(Editor’s note: The old saw is that journalism is the first draft of history. Well, this literally is the first draft, and Eindhoven is making history. We’ll dedicate part of the upcoming Eindhoven Business Briefing to more Beyond Tech highlights.
Yes, Beyond Tech was a tech conference, with dozens of events packed into eight hours including pitching, matchmaking and a mega-showcase finale. But at its heart, Thursday’s HighTechXL event at High Tech Campus Eindhoven was a celebration of how fast tech really can change the world. Because Eindhoven has moved to a new innovation dimension in only six months.
Six months ago, HighTechXL founder and CEO Guus Frericks made a dramatic pivot from running a conventional accelerator that was all things to all startups to a focus on deep tech in partnerships with CERN, Nikhef and other European research centers.
BIG ADVANCES FOR HIGHTECHXL TEAMS
Of the three – Dynaxion, Incooling and Aircision – Incooling has advanced farthest and fastest.
Incooling team member Helena Samodurova announced the team, which is integrating CERN CO2 technology into architecture to cool computer chips, CPUs and game processing units, is fully funded with an investment round of 600,000 euros. And there’s one more thing.
Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur and marketing ace Sander Arts is joining the Incooling team and opening an office in The Valley. Arts couldn’t be at Beyond Tech, but sent a video message announcing the plan.
“We’re going to Silicon Valley!” Samodurova exclaimed from the Beyond Tech center stage.
Aircision also is in the news with the world’s first 5G free space optics trial. And Dynaxion unveiled its Dyna-Scan technology that uses a CERN particle accelerator that can detect everything from drugs to tumors.
Get in the Ring business developer Erwin Koenraads used Beyond Tech to announce all three HighTechXL startups get a wild card pass to Berlin for Get in the Ring’s Global Meeting in June.
MORE BIG NEWS
Other big announcements included awards for matchmaking in seven industry tracks including:
Impact Track: Healthcare
Track Ambassador: Philips, Benno Tieke
Pitch competition winner: AmberScript, Peter-Paul de Leeuw
Impact Track: Data & Connectivity
Track Ambassadors: IBM, Edwin van Vianen and HERE Technologies, Bart Coppelmans
Pitch competition winner: Quantoz, Peter Willem Dekker
Impact Track: Food & Agriculture
Track Ambassadors: EY, Katja Hilckmann-Winkel and DSM, Ruth Donners
Pitch competition winner: Agrism, Ronald de Bruijn and iFarming, Joost van Odijk
Impact Track: Energy
Track Ambassadors: BOM, Marc de Haas and InnoEnergy, Raymond Meeuwsen
Pitch competition winner: Solenco Power, Francisco Lopez
Impact Track: Advanced Materials
Track Ambassadors: DSM, Ruth Donners & Everina Setyawati and NTS Group, Patrick Strating
Pitch competition winners: Coco Pallet, Michiel Vos and Eurekite, Gerard Cadafalch Gazquez
Impact Track: Smart Cities
Track Ambassadors: imec, John Baekelmans
Pitch competition winner: Team Casa, Joline Frens
Impact Track: Industry 4.0 & Advanced Equipment
Track Ambassadors: ASML, Rob van der Werf and NTS Group, Eddy Allefs
Pitch competition winner: Chromodynamics, Wouter Vijvers-van der Meide
HighTechXL Most Valued Entrepreneur: Rudie Verweij, 21-year-old CEO of Incooling.
Most Valued Expert Session at Beyond Tech: Johan Feenstra, CEO of SMART Photonics. Expert Session title: Startup and Scale-up: The good, the bad and the ugly.
Most Valued Partner: NTS Group, Wim Mulder and Eddy Allefs
THREE-RING TECH CIRCUS
Beyond Tech wasn’t one event with one climax. It was an eight-hour marathon of deal-making and expert sessions with executives from IBM, Nikhef/CERN, Philips, ASML, DSM and others, 25 in total. Events were spread out over two locations including a temporary pavilion and the High Tech Campus Conference Center.
Beyond Tech started at 09:30 11 April with Anique Soetermeer and pitch coach Frank Smallegange welcoming the first shift of attendees, which included startups and investors for a morning of matchmaking sessions.
The investor-startup matches took an ad-hoc turn as many left the temporary Beyond Tech pavilion at High Tech Campus for seats in the sun around the campus lake.
Scheduling snafus spurred a number of pop-up meetings, which actually turned out better for investors and startups. Asked which were better, the scheduled meetings or spontaneous meetings, “I have to say, both of them turned out well,” said Maryam Moubariki, IBM digital lead in Eindhoven. “We spoke with two startups not on our list and both of them … were interesting to IBM.”
IBM was the ambassador for the data and connectivity track.
Violetta Shishkina, co-founder of CADchain, came to Beyond Tech from the Brightlands accelerator in Maastricht. “Networking at this point is more important than investment, but of course I always say we’re looking for investment,” Shishkina said.
Of the nine investors she talked with, she plans to work with six. Some of the offers are in-kind, with IBM offering this big-data startup, which uses blockchain to protect CAD drawings and other IP, access to its cloud platform, Shishkina said.
• With the connection between CERN and Eindhoven, one of the best-attended was Jan Visser’s talk. Visser is the industrial liaison between CERN and the companies who use its tech. He was instrumental in connecting HighTechXL and CERN and explained the opportunities coming out of CERN. (More on this in the EBB.)
• IBM’s Gerard Smit, Chief Technology Officer, IBM Benelux, predicted the world is only at the beginning of what we can do with AI. He showed off a huge range of IBM AI tech, starting with the Watson supercomputer that famously defeated sadly analog humans on the American gameshow Jeopardy and ending with its OLLI self-driving AI shuttle.
Smit’s presentation included recent developments, including an avatar that can help consumers find exactly the right products … and use their native language and even accent in the process. Tech that can predict who will develop Parkinson’s Disease or dementia. Smit noted that IBM itself uses AI to process the 8,000 job applications the company receives every day as well as predicting which employees will leave.
At the end of the day, Beyond Tech was a statement, serving notice that Europe and Eindhoven are closing the gap on the United States in both the number of startups and in their sophistication. Quantoz, based in Utrecht, uses blockchain to create digital wallets for cars, with Porsche as a client. CADchain from Russia uses blockchain to secure IP. Hoxhunt from Finland showed off their cybersecurity training software.
But it was Eindhoven’s day if only because HighTechXL teams proved they can take the world’s most advanced technology from CERN to High Tech Campus, and then to The Valley.
In six months.
In his opening and closing remarks to the 700 or so people who passed through Beyond Tech, Frericks called HighTechXL and the Eindhoven Startup Alliance that funds the accelerator “a movement to turn Eindhoven into the High Tech Capital of the World.”
Frericks made a personal pitch to the assembled: “I grew up here. I had a good childhood here. In order to stay relevant, I want my son to have a good childhood here, and I want all your children to grow up happily here in Eindhoven.”
To do realize that dream, he said, Eindhoven has to produce lots of promising new companies: “We want you to join the movement.”