(Editor’s note: This Eindhoven Business Briefing dedicated to big events part of our Tech Tuesday series. Dispatches Europe tracks the tech scene – startups, scale-ups and mature companies – in our headquarters city of Eindhoven because so many of our highly skilled internationals are engineers, physicists and developers.)
We’ve reached the mid-point of 2022 and before we all go on summer break, there are tech events you won’t want to miss. Yes, there are always pitching events and startup conferences, including last week’s Fe+male Tech Heroes, which drew more than 500 registration for the High Tech Campus Conference Center event. (We were there and it was a great day of workshops, networking and talks.)
But there’s more to it than that. The whole dynamic of Eindhoven’s startup ecosystem has changed with the addition of DeepTechXL, a 100 million euro fund created by Guus Frericks, founder of HighTechXL. And there’s nothing that focuses startup teams like another source of early-stage funding.
In 2022, this is a completely different ecosystem than when the Dispatches team first arrived in Eindhoven in 2015. The biggest change is that business leaders, corporations and the economic development firms are now all in with funding, technical support and mentors. If you have never been to a tech gathering, these events are where you get plugged into a inspiring world of innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit.
5G Hub Innovation Challenge Final Round
We’re putting this at the top because the final pitch competition for 2022 is 29 June. This year, the 5G Hub at High Tech Campus Eindhoven has created the Sustainability Edition, and it will award startups and scale-ups with a tailor-made co-creation program and the chance to work with some of the biggest communications companies in the world.
So far, six teams have made it to the finals.
Eindhoven’s tech ecosystem is nothing if not inclusive. With Fe+male Tech Heroes, women in tech from engineers to physicists to managers now have an event that connects them to the larger community, which of course includes men who get it. Then there’s the Expat Spouses Initiative that’s putting trailing spouses to work, mostly in tech.
HighTechXL is upping the ante with HighTechXX (XX is a nod to the female XX chromosome), a three-day program on 6 July, 7 July and 15 July. This program is for exclusively for women who want to become startup co-founders.
The program includes workshops about creativity, opportunity mapping, storytelling and pitching as well as a working case to focus on. You’ll have plenty of time to ask everything you wanted to know about becoming a co-founder of a deep-tech venture.
A ticket for the three-day program is 30 euros. This one is likely to sell out (as noted above, the recent Fe+male Tech Heroes event drew hundreds of women to the High Tech Campus Conference Center), so submit your application today and support the mission to increase diversity and inclusion in the deep-tech world.
The HighTechXX program finishes at a cool event, XL Day (below), where you’ll see all the elements of the HighTechXX program put into practice. You’re invited to watch startups pitch on stage and network after the pitches during a special “Casting Day.”
XL Day is 15 July from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., the first live, wide-open XL Day in three years. This is a chance to meet teams from deep-tech ventures in the HighTechXL program as well as an alumni team or two. The event starts with brief pitches from five new HighTechXL teams. But they won’t be so much pitching for investment as for mentors, advisors, partners and new team members as they’re still in the early stages of the venture-building process.
So, the second half of XL Day will be about you – a special “Casting Day,” where teams will network with attendees.
XL Day will be – like all these events in this EBB – in the Conference Center of High Tech Campus.
LUMO Labs: Draper’s Silicon Fall Pitch Prize
It’s too late to sign up to pitch, but you can still come to this event at the conference center on 5 July. We were at the first event and were dazzled by some of the pitches. And we guarantee you’ll see some good presentations because this is for real … winners get a golden ticket to the five-week Draper University Hero Training program in San Mateo outside San Francisco, and inside Silicon Valley.
You can register here for a limited number of audience seats. The event is free.
Will the Netherlands turn away international student talent?
Eindhoven can only maintain the current pace of innovation as long as highly skilled internationals keep coming to get world-class educations here, then go to work at Eindhoven’s global tech companies. But the left side of the equation is in question. The Netherlands is starting to turn away – or at least discourage – international students from coming.
This is more about a housing crisis than about politics.
The Netherlands is more than 26,000 student rooms short, according to a Dutch News post, and the housing shortage is nationwide. But it’s more than that. As our daughter Lale, a student at Maastricht University points out, there are some rooms and apartments available, but rents start at 800 euros or 900 euros per month for not great places. As a result, officials at Maastricht, Utrecht and Groningen’s HBO college are advising students to stay home unless they already have secured housing.
Lale’s story is pretty typical – she qualified for different programs in Rotterdam or Amsterdam but decided to stay in Maastricht solely because she has an apartment and doesn’t want to give it up.
This isn’t anecdotal. As you can see in the above post from a professional Facebook group, this is going to cut the flow of talent from the European Union, Asia and, well, everywhere.
In 2006, there were 31,500 international students enrolled in the Netherlands. By 2020, this figure had more than tripled to 104,000, according to Statista. That trend line is not reversing. One of our daughter’s professors was so shocked to see 40-plus foreign students in his class on the first day that he blurted out, “Where did you all come from?!”
– Terry Boyd
One word … ‘photonics’
Speaking of keeping the innovation going, Eindhoven’s photonics companies are going global at least in part in the pursuit of talent. Earlier this month, EFFECT Photonics opened a Boston office as a foothold in the American market after a major deal with a large American satellite tech company.
Lightwave magazine has a post that includes EFFECT Photonics CEO James Regan stating the Boston area provides “an ideal fit” because it provides access to Boston’s massive tech ecosystem, to engineering talent at MIT and access to capital.
The Boston beachhead comes after EFFECT Photonics acquired a technology division from publicly traded ViaSat, based in San Diego, this past March. The acquisition includes coherent optical digital signal processing, or DSP, the laser-based technology that enables the long-distance transmission of massive data streams across high-bandwidth fiber optics. In other words, this is an important piece of next-gen 5G communications networks. This deal in and of itself is kind of amazing considering ViaSat, which trades on the NASDAQ exchange, reported $2.3 billion in revenue for FY 2021.
Anyway, EFFECT Photonics now can provide customers with the whole shootin’ match, starting with photonics chips and ending with data transmission capabilities.
At the same time as the Viasat acquisition, EFFECT Photonics raised $20 million in Series-C funding, bringing their total raised to $63 million, according to the company’s website.
• Bart Brouwers and Innovation Origins are introducing a new facts-only brand.
From their newsletter:
“Are we going to make the news boring again?” a colleague wanted to know. Yes, we are. But hopefully in such a way that you will never want your news to be anything else again. A small detail: we are starting our rollout in the U.S., the country where polarization is still a few steps further ‘advanced’ than in our European world.
• A Philips spin off is opening a factory in Eindhoven. The Elstar Dynamics factory will make a high-tech ink used in adjusting light in smart windows.
• Airport labor shortages in the Netherlands, including at Eindhoven Airport, aren’t the only travel challenges. Labor shortages are cutting train service.