Apply by 23 March: Draper’s Silicon Spring Pitch Prize could put your startup in The Valley

(Editor’s note: This post about the upcoming Draper pitch event is part of our Tech Tuesdays series. We cover tech because so many of our highly skilled internationals are engineers and entrepreneurs.)

It’s time once again for startups in the Eindhoven ecosystem and beyond to throw down for a chance to go to The Valley for some of the most intense training available – Draper University’s Hero Training in San Mateo, Calif.

The pitch event 13 April at the Conference Center on High Tech Campus Eindhoven is a unique opportunity for software and smart hardware startups to win a golden ticket to the five-week Draper University Hero Training program in San Mateo. This ultimate Silicon Valley accelerator experience is designed to provide founders with the skills, mindset and network to take their ventures to the next level with unprecedented speed and impact.

Startups in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany are invited to submit their pitch decks and motivation (in English) via [email protected] until 23 March. The competition and all related communication are coordinated by Caroline Wilkinson at LUMO Labs. Any questions concerning the competition, criteria and/or the final event can be directed to her at [email protected].

Hero Training

The five-week Hero Training is not just about pitching your company, going to workshops and talking to investors. Entrepreneur Tim Draper and his organization have put together a comprehensive program where you learn how to be a leader or – perhaps more importantly – recognize the qualities of other good leaders.

All participants in the program took part in a five-day survival camp, where they were “off the grid.” They camped. They had $10 to spend on food for the week. NO PHONES.

So, yeah, it’s demanding … but building a billion-euro enterprise is not for the faint hearted.

Dispatches was at the first Draper event  in 2021.

We reached out to the latest group to go for comments:

Kinga Matuła, QurieGen:

“During the survival training camp, you can see how different people bond, how people manage their stress. You see people emerging as great leaders. It was an amazing time.”

• Theresa Voß, chunkx:

“Speaking with Tim Draper, one of Silicon Valley’s most successful investors, and getting valuable feedback on chunkx was incredible!”

Mark van de Vrede, Loop Robots:

“We were over the moon when we secured the ticket to join the Summer of 2021 cohort at Draper University. Spending five weeks at Draper University in downtown San Mateo, California was incredible!”

• Luis Oliveira, Aircision

“I highly recommend applying for the pitch event, as winning and participating in the Hero Training Program was an extremely positive professional and personal experience.”

Golden Ticket

Tuition and stay: Draper University Hero Training from 22 May thru 23 June. This five-week entrepreneurship program includes eight modules, numerous speaker sessions, workshops and team activities. The package includes flight costs, on-campus accommodation and co-working space in downtown San Mateo, California, USA. Value: $14.000. Offered by Draper University.

Experience: Immersive, once in a lifetime, new horizons, personal and professional growth, energy, sun. Value: priceless.

Network: Startup experts, founders and VC’s, new mentors and friends. Value: priceless.

HighTechXL alumnus Aircision, center, won a Golden Ticket last fall.

Pitching Finals
13 April 2023, 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
High Tech Campus Eindhoven
Submission deadline: 23 March 2023.

The competition

The jury will convene 24 March to evaluate and discuss the submissions and will select the six finalists for the live pitches. All applicants will be notified on 30 March whether or not they have been selected for the finals on 13 April.

The finals
The finals of Draper’s Silicon Spring Pitch Prize will take place on Thursday, 13 April in the presence of the jury at the High Tech Campus Conference Center.

Each of the six selected finalists is allowed two attendants, including one presenter, who will pitch on stage and one supporter who can contribute to the Q&A with the jury after the pitch. Each pitch can be no longer than five minutes. The maximum duration of the Q&A after each pitch is 10 minutes.

Two representatives of the Draper University will attend the event from San Mateo via live stream.

After the final pitch and Q&A, the jury will deliberate and will consult the Draper University representatives for additional input and insights.

The winner of Draper’s Silicon Spring Pitch Prize will be announced around 7:30 p.m.

The details

Draper’s Silicon Spring Pitch Prize competition is the result of a partnership between LUMO Labs, Draper University and LUMO Labs’ local ecosystem partners Microsoft, Robert Walters, The Gate, Oost NL, Braventure, Invest-NL and High Tech Campus Eindhoven. The partnership underlines Draper University’s commitment to connecting and supporting global innovation hubs as well as their emphasis on diversity and inclusivity concerning the program’s participants.

About Draper

Draper University was founded in 2012 by the legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper with a vision and belief that, to change the world, we have to change education. Through hands-on training, an innovative curriculum and thought leadership, Tim Draper brings together young entrepreneurs, startup founders, executives and investors all under one roof.

As avid supporters and promotors of the Eindhoven region’s distinctive ecosystem for software and smart hardware, High Tech Campus Eindhoven, LUMO Labs and local ecosystem partners join forces to create unique opportunities for impact-driven emerging tech startups to gain global exposure and traction.

𝗜𝗺𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝗱𝗮𝘁𝗲𝘀
23 March: application deadline
13 April: pitch finals
22 May -23 June: Draper University
Today: Think BIG!

All the details are here: 


See Dispatches’ coverage of past Draper pitch competitions here.

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Co-CEO of Dispatches Europe. A former military reporter, I'm a serial expat who has lived in France, Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands.

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