The road to TNW Conference 2023 has begun! With just five months to go until Europe’s leading tech festival, TNW is touring several emerging tech hubs across the Netherlands to discover the best of Dutch technology ahead of the flagship conference in June.
First stop? Groningen. The TNW event took place on Thursday during the MXT 2023in association with Founded in Groningen and Founded in Friesland. Startups, investors, corporates and municipal representatives gathered here to share how Dutch companies are enabling the future of technology in the northern regions of the Netherlands: Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe.
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Among the Dutch startup tech hubs, the North stands out for its fast growth, with more than 330 startups across the three regions generating more than 5,000 jobs. Since 2018, Groningen has experienced an annual growth of 12% in the number of startups, followed by Friesland with 8% and Drenthe with 4%.
“If you compare the current startup ecosystem in the North to ten years ago, it is very different, especially in terms of collaboration. Startups, academia and investors are now working closely together,” says Niek Huizenga, Investor at G-Force Capital, said at the event. “Still, we need to progress faster and adopt a growth mindset to be even more competitive.”
“The North is ahead of the other regions in the areas that matter most, such as energy solutions and agri-food – an advantage we should be more proud of and communicate more about,” says Anne-Wil Lucas, Ecosystem Partner at NOMadded.
The potential of the Northern Netherlands to become one of the most attractive hubs in the country is also highlighted by the innovativeness of the five startups selected to represent the region at the TNW Conference 2023. They are:
After almost ten years of collaboration with the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), Enatoma has developed a next-gen anatomy app for medical education.
Using point cloud techniques and anatomical preparations from the UMCG, the app offers a realistic 3D visualization of the human body that can be used in computers, tablets and VR/AR glasses. Within the app, anatomical preparations can be fully studied, while it is also possible to annotate and make notes on the 3D models.
In this way, the Enatom app can be used by both teachers and students, facilitating flexible access to accurate knowledge in resource-poor environments and easing the strain on the educational health care system.
The startup has developed a smart pen that, thanks to the three connected cameras, digitizes handwriting on any paper without the need for a special surface or scanning. The Nuwa pen comes with an app that syncs handwriting with its digital copy.
The team was inspired by the fact that while millions of people still love to write on paper, “the pen has stood still for innovation over the past few centuries,” Marc Tuinier, the company’s founder and CEO, told TNW.
And according to Tuinier, the pen is just the beginning. “The algorithms and custom hardware we design are the foundation for building spatial computing products. We believe the future of computing is one where you’re not confined to a desk (or lap), and we’re going to create the technology to make that kind of work possible. We start with the pen, and we take it into the glasses experience,” he explained.
Regarding Nuwa’s participation in the TNW conference, Tuinier believes that this will not only provide the company with a strong network, but will also attract interest and investment in the Northern Netherlands.
The company has developed an interactive video platform that revolves around engagement. Rather than offering a fixed, linear tool, the platform empowers the user to take charge.
According to Mark Visser, CEO and owner of HIHAHO, the platform’s competitive advantage is the way the technology is built, making it the “only ‘intel inside’ like solution in online interactive video worldwide.”
“Our interactive layer technology is synchronized with all major online video players and video platforms. On the layers and thus in the videos, you can create more than 20 different types of interactions, including the possibility to integrate existing web applications such as merchandise webshops, e-learning tests, etc.,” he added.
This is how the video platform works:
HIHAHO now has a global customer base of early adopters and strives to become a leader in industries such as entertainment, learning, marketing and public information.
The team expects the conference to help spark further interest from potential partners and investors, Visser told TNW.
SusPhos uses chemistry to create a better world. In concrete terms, the startup upcycles phosphate-rich waste streams to generate high-quality alternatives that can replace current products of fossil origin – all in a waste-free process.
The company’s patented technology is compatible with various waste streams, including agriculture, municipal and food and beverage industries. The first products are flame retardants and special fertilizers.
In addition to phosphate products, SusPhos produces recycled coagulants along with other chemicals and is currently preparing its first full-scale plant.
This startup aims to disrupt the property inspection and maintenance industry. Using data collected by drones, Aeroscan creates 3D renderings of buildings. Customers can use a dedicated web-based application to access these insights.
According to Mark Nikolai, the company’s founder and technical director, the technology has three key impact points: it shortens the time it takes experts to generate maintenance reports, it reduces the logistics footprint by enabling the digital sharing of 3D visualizations, and , as a result it lowers the total cost of ownership of real estate.
Aeroscan’s competitive advantage lies in “the combination of internal competencies,” Nikolai told TNW. “We monitor data quality (input), develop our own custom machine learning models for data analysis, and deliver an end-user-centric web application.”
According to the founder, scaling up the technology and associated financing has been the biggest challenge yet, and the company wants to connect with potential investors at the TNW conference.
“We are really impressed with the quality of these 5 startups, all founded and grown in the Northern region. TNW is a platform for ecosystems across the Netherlands to unite, and we are excited to showcase these startups at the TNW Conference in June,” said Zach Butler, Events Director at TNW.
The road to Applied Sciences conference tour will make two more stops: Rotterdam on May 15 and Amsterdam on June 1.
And do not forget! TNW Conference 2023 takes place on June 15 and 16, so if you’re interested in how technology will shape the world of tomorrow, get insights from industry pioneers and connect with startups, scale-ups, investors and companies, then get your ticket here!