Wednesday, 26 June 2013

3D Rubber Printing

I have been playing with Sugru (Celtic for "play" apparently), a self-setting rubber which is great for household repairs. Had a broken 64GB USB stick which I was anxious to fix.And it repaired a broken bit in the dishwasher. But suppose you could put Sugru into a 3D printer and turn into a gasket, perhaps to replace an obsolete part in the car or on a boat. Hyrel3D printers are the ones pioneering this move. Have you noticed how more and more interesting materials are coming on the market?

Advanced materials and 3D printing are two areas of interest for the HightechXL accelerator program launching in November in Eindhoven. Curious? There's one simple address. HightechXL.

Live Robots Playing Football - for a real purpose

I kid you not. For the next few days, Eindhoven, The Netherlands is home to over 2500 robotics enthusiasts as part of the international Robocup2013 competition. A huge effort has gone in to hosting this international tournament.

While to outsiders it may just look like a geek fest, the artificial intelligence technologies being developed by researchers are increasingly important. to society. Not only to do the jobs that are routine, but also to go into areas where no humans would dare to tread. Robots are already used in natural disasters, but they always need to be driven. To build effective robots that can operate and think for themselves will need another couple of decades. The Robocup organisers have set themselves a goal. To build a robot soccer team that beats a human team by the year 2050.

Live feeds from the event are here below and are active throughout the tournament (Eindhoven is on time zome UTC+2). It ends on June 30th.

The competition is split into various leagues, for example, how can robots be used in the home? Look at this video from a previous event.

Are you building a robotics company? Many of the contestants in Eindhoven are doing more that just playing games. This is a great opportunity to show the outside world just what artifical intelligence has achieved so far. 

High Tech Campus from the air.  We'te in the building by the lake....

Our brand new HightechXL accelerator is actively looking for teams that are interested in applying for a high-tech accelerator program we're organising in Eindhoven in November 2013. Robotics is one of the 8 fields of interest. Here are ten reasons to consider the High Tech Campus as a place to build your robotics company. 8000 next-door neighbours who are engineers, entrepreneurs and developers sounds like a pretty good reason to me.

Eindhoven University of Technology

So how is HightechXL different from other accelerators?

Here are the top ten reasons to head for the South of the Netherlands for Startupbootcamp HightechXL

1.Access to Next Stage Capital
  • Startupbootcamp partners have diverse investor networks that really understand the different needs of high-tech startups. There is money for great ideas.
  • On board expertise from Dutch Expansion Capital and Ernst & Young (one of the “Big 4”). Unrivalled, Reputable, Relevant, Global Networks.
  • We are connected to over 450 investors in every major high-tech hotspot around the world.

2. Connect and learn from 150+ world-class mentors
  • Most Startupbootcamp mentors are experienced serial entrepreneurs.
  • We have specialists to cover every field - from biz dev to coding & prototype testing. High-Tech expertise is on tap.
  • We'll headhunt for your dream mentors from our unrivalled global network. We open every door possible for those selected for the program.
3. Accelerate 4x faster than on your own.
  • You will focus like never before. It’s a challenge for everyone on the team.
  • Ultra- Fast decision making. Everyone knows the pressure of Demo Day.
  • Startupbootcamp HighTechXL is the ultimate launching platform.

4. Bond with your peers - 9 other world class startups
  • Startupbootcamp alumni consistently rate the help and support from other startups and founders as one of the top benefits of the program.
  • You'll always find relevant expertise, a colleague with the answer to your question

5. Showcase your startup to 300+ investors and get funded
  • Our Demo Days and Sneak Previews regularly attract hundreds of participants most of which are Business Angels and VCs. We hand pick the audience for HighTechXL Demo Day on February 21st 2014!
  • Investors travel to The Netherlands from all over Europe to join our Demo Days; they know they'll meet ten amazing startups.
  • You’ll polish and shape your pitch guided by top media gurus. Deliver a world-class presentation on Demo Day. Media training to ensure maximum global coverage in both mainstream & specialist media during and after the program.

6. Open any door and reach out to the world
  • The Startupbootcamp brand is a real global door opener. Being a successful HighTechXL participant gives recognised credibility. It’s a high-tech power network.
  • There are more than 100+ leading tech companies, large and small within 5 minutes’ walk of our office.

Shinjan Dasgupta. CEO of Proxible. - Attention Technology

7. Eindhoven: the location to launch a high-tech startup
  • 60 nationalities represented on the High Tech Campus. Both Eindhoven Technical University and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) are nearby talent pools.
  • Access to superb state of the art research & testing facilities. 40% of all R&D activities in the Netherlands take place here.
  • We lead in both brainpower and R & D investments (US$4.5 billion dollars in 2012). An average of 4 patents filed by companies on the campus each day!
  • Welcoming, friendly atmosphere. No-one is a stranger in Eindhoven. Help with fast track immigration visas (if needed), as well as housing.
  • Impartial advice on the best path for quick and easy incorporation.

