Business

It’s back … Draper pitching event giving Netherlands-based startups a ticket to The Valley

We usually don’t post tech events on the weekends, but the deadline for applying to Draper’s Silicon Fall Pitch Prize, co-organized by LUMO Labs, for 5 July is drawing nigh. If you have a great idea and a great startup team to go with it, winning this pitch event could change your life.

Dispatches was at the first Draper event – at the Conference Center on High Tech Campus Eindhoven one year ago. Co-founders of the winning team, FruitPunchAI, are actually in San Mateo, California right now at Draper University’s Hero Training.

Tim Draper, right, and Sako Arts (Photo courtesy of LUMO Labs)

In fact, FruitPunch AI founders Buster Franken and Sako Arts are hanging out now with Tim Draper, the billionaire entrepreneur who founded the program, and who seems seems to have a fondness for Bitcoin ties. So, winning this competition opens doors to real funding and real Silicon Valley networks.

Buster Franken, CEO FruitPunch AI:

“The Draper University competition does everything right: no fuss of multiple rounds and long reports, just a killer pitch deck, motivation video, one real-world event and then (if you’re lucky, like us) a golden ticket to the U.S,” said Buster. “There, you are welcomed with open arms, will have a home forever amongst the Draper Uni Heroes and can get your next round of investment.

“I would recommend startups apply to pitch!”

Here are the deets:

• Your startup must have been founded less than 5 years ago.

• Your focus must be software or smart hardware in the customer validation or market entry phase.

• Your idea must be transformative and impact-driven (financial as well as social impact related to the UN’s Sustainable Development goals ).

Pitching Finals are from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 5 July at High Tech Campus Eindhoven. But this is important … the submission deadline is 26 June, 2022.

You can email your pitch deck to: [email protected]

That pitch deck must be no more than 10 slides and please include a motivation text (maximum 500 words) or a video no longer than 60 seconds.

So, easy peasy.

The jury will look at:

  • your innovation, business case, scalability and potential impact of the venture
  • your energy, motivation and commitment of the founder or designated team member who will be cashing in the golden ticket

Each of the six selected finalists is allowed two attendants – one presenter, who will pitch on stage, and one supporter who can contribute to the Q&A with the jury after the pitch.

Each pitch can be no longer than five minutes. The maximum duration of the Q&A after each pitch is 10 minutes.

Two representatives of Draper University will attend the event from San Mateo via live stream.

After the last pitch and Q&A, the jury will deliberate and will also consult the Draper University representatives for additional input and insights.

The winner of Draper’s Silicon Fall Pitch Prize will be announced about 7:30 that same evening, so there’s no going for days without knowing your fate.

By the way, the competition and all related communication are in the capable hands of Ula Matlak. Any questions concerning the competition, criteria and/or the final event, can be directed to her via [email protected]. The jury will convene on 22 and 24 June to evaluate the submissions and will select the six finalists for the live pitches. All applicants will be notified on June 28 whether or not they have been selected for the finals on July 5.

We can reveal this piece of insider info: The startups coming out of Eindhoven are generally strong enough to get special consideration, and at the first Draper event, all the teams got offered a trip to The Valley, though not every team received a monetary award.

This second Draper pitch competition is sponsored by a number of Dutch economic development organizations, including:

Oost NL, which represents the eastern provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel. Oost NL’s Chimwemwe de Gaay Fortman points out that Silicon Valley is a very inspiring environment for startups. “The ‘Think Big’ attitude is something we can learn from. In terms of scale, it’s simply a lot bigger than the Netherlands, so it increases your chances of meeting the right people to further develop your business.

“The U.S. is a big market for tech companies when they start focusing on sales.”

BOM, which represents the North Brabant region. BOM CEO Brigit van Dijk calls the Draper pitch event “a unique opportunity to enroll in one of the Draper University programs in Silicon Valley. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be exposed to the world’s most inspiring venture-capital ecosystem.”

So, there you have it ….

About LUMO Labs

LUMO Labs creates opportunities for impact-driven software and smart hardware startups. The current LUMO Fund II is an impact-driven multi-stage capital fund (pre-seed up to and including series A). It includes a two-year venture builder program to support its portfolio companies in gaining financial success as well as social traction and impact.

LUMO Labs funds startups that align with at least one of the three United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Sustainable Cities & Communities, Good Health & Well-Being and Quality Education. Its investment focus includes Artificial Intelligence/Data, Blockchain, Internet of Things, Robotics and Drones and Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality.

LUMO Labs advocates self-determination and traceable ownership of data and transparency and traceability of technologies. 

You can read more here about Eindhoven’s startup ecosystem.


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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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