(Editor’s note: Dispatches Europe tracks the tech scene – startups, scale-ups and mature companies – in Eindhoven because so many of our highly skilled internationals are engineers, physicists and developers. This Eindhoven Business Briefing is part of our Tuesday Tech series.)
Suddenly, Eindhoven’s tech startup ecosystem is part of a global network. Extreme Tech Challenge Netherlands and Belgium is up and running and searching for startups in the tech-for-good space in the region. This global effort – the world’s largest pitch competition – is organized by a non-profit and is focused on solving humanity’s biggest problems. No pressure.
The kick-off event was 19 October at the AI Innovation Center on High Tech Campus Eindhoven, with HTCE-based venture builder LUMO Labs bringing everyone together. “Everyone” includes an all-star lineup including Eindhoven entrepreneur and professor Maarten Steinbuch, LUMO Labs co-founder Andy Lürling and two NXP executives.
“XTC’s initiative is grounded in the belief that a combination of innovation, entrepreneurship and investment can help solve the world’s most pressing challenges,” said XTC Executive Managing Director Victoria Slivkoff, who attended the event virtually from XTC’s Silicon Valley HQ of Palo Alto.
XTC executives believe this region has untapped potential, sending people out over the next weeks to accelerators and venture builders in the Netherlands and Belgium, talking to startups.
Since the inaugural event, HTCE’s other venture builder, HighTechXL, has also joined as a partner.
To show you the kind of influence XTC has, Lars Reger, NXP’s chief technology officer, came across High Tech Campus from the company’s headquarters to the debut event as a XTC board member. He held out the hand of cooperation as he represented one of the most important semiconductor companies in the world. (See below for more.)
In that role, Reger is in an elite company of the most influential tech executives in Eindhoven and Europe – the world, or that matter – along with NXP CEO Kurt Seviers and ASML CEO Peter Wennink. NXP Netherlands Managing Director Maurice Geraets was instrumental in forming a regional XTC chapter. He also attended the kick-off event.
So, what sort of startups is XTC looking for? The UN’s sustainable development goals are the framework for the effort, which seeks startups working in categories, including biotech, agtech, clean energy, fintech, advanced materials and mobility.
Legendary entrepreneur Maarten Steinbuch told the assembled it’s not just about the money … it’s about the network, connecting to people you wouldn’t normally interact with. And that’s what this is about … mentorship and global connections. And, of course, the global winner next year gets a pretty good monetary incentive. The startup with the winning pitch gets $1 million in investments, the second-place winner receives $250,000, and the third-place winner receives$100,000. XTC startups have raised, in aggregate, more than $1.8 billion from some of the world’s leading VC firms and investors.
Applications are open through 14 February, 2022. On 3 March, the finalists will be announced and on 24 March, the regional finals will be at High Tech Campus Eindhoven. Those finalists will go to a global bootcamp in April and May, with the global finals in June of next year.
XTC is supported by some of the biggest companies in the world including Fujitsu, Intel, Ford as well as local venture builders.
CTO Lars Reger says, ‘Come work with NXP’
Attendees at the Extreme Tech Challenge regional event got a surprise. The 40 or so people, including multiple startup teams, got to hear both the XTC pitch and a pitch from NXP CTO Lars Reger. And it was an enticing pitch … an invitation to collaborate directly with this global Eindhoven-based chipmaker, which makes computer chips for everything from Apple iPhones to German luxury cars … pretty much anything that needs microcircuitry.
NXP isn’t trying to act as a VC, Reger told the assembled. It’s that symbiotic relationship that helps NXP understand what sort of innovations startups are bringing to the market. The chipmaker “can only put stuff on the shelf. Hand it over to the startups and say, ‘If you need our help, call us. We are open. We invite you to play with NXP … you innovate and are the next Unicorn.”
In that ecosystem play, NXP needs to make sure it’s “a friendly, non-hostile enabling playground,” he added. “My job as CTO is to invite all of you to play.”
Working with startups also shows “we’re the coolest employer in the world.”
Reger said if a startup team called and needed a particular piece of technology, NXP could provide it including sensors to, for example, make sure the blades of drones don’t damage houses where they’re delivering packages.
Reger dated NXP’s collaboration back to when he joined in 2008 and found out the chipmaker only had cash on hand to make it another three months. “I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life.” The only way the company survived was opening up and going into the ecosystem and working with startups.
“All jokes aside … this ecosystem intelligence is what has boosted NXP big time over the past 10 years.” Need a trusted partner in electronics, NXP can help.
NXP reported about $9 billion in top-line revenue for 2020, with operations all over the world including a fab in Austin.
It’s kind of nice to have two of the foundational semiconductor companies in our little town!
