Maurice Geraets, Lars Reger, NXP
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Dutch and Belgian impact-driven tech startups now have their own dedicated support community for the Extreme Tech Challenge, the world’s largest ecosystem and competition for purpose-driven technology. The contest is inspired by the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The introductions at the launch of the Challenge, Tuesday 19 October at the High Tech Campus Eindhoven AI Innovation Center, were all about the importance of the ecosystem. Maarten Steinbuch, distinguished professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology, stressed the need to connect. “Here in the Netherlands, we still have to learn to be ‘on top of things’, for example by visiting lots of events and joining competitions like the Extreme Tech Challenge. Not necessarily to win, but to connect. Connections bring us further. Unfortunately, many start-ups don’t see the usefulness and need for this. For example, if you visit a three-day congress, just one single spark of creativity is enough to make it worthwhile.”

Maarten Steinbuch

NXP‘s Lars Reger took Steinbuch’s words a step further. “Sure, we participate to help start-ups in their journies. But just as much as we are there for them, they can help us. It’s because of our strong trust in the power of the ecosystem, that both sides can win. Hopefully, this can help some of them to become the next unicorn. But honestly, we need these start-ups as well: they help us scan and scout the market, it’s this kind of ecosystem intelligence that has boosted us in recent years.”

Whether a start-up is about smart sensing, voice control, connected robots, or any other solution, NXP has something to offer, Reger said. “We invite them into our ecosystem, we partner with them and do what we can to make them accelerate.” This is only possible if you open up for each other, he added. “We’re in it to collaborate, not to acquire them. This also means that start-ups have to be brave enough to reach out to us. To be aware of their value and be open as well. In fact, not willing to share your knowledge is the recipe for failure.”

Global challenges

The Extreme Tech Challenge competition is supported by leading corporations, venture capital investors, foundations, policymakers, universities, and tech conferences. The competition gives a selection of start-ups the potential for global visibility, the opportunity to raise capital, the ability to network with global leaders, and access to mentorship to help them pioneer technological breakthroughs that address our global challenges. 

“The Extreme Tech Challenge inspires startups to dream big and be bold about the technology-driven impact” NXP’s Maurice Geraets added. “We have supported the Extreme Tech Challenge since the very beginning. We believe it gives investors, policymakers, and corporates like ourselves, a unique window to talent and the future. At the same time it gives impact-driven startups an opportunity to present themselves and get noticed on a global stage.”

LUMO Labs is the Extreme Tech Challenge regional partner for The Netherlands and Belgium and will be supporting and motivating regional applicants to compete at the regional finals in March 2022 and subsequently the global finals in June 2022. “LUMO Labs and the Extreme Tech Challenge both started from the belief that emerging tech holds the key to solving many of today’s global social challenges”, said LUMO Labs Founding Partner Andy Lürling. “It felt only natural to take it upon us to organize its activities in the Netherlands and Belgium. Over the next three months, we will be visiting several startup hubs in both countries, such as Mercator Launch in Nijmegen and Corda Campus in Hasselt, to inspire impact-driven tech startups based in this region to accelerate their global impact.”

Anfy Lurling