Start-ups have always had a hard time, but especially at a time when half the economy is in danger of collapsing, these starting companies have an extra burden on their situation: often not even a working business model, let alone any revenue. And most of the supporting schemes that are now coming into the picture from the government are not meant for them. It enticed Brainport Development Director Paul van Nunen to his call “not to forget this group of entrepreneurs”.
But there is actual support on the way. Precisely in these turbulent times in which COVID-19 dominates the news, the Eindhoven-based LUMO Labs today announces LUMO Fund II. LUMO Fund II is an investment fund of € 20 million for innovative software start-ups. The fund not only provides financial support to selected start-ups but also offers each start-up a two-year mentoring program at its office at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven. LUMO Labs says that with the investments, in addition to financial return, it also wants to achieve a sustainable social impact. Prerequisite for participation is that a start-up has a positive effect on at least one of the three chosen Sustainable Development Goals (Cities & Communities, Health & Welfare and Education).
“Of course, we have consulted internally whether this is the right time for the announcement”, says co-founder Andy Lürling. “However, we quickly came to the conclusion that it is now that it is important that we continue to invest. The current circumstances show several challenges where innovative start-ups can contribute to fast, but sustainable solutions”.
LUMO Labs expects to invest in around 15 start-ups over the next three years. Within LUMO Labs, each start-up is intensively supervised by a team of experienced entrepreneurs over a period of 24 months. Co-founder Sven Bakkes: “Based on our experience of the past years we have developed the LUMO program. We explicitly look at the needs of each individual start-up. Depending on these needs, we select a number of focus points each quarter, to which we give extra attention and challenge the entrepreneurs”. Previous successful start-ups from the LUMO program are VRee and Pillow’s Willow VR Studios.
One of the other spearheads of LUMO Labs is to stimulate synergy between the start-ups. “Looking at the technologies we invest in – think of the whole range between Artificial Intelligence, Data, Robotics, Internet of Things, VR/AR/MR and Blockchain – we foresee that precisely a combination of these technologies will lead to solutions that society is looking for and the market is asking for”, says Lürling.
Bakkes and Lürling expect to reach the final closing of the LUMO Fund II at the end of this year.