NYTimes features Eindhoven: ASML is the ‘most important company you never heard of’

(Editor’s note: This Eindhoven Business Briefing focusing on ASML is part of Dispatches’ Tech Tuesdays series. We created the EBB back 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])

Eindhoven and its major tech company, ASML, stepped out on the world stage Monday via a detailed post on the New York Times website. This a huge deal because the NYTimes is an incredibly influential global news outlet with the largest paid readership in the United States at 6.1 million subscribers.

The post, “The Tech Cold War’s ‘Most Complicated Machine” That’s Out of China’s Reach,” quotes IBM Senior Vice President Dario Gill as calling ASML’s latest photolithography equipment “definitely the most complicated machine humans have built,” and an analyst at Wall Street investment giant Evercore as saying ASML is “the most important company you never heard of.”

Which makes Eindhoven the most important city you never heard of because it’s the source of technology so advanced experts estimate it will take a decade for Chinese competitors to catch up and achieve a totally self-sufficient semiconductor supply chain.

Because they can’t buy the latest ASML machines.

Major takeaways including:

• ASML has spent $9 billion developing extreme ultraviolet, or EUV, technology that can etch the smallest possible circuit on a computer chip as the semiconductor industry increasingly bumps up against the limits of physics. The biggest chip makers in the world, including industry leaders Samsung, based in Korea, and TSMC, based in Taiwan, have to have them to stay competitive.

• Each ASML photolithography machine costs about $150 million and takes three huge dedicated jets to deliver what the NYTimes writer Don Clark terms “a tool” to clients. And each includes components and software made outside the Netherlands, including mirrors from Zeiss in Germany and software from Cymer in Silicon Valley.

• U.S. officials have pressured their Dutch counterparts to block sales of advanced EUV machines to China, which they did. But so far, it hasn’t mattered to the company’s bottom line since ASML has a global order backlog.

The NYTimes post refers to ASML as being in Veldhoven, which it is. And ASML literature perpetuates the myth of the world’s most advanced tech company being headquartered in a small Dutch village. The reality is, Veldhoven is an incredibly dense urban district seven kilometers from Eindhoven’s centrum. Which is confusing … and helps explain why Eindhoven is the No. 1 tech center in the world, yet unknown even to people in the Netherlands.

What’s even scarier is ASML is just one of a dozen advanced companies here, including a new generation of emerging startups with the potential to become the next ASML.

Just a few days ago, we dedicated the Eindhoven Business Briefing to pontificating about how any other city in the Netherlands, or even in Europe, could claim to rank above Eindhoven as a tech center. Is it just a coincidence the Times follows with this? We think not ….

Jobs at ASML

Before the pandemic, ASML was hiring more than 300 people per month. We understand that rate of new hires has decreased, but currently there are about 1,000 positions listed on the company’s jobs portal. That includes 24 posted just in the past 48 hours or so.

While the number of career opportunities is impressive, it’s the technical expertise ASML needs that’s stunning. These are skills we’ve never heard of, much less possess.

New jobs posted include:

Senior Cyber Intelligence analyst

Optomechanical Architect

Project Manager Position Sensors for DUV SMP

And, of course, there are conventional job titles such as customer support engineer. ASML’s 2021 workforce has about 28,000 employees from about 120 countries working at 60 locations across the globe.

In-person XL Day returns 16 July

HighTechXL is one of two venture builders on High Tech Campus Eindhoven and was founded by Guus Frericks expressly to birth the next generation of Eindhoven’s tech companies. With a number of exceptional alum to its credit such as Accerion and Incooling, it’s achieving that mission, though out of the public eye as recent demo days and other activities have been virtual.

At last, HighTechXL deep-tech ventures get to pitch live on stage for XL Day.

HighTechXL is hosting a hybrid event Thursday, 16 July from 13:00-to-16:00. Limited seats are available at the Conference Center at High Tech Campus Eindhoven, and the event will be live-streamed for those who cannot attend.

Hear pitches from the “Covid Cohorts,” updates from alumni teams and exciting announcements from the HighTechXL team.

Whether you attend the event or watch the livestream, celebrate the indomitable spirit of these deep-tech ventures and their determination to blast forward despite the challenges of the past year.

You can register here, but seats are limited.

American investors focusing on Europe’s unis

In The Valley model, innovation is driven by talented teams of students forming at Stanford University, then getting funding from venture capitalists based along Sand Hill Road, a list that includes Google and the PayPal Mafia.

In Europe, the model has always been companies such as Philips hiring talented young engineers, then spinning out companies such as the the aforementioned ASML, along with giant Eindhoven-based chip maker NXP, from their research. Which is the better model? Well, that’s the 64 billion dollar question, isn’t it? Though clearly, Silicon Valley companies dominate the lists of world’s largest consumer-facing companies.

A new post on Forbes looks at how the European model is changing, with American VCs such as LuxCapital now kicking the tires on startups at European universities. That’s because the European administrators are easing what were punitive terms for support including demands for big pieces of the equity and rules that were disincentives. (We dealt with university administrators with 19th-century mindsets trying to come to terms with 21st-century challenges and it wasn’t pretty.) But VCs scooping up the startups coming out of European universities only happens because European investors only want to buy in after the young companies become cash-flow positive. So if Jeff Bezos had been in Europe, Amazon would have never happened.

Sander Arts

Sander Arts compares Europe and The Valley

For a really interesting and perceptive take on the U.S. versus Europe in tech, read ASML alum Sander Arts’ post, “Stop saying, ‘We’re the Silicon Valley of Europe.’ “

The Dutch-born marketeer, investor and consultant worked for years on High Tech Campus Eindhoven. For the past 11 years, he’s been in San Jose on the southern end of Silicon Valley, and he talks about “the Calimero effect” – Europeans believe that everything great comes out of the Valley. Which explains why innovation centers all over Europe, including Eindhoven, refer to themselves as “the Silicon Valley of Europe.”

Just stop it, Sander says.

The innovators in Europe are no less brilliant than their American counterparts. The only thing holding back Europe is capital, or lack of.

It’s a great read on Bits & Chips.

Quick Hits:

• Bristol, UK-based Huboo has expanded into Eindhoven. The e-commerce fulfillment startup lets online sellers integrate everything, including sales channels and marketplaces.

The company has a number of job openings in Eindhoven, which you can see here on LinkedIn.

• And finally, the live version of that esteemed Eindhoven tradition, Drinks, Pitches and Demos, is back on 7 July. We’ll all gather at 5 p.m. at the Food Truck area of The Strip on High Tech Campus Eindhoven to crack open a beer, catch up on what everyone has been doing and listen to some great pitches! Be there, or be L7.

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