Adding VC’s to Holland’s new Scale-Up Hub in Eindhoven

HightechXL Plaza is something new & different for Western Europe. It is a hub that’s been fine-tuned to assist young tech companies in their first 5 years of existence – helping to start-up, through scale-up, and then “stay up” as an established international enterprise. That now includes permanent on-site, independent, affordable financial advice for preparing all-important Series A & B funding rounds.

Switching on a bright future

Bert-Jan Woertman & Hans Meeske switch on a new era in high-tech scale-ups

Bert-Jan Woertman is one of the enthusiastic initiators. "We understand the unique challenges facing companies building breakthrough hardware technologies in Europe. Which is why we select mentors, partners and VC’s who offer relevant advice and services. And we bring them all to Building 12, a refurbished lab with a history of great inventions in the heart of High Tech Campus Eindhoven. It is part of our magic potion of business initiatives that are really working to accelerate this part of The Netherlands."

"Startup accelerators are excellent at helping you select a technology, validate the international product-market fit and find early stage investors. But what about after demo day? Companies need to build a larger customer base and work out how to effectively scale-up. That's why we've created HightechXL Plaza which we think is the perfect next stage towards building a high-tech enterprise. – at the point when your startup starts to execute production of a robust design and market to customers."

Hans Meeske is the Director of HightechXL Plaza as well as leading Holland Innovative. "This hub is a living lab running a continuous series of experiments- but then that's how we grow in this region. I think being entrepreneurs ourselves helps us understand the real stresses that startups going through on their journey to becoming an international enterprise. This newly opened location gives residents access to the best advice on supply chains, reliability design, human resource management, team dynamics, and growth hacking. They can also link to specialists in international media strategy (storytelling), as well as tap into international expat expertise from 500+ internationals who are connected in the Brainport region. We hope it will grow into a leading innovation center for cross-fertilization and development of startups and breakthrough innovations.Come and see for yourself – the next event is Demo and Drinks on Wednesday, January 6th."

Inside HighTech Plaza

The Permanent VC Desk is key

"We believe the establishment of a permanent VC Desk as from January 2nd 2016 adds an important piece to the puzzle. Informal networks work so much faster in making sure that companies get access to the funds they need – and can concentrate on upscaling their technology. Our network of alumni HTCE startup companies have all been in the similar situations – and know the importance of relevant advice at just the right time. And, as your company expands, there are next-stage offices and laboratory facilities on hand so you can remain in sync with such a powerful ecosystem. The province of Noord-Brabant – and the Eindhoven region in particular – has many innovative high-tech start-ups. Many entrepreneurs have a need for growth capital. Yet, in practice, young startups waste a lot of time and effort trying to find sufficient seed funding instead of being able to focus on their technology. In many cases, the starters often lack the network and expertise to find capital from banks, angel investors and venture capitalists."

Introducing a VC-in-residence

“The Brabant Development Agency has identified a real need for a dedicated Venture Capital Desk”, says Miriam Dragstra, Director of BOM Capital. “The VC Desk is a central meeting place, surrounded by the entrepreneurs themselves, where they can go for support and advice in the field of finance. The VC Desk is staffed by specialists who understand the many financing options available for fast growth (hardware) startups. Moreover, they can offer access to a wide (inter)national network to ambitious startups. Our shared goal is that over the next four years, over 100 startups will be accelerated to grow and make a significant impact on the global stage.”

Major Boost for this Innovative Ecosystem

Given its reputation for having a high density of innovative startups, High Tech Campus Eindhoven was the obvious location for this regional initiative. Large companies benefit from the disruptive innovation displayed by young companies. Conversely, startups and scale-up benefit from access to state-of-the-art test and measurement facilities and the international networks of large enterprises. Together they form a vibrant ecosystem. HTCE Campus director Frans Schmetz supports and encourages the establishment of a permanently manned VC Desk at HighTechXL Plaza. “Promising, innovative start-ups often do not speak the same language of the potential investor. That distracts them from their primary goal: to fit product-market fit and scale as soon as possible. It’s important that we add capital injections into these young companies at exactly the point they need it. In this way, we remain the benchmark for innovation for the rest of the country.”

The Bank acts as a Helpful Matchmaker

Director Jos Rooijakkers of Rabobank Eindhoven-Veldhoven is pleased with the establishment of a separate desk for innovative start-ups. “The Eindhoven region is bursting with promising startups in need of growth capital. This branch of the bank will act increasingly take on the role of bringing supply and demand together, in cooperation with the BOM and other capital providers.”

The new national High-Tech VC Desk has been created as a joint cooperation venture of the Brabant Development Agency (BOM), High Tech Campus Eindhoven, Startupbootcamp HighTechXL, Holland Innovative and Rabobank Eindhoven-Veldhoven.