For the fifth time last week, ten startups received the Gerard & Anton Award. A good time to see how things are going with the winners of previous years and who they were. But first, a summary in a number of figures and facts. Since receiving the Awards, the startups have:
- Raised a total of more than €100 million in funding
- Established customers all over the world
- Created for hundreds of jobs in the Brainport region
In addition, the startups work together with a large number of different parties, spread all over the world, from NASA to the Formula One team of Sauber.
Unfortunately, two of the fifty startups have been declared bankrupt, but, in relative terms, this is certainly not a bad result.
The startups of 2018
Jury judgment: “Developing a medical product and putting it on the market within a year is already exceptional. But then the following year just shows a growing sales curve right away. Usono continues its international expansion. They are currently setting up their sales channels in 12 countries. Academic hospitals in Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK already have one or more probefixes. Usono has made the best use of the formal and informal networks present in our region. From the TU/e, via the hockey field and Demos & Drinks to HighTechXL on the High Tech Campus. Standing on the shoulders of the network, these 3 TU/e alumni have converted their idea, a system with which you fix an ultrasound device on the body, into a growing business.”
Jury judgment: “We are all getting older and older with a higher quality of life. And the developments continue and Brainport Eindhoven is taking part. Stents for heart and vessels have of course existed for a long time, but it can be done better and smarter. Stentit, a spin-off of the TU/e, is working on the next generation of smart stents with the ambition to become the new standard in vascular therapy. Their unique product combines the best of 2 worlds; it opens the narrowed veins while stimulating natural recovery using the patient’s circulating blood cells. The porous material from which the stent is made is biodegradable and disappears from the body over time. The patient recovers without the need for a major intervention, as is currently the case. According to the jury, Stentit is a game changer in the billions market of cardiovascular diseases.”
Jury judgement: “Regular intake of medicines is of great importance for efficiency. For this you can, of course, put an alarm on your phone. But it could be smarter. Through Medapp you have intake alarm, but also ordering repeat prescriptions. This prevents errors and thus contributes to the patient’s well-being.”
Judgement: “Sleep disorders have a huge impact on people’s functioning. Diagnosis is often difficult. Doesn’t anyone sleep well with sensors in a sleeping centre? Onera originated within the Holst Centre and as an independent company, it has recently received funding from BOM and IMEC.xpand. They develop comfortable sensors for sleep diagnostics. With this, you can comfortably identify the real problems at home and eventually solve them.”
Judgement: “Horse riding is about perfect communication between man and animal. But this communication does not happen by itself. Not only can misunderstandings lead to poorer results, they can also be at the expense of the welfare of the horses. IPOS sensors give you more insight into what you are doing. Insight with which you can improve your performance but also better monitor the well-being of your horse.”
Judgement: “Drug use can quickly be very complex. If several care providers are involved, the overview will soon be lost. This can have harmful effects on health. What do you need to solve this? A pharmacist and a developer. Together they have come to a practical personal medicine file. A place where all information about drug use is up to date. This makes it easier to involve patients in the use of medicines and prevents harmful errors.”
Judgement: “Sport is healthy. But it also gives a chance of injury. If you have something beautiful in your hands within TNO to help people run better, get more out of themselves and at the same time look after their bodies, then you itch your hands to give that technology to the people who can use it, or in this case to the feet of the people who can use it. Of course! That is how ATO-GEAR came into being. Now on the market with ARION, the wearable and app that shows how to run and how to improve yourself.”
Pillow’s Willow VR Studios
Jury judgment: “The beginning of Pillow’s Willow is Brainport Eindhoven at its best. It started with linking the previous Award Winner Manus VR to Peter Kortenhoeven. This collaboration resulted in the hit of the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in March 2016; the Pillow’s Willow Demo with the gloves. Pillow’s Willow VR Studios was born and then it went fast. The first Spark of Light game became world news as HTC used it to launch their latest VR glasses. And this spring, during the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, the game won the award for best VR game for mobile VR glasses. All the big AR/VR guys want to work with Pillow’s Willow. In less than 2 years from idea to a 20 people strong company and fast growing with offices in Eindhoven and China. The jury appreciates the ‘social impact’ that the company strives for. The games are not only extraordinarily fun and attractive but in a playful way, they address themes such as self-confidence and the environment. The newest game will get young people moving again using the virtual world. The jury can’t wait to try it out after the overwhelming experiences of two members of the jury with Spark of Light.”
