Business

Eindhoven Business Briefing: Incooling team pitches their way to The Valley in XTC competition

(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 developersThe Eindhoven Business Briefing featuring Incooling is part of our Tech Tuesday series.)

And the winner is … Eindhoven’s deep-tech startup ecosystem. Eindhoven-based Incooling took home the gold in the first Extreme Tech Challenge Netherlands & Belgium regional finals competition, one of three Dutch startups on the way to global finals in Silicon Valley. And just typing that brings us joy because XTC is the world’s largest pitch competition for startups addressing the world’s most serious challenges.

A total of 53 startups applied just for this regional competition. That number narrowed down to 10 teams that pitched in the live/virtual juried competition for a regional prize of 20,000 euros and a chance to go on to San Francisco in June for the global XTC finals. For 2022, Extreme Tech Challenge’s finals will have 100 startups coming from regional challenges and from open applications, said Victoria Slivkoff, XTC executive managing director.

From left, Victoria Slivkoff, Heléna Samodurova and Rudie Verweij (Photo by Terry Boyd for Dispatches Europe)

The winner was Incooling, a startup created at venture builder HighTechXL in 2018. Incooling technology – based on a combination of CERN cooling technology and proprietary development – uses two-phase physics, liquid going to a gas, to remove heat and, by extension, make energy-hungry server farms while making them faster.

CMO Helena Samodurova gave the pitch, then was joined on stage by Incooling CEO Rudie Verweij. Verweij explained the technology was similar to refrigeration or a heat pump. “The difference is, we have a chip that’s constantly chasing a heat load. So, you constantly have to adapt and be on the edge of the phase change. It’s a really interesting balancing game and a lot of the technology went into … reading the server, knowing what the server is going to do, understanding the semiconductor side.”

We were impressed with the confidence of some of the mature teams who’ve been pitching for years.

”It was definitely not the first time we were on stage pitching – such pre-Covid events were a given, and we were trained well. And although things are returning to how they were, there was this nervousness in the air – and everyone felt it. All the rush and excitement … it was just like we were doing it for the first time again,” said Samodurova.

Runner-up Rotterdam-based Outlander Materials received 5,000 euros and a ticket to XTC Global Finals. Outlander’s team created “unplastic,” packaging which CEO Lori Goff developed from the byproducts of beer brewing. The Outlander Materials product decomposes in six to eight weeks and has half the environmental impact of single-use plastic, Goff said. Yes, she said, it’s more expensive than conventional packaging, but with the rising prices of oil, Goff believes she can match the price of shrink wrap.

LipoCoat received a ticket to the XTC Global Finals. LipoCoat is a high-tech coating applied to medical equipment such as stints to prevent infection. Marie Weijler gave the pitch for the Twente University spinoff.

The Dutch/Belgium winners receive bootcamp training, active matching with potential investors in XTC’s global database and a chance to pitch on stage at the XTC Global Finals in San Francisco in June.

LUMO Labs organized and hosted the Extreme Tech Challenge Netherlands & Belgium first regional finals at the Conference Center at High Tech Campus on 24 March. But of the 10 startups, five came out of HighTechXL’s deep-tech venture building efforts, including the winner. “XTC Regional Finals was a great event with strong pitches. It’s also awesome to see five out of the 10 startup finalists with female founders, and the three winning pitches all came from female founders!” said LUMO Labs founding partner Andy Lürling.

Other teams pitching included LUMO Labs portfolio company Autoscriber and inPhocal, Aircision, Infitiv and Veridis, all from HighTechXL. XTC regional partners include NXP, ASML, High Tech Campus Eindhoven, BOM, HighTechXL, Corda Campus, Mercator Launch, imec.istart, Microsoft and Golden Egg Check. LUMO Labs, BOM, ASML and NXP funded the prizes for the winning teams.

“As a startup, the pandemic has been challenging and returning to business is exciting and takes getting used to again,” said Samodurova. “But participating in the biggest startup event in the U.S. is an even bigger deal. We’ve been stuck in our home countries so long it will be exciting to go experience other startup cultures in the biggest competition of the year … in San Francisco!”

