Business

Eindhoven’s economic might puts it higher on the list of Europe’s most expensive cities

(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 developers. The Eindhoven Business Briefing is part of our Tech Tuesday series.)

Welcome to the first Eindhoven Business Briefing of 2022, and what a year it promises to be.

A few weeks ago, we noted that Eindhoven is on the verge of becoming a much larger city. We predict it will become the largest city in the Netherlands if you include bedroom communities to the south (including Roermond, the Miami of the Netherlands) and to the north up to ‘s-Hertogenbosch. We’re sticking by that because we’re already seeing new signs of disruption.

For example, this 2022 Cost of Living Index from Numbeo, which crowd-sources data from hundreds of thousands of people.

The Netherlands is ranked the 17th most expensive country, just behind the Republic of Ireland and two places ahead of France at No. 19. We’re waaaay less expensive than the countries at the top of the list such as Switzerland. In the grand scheme of things, not bad, right?

Except when you go to Numbeo’s city rankings list, you find out Eindhoven is the 66th most expensive city in the world out of the 578 cities surveyed, more expensive than – you might want to sit down for this – Dubai, Frankfurt, Miami, Munich, Helsinki, Milan and even Den Haag and Rotterdam in the Netherlands!

Okay, maybe this isn’t the most scientifically rigorous list, but we experience every day how Eindhoven is no longer the bargain basement of Europe we fell in love with in 2015.

Barring a world war or a global economic collapse, that’s not going to change if for no other reason than ASML.

Omroep Brabant has a post about ASML’s plans to hire 4,000 people during 2022. If just a percentage of them end up here at the global headquarters, that’s going to put even more pressure on housing and everything else. Because it’s something of a virtuous circle … more talent means higher household incomes with more buying power and a taste for the finer things such as luxury homes, luxury retail and luxury dining.

All in all, this is a good thing, and because ASML supplies the most important machines in the semiconductor industry – the photolithography machines that make the computer chips that make the digital age possible – it’s unlikely we’ll return to the dark days of 1997 when Philips left town for Amsterdam.

2021 a great year for ASML, with 2022 projected to be waaay better

ASML just released its fiscal Q4 (on a 1 July to 30 June year) earnings report, and it was remarkable. For the fourth quarter, net income rose 31 percent to 1.77 billion euros from 1.35 billion euros in FY 2021. Earnings per share grew to 4.38 euros from 3.23 euros with a gross margin of 54 percent!

Crack dealers don’t have that kind of margin.

ASML reports 18.6 billion euros in net sales and 5.9 billion net income for 2021. Look for a 20-percent increase in top-line revenue for 2022. ASML counts TSMC, Samsung and Intel as customers for its room-sized $140 million machines. Intel in particular is expanding globally, and ASML is the only company in the world that makes EUV technology.

CNBC has a good overview of what could be coming with ASML’s High NA machines, which are still under development.

Reopening

Finally, the Netherlands is likely relaxing pandemic restrictions, with non-essential stores, theaters, cafés and restaurants reopening tomorrow. But they’ll all have to close no later than 10 p.m. This is almost beside the point as more and more city councils and mayors say, “Genug … no more lockdowns” and refuse to enforce bans on clubs, restaurants and cafés opening.

There will still be restrictions. A vaccine passport is required for indoor events, everyone must sit at tables and the number of visitors is a maximum of 1,250. For outdoor events, organizers will have to observe one-third capacity rules.

UnHerd has the best (funniest) look at the Netherlands’ quirky lockdown, which leaves open gyms and brothels but closes the outdoor seating at cafés. Shockingly, the lockdown has accomplished little, with new daily cases now about 65,000 every 24 hours, though deaths are in single digits and hospitalizations as of the end of January 2022 are far below earlier waves.

Other countries, including France and the Republic of Ireland, are dropping COVD-19 restrictions. You can see our post here.

Horse wars

It’s a world of glamorous global events, billionaires and the scions of the rich and famous, million-euro horses, 30,000 euros per month boarding fees and it all connects back to Eindhoven. Well, technically the wealthy village of Valkenswaard, on the southwest edge of Eindhoven.