High Tech Campus movie premier 9 November
There’s been so much going on around campus that we almost forgot what will be a major social event for our ecosystem. “Sustainable Campus,” a three-part documentary series, premiers 9 November at the HTCE Conference center.
This is a labor of love by Ingelou Stol, campus communications manager:
With my heart and soul I’ve created a new documentary series, together with my film buddy Vinal Hindocha and his team. About sustainability, which is about so much more than ‘green’. It is also about vitality, innovation and for me personally very important: diversity. In this three-part series I take you to High Tech Campus Eindhoven and show how this place wants to become the most sustainable Campus in Europe. And how we can use innovations and the input of people around us to make this happen.
16.00 hrs – Walk-in with drinks
16.30 hrs – Premiere of the documentary series, moderated by Boom Chicago
18.00 hrs – Drinks, bites and networking
19.00 hrs – Optional: GLOW
After the drinks and networking, the Eindhoven-famous light festival GLOW starts with a spectacular water show at the Campus.
Location: Auditorium, Conference Center, High Tech Campus
Important: For this event it’s mandatory to show a valid QR-code of the CoronaCheck app.
ASML No. 1 in Europe?
This is hard to get your head around … a company few people outside the semiconductor world, or even the Netherlands, have heard of is on course to become the most valuable company in Europe – and maybe the world – as early as next year.
CNBC has a post about ASML, projected to be the most valuable semiconductor company in the world ranked by market capitalization, going to a projected $500 billion from $300 billion for this year. That would make it far more valuable than all the consumer-facing companies in Europe people have actually heard of, including Volkswagen, Nestlé, Royal Dutch Shell and Novartis.
The CNBC posts notes that ASML is the only company in the world offering extreme ultraviolet lithography machines the big chip makers need to etch the smallest microcircuitry and the most sophisticated chips. And that makes ASML the most important company in the world as we shift to digitized economies and societies.
Nominate your female colleague for the InspiringFifty Deep Tech Awards
The conventional thinking used to be – may still be in some circles – that womenfolk weren’t meant to be in deep tech. Now, new initiatives are recognizing the women – the engineers, educators, physicists, entrepreneurs and businesswomen – who forged ahead and kicked in the doors.
Nominations are open for InspiringFifty Deep Tech Benelux+ Edition, recognizing women excelling in deep-tech careers as startup and scale-up founders, researchers, government policy wonks or contributing in any area. Get them on the list!
HighTechXL and Female Tech Heroes are sponsoring partners with InspiringFifty.
Nominations close 1 November! The big event recognizing the InspiringFifty Deep Tech is scheduled for 1 December.
AccelerateHER is the overall organizing entity in the Netherlands and in other countries for this global program.
CADChain introduces beta
We met Violetta Shishkina back in 2018 when she was starting CADChain at the Brightlands accelerator south of Eindhoven on the sprawling Chemalot complex just outside Maastricht. At the time, she had the outline of a business that would use blockchain to verify ownership of things like blueprints to keep industrial spies from stealing designs.
We check in with her every few weeks and she just keeps pushing the boulder up the hill. Now she has a beta product.
From her LinkedIn page:
We are happy to announce: FREE BETA TESTS STARTING FROM OCTOBER 14th, 2021! Join our #beta testing group and try our new groundbreaking blockchain solution for free. Visit borisinventor.com for more info. Become an early adopter and pilot the #BORIS solution before it becomes an industry game-changer. Joining the #Beta programme is free, and Beta programme participants benefit from installation and integration support from our tech team, as well as discounts on the first commercial version. Learn first hand how #BORIS can improve and accelerate your CAD data management with a working and fully integrated solution that you can play with and actually use.
• EMERGING TECH
It’s something that countries usually do when it’s too late … wonder how technology bit them in the ass. The Dutch government has a new study group dedicated to tracking and understanding the impact of emerging technologies, These technologies include the Metaverse, biometrics and digital identities.
• STELLA VITA SOLAR CAMPER ON CNN
This is where Eindhoven’s innovation begins … 22 students at the Eindhoven University of Technology created a solar-powered camper van with all the luxuries of home, then took it across Europe this summer without fueling up or recharging. CNN has all the details, including cool photos.
• EINDHOVEN AIRPORT PREPARES FOR ELECTRIC FLIGHTS
Eindhoven Airport is part of a group of Dutch Airports participating in Power Up research to study what electric aircraft will need in the near future. Eindhoven is part of the initiative along with Rotterdam the Hague Airport, Groningen Airport Eelde and Maastricht Aachen Airport. You can see details here.
See more here on Dispatches about Eindhoven’s tech scene.