Eindhoven Business Briefing: The ‘money talks, bullsh*t walks’ edition

(Editor’s note: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].)

You know, a lot of cities and regions across Europe tout themselves as “The Silicon Valley of Europe.” Which is fine. But no place does tech – especially deep tech – like Eindhoven.

Sorry, did we just hear you say, “Prove it”? Well, the past 90 days – especially the past week – have been nothing short of phenomenal for Eindhoven’s startups and scale-ups. Which is why we’re dedicating this EBB to nothing but startup news.

It all started with HighTechXL’s Beyond Tech event on 11 April, when more than 100 startups met 100 investors at High Tech Campus.

By our calculations, Eindhoven-based companies have raised at least 14 million euros/dollars since then including deals that have never been made public. A million here and a million there and you’re starting to talk about real money, as Everett Dirksen once said. And you’re talking about an ecosystem others will be talking about from Berlin to Mountain View.

Here’s a breakdown:

Onera Health, which makes sleep-diagnostic systems, raised a $9.3 million Series A round led by Jazz Pharmaceuticals, based in Dublin, the Republic of Ireland. BOM, Brabant’s investment fund, and imec, the Leuven-based high-tech research institute, also invested.

This is a BFD because this investment connects Onera not just to capital, but strengthens connections to innovation centers in the United States. Those connections are already significant. Onera co-founder and chief medical officer Dr. Hartmut Schneider is an associate professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Dr. Jed Black, Jazz senior VP, is an adjunct at Stanford’s Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine.

NASDAQ-listed Jazz Pharmaceuticals is a crazy-profitable company, with 2017 net income approaching 500 million on top-line revenue of $1.6 billion. We had to look twice at that, but yeah, we’re talking about 50-percent margins.

Accerion has raised 1.6 million euros. This HighTechXL alum makes the sensor tech for autonomous warehouse robots. Who’s not going to see the value in that?

From the Accerion website:

With every Jupiter system sent out, we are getting one step closer to our vision: That in the near future, autonomous mobile robots will run all transport and handling operations in manufacturing, logistics and many other industries.

SMART Photonics just got a 3.75 million euro capital injection in the form of a loan from PhotonDelta. Is it a convertible debt-to-equity loan? We have no idea.

SMART Photonics is a specialty foundry making Indium Phosphide-based photonic components. PhotonDelta is a public-private partnership working to take photonics research and transfer that tech to smaller companies. PhotonDelta has a funding bucket of 236 million euros in public and private funds and a timeline of eight years to make the Netherlands Numero Uno in photonics. The goal is to spin out 25 companies, with 4,000-plus jobs and turnover of 1 billion euros in net sales revenue.

Incooling has raised 630,000 euros in the past few weeks, 30,000 of it from the Eindhoven Startup Alliance, and the rest from undisclosed private investors.

For all of 2019, we calculate Eindhoven startups have raised 20 million-plus euros including Lightyear (2.5 million). This is a good start considering the whole of the Netherlands raised about 500 million euros in 2018.


While compared to some of the big raises, Incooling has raised a modest amount of early stage capital. But what you have to remember is, Incooling started just six months ago as one of three companies to come out of HighTechXL’s partnership with CERN in Switzerland. Incooling uses CERN CO2 technology to cool computer CPUs and GPUs.

Since its founding, Incooling has reached development mileposts almost every week.

Just in April, the Incooling team:


• won the pitch competition at VentureCafe Rotterdam, claiming the grand prize: a plane ticket to InnoVEX in Taiwan. Garage+ selected Incooling to go to Computex (InnoVEX is a part of Computex), so they will have one booth at InnoVEX and one at Computex. The team will spend 10 days in Taiwan.

• was chosen to attend Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in The Hague.

• won “wild cards” to pitch at the Get in the Ring Global Meetup in Berlin.

• announced they’re opening an office in Silicon Valley in 2019.

In addition, Silicon Valley-based investor and entrepreneur Sander Arts is joining the advisory board.


Like Incooling and Aircision, Dynaxion came out of that CERN/HighTechXL partnership.

Dynaxion is developing a concept that uses CERN’s particle accelerator technology to scan packages. And it seems to be the right technology at just the right time.

While the Netherlands as a whole is a low-crime zone, especially compared to the United States, a quirky combination of its well-intentioned secrecy of correspondence law and the country’s location have turned Netherlands’ postal service into the distribution mechanism for Europe’s multi-billion euro illicit drug trade.

Fortunately, next-gen scanner technology is under development at HighTechXL with deep-tech startup Dynaxion.

Dynaxion is using CERN-created small linear particle accelerator to generate neutrons that can be used to inspect parcels and freight.

“We can easily penetrate metals and other materials to detect all hidden drugs,” says Emma Palmen, Dynaxion COO. While Dynaxion kept a low profile in Eindhoven, this 6-month-old startup has already gotten global publicity in The Next Web and other websites.

From that post, “This AI-powered scanner will sniff out your drugs in the mail,” which interviewed Jean-Paul Kuijpers with DITSS (Dutch Institute for Technology, Safety & Security) 

Several startups, such as Dynaxion in the Netherlands, are looking at neutron activation to better detect illegal substances ….

“It sounds a bit sci-fi,” says Kuijpers. “But this technology provides a very detailed image of the substance inside a package, so I’m excited to see how we can use it in the future.”

The Dynaxion team applied 23 April to The Opioid Detection Challenge in the United States, a consortium of security agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

One obstacle is that the challenge requires Dynaxion to have a MVP ready in four months.

“We can’t do that,” Emma said. “But we told them, ‘We can do everything you want … we can detect it all.” She added that Dynaxion technology is scaleable to other threats such as explosives.


If all the above sounds like fun, you’ll want to be at HighTechXL on 26 June for the next FasTrackathon. We’re pretty far out and there are lots of details to come, including the introduction of even more new cutting-edge technologies HighTechXL will roll out to new teams.

Fifty-six aspiring entrepreneurs and tech talents turned out 27 March for the inaugural venture-building event. The 4-hour event matched talent to new deep technology from CERN, Nikhef and TNO.

At least three promising teams have come out of that first FasTrackathon including 3D printing built around Martin Fransen’s Nikhef holographic emitter technology.

If you want more info about the next FasTrackathon, ping Martijn at [email protected]


If you’re interested in helping startups build ventures using the most advanced technologies available, come to HighTechXL’s Mentor Community meeting and get involved.

The deep-tech ventures at HighTechXL now progress through a 9-month accelerator program in three phases. The technology is more advanced and the program is longer and more comprehensive than the original accelerator program, so the teams need an infusion of support during every phase.

HighTechXL sits on the smartest square kilometer on earth, High Tech Campus, so they leverage the vast network of mentors ready to help startups. To that end, HighTechXL revamped its mentor pool and is launching the first monthly mentor community meeting on 14 May at HighTechXL. You can sign up for the free event here.

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