The ultimate matchmakers between startups and multinationals are in Eindhoven
Feb 22, 2017 8:03:56 PM. By: Hilde de Vocht
Eindhoven. Located in the center of the Brainport region and home to many startups, whose innovations speak to your imagination. To name a few; Medimetrics; manufacturing the world’s first electronic pill. Shapeways; a 3D printing marketplace. Smart Robotics; a robot employment agency. Startups like these pinpoint Eindhoven on the global map as a centre for hardware design and high-tech innovation.
And for the past few years, Eindhoven is stepping up her startup scene even more, by structurally connecting startups to a top-tier community of entrepreneurs, corporates, and investors. Victoria Martinez, Eindhoven’s very first Startup Officer shares her ideas on the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of Eindhoven’s thriving startup scene.
“The way we network differentiates us from the rest of the world”
Martinez is one of the people that is dedicated to build a startup-ecosystem where entrepreneurs can connect with established companies in the Brainport region. Why is this so important? Martinez: “For both the startup scene and existing companies, the doorway to true innovation (and therefore business growth) lies in the cooperation between the two.
Startups often tend to think they are the only one struggling to achieve certain goals. Their networks are extensive, but they lack access to R&D resources to fully and properly shape their ideas. On the other side there are established companies, who spend lots of time and energy on research and development, but lack access to networks to collaborate and bring their innovative products to the market."
In Eindhoven, those matches are made.
Martinez: "Just recently, we set up the CEO of Shapeways with a startup from the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). Their fields of expertise had nothing to do with each other – 3D printing vs. medical – but the way they were both trying to fundraise money was very similar. We facilitated Skype calls between both parties. There was an immediate click. We realized that they both were serious about following up on each others ideas. A great match-making example!
The challenge for us – for Eindhoven – is to further incorporate the so-called Triple Helix collaboration (where large corporations, universities and knowledge and research partners connect on a strategic basis) into the way this region innovates. To achieve this, we initiate and facilitate cross-sector connections between people and companies. The result: an interrelated network in the fields of Health, Energy, Smart mobility, High tech systems, Data science, Photonics and Smart Cities.”
Although the startup-scene is physically scattered all across the Brainport region’s surface, Martinez is happy to share some examples on how Eindhoven connects the dots via its many campuses, events, accelerators, investors and incubators.
“In Eindhoven, the innovation ecosystem takes shape in many different ways”
First off, there is a high density of campuses in the Brainport region. Look at the Automotive Campus in Helmond, an (inter)national hotspot in the field of automotive (technology) and smart mobility. Or Strijp-S, becoming a symbol of the ‘new Eindhoven’, a center of creativity and home to small technology and design firms. And at the heart of the Brainport region, the High Tech Campus forms a base for over 140 businesses and over 10,000 researchers, entrepreneurs and startups.
On and around these campuses, many accelerators and incubators are active in this region. HighTechXL, located on the High Tech Campus supports hardware startup founders all the way from idea to prototype to scale-up by connecting them to the right communities.
And then there’s the Technical University of Eindhoven, playing an important role in supporting and housing startups. TU/e Innovation Lab, the expert center of Eindhoven University of Technology is an example of an incubator that successfully translates knowledge into business.
The TU/e also initiated Bright Move, which provides funding for start-ups that are in very early phases of the scale-up process. As a matter of fact, two Bright Move startups (Smart Photonics and Effect Photonics) have been nominated for the PIC Awards 2017, for playing an important role within the integrated photonics industry.
Next Move is the place to find your way around the ecosystem. It is connected with the TU/e, Brainport Development, BOM and Bright Move.
Martinez: “These are just a few of the many examples of match-making between startups and multinationals. If you want to get your hands a complete list, don’t look any further! ‘Eindhoven’s tech scene at a glance’ is a document packed with tech hotspots, resources, investors, accelerators and more to help you navigate this exciting ecosystem and find the best ways to expand your business. Simply download Eindhoven’s tech scene at a glance and tap into the vibe!”