Jury judgment: “If old acquaintances of the jury, who have already successfully brought a startup to an exit, start a new adventure, then you have their attention! And not just any adventure. What a fantastic ambition the founders of Salvia have, to develop a bioelectronics therapy for people suffering from a chronic neurological disease, which is as simple as taking medication, but without the side effects. The investors also thought so. Due to their track record and possible impact on society, the founders stepped in early. Under the leadership of BOM, Salvia raised 1.3 million euros last month for the development of bun bioelectronics solution for people with a chronic neurological disorder. The neuromodulation field will develop rapidly in the coming years and with Salvia, our region has a potentially important player within its borders.”
Judgement: “If you 3D print in chocolate, right across the protocol, the head of the King of Belgium, you get the respect of the jury. Then you have guts. Speaking of challenging the established order! With ByFlow’s Focus 3D food printer, we’ve gone beyond the hype in 3D printing. The celebrity chefs and caterers like Maison de Boer now make the most beautiful dishes with it. ByFlow also tackles food waste. Residual meat, as well as fruit and vegetables with a spot are now used for printing. In addition, the jury expects a lot from ByFlow in the healthcare sector. Think of people with swallowing problems. And of course, the jury will be glad to be invited once to the new restaurant of old liberated Top chef Jan Smink where the 3d printers of ByFlow get a prominent role in the kitchen.”
The startups of 2017
Amber Mobility has a clear goal in mind. A shared electric car that is ready for you when you need it. An easier and cheaper way to drive, which is also more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Since receiving the award, Amber has grown rapidly. With customers such as Essent, the Province of Brabant and ABN Amro, the network of electric cars is growing rapidly. Whereas last year they were only active in Eindhoven, the recognizable orange BMWs can now also be found in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Den Bosch and Tilburg.
Babies born too early often have to enter the incubator to stay warm. Often other data are also kept with different adhesive electrodes. These have to be moved every now and then and that is very stressful and painful for the baby. The Bambi-Belt wirelessly monitors the data so that the baby no longer suffers from electrodes, wires and plasters.
Since winning the Anton & Gerard Award, Bambi has raised €4 million, which the company will use to conduct clinical studies, further develop the Bambi Belt and bring it to market.
Bitsensor is an online security company, the founders claiming to detect hackers within fifty milliseconds with the company’s designed self-protective technology. Normally this takes an average of nine months, but it also happens that an attack remains unnoticed. Unlike other security software, the bit sensor software runs in the application, while others are located, as it were, around the application to be protected, which enables bit sensor to map out much better who and how someone tries to penetrate.
In addition to the Gerard & Anton Award, Bitsensor also won the Computable Award last year, the most important ICT Award in the Netherlands.
The Soil Optimizer van Haak is a machine that travels autonomously across a field and analyses the soil conditions by taking soil samples. Samples are taken every few metres at a predetermined depth depending on the crop. The robot examines the water content, the pH value, the presence of 8 nutrients and to what extent the soil is able to retain these nutrients. This data is stored and upon arrival at the docking station, it is uploaded to a platform where the data is analysed and linked to other data, such as weather and crop information.
The startup is now working hard to gain a foothold in the US.
A blanket for a baby that mimics the mother’s smell and heartbeat is Hugsy’s idea. This way, babies still have the idea that their mother is close by, even if she’s away for a while. Hugsy has received a lot of attention and even managed to get CNN, but still needs money to make the product a success.
A car completely powered by solar energy is what they are doing at Lightyear. At the end of June, the startup set up by former-Stella team members presented their virtual prototype. Since then, they have already sold ten of them by way of advance payments. The company’s ambition is sky-high because by 2035 mankind must be able to run 1 light year a year on solar energy alone. The same number that is now driven by fossil fuel each year.
When Lightyear won last year, the startup had only 8 employees. The team is now 60 people strong and they are building their own production hall on the Automotive Campus. In addition, the story of Lightyear has been spread around the world, the startup has raised €5 million and the first cars have already been ordered.
An electronic plaster that can make wound healing faster and better. Plasmacure is working hard to make this a reality, but it can’t be done without a struggle.
The startup is in the process of clinical studies, but the first results were already positive in November.
