News & Buzz

Eindhoven Business Briefing: Amber gets 500,000 euros, commitment for A-round and much more news

(Editor’s note: We’re waiting on information from several different deals. This post will be updated as we talk with the various Eindhoven players.)

It’s not too often we get to post breaking news since we’re covering startups and international talent in all of Europe. But our home base of Eindhoven just keeps conquering the world.

AMBER 1

The big news today is that Eindhoven-based self-driving car startup Amber just scored 500,000 euros to close their seed funding from a mix of Dutch subsidies and a private investment from a Netherlands-based investor.

In addition, Jan Scholt, founder of Scholt Energy Control, has agreed to become the lead investor in Amber’s Series-A round.

This latest funding commitment puts Amber firmly on the road for an A round early next year, said Kate Brunton, chief marketing officer at Amber. Brunton estimated that round could raise between 3 million and 10 million euros.

Scholt is a an avid supporter of innovation in companies, according to an Amber news release. In the release, Scholt states he was convinced to make the investment during his first meeting with Amber CEO Steven Nelemans.

From the release:

“Amber is addressing a gap in the market that has the potential to become really big,” explains Scholt. “I hope that I can help them not only with funding but also with my experience in building up a company.”

Scholt Energy Company, based in Valkenswaard outside Eindhoven, supplies products and services for the business energy market in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. That includes a brokerage selling energy to companies from sustainable producers.

Amber is a next-generation car-sharing platform that uses an intelligent app and modified BMW i3’s to drastically reduce the number of cars needed to service a given number of clients. But the goal is to produce a self-driving car durable enough to be shared by thousands of users in a car-sharing concept.

Earlier this year, we interviewed Amber team members during Open Doors Day at High Tech Campus Eindhoven, where Amber is based:

The goal is to build an “OV car,” a reference to OV bike, the bike-sharing service in the Netherlands run by the Dutch train system, a self-driving car that’s durable enough to be shared constantly for years by different users without breaking down.

“No bus company would buy a bus that breaks down at 250,000 kilometers,” said Job Nijenhuis, one of the crew doing the demos.

Nijenhuis said Amber’s goal is to create a transportation option that gives people “the freedom of owning a car without having to own a car. We don’t think owning cars is the future. We think sharing cars is the future.”

With the new funding and future rounds, Brunton said, Amber is poised to claim a large share of the Dutch self-driving market and a substantial share of the international market.

Hugsy wins Red Dot Design Award, begins Kickstarter campaign

Hugsy, which has created a swaddling production for preemies based on baby/parent bonding, has just won a Red Dot Design Award, a top award in product design. The Essen, Germany-based Red Dot has conducted product design competitions since 1954. Its award is an internationally recognized mark of innovation.

The Hugsy team wins the award just as they’re about to launch their first baby bonding products on Kickstarter Thursday, 2 November. You can support that Kickstarter effort here on the Hugsy website landing page.

Hugsy is introducing new types of baby care products that support Kangaroo Care and prolong a parent’s nearness after a baby or toddler is back in the crib. The Hugsy Pouch, Heartbeat and Cuddle provide both babies and toddlers with their parent’s familiar scent and soothing heartbeat, which reduces stress, enhances sleep quality and improves parent-child bonding.

“Winning a Red Dot is amazing for an early stage startup like we are to get the word out,” stated Sylvie Claes, CEO and designer of Hugsy, in a news release. “After raising a first seed round of $200,000, we worked very hard to make the Hugsy Pouch and Heartbeat production ready.”

Hugsy just added a new product, Cuddle, for older babies and toddlers.

ANIQUE SOETERMEER, DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE AND PARTER RELATIONS AT HIGHTECHXL WITH EXECUTIVES FROM TUSPARK

HighTechXL signs memorandum of agreement with Beijing research park

HighTechXL and TusPark in Beijing just signed a Memorandum of Understanding here in Eindhoven this week to build a new startup ecosystem and create a regional innovation center.

TusPark is the largest stand-alone university science and research park in the world, with office buildings totaling about 10 million square feet of space. More than 1,500 companies are located at the research park.

HighTechXL is the Netherlands’ leading high-tech hardware accelerator, headquartered at High Tech Campus Eindhoven. HighTechXL also runs intrapreneurship programs for some of Europe’s largest corporations.

We just got the photos from the signing, and we don’t have the agreement details. We do know HighTechXL CEO Guus Frericks has been making regular trips to China.

More as we know more.

Computable Awards name BitSensor Startup of Year

BitSensor, the application security startup based at Eindhoven Technical University, was named “Startup of the Year” at the Computable Awards last night in Utrecht.

The Computable Awards recognize the Netherlands’ top companies, projects, and individuals who have distinguished themselves in the past year in ICT. Computable Awards winners are chosen by both an independent jury and by the polling of thousands of readers of Computable magazine.

BitSensor crushed the competition, getting 11 percent of the jury vote and a whopping 38 percent of the public vote to top nine other startups in the category for an aggregate 24 percent. The No. 2 startup got 21 percent of the jury vote, but only 7 .6 percent of the public vote for an aggregate 14.4 percent.

We included this just so you could see the fly matching tuxes co-founders Alex Dings and Reuben Van Vreeland wore to accept the awards. You can see them here on E52.

BitSensor provides continuous web application protection by instrumenting the application from the inside with a single line of added code, providing insights that are accurate at the code level, according to their website.

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