Tech incubator YES!Delft has, again, secured a spot in the top 5 of the UBI Global ranking of the world’s best university incubators. YES!Delft sees this as recognition for the excellent work it does for startups and scaleups. Earlier this year, YES!Delft introduced the incubator 4.0: a new concept to provide startups with everything they need in their lifecycle.
The new YES!Delft incubator 4.0 supports tech startups in all phases of their business and consists of four parts. Through YES!Talents entrepreneurs find a co-founder or talented team members. For suitable financing and advice to keep their startup financially healthy, they can use the YES!Funded service. WithYES!Programs YES!Delft also offers customised expertise and knowledge from experts and practitioners in areas such as market validation, sales, corporate finance, marketing, intellectual property and personal and professional development. Finally, the incubator 4.0 programme offers access to the YES!Delft ecosystem consisting of corporate partners, fieldlabs, investors and launching customers.
Evert Jaap Lugt, Managing Director at YES!Delft is excited about the incubator 4.0 concept: “This new development is in line with our mission to build an ecosystem that allows tech startups to become the leading companies of the future. Our growing network of companies that are joining that ecosystem is an important part of the development.”
In addition to the incubator 4.0, YES!Delft started a new initiative this year to solve problems of corporates by using startup and validation methodologies: Innocubes. Innocubes has everything it takes to enable companies to rapidly find innovative solutions to their challenges: from formulating an innovation strategy to developing and implementing customised technologies. The first collaborations between corporates and startups have been established. For example, Tata Steel has started a pilot with YES!Delft startup WarpVR. Together they develop virtual reality training courses that are able to train groups of up to 2000 employees.
Lugt: “Innocubes offers tech startups a unique way to test their technology on a large scale in real life. By continuing our development, we keep our quality high. This spot in the top 5 of the UBI Global ranking is a clear international recognition of that quality.”
UBI Global is a Swedish-based intelligence company and community, known for high-quality intelligence, assessment and mapping of business incubation. The top lists of business incubators as assessed in their World Benchmark Study 2019-2020 were released at the World Incubation Summit in Qatar.
About YES!Delft – building tomorrow’s leading firms
YES!Delft, founded in 2005, has become one of the most successful startup incubators in the world. With the concept of incubator 4.0, YES!Delft offers tech startups comprehensive services that cover all facets of entrepreneurship. Over 200 startups have access to the unique YES!Delft ecosystem of mentors, experts, investors and corporate partners. YES!Delft offers eight focus areas, including aviation, cleantech, robotics and medtech. The startups in the office in The Hague focus on digital technology, in particular artificial intelligence and blockchain.
Evelien de Vries joined the YES!Delft incubator without even knowing at first, through Startup Corner platform. Then she tasted the power network of co-founders by attending the UNconference even without having her startup in YES!Delft’s portfolio. That’s when she knew she had to make it into one of the largest tech incubators in Europe.
Evelien de Vries adventured in the entrepreneurship world little over a year ago. Having worked at StartupDelta previously, the name of YES!Delft was familiar to her.
However, her first step of tasting this startup ecosystem was when she received an email with a call to action to join the platform Startup Corner — which promised to offer support to tech startups in areas such as legal, HR, finance, marketing and more. The email was from Marie José van den Boomgaard, Liasion Manager Startups at KPN. “I was already familiar with Marie José and KPN, so when she recommended Startup Corner I thought “Why not?”,” Evelien remembered.
Through Startup Corner, she got in contact with one of the corporate partners – Arnold & Siedsma. Evelien got help for free from them, mostly through emails and phone calls. Having help from Arnold & Siedsma on patents, helped Evelien and her co-founder move with some decisions.
Not long after that, another email landed in Evelien’s inbox: Startup Corner’s newsletter. In that newsletter, there was an invitation to register for the UNconference. She read that it was a bi-annual event in the YES!Delft community, where co-founders set the agenda of the event with topics that contain both challenges and successes to learn from their peers and this way speed the learning process.
“One thing I learned in the last year is that it always helps to engage with different groups because you never know what inspiration you get,” Evelien remembered. “ That’s why I signed up to the Unconference. In the end, it totally paid off. A five hours event only with co-founders, where everybody shared knowledge”.
It was at the UNConference that Evelien and her co-founder met David Cerda Salzmann, currently a partner at FORWARD.one and one of the co-founders of Ampelmann (one of the firsts YES!Delft incubated startups). After connecting with David at the UNconference, they went to his office to talk about the strategy of their startup where he helped them on the spot. When Evelien told him they were thinking to join YES!Delft, David said it would be very useful and suggested them to apply to the AI/Blockchain Validation Lab.“He specifically advocated for the network and support we would get access to”, she says.
This was the opportunity that Evelien looked for so she could join YES!Delft. Not even a month later, she and her then co-founder started the AI/Blockchain Validation Lab and became part of the YES!Delft ecosystem. From having access to YES!Funded and YES!Talents to having one-on-one sessions with experts from our incubator, the two co-founders entered a 10-week part-time program geared on helping them find their product-market fit. In the end, for her startup, the program revealed a team misalignment, resulting in the founders parting ways.
On the 25th of July, the teams participating in the AI/Blockchain validation lab graduate with the Pitch Day event. This celebration will take place at the YES!Delft’s Digital Hub in The Hague, which opened earlier this year and focused on AI and Blockchain.
In the end, for Evelien, having access to Startup Corner, joining the UNconference, and later joining the AI/Blockchain Validation Lab, gave her not only 360-degree help on her startup, but it also shifted her entrepreneurship journey to 180 degrees, as well. “During the Validation Lab I have learned not only new business validation skills, but also valuable lessons on the foundation of a startup. Especially concerning what building a team really is. Although I’m disappointed that this startup didn’t work out, I’m really excited for new opportunities. Being part of the YES!Delft ecosystem reinforced that being an entrepreneur is want I want to do.”