Preceyes develops and markets operation robots that enable ophthalmologists to perform complex operations and treatments on the retina. The surgeon controls a robot-assisted operating arm with a kind of joystick. The device translates small movements of the surgeon into even smaller movements. The apparatus is capable of inserting a needle into the retina up to less than one-twentieth of a millimetre. Any vibrations from the hands will be filtered out by the unit.
The Preceyes robot has already been successfully deployed during an Oxford pilot, in which six patients have undergone a successful operation.
Making recycling possible by means of a high-tech cleaning process is what Tusti specialises in. Their first invention is to remove grease from plastic residues in a sustainable way, no more heavy chemicals are involved.
Synthetic heart valves that are absorbed and broken down by the body to make the patient a natural heart valve, that’s Xeltis’ goal. In contrast to the artificial valves that are now used, these heart valves can last a lifetime. This eliminates the need for patients to swallow blood thinners. Xeltis aims to be the standard in the healthcare sector in ten years’ time.
In 2017, Xeltis raised €45 million in funding, which allows clinical research to be carried out and the product to be further developed.
The startups of 2016
Put your phone on the table and it starts charging, it’s no longer a science-fiction scenario for a long time. Partly as a result of the Eindhoven startup ZENS, this technology is continuing to develop at a considerable pace. Zens already works with furniture maker Ahrend and in McDonald’s branches, you can also find chargers of the Eindhoven tartup.
Healing lymphedema: in the medical world, this sounds like music for the future. Last year, physicians attached general blood vessels between 0.3 and 0.8 millimetres in the patient’s arm. This year, the startup received a multi-million dollar investment from Innovation Industries, a Dutch high-tech investment fund.
Letting people with spinal cord injury walk again is the ultimate goal of G-Therapeutics. The partly Eindhoven-based company is developing a therapy with implementable electrodes in the spinal cord in combination with intensive physiotherapy and a new rehabilitation platform. Last year, the startup raised €36 million to develop a new neuro-stimulation therapy for people with spinal cord injury.
LifeSense Group is the creator of Carin. This smart underwear offers solutions for women with urine loss, for example after childbirth. LifeSense Group has developed both underwear with a sensor and a training programme for the pelvic floor muscles for this purpose. Together with an app, Carin can monitor and control the reduction of urine loss through pelvic floor exercise. Thanks to investments of more than €5 million, there is now not only Carin but also the little brother Wil, intended for men who have had prostate surgery.
The TU/e student team working on a sustainable energy solution for the transport sector. Formic acid. The team proved it was possible with a model car of more than 1 metre and has already proven the concept with a bus from sponsor VDL and a hydrolysis generator for BAM Infra.
This Philips spin-off develops screens that, just like paper, can be read in the bright sun. They have now entered the American market and have started mass production of the screens in Taiwan.
“For a functioning democracy, well-functioning bureaucracy is indispensable. GenKey makes sure that people in developing countries get a voice. A surprising application of technology”, the jury judged the startup in 2016. Through the use of biometric data, Philips’ spin-off has ensured that millions of people in Africa have been given an identity and have been able to vote.
The BlueJay student team is developing a drone for indoor use that can perform all kinds of small tasks in the healthcare sector. Last year the team provided a dronecafe, this year the team is building four drones that will make care easier.
The software company SendCloud is growing fast, and last year it was even the fastest growing company in the Netherlands. After winning the Gerard & Anton Award, 5 million euros in investments were raised and the company won the German-Dutch Prize for the Economy. In addition to its head office in Eindhoven, the company has startup offices in Germany and Belgium. They want to be market leaders by Cthe end of the year.
IBIS Power makes an energy solution for tall buildings by combining solar panels and wind turbines into the PowerNEST. An alternative to natural gas, which is easy to place on a building. Earlier this year the startup received the Building Holland’s Innovation Challenge Award and is busy developing the PowerNEST 2.
The startups of 2015
Since Avular won the award in 2015, the company has been working hard to develop a safe and stable drone for research and inspection applications, but because it did not turn out as well as expected, the startup decided last year to take a different direction with the knowledge it had acquired. They are now working on the Curiosity platform and are supervising companies that want to develop a drone themselves. In the meantime, they have also raised an investment of €1.5 million.
