(Editor’s note: This HighTechXL year in review is part of our Tech Tuesdays series. Dispatches covers the tech world in Eindhoven and across Europe because so many of our highly skilled internationals are engineers, developers and physicists. HighTechXL, Europe’s only deep-tech venture builder and accelerator, is a Dispatches partner company at High Tech Campus Eindhoven.)
Here we are at the beginning of 2023 asking ourselves, “Did 2022 really just happen?” After two years of hardship and great challenges, we came charging out the door closed during most of the pandemic and ran like never before.
Red lights turned green.
And we just kept on innovating.
In a nutshell, it was an amazing year.
Not without its challenges, 2022 was by far the best year of the last three.
We’ve built deep-tech ventures, forged great partnerships and celebrated the closing of a 100 million euro fund just for deep-tech investments.
And now we look back at 2022 and celebrate the successes of our own team, our deep-tech ventures and our ecosystem.
OUR ROBUST ECOSYSTEM
If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a robust ecosystem to build deep-tech ventures focused on solving grand societal challenges. We have many tools in our toolbox to meet our goals: digital platforms to track performance, proven, proprietary program, the HighTechXL high-performance team. But at the heart of everything we do is people.
We’re fortunate to call on our vast network of 400-plus tech and industry experts, mentors and advisors.
We can count on the support of our Founding Partners, the Eindhoven Startup Alliance, which includes ASML, Philips, TNO, BOM and High Tech Campus Eindhoven.
This year, we also worked diligently to forge partnerships with companies who offer their knowledge and expertise to our ventures. We announced partnerships with EP&C Patent Attorneys, Innovencio, pwc, Aon and RVO.
And we couldn’t build deep-tech ventures without deep-tech, so we also thank technology partners CERN, European Space Agency, Philips, TNO, TU Eindhoven, Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, PhotonFirst, PORT (Polish Center for Technology Development), Nikhef and PhotonDelta for providing technology to fuel these impact startups.
DEEPTECHXL 100 MILLION EURO FUND
Perhaps the most exciting news of the year came in May when DeepTechXL closed a 100 million euro fund.
Guus Frericks, founder and former CEO of HighTechXL, led the fundraising effort along with the DeepTechXL team of VC investors, tech experts and entrepreneurs. ASML, Philips, TNO, BOM, Invest NL and PME Pension Fund all contributed to the unique fund, which will invest in promising Dutch deep-tech ventures and scale-ups.
Investing in the DeepTechXL Fund I signals the strong commitments of partners to provide considerable contributions to further strengthening the Dutch deep-tech ecosystem. HighTechXL and DeepTechXL are separate entities, but we share one common goal: fund deep-tech ventures that address grand societal challenges. Yes, we celebrated!
It was a year of growth for HighTechXL
These are all our colleagues who joined the HighTechXL team during the year:
• Earl Goetheer, CTO
• Ximena Gaviria, Recruiter
• Jordy Krul, Software & Tooling Officer
• Joris Jansens, Venture Support Manager/Tech Scouting Specialist
• John Willems, Supply Chain Specialist
• Maarten van Herpen, Technology and Business Model Specialist
• Richard van der Vegt, Entrepreneur-in-Residence
• Rick Jongen, Venture Support Manager, Integrated Photonics liaison & Portfolio Manager
We ended 2022 with a special day at our offices. In lieu of another XL Day, we invited a select group of our deep-tech ventures to pitch to investors. And we held JobFairXL, where ventures in the cohort and alumni teams met more than 100 candidates searching for positions. We also had an insightful panel discussion with female founders from Senergetics, Aircision and Mikron.X, and the networking was off the charts!
FASTRACKATHON X 1
In March, we had our first live FasTrackathon in two years. More than 50 attended the event to brainstorm ways to take 10 advanced technologies to market. The energy was high and the rooms were buzzing during this FasTrackathon “comeback” edition. We like to see faces.
XL DAY X 2
In February, we held our first live XL Day after being online for two years. It was still a hybrid affair, and we had many online attendees. You really need to feel the energy and hear pitches from these impact startups in person! We held our second fully live XL Day in July. It was a great afternoon of deep-tech venture pitches, panel discussions and networking like we hadn’t seen in three years.
INSPIRINGFIFTY DEEP TECH AWARDS
After launching the InspiringFifty Deep Tech Benelux+ chapter in 2021, we kicked off 2022 by announcing the 50 winners of the InspiringFifty Deep Tech awards. This community celebrates the accomplishments of women working in deep-tech organizations in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, and more than 100 women were nominated for the award. See the award winners here. In April we celebrated these inspiring women, where they received their awards and pledged to support the community.
A year of startups scoring major funding
Alphabeats receives funding, CES award and joins Apple program
Alphabeats kept their noses to the grindstone in 2022, receiving 1.5 million euros in funding from DeepTechXL and LUMO Labs last May. The team is now focused on providing services to elite athletes who use their EEG headset, their favorite music and the Alphabeats platform to improve mental acuity and performance. October was another exciting month for the team. Alphabeats announced they were selected to join the Apple App Store Foundations Program, where they will be improving their app with personal guidance from Apple.
And at CES Unveiled in Amsterdam, Alphabeats took home the CES Innovation Award, which they pick up in Las Vegas this month.
(Not that we’re keeping track, but HTXL alumni have taken the coveted award two years in a row: inPhocal in January 2022 and Alphabeats in 2023.)
Carbyon wins $1 million XPRIZE Carbon Removal Award
Carbyon grabbed international attention when they won the Elon Musk Foundation’s XPRIZE Carbon Removal award. The $100 million competition is the largest incentive prize in history. Out of more than 1,400 applications, Carbyon was selected as one of the 15 Milestone Award Winners. But wait … there’s more! After four years, judges will select the winners. $50 million will go to the single Grand Prize Winner and $30 million will be distributed to up to three runners-up. So stay tuned. Carbyon was also named Deloitte’s Most Disruptive Innovator Award at the Technology Fast 50 ceremony in November.
inPhocal wins awards, receives funding (twice) and starts shipping
inPhocal started 2022 at CES in Las Vegas, where they received the CES Innovation Award. In September, they announced the DeepTechXL funding, and they ended the year with news they received an additional 2.5 million euros from European Innovation Council. If winning prestigious awards and getting millions in funding wasn’t enough, you can find inPhocal’s magical laser machines on several customer production lines.