Eindhoven Biz Briefing (updated): FasTrackathon V introduces tech from European Space Agency, TNO to aspiring CEOs, COOs & CTOs

(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])

It’s that time again … time to see what venture-building opportunities are up for grabs at the 17 March 2021 FasTrackathon. FasTrackathon is where HIghTechXL officially debuts its new technologies from the most advanced research labs, then begins the process of building teams of scientists, managers, business people and marketers around them.

This has been the process since 2018, and the result has been a cluster of fast-growing deep-tech startups including Incooling, Carbyon, AlphaBeats and inPhocal.

For this FasTrackathon, HighTechXL has technology from TNO, the acclaimed Eindhoven-based research lab, and European Space Agency, based in Paris. HighTechXL execs are still assessing other technologies and expect to add to the list for this cohort.

Here are the details so far:

Stimulated Depletion Emission Lithography from TNO

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.

European Space Agency’s additive manufacturing

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.

Ultra-thin printed temperature sensors from TNO

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.

Also, if you need more info about HighTechXL and FasTrackathon, sign up here for the 23 February info day.

• 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.

AlphaBeats makes it final pitching event for SXSW

If you’re not convinced you want to join FasTrackathon, a startup from a 2019 FasTrackathon cohort just made it to the final round of a pitching competition that has them on the verge taking center stage at one of the preeminent American tech events.

AlphaBeats, a healthtech startup based at High Tech Campus Eindhoven, is a finalist in the Wearables & Wellbeing category for the 11th annual SXSW Pitch. SXSW is the festival where music, tech and entrepreneurship meet, where people come to relax and find inspiration … the perfect venue for AlphaBeats technology, which reduces chronic stress.

Out of the more than 500 companies that applied to present at SXSW Pitch 2021, AlphaBeats was selected among the 40 finalists spanning eight separate categories. AlphaBeats will present along with four other companies in the Wearables & Wellbeing category on February 23.

AlphaBeats combines biofeedback technology with music to drastically reduce the effects of stress. With this, the startup fights the other global epidemic less visible than Covid-19, namely chronic stress. 

AlphaBeats has the sole, exclusive rights from Philips to use the electronics giant’s audio neurofeedback algorithm. That algorithm, combined with artificial intelligence, uses biofeedback signals to enhance the user’s favorite music. As you relax, music fidelity increases. 

You can read all about it here on the AlphaBeats website.

Marcel Boekhoorn adding Automotive Campus to portfolio

A group of investors, including High Tech Campus Eindhoven investor Marcel Boekhoorn, have agreed to take the Automotive Campus private. The tentative deal was struck in January, with the acquisition final as soon as June, according to Innovation Origins. The auto campus is owned by the regional Dutch government and the city of Helmond, so this promises to be a dramatic transition toward privatization. About 1,250 people, including 600 students, work on the campus, home to about 40 companies. Most of the companies are focused on advanced mobility solutions and sustainable transport.

Bouwbedrijf Van de Ven, a big construction firm based in Veghel between Eindhoven and ‘s-Hertogenbosch, is partnering with Boekhoorn’s Ramphastos Real Estate Investments. Boekhoorn bought High Tech Campus Eindhoven back in 2012 for 450 million euros, at the time the biggest real estate deal in Dutch history. Since then, High Tech Campus has grown from 175 companies to more than 235.

Summa College students looking for challenges

Speaking of the Automotive Campus, Summa College is building a new Summa Automotive building there scheduled to open this summer. Summa is a vocational college, but not like American vocational schools. This is a serious engineering program … and they want to work with you to help you solve your biz conundrums.

Dispatches has worked with Fontys students on two different projects and we came away dazzled. So, we don’t hesitate to recommend working with Summa students.

