Eindhoven Business Briefing: TechTrek ready to fly; Facebook founder Saverin comes to town and more

(Editor’s noteWe started the Eindhoven Business Briefing in 2017 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. Send your news to: [email protected])

In Silicon Valley, “runway” is the term for the support needed to get new businesses off the ground.

With TechTrek, Eindhoven literally is providing runway for companies both in the Netherlands and in the 80+ cities (28 countries) to which Eindhoven Airports connects – the only program of its kind.

In TechTrek, the airport has created a novel way to introduce Eindhoven and the Brainport Region to businesses – from startups to multinational corporations –  across Europe looking for a place to land.

TechTrek is an economic-development initiative connecting this region to the major tech and innovation capitals of Europe.

The idea is to fly in entrepreneurs, tech talent and innovators with the objective of elevating Eindhoven’s profile as an attractive place to live, work and start or expand businesses.

The first TechTrek will host two groups – one from Lisbon and one from Rome.

The Rome group includes Giorgio Giaocchini and Tommaso Politano, founders of Digital Yuppies, a community of young people in the digital space including designers, marketers, coders and entrepreneurs. Dispatches has covered Digital Yuppies and their monthly networking events across Europe including Amsterdam. Also joining the Rome group are two representatives from Talent Garden Rome, a campus to connect digital tech communities with co-working space, training in digital fields, and event space.

From Lisbon, TechTrek is hosting a diverse group that includes the co-founder of Beta-i, the startup incubator Wired Magazine ranks No. 1 in Portugal. Also included are representatives from Productized, an annual conference for product managers, product designers and produce experience managers; a IoT entrepreneur and an e-commerce entrepreneur.

From 14 October to 16 October, the groups will network with the Eindhoven startup and tech community, check out co-working spaces, meet our most influential entrepreneurs and innovators and maybe even have a beer and borrel. At High Tech Campus Eindhoven, Strijp-S and other locations, they’ll get a look behind the curtain at what makes Eindhoven the most successful ultra-high-tech center in Europe … and an emerging startup ecosystem.

Eindhoven Airport officials are playing a crucial role in the Brainport region’s economic development effort. TechTrek will bring talent to this tech center, where growth demands attracting the best and the brightest. The airport connects Eindhoven to more than 75 destinations including innovations hubs such as Lisbon, Rome, Cluj, Tel Aviv, Sofia, Dublin, Stockholm and Barcelona.

The idea is to bring startups, entrepreneurs, tech talent, investors and founders to see the Brainport ecosystem, which includes High Tech Campus, Brainport Industries Campus and the city itself. Later, TechTrek will take Eindhoven’s startup team and entrepreneurs to other innovation centers in search of insights and inspiration.

Email us if you want to pitch your city and your group for a future TechTrek: [email protected]

Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin has Eindhoven in his newsfeed


The big news from last week is that Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin was at High Tech Campus Eindhoven, touring with Maastricht Airport-based Ricardo Bun from Monitor Capital Investments and HTC site manager Jan-Willem Neggers.

There’s a connection between Monitor Capital and B Capital, Saverin’s Singapore-based fund that’s aggressively investing in India.

Saverin hired the best in the business to run his fund. They include former Vanguard and Boston Consulting Group executive Joe Davis, along with Howard Morgan from Renaissance Technologies and First Round Capital.

Which you can do when you have a net worth north of $14 billion. B Capital co-founder Raj Ganguly also was with the group on the Eindhoven visit. Saverin operates out of Singapore and Ganguly is based in The Valley.

What brought them to HTCE? In a nutshell, nobody is talking.

Here’s what we do know.

The two investment firms are linked, with MCI listing an investment in B Capital on its website:

B Capital partners is a Silicon Valley and Singapore based private equity fund which bridges the gap between innovative, technology-enabled startups and market-leading corporations. They managed to tackle the biggest current complaint about VCs which is that they usually lack the structure and resources to connect these two very disparate groups. 

They have a number of investments in common. So, are they adding Amber Mobility or one of the “secret” internal startups at Philips, NXP or ASML? Or is Saverin just looking at High Tech Campus as a development project? Because MCI also connects to Ramphastos Investment, Marcel Boekhoorn’s real estate investment fund that owns and manages the campus. And Boekhoorn is a legend in his own right.

That Saverin is here at all is a bit of a mixed blessing because suddenly more UHNWIs are discovering what we figured out in 2015: Eindhoven is a potential gold mine.

Drinks, Pitches & Demos

If you’re not going to the monthly Drinks, Pitches & Demos put on by Holland Innovative, you should. The names says it all … it’s a chance to sharpen your pitching skills, meeting influential people and, well, have a beer. Most of the year, this event is on the first Wednesday of the month … but you should always check the website for details.

We never, ever miss DP&Ds, and this most recent meetup last week at Technical University of Eindhoven was especially great, with several student teams pitching, including the newest TU/e solar car effort.

• We heard multiple pitches including one for The Golden Light Bulb, a contest with a pot of more than 21,000 euros to award in multiple rounds.

Round 1 starts 18 October and submissions are open to 9 November. If you just have an idea, you can receive 250 euros if it gets selected. Then, the eight most viable ideas will progress to Round 2, with the five best biz plans receiving 500 euros. Round three could land you 10,000 euros. We’re waiting for more info on how to apply, which we’ll post ASAP.

• We met the students from FruitPunch AI, which is putting together a group for people interested in artificial intelligence, only the hottest topic in tech. Ping them on Facebook if you’re interested.

The NEXT Drinks & Demos will be a big one, part of Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven’s biggest event of the year. DDW typically draws more than 330,000 visitors, and the startups pitching typically are very promising. See you there on 24 October at Eindhoven’s Klokgebouw events space.

If you want to pitch, email: [email protected].

Quick hits:

• Luxexcel has raised 12 million euros. The Eindhoven-based startup has developed the world’s only technology for 3D printing optical lenses for consumer eyeglasses. The C-round is led by Innovation Industries, based in Amsterdam, with the participation of the investors already on board. This funding allows Luxexcel to accelerate its growth while expanding into smart prescription glasses.

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