Financial Times has a sensational look inside the very successful global phenomenon of professional show jumping. Eindhoven-based Jan Tops and billionaire American real estate developer Frank McCourt have gone to war over the Longines Global Champions Tour, the richest international dressage competition in the world for individual riders. There’s also a Global Champions League, where teams compete for millions in prizes.

Tops founded the GCT back in 2006 in Valkenswaard, where he has an exhibition center and complex. In the intervening 15 years, the global champions tour has expanded to Paris, Dubai and pretty much everywhere the glitterati gather. It attracts the world’s best equestrians, the most expensive hunter/jumpers and some of the wealthiest young women in the world. Unsurprisingly, with crazy money circulating through the world of international show jumping, greed has kicked in. Tops and McCourt tried to fire each other after the American billionaire bought the tour, then told Tops his services are no longer needed. Now they’re battling for control in the courts.

The Dutch news websites have covered the war amid the glitter and gossip, but Financial Times has all the details including all the names – Jessica Springsteen (Bruce’s daughter), Jennifer Gates (Bill’s daughter), Georgina Bloomberg (Michael’s daughter), Eve Jobs (Steve’s daughter), Mathilde Pinault (François-Henri’s daughter) and of course Bella Hadid. That’s a partial list. And they have come through Eindhoven at some point, including The Boss’s daughter Jessica, who was living here outside Valkenswaard before she decamped to Florida.

Sven Bakkes, left, and Andy Lürling

LUMO Labs starts 2022 with a new investment

LUMO Labs founders Andy Lürling and Sven Bakkes just announced a pre-seed investment in TNO spin-off Linksight, a Dutch deep-tech privacy-by-design startup, according to a news release. Linksight is solving a 21st century digital dilemma: how to gain insights from sensitive data while protecting privacy.

Linksight provides detailed analytics by using multi-party computation to conceal data details and blockchain to prove compliance. Linksight’s technology makes it possible to analyze across multiple datasets without actually sharing sensitive data, giving clients real-time insights while complying with privacy regulations. 

This allows, for example, healthcare providers and health insurers to benefit from each other’s data without actually sharing that data. Privacy is baked in from the beginning when designing and developing the Linksight platform. The startup’s initial market focus is healthcare and government agencies, sectors for which optimal privacy protection is crucial. So, this could be a big deal pretty quickly.

“Privacy-by-design infrastructure is the new standard for any IoT and/or Artificial Intelligence application, especially those involving sensitive, personal data,” said Andy Lürling, LUMO Labs founding partner. “The Linksight multi-party computation platform is by far the most innovative and relevant example of privacy-by-design we have seen in this field so far.”

Linksight is pioneering the development of cryptographic technology called secure multi-party computation (MPC). The original research on which Linksight is based originated at TNO, the independent, public-private Dutch R&D institute. MPC technology allows secure, privacy-enhancing computation on encrypted data without revealing sensitive information within the data. In addition, Linksight uses blockchain technology to technically enforce the data analytics/data governance rules and to prove compliance.

The investment – an undisclosed but substantial figure – is made through the venture builder/accelerator’s LUMO Fund II TTT AI fund, the consortium which includes Dutch knowledge institutes, among them academic hospitals in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Nijmegen.

Quick hits:

• Speaking of LUMO Labs, this is a great example of the importance of the AI Innovation Center ecosystem.

Axelera AI is collaborating with FruitPunch AI, which is part of LUMO Labs. The FruitPunch AI platform applies and teaches AI for Good with AI enthusiasts from all over the world. They’ll help Axelera in spreading artificial intelligence for enabling a green, fair, trusted and safe world.

Axelera AI will grant to FruitPunch AI community members early access to its technology.

You can read about Axelera’s impressive technology here.

• HighTechXL, Eindhoven’s deep-tech venture builder, has a demo day coming up 4 February. We’ll have more details in a full post. You can register here in advance.

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