Our offices at HighTech Campus! We're not kidding.
8. Awesome perks
  • €15K per team from Startupbootcamp HighTechXL (our contribution towards living expenses so you can focus on building your company.).
  • Each team gets access to a great package of services from our sponsors and partners with an estimated market value of €525,000. This includes legal and fiscal advice, PR and marketing support, server space, as well as pitch and marketing consultancy.
  • 6 months of free office space in a prime location on the High Tech Campus. Stay until May 30th 2014. (3 months during the program and 3 months after).
  • Be part of our Startupbootcamp Silicon Valley tour in 2014.
  • Participate in Startupbootcamp Alumni Investor Demo Day in London in 2014.
  • Startupbootcamp has fast track connections to many public & private start-up events across Europe and beyond. A perfect stage to discover new customers.

9. Full-time staff dedicated to Team support.
  • The Startupbootcamp HighTechXL Team helps establish your ideal mentor network. Guest speakers invited based on their relevance to the needs of the teams.

10. Work hard – play hard
  • Our office is just above the High Tech campus gym. Great environment for outdoor exercise too. Kitchen and cafe bar within easy reach.

Let’s face it! The alternative sucks

  • Don't be alone in your garage, no-one will ever hear of your discovery. Finance won’t find you either. Feast your eyes on our “leader board of logos” below. Discover the diverse range of expertise. 
  • With 8000+ researchers, developers and entrepreneurs ON SITE, you can really tap into the world’s smartest square kilometre.
  • Accelerate with your peers and mentors. It’s not just what you know, it’s who you know.
  • Never get stuck: someone in the Startupbootcamp community always has the answer
  • Build on the shoulders of giants: if you're selected you’re already recognised as one of the top high-tech startups on the Planet.

More information & sign-up applications are at the same web address for success. Apply Now. Space is at a premium. There is no chance like this one.

Tip of the hat to our Startupbootcamp colleagues in Berlin for their inspiring words.

Feast your Eyes on Our Logo LeaderBoard – All these companies are a five minute walk from our office!

Monday, 24 June 2013

First Dutch Technology Week - Now the rest of the world

Public Launch of High Tech XL in Eindhoven
It has been a busy couple of weeks for the team behind Startupbootcamp HightechXL with which I am involved. It has taken since the middle of last year to build the plan for the world's best high-tech accelerator. We've learned from the experiences from our Startupbootcamp colleagues in Berlin, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Dublin, Haifa and London. But we have also listened to local high-tech entrepreneurs who have been successful in what is called the "Brainport" part of the Netherlands.

We were delighted when talks with the High Tech Campus resulted in a prime office position right in the heart of what's happening. All systems are now go.

So with the everything in place for the next 3 years, we have but one goal.

To find the best 20 high-tech teams for our finals on October 14/15th 2013.

Over two days at the High Tech Campus we will select the final 10 teams who will go through to the full accelerator program starting on Monday November 11th.

Getting the word out.

We made a very public launch of HighTechXL during the recent Dutch Technology Week held all over the Eindhoven region. This gives a chance for the public and other sectors of industry a chance to get the "backstage tour" of what's happening in high-tech in the region. Partner Ernst & Young organised an afternoon workshop for its network to explain the difference between an incubator (who provide facilities) and the High-Tech Accelerator which provides an organised program plus access to an unrivalled network of mentors. 

"We have seen other presentations of the Business Model Canvas and the Lean Start up methodology. But the workshops have often been with fictitious examples, or a project taking place on the other side of the world. Carolien Sandee, who organised the event on behalf of Ernst & Young as well as Startupbootcamp HightechXL, took a different approach".

Carolien Sandee
"We found out about a great renewable-energy project working at the Eindhoven University of Technology. The Solar Team Eindhoven are competing against many other universities in the world for the annual solar-powered car race. It takes place in Australia over the 3000 kms between Darwin and Adelaide. The Solar Team Eindhoven caught our eye because they're competing in the cruiser class. This means that as well as being judged on speed, they are also being examined for how many people they can carry, the external energy requirements and the general handling and comfort of the car. The car will be revealed to the world on July 4th, but Lex Hoefsloot, the team leader was able to share a few secrets with us about how far they have got."

