Eindhoven Business Briefing: The best of Beyond Tech and lots more news

(Editor’s note: This post will be updated as new video becomes available. We 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])

Beyond Tech … where to start?

HighTechXL’s Beyond Tech high tech conference was an 8-hour-plus innovation extravaganza … so big it’s taken us two posts to get our arms around it.

So you’re saying, “What makes Eindhoven so great?”

Well, here’s the deal – Beyond Tech had 133 investors and corporates. They included Philips, ASML, TNO, TomTom, IBM, Transavia, Henkel, High -Tech Gründerfonds, Innovation Industries Fund and CAG Ventures.

There were 100 startups at least, with some showing up though they didn’t really register.

But that was cool because party crashers show the allure of this thriving ecosystem.

This was the second conference format for HighTechXL, which shifted last year from a conventional accelerator to the Netherlands’ only deep-tech venture builder. This was also the first conference to show off companies coming out of the new partnerships with CERN in Switzerland, Nikhef in Amsterdam and other research centers.

Finally, investor/startup meetings were different for 2019 because most took place on picnic tables in the sun around Lake Philips on High Tech Campus Eindhoven.

For Dispatches, which is a HighTechXL partner, the single most amazing thing was that startups showed up from across the Netherlands, jumped on stage to pitch and blew everyone away.


Those included Utrecht-based Quantoz, with whom we spent some time during matchmaking sessions with investors and corporates. Quantoz has blockchain-based payment technology, with clients including Porsche.

Product Manager and Scrum Manager Peter Willem Dekker got switched to the Data & Connectivity track from New Mobility. Dekker wasn’t only cool with the switch, he was totally accommodating.

And he won.

Track ambassadors Edwin van Vianen from IBM and Bart Coppelmans from HERE Technologies judged Dekker’s the best pitch, and Quantoz won 20 hours of relevant expertise and support from IBM and HERE for a total of 40 hours of support.


The other single most amazing thing was how quickly in-house startups coming out of HighTechXL’s partnership with CERN, Nikhef and NTS have matured.

Incooling’s Helena Samodurova came off winning a pitch competition earlier in the week at the Venture Cafe Rotterdam for InnoVEX in time to take the stage at Beyond Tech.

The Incooling team – Rudie Verweij, Samodurova, Karen Huaracha Magaña, Hejran Mehrtak, Ramon Haken and Joost Box – is developing CERN’s CO2 technology to cool computer chips, CPUs and GPUs. They’ll take their show on the road to first Taiwan, as part of the InnoVEX win and as part of Garage+, then to Berlin as a wild card to Get in the Ring’s big Global Meetup 2019.

But the BIG announcement was Aircision working with High Tech Campus to test its groundbreaking laser-based 5G communications technology.

This is tech that will replace conventional cables and fibre optics in strategic parts of building a super-fast communications network. The first test will beam data between buildings on High Tech Campus Eindhoven. This will be the world’s first test of Free Space Optics (FSO) as a viable link for future 5G networks. Aircision’s breakthrough laser beam technology has great potential for high-bandwidth data transmission.



The expert sessions were exceptional, especially Jan Visser from CERN/Nikhef. And, of course, having legendary Eindhoven entrepreneur Johann Feenstra’s “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” session about startup life, which included selling Liquavista … twice … was fascinating.

“The good, the bad and the ugly of startups … those stories need to be told more often,” said HighTech CEO Gus Frericks. “We tend to only look at the success stories, but we forget all the hardship you have to go through to get there. I wonder why it’s so difficult to openly admit what you’re struggling with … that’s what I liked.”

Beyond Tech was a deep tech conference and the tendency to talk about the products, Frericks added. “But at the end of the day, it’s always about people and how they deal with issues and struggles and challenges.

“Strong teams are not built when you’re high-fiving and cruising to success. They’re built by fighting with your buddies through difficulties.



No rest for the wicked … with its 27 March FasTrackathon, HighTechXL has started mixing and matching a second cohort of venture-building teams, this time with technology from CERN, Nikhef and TNO.

Several technologies are available:

• CO2 cooling and long-distance structured laser beam technology from CERN.

• Holographic emitter technology from National Institute for Subatomic Physics, or Nikhef.

• CO2 capture and conversion technology from TNO.

The second round of business canvas planning was 16 April, five days (including one weekend) after Beyond Tech.

If you wish to join a team, email: [email protected] or ping us directly at Dispatches Europe via [email protected].

Lightyear raises another 2.5 million euros

The Eindhoven-based team developing the world’s first solar/electric car just got a big boost.

The European Innovation Council pilot is investing 2.5 million euros in Lightyear. The Dutch scale-up is one of 17 SMEs that falls under the ‘Horizon 2020’ program of the European Commission.

The EC’s new investment in Lightyear provides additional support to produce their first electric/solar car, the Lightyear One, scheduled to launch in early 2020. (Horizon 2020 is an incentive program of the European Commission for SMEs with disruptive ideas and new products).

With its investment in Lightyear, the EC supports Lightyear’s vision of sustainable mobility for all. Who doesn’t? Because of its high efficiency and integrated solar cells, the car rarely needs to charge, increasing the appeal of electric driving – a concept that will play well from Spain to India to China to California and beyond.


We always thought this was the most tragic branding in history … a store named “Sissy Boy.” But it’s a great store with quality apparel and home furnishings.

Unfortunately, the Rotterdam-based retailer is in financial trouble. That’s a problem for Eindhoven because the two-story Sissy Boy store is in a prominent building, the big glass bubble on the south edge of Centrum. Like every other city in the world, Eindhoven doesn’t need anymore empty retail space.

Sissy-Boy has 45 outlets and 600 employees in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Robots coming to High Tech Campus … with snacks

Eindhoven is going full Blade Runner. The Albert Heijn on High Tech Campus will launch robot delivery this summer. You’ll just download the AH app, and you can order those unbelievably delicious oatmeal cookies at will. Developed by German/Swiss TeleRetail, the Albert Heijn delivery robots use geolocation tech. And it has the sensors that allow it to “see” and not bump into anything.

This is not an insignificant investment … the robots cost between 50,000 euros and 100,000 euros.

ASML hit by industrial espionage

Reuters and Financieele Dagblad are reporting that ASML was the victim of industrial espionage in 2015, with a group of employees including Chinese nationals.

The employees pilfered ASML technology by downloading software on memory sticks.

Something of a row resulted after Financieele Dagblad characterized the thefts as the work of the Chinese agents.

“The suggestion that we were somehow victim of a national conspiracy is wrong,” ASML CEO Peter Wennink said in a statement. “We resent any suggestion that this event should have any implication for ASML conducting business in China. Some of the individuals (involved) happened to be Chinese nationals.”

ASML has an 85-share of the photolithography market, the tech that burns nano-circuitry on computer chips. Which means it sells lots of its 60 million euro-plus machines in China.

New LGBT business group at HTC

There’s a new LGBT networking group organizing on High Tech Campus Eindhoven. Philips Rainbow Network debuts 25 April at Usine in Eindhoven starting at 17:00. Everyone is welcome, and employees of other HTC-based companies are also invited. The networking group is Netherlands-based, not just restricted to High Tech Campus.

We didn’t see an Eventbrite link for this, but will add it if one pops up.

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Co-CEO of Dispatches Europe. A former military reporter, I'm a serial expat who has lived in France, Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands.

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