About LUMO Labs:
Based at High Tech Campus Eindhoven, LUMO Labs creates opportunities for impact-driven software and smart hardware startups. The current LUMO Fund II is an impact-driven multi- stage capital fund (pre-seed up to and including series A). It includes a two-year venture builder program to support its portfolio companies in gaining financial success as well as social traction and impact. LUMO Labs funds startups that align with at least one of three United Nations Sustainable Development goals.

About Extreme Tech Challenge:
Extreme Tech Challenge is a U.S. 501(c)(3) nonprofit public benefit corporation whose mission is to empower startups creating new tech innovations to address global challenges. It is the world’s largest ecosystem and competition for purpose-driven technology inspired by the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Extreme Tech Challenge competition is supported by leading corporations, venture capital investors, foundations, policymakers, universities and tech conferences to give exceptional startups the potential for global visibility, the opportunity to raise capital, the ability to network with global leaders and access to world-class mentorship to help them pioneer technological breakthroughs that address our most extreme global challenges.

LYNK & Co. comes to Eindhoven

So, we’re walking down the street in through Stratum’s shopping and restaurant strip when we spot a very sporty SUV we’ve never seen before.

As we’re taking photos, the owner comes out of a restaurant and we start chatting about the LYNK. To make a long conversation short, he loves it. It’s a 300 horsepower hybrid made in China, he says. For 500 euros per month, he has the car whenever he needs it through a monthly membership program.

Lynk was just introduced in the Netherlands last summer – in Amsterdam, of course. This is the first one we’ve seen.

What’s really revolutionary about Lynk isn’t so much the car (though it’s nice!) but the membership program.

The Lynk partnership between Chinese car company Geely and Volvo wants to change the concept of car ownership, especially in densely packed cities such as Amsterdam. Even here in Eindhoven, owning a car in the centrum adds about 100 euros per month for a parking garage.

So, let’s say you and your neighbors are tired of fighting over parking spots. You throw in a total of 500 euros, and then share the car.

The Verge has the best post on the concept.

Look out, American talent … Europe is coming for you

We predicted during the Trump Administration that American tech talent would start to look more seriously at Europe. Now Forbes has a post titled, “The ‘Great Resignation’ Could Be An Opportunity For European Employers.”

The post, by Markus Finster, co-founder of Austria-based MyExpatTaxes, makes some suspect assertions. But it makes a great point in that younger Americans – who are leaving jobs in droves due to dissatisfaction and disillusionment – could have more freedom and work/life balance and a higher quality of life – simply by relocating to Europe.

From his post:

Talking from a European perspective, we can offer better access to health care, paid sick leave, paid vacation time, family leave and generally more secure jobs. What’s more, in most of Europe, we offer all these perks as a jumping-off point. That’s before any further salary negotiations can even be started.

We’ve never understood why Europe-based companies aren’t more aggressive when it comes to luring highly skilled Americans when American companies have never hesitated to head-hunt in Europe.

Jobs at HTXL alumni startups

In the lead segment, we told you that HighTechXL had five of the 10 startups on stage at the XTC Tech Challenge regionals. As you might imagine, some of the more mature HighTechXL teams need talent, so here are some sample job openings.

Carbyon

Mechanical System Designer

PLC Engineer

Onera has seven jobs open including positions for sales manager and global marketing. You can see them here.

Incooling has several open positions:

Senior Sales Representative

Office and Financial Administrator

Senior Software Engineer (Real Time Embedded)

AlphaBeats also have several open positions, which you can find here.

QUICK HITS

• We’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about NXP’s (relatively) new technology showroom. The showroom includes a transparent car in which all NXP products have been made visible, such as radars and sensors that work with NXP chips, according to Innovation Origins. That post also states you can’t just walk into NXP’s global headquarters on High Tech Campus Eindhoven and check it out. Which means we haven’t seen it yet, but it’s on our to-do list to get the tour. There is a digital version, but is that really the same? We think not.

You can read more about Eindhoven’s tech scene here in our Tech Tuesday archive.

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