 Lex Hoefsloot of Solar Team Eindhoven 
"Lex also posed a number of dilemmas to the audience of several hundred participants. So we asked Samantha van Rooij of Business Models Inc (the publishers of the Business Model Canvas Book) to facilitate a very practical workshop. We split up into groups and 90 minutes later came up with a number of very practical suggestions in their quest to build the solar family car of the future. We also demonstrated the way we will be helping the HightechXL teams when they join us in Eindhoven in November. And the first prize for the winning group is a test drive in the new solar car. 

Working out the different Business Model Canvas options for the solar car!

The exercise yielded very useful practical business ideas for Solar Team Eindhoven

The afternoon concluded with encouragement from former Dutch prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende. He's retired from politics but now takes a keen interest in corporate governance and the growth of small medium enterprises. 

Winner get a test drive in the new solar family car - no word on the price as yet!
Patrick Gabriels of Ernst & Young closed off the day's proceedings. "HightechXL is now no-longer a dream. It's all systems go. The next step is our global search to find brilliant teams."

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Shaping the world's best accelerator for high-tech startups: HightechXL

Building on the shoulders of Giants

These last two decades have been totally disrupted by the Internet. There isn't a business that hasn't been affected. And the virtual connectivity as well as cheap access to powerful technology has also affected the way companies innovate. Most of us are walking around with several thousand times more computing power than NASA used to send a man to the moon in 1969. The so-called Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) used a real time operating system had approximately 64 kilobyte of memory and operated at a speed if 0.043 MHz.

The AGC had a miniscule memory....

It feels as if the speed of disruptive change is no longer linear. But it is logarithmic. 8 comes next to four instead of 5.

End User Innovation - Early Business Model Canvas?

The late Peter F. Drucker, the Austrian-born management consultant, is often credited with explaining how larger manufacturers innovated in the past. Basically they locked themselves away in secret labs, developing products they could patent and then sell to the public or other businesses. As the world becomes more connected, this is becoming harder and harder to do. 

Meanwhile, along came the notion of End-user innovation. A person or a small company develops an innovation for their own use because existing products or services don't meet their needs. Access to powerful computers as well as cheap hardware has made it possible for brilliant companies to start in the back of a garage, often funded by personal savings. 

In 1988, MIT economist Eric von Hippel identified end-user innovation as, by far, the most important and critical in his classic book on the subject "Sources of Innovation" now available for free download.

In addition, the famous robotics engineer Joseph F. Engelberger asserted that innovations require only three things:

1. A recognized need,
2. Competent people with relevant technology, and
3. Financial support.

The Kline Chain-linked model of innovation places great emphasis on potential market needs as drivers of the innovation process. It also describes the complex and often iterative feedback loops between marketing, design, manufacturing, and R&D.

To use this sounds like very early thinking that we know call the Business Model Canvas.

Adapting these ideas to 2013

Jed Cristiansen is an American living in London. He's raced solar-powered cars across the Australian outback, operated nuclear reactors and US Navy submarines, been a consultant, and currently works for Google.

Jed Cristiansen
In 2009, he wrote an extensive paper outlining how people could copy Y combinator, the successful accelerator program that kicked things off in Silicon Valley. It's inspired us to build a more focussed program in the South of the Netherlands. The report is an extensive analysis, but draws relatively simple conclusions. 

To be a continued successful seed accelerator program, you need to have a financial model that works, provide value to the companies that you invest in, and invest in the best possible companies.  That means the best possible companies need to prefer your program to any other.  

Jed now runs Seed-Database which monitors the successes of the Accelerator community. That turns out to be around 169 different programs, most of which are still in business.

The Countdown Has Begun

Getting the show on the road. Bart Lugard & Broos Bakens of the SBC HighTechXL Team
Yes, I've been up to something. I love it when a plan comes together. Some of you may know that I have a fascinating for science and technology. In the past that has involved several trips to Eindhoven in the South of the Netherlands, and what used to be called the NatLab. It was the R & D science park set up by Philips in 1998. And it used to have a high fence all around the one square kilometre. Journalists had to bring a passport and the procedures at the front gate reminded me of Checkpoint Charlie between East and West Berlin. All this was needed because Philips made a lot of money licensing its patents. They're slogan at the time was "Philips Invents For You".

The old days before Philips really saw the light....
Except that in 2003 they realised that closed innovation means you're not ready to compete in the digital age. It is now a time when the business model is not shouting but sharing. So the fence went away and Philips started a plan to sell off the real estate to make it clear that it was no longer the Philips Research Park.  Today the old research park is now the High Tech Campus. It's home to 100 companies, 8000 people from over 60 countries. And they're expanding because the ecosystem that is blossoming there is running out of space. Two new buildings are under construction, one connected with healthcare, the other with LED lighting.

Europe's answer to Silicon Valley.

