EBB: D66 leader Rob Jetten says Dutch innovators ‘can learn a lot from Eindhoven’

(Editor’s noteWe created the Eindhoven Business Briefing as part of our Tech Tuesday series because we had more news in our headquarters city – which has a huge expat population – than we could possibly post. The future really is being invented here at FasTrackathon and other venture builders. Send your news to: [email protected])

Eindhoven has a friend in Den Haag. Representative Rob Jetten visited High Tech Campus Eindhoven on Friday, 29 January during a tour of innovation centers.

Jetten, D66 party leader in the lower house of the Dutch Parliament, stopped in at HighTechXL and got detailed briefings on emerging technology from Innoflex CEO Kevin Lagarde, HighTechXL CEO John Bell and Rudie Verweij, CEO of Incooling.

D66 Party Leader Rob Jetten, second from left, with John Bell far left, and Incooling team members Helena Samodurova and Rudie Verweij. (Photo by Terry Boyd for Dispatches)

With the Netherlands in the middle of an election, it took awhile to get Party Leader Jetten for an interview, but we were able to get a phoner with him on 18 February.

“I was born and raised in Brabant, so I know a little bit about High Tech Campus,” Jetten said, adding that he wasn’t that familiar with HighTechXL. “I have to say I was pretty impressed with the HighTechXL initiative.” HighTechXL is a venture builder, building teams around advanced technology developed by CERN, Philips, the European Space Agency, TNO and independent research facilities.

The Netherlands has a lot of university talent and it also attracts talent from around the world, Jetten noted. What had been lacking was a mechanism to support young people who want to go from having an innovative idea to creating a business model, he said.

Jetten identified three ways to boost innovation:

• Officials provide sufficient public funding to enable Dutch businesses to become more innovative “but (the government) is always looking for a return on investment,” he said. Generally seven percent. But that means the government is missing out on the opportunity – though it’s riskier – to invest in the companies of the future.

• Dutch policy should encourage the big pension funds “to be a bit more willing to take more risk” as they invest their billions.

• The Netherlands should have tax policies that incentivize individual investors to invest in startups, scaleups and SMEs: “I think it’s a missed opportunities for the Netherlands.”

Jetten said he also visited the Automotive Campus in Helmond where he talked with Lightyear executives. The solar car company, which came out of Technical University of Eindhoven’s world-beating solar car team, had to go to the United States to get funding, he noted. “What you see is, the American investors ask them, ‘Well, will your next factory be in the Netherlands or in the U.S.?’ We need to keep that in mind.”

It’s important to advance innovation and encourage startups, he said. But Jetten added that it’s crucial for scale-ups and manufacturing to remain in the Netherlands: “The Dutch government and big funds should look at the issue from that perspective.”

Jetten promised to follow Innoflex and Incooling closely because both solve big societal issues – Innoflex cuts pollution by removing nitrous oxide from the atmosphere, and Incooling’s CPU and GPU cooling technology helps reduce power usage at server farms and boosts computing performance.

Jetten said he also visited Foodvalley in Wageningen, the agritech center around Wageningen University & Research. “They have a startup initiative as well, but I told them to go to Eindhoven to visit HighTechXL because I think they can learn from you guys.”

Speaking of HighTechXL and government officials, John Bell has been getting a lot of publicity here. Read about his efforts here in Innovation Origins to bring on board Eindhoven city leadership.

HighTechXL reveals all six technologies coming to FasTrackathon on 17 March

Making deals for new tech takes time, and HighTechXL’s tech scouting team just confirmed the last of the six technologies coming to FasTrackathon on 17 March.

At this virtual event, talents from across Europe will come together to assess the technology, then form teams. So this is for you, aspiring CEOs, CTOs and CFOs.

Here are the details on the new technologies:


Scientists at CERN developed the coaxial pulse conditioner technology to generate extremely precise (nanosecond scale) electrical pulses at high voltage (more than 10,000 V) and high currents (up to 5,000 amperes).
One of the key benefits of this technology is its ability to generate extremely repeatable pulses, down to only a few volts of accuracy for a pulse of more than 10,000 V.  High-power nanosecond-scale pulses have multiple applications including control of radiations in medical imaging and treatment, generating clean energy and providing clean air and water.

Learn more here on the CERN website.


Philips researchers have developed a unique, miniature, fiber-optics-based microscope which provides a wide field of view of approximately 200 microns with sub-micron accuracy. The microscope fits in a probe smaller than three millimeters in diameter and four centimeters long. The technology supports advanced imaging techniques such as reflectance, fluorescence, 2-photon Raman spectroscopy and 3D-computed tomography.
Potential application areas include biomedical and pharmaceutical fields for cancer diagnosis, development of new medicines and in-vivo inspection. The technology is covered by 11 patents.


