- Founders: Niels Postma
- Founded in: 2019
- Employees: 2-10
- Money raised: -
- Ultimate goal: Offering solutions to connect people with brands by incorporating and programming innovative chips into everyday things (paper, packaging and products) as a way to create the Internet of Everything.
Programming paper so it can be a part of the Internet of Things. Tapp.online makes paper intelligent. Niels Postma, founder of Tapp.online, talks to us about it.
How does Tapp.online work?
“We make paper to be intelligent. Where it was initially an analogue thing, we have made it interactive. We have hidden three elements in the paper: a sensor, a battery and an NFC chip. When you hold your phone up to it, the chip converts the data from the sensor, and allows the user to read that data. You don’t need an app to put on your phone. Just one ‘tapp’ is enough to transfer the information from the paper to your phone.”
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“We think paper is a great alternative raw material compared to plastic or metal because it can be readily recycled. There is an enormous amount of electronic waste in our world, of which just ten percent is recycled. And that, while ninety percent of paper is recycled. So it is a wonderful raw material for a circular economy, but it lacks an interactive layer. And that’s what we’re adding to it.”
Where did the idea come from?
“When I graduated from law school I was faced with a choice – do I become a lawyer or do I go into business? It became the latter. Via via I ended up in a printing company. But I didn’t know anything, I didn’t even know what the difference between a press and a printer was. And so I looked at paper with a completely different view than my colleagues. I saw it as a means to make a connection between brand and customer, for example. And I thought: everything around us is becoming smart. A car, a lamp, a coffee machine, you name it. But why not paper? I wanted to use it as a carrier for intelligence instead of a whole bunch of plastic products.”
What are you proud of?
“That was the first time we went to a big tech show, the CES, in Las Vegas. We had entered a competition run by the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce in which nine hundred companies participated, and we came out as one of the three winners. The main prize was a market stand at the largest innovation trade fair in America. We received very high praise there.”
What were some of the challenges?
“After that trade fair, everything got canceled because of the global pandemic. Really everything. And then you’re a start-up and you have nothing to do. That was really nerve-wracking.”
What are your plans for the future?
“In the future, we want to start using even more different technologies to use paper in a smart way. For example, we are now working on inserting a chip between paper that no longer needs power. Those are lengthy processes and we’re not there yet. But in the meantime, our goal remains the same – to use paper as a carrier of intelligence because we think it will really make the planet a lot better.”
Would you like to read more about innovative start-ups? Find our previous instalments here.