Disruption is the key to Hardware Innovation

The large corporations on the site like ABBASMLIntelIrdetoNXP SemiconductorsNXP SoftwarePhilipsSentech, and SRB Energy, have realised the value of the positive, disruptive value of high-tech start-ups. 
Of course it's all about the network in the Internet of Things. The Great Cafe is where many deals are done
These are young companies of around 3-6 people who have come up with a brilliant business idea and have a working prototype. The High Tech campus is rapidly building a reputation where innovative start-ups & sme’s disrupt, innovate and get funded. Shapeways (3D printing), Sapiens Neuro (Neuroscience), Civolution (Media Content Fingerprinting), Genkey (Large Scale Biometrics), Intrinsic-ID (Sensitive Data Protection Across All Devices), are just some of the recent success stories. 

Infact I learned that a lot of the technology in my Samsung mobile uses chip technology developed on the High Tech Campus.

The inaugural mentor meeting at HTC Eindhoven

Assembling a different program line-up

I've been a mentor to a couple of accelerator programmes in Amsterdam. VC4Africa and Startupbootcamp Amsterdam. Now, I'm closely involved with building a very different kind of high-tech accelerator right in the heart of Europe’s equivalent of “Silicon Valley”. In fact, we’re convinced it has every chance of becoming the leading accelerator of its kind, because it is clearly focused on companies working in the most successful high-tech sectors.

We’ve secured a prime location on “the Strip”, which forms the centre of activities on what’s known as the “High Tech Campus”. It can justly claim to be the R & D capital of Western Europe with more than 1400 patents registered last year. It’s no wonder that the Eindhoven area leads in both brainpower and R & D investments (US$4.5 billion dollars in 2012). Large international corporations like are just a few minutes’ walk from our offices.

StartupBootCamp High Tech is driven by experienced entrepreneurs Guus Frericks & Eric van den Eijnden of Dutch Expansion Capital. Patrick GabriĆ«ls is leading the team on behalf  of the Ernst & Young partnership.

And yesterday we launched the first mentor meeting to explain the plans and how mentors contribute to make the program possible - and much more effective than a couple of years at a business school. This bootcamp can draw on more than 500 world-class specialists and mentors in the 7 cities that form the Startupbootcamp international network. They have people covering a wide-range of relevant expertise. We’re also tapping into the mentor and investor networks of E & Y and Dutch Expansion Capital.

So we’ve now been given the green light and the challenge to to find the 10 best high-tech start-ups on the planet. They will benefit from a unique 6 month accelerator program starting in early November this year. But don't wait until then. If you know of teams that might qualify, now is the time to act. The sign-up address is simple

We believe that 70% of the teams in the program will come from outside the Netherlands.
In these times of polarising discussions about immigration, remember that Silicon Valley USA owes its success to the input of foreign nationals. 56% of companies there were started by international founders. It’s the same story here on the West Coast of Europe. At the same time we see very aggressive campaigns by cities and national governments in order to attract the best to their part of the world.

We’ve opened our application program to the world. But we’re starting an extensive active search to keep the standards at the top level. It's a safari in search of brilliance. And I must say - I love every minute of it.

The HighTechXL Long List

If you have an inside track to teams working in these disruptive technology areas, then don't hesitate to get in touch via LinkedIn

The areas where the Accelerator concentrates on.

Internet of Things
Machine to Machine communication. Networks of low-cost sensors and actuators used for data collection, monitoring, decision making and process optimisation. Includes intelligent lighting systems, personal entertainment, Micro Medical Systems & relevant Nanotechnology.
Advanced Materials
New materials designed to have superior characteristics, (e.g. strengths, conductivity, weight,) or extraordinary functionality. (like graphene
(Near) Autonomous Vehicles
Vehicles that can navigate and operate with little or no human intervention. Developments in sustainable personal mobility (e.g. SolarTeamEindhoven)
Energy Storage
Devices or system that store energy for later use. Includes advanced battery technologies.
3D Printing
Additive manufacturing techniques to create objects by printing layers of material based on digital models. From spare parts for obsolete cars to high-grade medical human implants. This area is creating huge interest.
Renewable Energy
Generation of electricity from renewable sources, reducing the impact on climate. From solar cells to tidal power.
Advanced Robotics
Increasingly capable robots with enhanced
Lifetech – Medtech
21st century healthcare, including the “quantified self”. Technologies to improve personal wellbeing.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Patrick de Zeeuw at the launch of Startupbootcamp HighTechXL.

Patrick de Zeeuw, one of the co-founders of Startupbootcamp is one of the speakers at the public launch of HighTechXL, Eindhoven. Born in the city, Patrick has a particular affection for the South of the Netherlands. And it's clear that it's becoming the intellectual driving force for the rest of the country.