”Your sneak preview of the future” is the slogan of Innovation Origins, and that’s just what we will highlight with our Start-up of the Week column. Over the past few days, five start-ups of the day have been featured and on Saturday we will choose the week’s winner.
We shall consider various issues such as sustainability, developmental phase, practical application, simplicity, originality and to what extent they are in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of UNESCO. They will all pass by here and at the end of the week, the Start-Up of the Week will be announced.
Pana Nappy – Washable diaper service
Baby nappies are expensive, they’re dirty and polluting and are annoying. But at the same time they’re indispensable. And since hardly any parent wants to wash cotton nappies in their own washing machines anymore, there is usually nothing left to do but opt for disposable ones. Which all invariably end up in the rubbish bin. This is not particularly sustainable. Still, babies really do need them.
Barcelona-based start-up Pana Nappy takes a drastically different approach. Since babies are quite predictable in their bowel movements, a washable nappy service is a new alternative. How does it work? Parents are provided with reusable cotton diapers from this service that they don’t have to wash themselves. When the nappies have been used, the parents exchange them for a fresh bundle of clean ones. The dirty nappies are then professionally cleaned by the company. A dynamic recycling system of clean and dirty diapers is set up this way. This is more sustainable than disposable nappies and far more preferable to a washing machine full of soiled nappies.
Drebble – Digitalization with Drebble
What started out as a student company grew into a fully-fledged consultancy firm. What do they advise on? The very latest developments in the digitalization field. Many companies are eager to apply innovative technical features in their company. Yet often this turns out to be easier said than done. And because developments in this field happen so incredibly fast, you do actually always need the up-to-date expertise of an insider. Moreover, it can occasionally seem like scientists and companies speak completely different languages. Drebble plays a unifying role in this so that theory and practice align with each other.
What the young team chiefly provides is a link between the latest developments in science in the IT services area and the demands of the business community. The founders’ young ages are more of an advantage than a disadvantage in this respect. As a consequence, they know better than anyone else what all the possibilities are and what the future has in store for us.
Aquatic Drones – Super smart robotic boats
Aquatic Drones prove that a drone doesn’t necessarily have to fly. It will not come as a surprise to anyone what this Dutch start-up does exactly. With their automated nano-boats, they keep an eye on everything that happens above and below the water surface. Very practical in a watery land like The Netherlands.
Flying drones can pull off all kinds of tricks, but seeing underwater is a bit of a challenge for them. Nevertheless, there is plenty that can be measured underwater as well. For example, the boats can check for pollution or look for unexploded bombs from the Second World War. The company now works together with the Port of Rotterdam Authority and the Rijkswaterstaat (Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management). The boats are fully climate neutral and can take over all manner of work from soil and water inspectors. Fewer large boats go out on the water, which means less pollution. And irrespective of everything else, they just look very cool too.
Lapa – Losing things is a thing of the past
Looking for things that you have lost can be quite a time-consuming and frustrating activity. If only there was a way for you to always know where your things are. Like keys. mobile phones and wallets. You used to have key rings that made a sound when you whistled. The problem with these gadgets, however, was that they were either too sensitive, causing them to go off at any sound (such as music or during conversations) or they just didn’t work at all. This on-duty editor speaks from experience.
The Portuguese start-up Lapa has improved this idea. Their trackers work with Bluetooth, so you can always follow your bunch of keys, pet, child or whatever you don’t want to lose via your smartphone. Lost your mobile? Then you can just use the sensor in your wallet to find it again. Although Lapa can locate a lot, unlucky people who lose both their phone and keys at the same time are still up a creek without a paddle. So it is highly recommended that you only lose one item at a time. Alas, Lapa can’t work magic.
Fundsup – Investor tinder for entrepreneurs
Matching ambition with money to realize ambitions is a little bit like dating. Does the inventor’s idea match up with the investor’s funds? And how do you actually run into each other? There are quite a few fish in the sea of supply and demand. Now there is Fundsup to help investors and entrepreneurs to find the perfect match. A Dutch platform that aims to arrange matches in a way that is both convenient and accessible.
In fact, the supply and demand worlds are both extremely extensive where investments are concerned. The only problem is that they are not aware of each other’s existence. Sometimes there are dedicated events, but a good match there is basically not much more than a fluke. The Fundsupp app works with pitches from start-ups. Investors can see within a minute which projects are out there. It’s up to them to approach the ones that interest them.
Nevertheless, it is rather bizarre that online dating and investors have more in common than you would think at first. It is a pretty brilliant idea that benefits everyone involved. The start-ups can reach investors from all over the world with their pitch. And investors have access to a range of start-ups which they can browse through very quickly until they find that one specific start-up that is right up their alley. Hopefully plenty of wonderful relationships will blossom as a result, out of which the dreams of ambitious entrepreneurs will become reality. In any case, one dream has come true! Fundsup has won our splendid Start-up of the Week trophy.