2nd or 3rd world countries or in companies that have better recycling techniques and can create new garments out of the old ones.

When they started working with Climpex, most of the company’s operations were defined by driving through different locations nationally and collecting the garments from people’s houses. The remaining was defined by the containers, which were only a couple of hundreds. Now, that number has been multiplied many times with the help of Mangostone. Their complex logistical operation was now much cheaper and easier to control.

Looking at the competition, Mangostone is not the only IT company that provides this type of product. They have a few big competitors, yet they focus mainly on the general city waste collection and not textiles. Their direct competitor in textiles does not use advanced software for waste collection, leaving room for Mangostone to educate them.

In terms of funding, Mangostone “pulled out a smart move” since they had the right set of skills within the team. They developed the software themselves and, the chip shortage gave them a new insight: “80% could be predicted without investing in the hardware”. That being said, they sold the software based on a subscription business model allowing them to cover the expenses and reinvest in the development process without needing external funding.

“We did work for 2 years for free, that’s basically the main investment: our time.”- Bas Hoogakker

The impact of YES!Delft

Initially, Mangostone was not sure they needed help from YES!Delft, or at least they did not know they needed it. However, once they spoke with the start-ups that are now scale-ups, they learnt about their experiences and saw how enthusiastic they were about working with YES!Delft.

“From week 1 or 2 we saw that it was worth the money. We learnt a lot about soft skills- both personal and team development, how to be a bit abstract with the ideas and actually address the elephant in the room. Also, the lunches were great”- Bas Hoogakker

Mangostone also benefited from the network of YES!Delft, their advisors, and working with other start-ups that were eager to win. Since they were one of the only start-ups with paying customers, they shared their knowledge with the others and got valuable information in exchange too.

Mangostone kept in touch with their mentor from YES!Delft, and have been advised to stick to the niche they are in for at least 1-2 years before expanding towards another direction. For now, they selected some target markets for the extension, which are The Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, and potentially Denmark. Their goal is to get more customers and build a name and a well-rounded system for the collection of textiles which can facilitate the sorting processes.

Your dream can become a reality too. As long as you want to make a change, don’t miss the opportunity to boost your start-up by joining the YES!Delft Validation Lab or Accelerator Program. However, if working for a start-up resonates more with your ambition, we got you! Check out the vacancies on our YES!Talents page!

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