Get to know the startups that characterize the perfect of Northern Netherlands expertise

The road to the TNW Conference 2023 has begun! With just five months to go until Europe’s leading tech festival, TNW is touring several emerging tech hubs in the Netherlands to discover the best of Dutch tech ahead of its flagship conference in June.

first stop? groningen On Thursday, TNW’s event took place during MXT 2023 in cooperation with Founded in Groningen and Founded in Friesland. This brought together startups, investors, companies and community representatives who shared how Dutch companies are enabling the next technological developments in the northern regions of the Netherlands: Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe.

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Among Dutch startup tech hubs, the North stands out for its rapid growth, with the three regions being home to more than 330 startups creating over 5,000 jobs. Since 2018, Groningen has recorded 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 what it was ten years ago, it’s completely different, especially in terms of collaboration. Startups, academia and investors are now working closely together,” said Niek Huizenga, investor at G-Force Capital, during the event. “Nevertheless, we need to move faster and adopt a growth mentality to be even more competitive.”

“The North is ahead of the other regions in key areas such as energy solutions and agri-food – an advantage we should be prouder of and communicate more about,” added Anne-Wil Lucas, Ecosystem Partner at NOM.

Road to TNW Conference 2023 Erwin Damberg, Private Lead at Founded in Friesland, before announcing the startups attending the flagship conference in June.

The potential of the Northern Netherlands to become one of the most attractive hubs in the country is also underlined by the innovative strength of the five startups chosen to represent the region at the TNW Conference 2023. These are:

Enatom (Groningen)

After almost ten years of collaboration with the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), Enatom has developed a next-generation anatomy app for the medical education sector.

Using point cloud techniques and anatomical preparations provided by 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 specimens can be studied all around, while it is also possible to annotate the 3D models and create notes.

In this way, the Enatom app can be used by both teachers and students, facilitating flexible access to accurate knowledge in low-resource settings and relieving the educational healthcare system.

Nuwa (Groningen)

The startup has developed a smart pen that, thanks to its 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 the handwriting to its digital copy.

The team was inspired by the fact that while millions of people still love to write on paper, “the pen has lay dormant in innovation over the last 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 develop form the basis for the development of spatial computing products. We believe the future of computing is one where you aren’t tied to a desk (or lap), and we will develop the technology to make that kind of work possible. We start with the pen and bring it to the eyewear experience,” he explained.

As for Nuwa’s attendance at the TNW conference, Tuinier believes that it will not only provide the company with a strong network, but will also further attract interest and investment in the Northern Netherlands.

HIHAHO (axes)

The company has developed an interactive video platform that is all about engagement. Rather than offering a fixed, linear tool, the platform allows the user to be in charge.

According to Mark Visser, CEO and owner of HIHAHO, the platform’s competitive advantage lies in the way its technology is built, making it “the only ‘intel inside’-like solution for interactive online video in the world”.

“Our interactive layer technology is synchronized with all major online video players and video platforms. On the layers, and therefore in the videos, you can create more than 20 different types of interactions, including the possibility of integrating existing web applications such as web shops for goods, e-learning tests, etc.,” he added.

How the video platform works:

HIHAHO now has a worldwide 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 will help generate further interest from potential partners and investors, Visser told TNW.

SusPhos (Leeuwarden)

SusPhos uses chemistry to create a better world. Specifically, the startup recycles phosphate-rich waste streams to create high-value alternatives that can replace current fossil-sourced products—all in a zero-waste process.

The company’s patented technology is compatible with diverse waste streams, including agricultural, municipal, and food and beverage industries. The first products will be flame retardants and specialty fertilizers.

In addition to phosphate products, SusPhos produces recycled coagulants along with other chemicals while it is currently preparing its first full-scale plant.

Aeroscan (Leeuwarden)

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, founder and technical director of the company, the technology has three main impacts: it reduces the time it takes experts to generate maintenance reports, it reduces the logistical footprint by enabling the digital exchange of 3D visualizations, and, as As a result, it lowers the overall cost of real estate ownership.

Aeroscan’s competitive advantage lies “in the combination of internal competencies,” Nikolai told TNW. “We control 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 the technology and funding to support it has been the biggest challenge so far, and the company is looking to connect with potential investors at the TNW conference.

Road to TNW Conference 2023 The startups receive the ticket to participate in the TNW Conference 2023. From left to right: Mark Visser from HIHAHO, Stefan Vogelzang from Enatom, Marc Tuinier from NUWA and Tinco Andringa from Aeroscan.

“We were really impressed by the quality of these 5 startups, all founded and grown in the North Region. TNW is a platform for ecosystems in the Netherlands to unite, and we’re excited to showcase these startups at the TNW conference in June,” said Zach Butler, events director at TNW.

The Road to TNW Conference Tour will make two more stops: Rotterdam on May 15th and Amsterdam on June 1st.

And do not forget! The TNW Conference 2023 will take place on June 15th and 16th. So if you want to find out how technology will shape tomorrow’s world, get insights from industry pioneers and network with startups, scale-ups, investors and companies, secure your ticket here!

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