This Thursday, Holst Centre celebrates its tenth birthday. Lifesense Group, a company with roots in Holst, now wants to give back by creating a startup fund for young companies with a shortage of cash. Valer Pop is an High Tech Campus based entrepeneur. With Carin he wants to help women with pelvic floor issues, such as involuntary urine loss. With LifeSense Group, the company behind Carin, he also would like to help young startups with a lach of cahs.
Already teaming up with partner Golazo, among others responsible for the Eindhoven Ladies Run in June, LifeSense Group is working on opening a startup fund. Aiming to gather 15.000 euro by the end of 2017. “The goal is to round up around 150.000 euro to give to startups by 2020, that’s our ambition”, says Valer.
That money probably will be awarded to a contest-winner. Which shape or form is yet to be thought out. “We’re still in a phase where we need to figure out how we can pull this off”, Valer says.
Any startup with a Dutch office can partake in the contest. “There are only two criteria: They have to be looking for an investor and the awarded money has to flow back into their company. That’s all we ask, we don’t want anything in return. All we desire is to make it easier to get funding.”
The contest differs from the StartupBootcamp-program on Campus. A program Valer and his team once enrolled in themselves. “We don’t provide a Mentor-program and there’s no several month timespan. We just give the winner(s) a cash kickstart. Nothing more, nothing less.”
Golazo is the first partner in gathering a larger group of partners. The two partner up to market LifeSense Group’s product Carin during the Ladies Run in June.
Out of each sold product during a time period in June, a percentage goes to the fund. In the following years more partners like Golazo should strengthen the fund to ultimately achieve the set goal of money to be rewarded to a new startup.
According to Valer, Holland has vibrant innovative climates like High Tech Campus. But what it makes up for in ideas, it lacks in actual funding. “It seems to be opposite of the US, where there’s funding all over the place, but less truly innovative ideas.”
Investments in LifeSense
LifeSense Group was able to turn Carin from a prototype into a consumers product within a year. Also, in its first year, the company collected investments from Holst Centre and an angel investor worth a million euro. “When we pulled that off, this was a huge story. However, compared to the US, its barely a splash. Over there it’s not huge until a company gets over 200 million dollar invested in them.”
Evolving through design
Carin’s wearable technology, which puts a chip the size of a small pinky into womens underwear, was mostly developed in Valer’s time with Holst Centre. To this date, he holds 13 patents related to Carin.
The design of the chip evolved drasticly when Creative Director Julia Veldhuijzen van Zanten, a graduate from Design Academy Eindhoven, joined the team. Van Zanten helped reshaping the technology from a unusable big design to a small wearable which can be fully integrated into everyday use.
“Julia helped us in combining design and technology, something I’d like to see happening more on Campus”, Valer says. “I’d say it’s quite possible that companies which combine design and technology in an innovative way, have a good shot at winning our future contests.”
Read more about Holst. Soon, an article on Holst returning financial questions will be published here.