From a release we got from Eindhoven econ-dev officials:

We are proud that we can offer you motivated students who are used to presenting, are quick to learn and thoroughly enjoy being challenged.
The students follow lessons in business-related subjects and they also study a second foreign language, either German or Spanish to further their communication skills. We would love to collaborate with companies that can help us shape the future of education for the next generation of business leaders. Fresh eyes always bring new ideas to the table. As a school, we like to offer our students up-to-date business cases to work on. Could you help us with some new cases for our students to get their teeth into?

Contact Danya Leijten at [email protected] or on at country code 31 6 43046589.

Eindhoven train station area could get radical upgrade

Eindhoven officials are debating a tunnel under the Central Train Station, which would intensify development of the Fellenoord area around the station. The idea is to make Eindhoven more like Utrecht and Rotterdam stations, with underground platforms and bus stations instead of elevated tracks and a massive bus area. The price tag? At least 500 million euros. Eindhoven Alderman Yasin Torunoglu says the negatives, including cost, might outweigh the positives.

Related to the redevelopment of the station area – or not, who knows – is news about Dutch Mountains, something we’ve been reading about and writing about for years. This huge wood structure was originally proposed for Veldhoven, but photolithography giant ASML acquired the property for expansion.

Now this two-tower complex is proposed on a property a few hundred meters east of the train station on the edge of the Technical University of Eindhoven campus, according to Eindhovens Dagblad. We have to say Eindhoven is a place where people like to dream big. If half this stuff comes to fruition, it will reinvent this town.

Usono teams up with Acertara webshop to enter North America

Victor Donker circa 2016 (Photo by Terry Boyd)

Eindhoven-based Usono has signed a deal with U.S.- based ultrasound specialty firm Acertara Labs in the tech center of Longmont, Colo., to host ultrasound probe stabilizers on Acertera’s ecommerce platform. Usono’s portfolio products – ProbeFix, ProbeFix Dynamic and ProbeFix Dynamic T – provide stable attachment of an ultrasound probe, facilitating hands-off, dynamic and continuous ultrasound measurement. Usono products are already available through Acetara’s new platform, which aims to become the “Amazon of ultrasound.”

Everyone involved in predictably excited.

“We are absolutely delighted to be partnering with Acertara as we expand overseas. We’ve been in touch with Acertara for years already about the future of ultrasound and potential collaborations,” said Victor Donker,
Usono CEO. “They’re well known in R&D and B2B ultrasound industry and a trusted partner to take us into the North America market.”

“We are very excited to be working with such a progressive and technically adept company as Usono, which has demonstrated itself over the course of five years in business to be a highly successful company,” said G. Wayne Moore, CEO of Acertara. “Together we plan to aggressively expand the Usono offering in North America, bringing the best new products and cost savings to Acertara’s rapidly growing clinical customer base.”

Acertara is also distributor of another Usono partner, Telemed. Telemed is a Lithuanian developer of ultrasound systems used by researchers. Usono made a custom ProbeFix Dynamic for Amsterdam UMC specifically for one of the Telemed probes. This custom version is now sold to multiple customers worldwide.

Usono also is in ongoing negotiations with future partners who represent some of the largest medical equipment manufacturers in the world.

We met Victor and his Usono team, Benjamin Tchang and Jori Verbeek, all the way back in 2015 when they were part of the first HighTechXL cohort. We pegged them then as having the grit to tough it out. So let’s see what happens next.

Philips’ healthcare campus in Best (Photo by Terry Boyd)

Quick hit:

Philips is selling its domestic appliances biz, which generated 2.3 billion euros in 2019 revenue with its hugely successful Airfryer, coffee makers and other consumer products.

But Philips CEO Frans van Houten told Reuters, “This business is not a strategic fit for our future as a health technology leader.” Which makes sense. We toured the amazing healthcare campus just outside Eindhoven in 2019, so we get why van Houten thinks revolutizing medical treatments is the future.

Philips used to be based in Eindhoven, but moved to Amsterdam back in 1997, but left its Benelux R&D headquarters here at High Tech Campus Eindhoven.

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