How can you moor in the sea without disrupting marine life? With water! Fistuca has developed a piling machine with which piles are driven into the ground by water. The company now has its head office in Delft.
PET is still not properly recycled. If this were to happen, the quality would deteriorate. Ioniqa has a solution for this. A chemical process reduces the raw material to the basic molecules, allowing it to be 100% recycled without any loss of quality. After an investment of €2.5 million by Chemelot Ventures BV, the spin-off of the TU/e has further developed the process. The world’s largest PET manufacturer and Unilever have now entered into a partnership with Ioniqa.
The VR glove from Eindhoven has gained worldwide fame in the meantime. Using your hands in VR has many applications, from games to NASA astronaut training, before they enter space. A documentary about this successful startup was released last year, which is worth watching.
In 2011 the company Medimetrics started with the idea of making a smart pill, which contains not only medicines but also sensors and electronics. Unfortunately, the idea of measuring how your body reacts to the drug and can adjust the dosage, as a result, did not save it.
With an app it is possible to see ‘discounted’ products that have been priced off in a supermarket because they are close to their expiry date, in order to prevent food from being wasted. That’s what the startup started with. In the meantime, the company has won several awards and pitch events and more and more supermarkets are using them.
The company won the Gerard & Anton Award in 2015 as Robots’ first temporary employment agency. Vanderlande has already acquired a stake in the company to help Smart Robotics scale up internationally.
Smart Photonics is one of the few companies that can already produce Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) and is, therefore, an important player in the promising world of Photonics. The company is growing fast with a second cleanroom on the High Tech Campus and a fully-fledged factory in the planning phase. By 2020, Smart Photonics wants to be able to produce thousands of chips per month.
Worm and worm gear technology has been around for centuries, but Spin Control has been able to innovate in this area. By no longer using friction contact but rolling transmission, energy consumption can be reduced by up to 30%.
The ‘Spotify for Games’ has finally left the beta this year and can be used by everyone. After a long lead time, the platform now has a library of more than 800 games.
The startups of 2014
Philips’ Watbegonals spin-out is now a company based on both the High Tech Campus and Silicon Valley. Intrinsic-ID develops technology that teaches computer chips to identify each other using the biometric properties of the chips. This year, the company’s technology-protected number of devices exceeded 100 million.
Sorama pictures sound with a sound camera. The resulting 3D images create a clear picture of where sound comes from. The technology is being used in Eindhoven and, since this year, in Taipei as well, to map out noise pollution and to combat it. Founder Rick Scholte won the title ‘Engineer of the Year’ last year.
Effect Photonics is the creator of the first Photonic System-on-a-Chip (SOC). As a forerunner in the field of Photonics, this spin-off of the TU/e has unique knowledge in-house. This startup and the technology can, among other things, contribute to a more economical and faster digital world.
A Philips spin-off purchased by Medtronic in 2014 for €150 million. The company investigated the treatment of diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease, using Deep Brain Stimulation.
A spin-off of the TU/e that makes fuel from biomass. This biodiesel, called CyclOx, is made from waste that remains in the production of paper and ethanol.
3D printing metal is something that enables you to make a good prototype faster and faster, to adapt your products faster and to eliminate the need for expensive templates. Additive Industries has proven to be very good at this in recent years and is now active in several countries in Europe and in the US. In addition, the startup with partners such as Airbus and Formula 1 team Sauber has built up a good international reputation. The office at Strijp-S has now been exchanged for more space at Strijp-TQ.
A Philips spin-off that unfortunately was declared bankrupt in 2017. Created products to improve care for both patients and nurses. For example, sensors for underneath the mattress to prevent patients from getting pressure sores and so that nurses know if someone is out of bed.
This Philips spin-off protects media from piracy by developing digital watermarks and fingerprints. The company’s three different departments have since been sold to Kantar Media, 4C Insights and Kudelski Group. This year, the startup won its second Emmy Award for technology.
This spin-off arose from a research collaboration between the TU/e and the Máxima Medical Centre. A plaster with sensors allows the contractions and baby to be monitored during childbirth, which not only makes childbirth safer but also reduces the medical follow-up costs.
Recently, in a new facility at Strijp-T, Flowid has been manufacturing small reactors for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. With these machines, the company makes it possible to produce small batches without large installations.
Photo: Patrick Meis