Breakfast with… Cute, a breakfast section with someone who has something exciting or special this week. Only with these two gentlemen, this is a quick one. Bert-Jan: “I tend to forget breakfast.” Hans: “Sometimes a cracker with cheese.”

Bert-Jan Woertman commercial director TU/e Campus

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Hans Meeske general director Holland Innovative

Ontbijt two black coffee

This week we celebrate the special second-anniversary edition of ‘their’ Drinks, Pitches & Demos

Hans and Bert-Jan are both not the type to do very complicated things. Drinks, Pitches & Demos is just what it is. A super informal way to meet people and stay abreast of high-tech developments in Eindhoven. Every first Wednesday of the month the two open the doors of HighTechXL Plaza. You can register in advance but if you don’t, you’re equally welcome.

This Wednesday they celebrate the biennial.

That location, HighTechXL Plaza on the High Tech Campus, was the reason for the first Drinks, Pitches & Demos two years ago. Hans: “This building was a construction site when we moved into it. Together with Bert-Jan (then still Director of Marketing and Communication at the Campus), we were looking for a place where startups could grow. There was already a nice startup accelerator generator program of three months (HighTechXL), what was still needed was good housing for after that.

Bert-Jan Woertman

The old Philips building was renovated with minimal resources. The two themselves, together with the startups, also started painting. Bert-Jan: “One Monday afternoon I was guiding a delegation of D66 on a tour, only to find Hans with his drilling machine.”

Hans: “At some point it started to go well. The first tenant was there (Smart Robotics), we only missed some liveliness. The idea: a monthly high-tech meeting place. People with a problem, idea or question who would briefly pitch it. The audience reacts and thinks along. In two years’ time, graduates were helped with assignments, startups to that one crucial lead, an entrepreneur to the right investor and even an expat to a startup visa.”

The event is popular. For people from the core of the Eindhoven tech scene, but also the shell around it. From students without a LinkedIn profile to pensioners with a beautiful network. But also people who are stuck in their job and get new ideas.

The initial thought of both men is that sometimes you have to do something without a direct goal. Bert-Jan: “We want to set things in motion, moving forward at full speed. Bringing people into contact with each other and getting good ideas off the ground.” Hans: “We don’t think so much about borders or limitations.”

Drinks, Pitches & Demos is actually the platform that Hans and Bert-Jan themselves missed. Hans: “We are often approached by people to see if we can bring them into contact with the right people. We like to do that, only you can’t drink coffee all day long.” Bert-Jan: “I usually know after five minutes to whom I can best associate someone. So when people need an introduction, we always invite them to Drinks, Pitches & Demos. Then they make five valuable contacts in one go. And it is gezellig as well!”

Drinks, Pitches & Demos is every first Wednesday of the month.

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Author profile picture Renske Mehra is a writer. She makes understandable and interesting stories about difficult subjects.