Philips is opening its extensive portfolio of knowledge and intellectual property on electro-active polymers to explore cool, new applications for this emerging technology. Electro-active polymers change when stimulated with electricity. When electrical current is applied, it is possible to induce a small deformation of a very thin polymer layer. Since the principle is reversible, it’s also possible to apply this technology to design sensors reacting to pressure, temperature and mechanical deformation.

Potential applications include medical wearables and implantable devices, such as sleep monitoring, Haptic feedback, sensors and actuators for sports, motion capture and “Smart” clothing, wellness.


This novel, maskless lithography technology could revolutionize the semiconductor industry. STED makes it possible to print 3D structures in polymer resins with nanometer resolution. TNO has sped up what used to be a very slow process without losing resolution.

Potential applications include maskless lithography and extremely precise 3D printing of optical structures for optical instruments and photonics chips.


ESA has developed an additive manufacturing solution to circumvent the limitations of traditional metallic powder-based approaches in a zero-gravity environment. 

Powder-based solutions require an inert atmosphere chamber and inefficient energy sources such as lasers or e-beams, making them unsuitable for use outside of a very controlled manufacturing environment. 

ESA combines conventional light-based heating with a wire feed, enabling a compact and low-complexity approach to manufacturing preforms of parts on demand. This makes the system lightweight and easy to transport and operate in the field with minimum pre-requisites.

This invention could also open the door to new applications of additive manufacturing for bigger or more complex parts using a variety of materials.


TNO Holst Centre gives new form factors and design freedom to electronics through ultra-thin printed temperature sensors.  

Potential applications are broad and include:

  • Industrial and automotive
  • Mobile Communication Devices
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Household Appliance
  • Heating & Air Conditioning

FasTrackathon teams will enter HighTechXL’s nine-month venture building program and start the intensive process of creating business plans and testing. This is your chance to become part of one of the most aggressive deep-tech efforts in the world. Just sayin’.

The event is free and you can register here.

HighTechXL’s approach has been getting a lot of pub lately, with big companies and local government increasingly signing on. You can see Innovation Origin’s latest post here.

European Commission invests €800k in Serendipity

The European Commission is investing 800,000 euros in Eindhoven-based Serendipity’s Digital Toolbox. The toolbox helps cities and regions connect and monitor infrastructure and services.

From Serendipity:

The Digital Toolbox is basically a portal/website, a marketplace for the customers and tech suppliers similar to Amazon or but where customers can buy services. In this case, the customer is the city/campus/other institution, and products are the digital services provided by tech suppliers such as Verses, iSmrt, Nalantis, Microsoft and Airpmap.

To participate, both customer and tech supplier need to be registered on a portal. The Digital Toolbox is a non-coding online platform and marketplace which helps cities to easily integrate within their local infrastructure and develop next-generation services.

Serendipity is part of Flying Forward 2020. FF2020 is a European consortium to assist the acceleration of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) development. The consortium includes Brainport Development, Maastricht University, Serendipity and Nalantis with supporting partners such as AirMap, LUMO Labs, Eindhoven City, Microsoft, Nokia Unifly, SKYCORP and City of Oulu.

Serendipity is headquartered in Eindhoven at Strijp-S.

FruitPunch AI’s 15 March Hackathon will hack mental health

As the world battles COVID-19, we’re seeing a global rise in mental health issues. FruitPunch AI is organising Hacking Mental Health, a hackathon where participants analyze a series of public health datasets and formulate new public health policies.

The objective is to create new insights into how the COVID-19 measures can be changed to decrease mental health problems.

When & where:
Monday 15 March 2021, 9:00 – 18:00
Remo digital conferencing platform!

You can register here.

Participants will pitch their solutions to Hacking Mental Health at The Brainstorms Scientific GmbH Festival (17-18 March) and get feedback from neuro & data science experts from around the world.

The hackathon is in collaboration with Data Science Association Pattern Eindhoven University of Technology , IBM and CZ.

FruitPunch AI is an artificial intelligence talent forge, part of LUMO Labs at High Tech Campus.

Quick hit:

The BeerPort team.

Okay, you can talk about your deep-tech and your disruptive tech. But here’s something that will improve all our lives.

TU/e students have come up with BierPort, automated beer dispenser technology meant to reduce the time we spend waiting in line for a cold one at crowded clubs (remember those?) and our favorite watering holes, according to Innovation Origins.

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