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Eindhoven Business Briefing: Lack of student housing critical as uni year begins

(Editor’s note: You can see more on the student housing crisis – and housing in general – here.

Hear that sound? That’s the sound of thousands of happy engineers and physicists humming “Whistle while you work” as they return to their offices across Eindhoven after a long, boring vacation. You’re know we’re kidding, right? Unlike our Dutch brethren, Americans actually do get bored on vacation, if they take one at all. But the Dutch work to live and we all know there are only a few weeks until the fall break and Christmas holidays begin. So, the rush is on to get six months of innovating done in 90 days.

Our lead item isn’t about going back to work but about going back to school. University, specifically. And the Netherlands has a big problem, which ultimately has an impact on business, the tech industry in particular. There are more students than ever coming from outside the Netherlands to attend uni, including Technical University of Eindhoven. But there’s literally no place to put them.

We know this intimately as Dispatches’ co-CEOs’ daughter attends Maastricht University, and it’s not a new problem. But what was once a problem is now a crisis.

Around Maastricht, you can see posters offering cash rewards for anyone who can help desperate students find an apartment, a room or a tent. It’s that bad. And this is not just a Maastricht thing. Student Facebook communities all over the Netherlands have posts about desperate students willing to take anything and parents willing to pay anything.

Student housing is a bigger issue than it might at first seem because the Netherlands’ strategy is to charge non-EU students tuition that covers at least part of the expense of Dutch students, who get to go to uni basically for free. Then, once foreign students have their degrees, the Dutch can more easily recruit the top talent.

The question becomes, what can anyone do about this really? Governments can’t make developers build apartments and housing. And developers and investors are going to be naturally cautious about getting caught up in a housing bubble that, sooner or later, goes bust.

More in a full post.

AlphaBeats connects with Apple Watches

You’re going to be hearing more about this as all the details and technical specifications are worked out. But startup AlphaBeats, part of both the HighTechXL and LUMO Labs venture building efforts, has reached a breakthrough. AlphaBeats uses Philips biofeedback technology to lower stress by just listening to your favorite music.

Now when you connect to AlphaBeats, the biofeedback will be measured by your Apple Watch.

The algorithm detects your stress levels on the watch, and the algorithm tweaks your favorite Spotify playlist. Beta brain waves (higher stress levels) decrease, and alpha waves increase, making you more relaxed.

By the way, AlphaBeats needs more beta testers to try the new update. You only need an iPhone and premium Spotify account to become a beta tester. But if you have an Apple Watch, you get the ultimate relaxation experience.

If you love music and you want to get the most out of life, become a beta tester. You can sign up here.

ASML: Minting millionaires

A quick question: If you invested $50,000 in global photolithography giant ASML back in 2011, how much would that investment be worth today? The answer is almost $1 million, or $945,000 to be precise. In 10 years for an annualized return of 20 percent. That’s according to online investment adviser The Motley Fool.

The Fool is not fooling when they say the performance of Eindhoven’s dominant company is literally off the charts, with revenue up 20 percent to $4.8 billion for Q2 of this year at a gross margin of 51 percent. That means for every dollar it takes to produce and sell one of their machines, they get $1.51 back. Again, that is unheard of in any business. Okay, maybe Pablo Escobar pumped money at that rate. The good news is that unlike Pablo, the Motley Fool predicts ASML’s growth rate and profitability will continue “for an exceptionally long time.”

After decades below the radar as an uncelebrated supplier to chipmakers, ASML has suddenly turned into a celebrity tech company, with fawning posts in every major outlet including the New York Times.

The latest is the FutureBrand Index, which claims to be able to predict which established brands have staying power and which new brands are ascendant. And boy, has ASML climbed their annual index, entering at No. 7 last year, then rocketing to No. 1 this year, edging out those has-beens at Apple.

Final notice for HighTechXL Info Session Q&A

Want a shot at joining the next ASML? HighTechXL is assembling teams around new technology. Which means you can jump into a deep-tech startup in one of Europe’s most successful venture builders.

The next step is the Info Session Q&A where aspiring founders can get briefed up on the program and the tech from CERN, Philips, European Space Agency, TNO and PhotonFirst.

New technologies for this cohort are:

OPTICAL DISPLACEMENT ENCODER (PhotonFirst)

MULTI-SENSOR INTEGRATION FOR SECURITY (PhotonFirst)

COAXIAL PULSE CONDITIONER (CERN)

STIMULATED DEPLETION EMISSION LITHOGRAPHY (TNO)

ELECTROACTIVE POLYMERS (Philips)

FIBER OPTICS MICROSCOPE (Philips)

ULTRA-THIN PRINTED TEMPERATURE SENSORS (TNO)

The HighTechXL accelerator program lasts for nine months, and you can see the all granular details here.

And you can sign up for the Info Session Q&A here.

Inspiring 50 Deep Tech Awards nominations open

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 went 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 making a contribution in any area. Get them on the list!

Nominations close 1 November and the big event recognizing the InspiringFifty Deep Tech will be 1 December in the Conference Center on High Tech Campus Eindhoven.

You can submit your nomination here.

AccelerateHER is the overall organizing entity in the Netherlands and in other countries for this global program.

Eindhoven Maker Faire

The Netherlands’ biggest maker faire is coming up 25 and 26 September in EIndhoven. You’ll see the cleverest creations from the cleverest people in Europe’s most technical town. Project areas including 3-D printing, robotics, drones and other flying creations and educational displays for young makers. And, of course, Fickey the Fire Organ.

Be sure to check out artist John Heijink’s depictions of the future Eindhoven. You’ll be glad to know the Sissy Boy glass building will still be here, as will the signature Philips Witte Dame building, along with flying cars and mega-skyscrapers.

You can get tickets here and the Eindhoven Maker Faire will be at The Beursgebouw events space in the center of Eindhoven.

Quick hits:

• Innovation Origins has a post about the lightest and sustainable solar panels yet ... and of course they’re from Eindhoven. Solarge makes solar panels out of recyclable plastic, and because they’re so light, you can put a lot more of them on a roof. Speaking of Innovation Origins, Bart Brouwers and the gang have new offices in the new AI Innovation Center at Building 5 on High Tech Campus Eindhoven.

• Dual Inventive, based in Oisterwijk, has connected with 5G Hub on High Tech Campus Eindhoven to integrate 5G into the rail system for the future.

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