A startup ecosystem is all about innovative people, finding the right people to make their ambitions and crazy ideas work. It is a network which is rich in connections, experiences and is supportive, but most of all, is eager to make things fly.
This week we launched together with TNO the pilot Tekdelta. In short it is a programme about opening up knowledge to startups to speed up and improve their business models, to provide them with lab facilities to test their prototypes and to have easy access to a whole group of partners with vast networks who can work as accelerators or perhaps even as launching customers.
Last year, in spring, Paul de Krom, CEO of TNO, visited us with his staff with a very open attitude: how can we help each other in realising our ambitions? And out of this grew the concept Tekdelta. Via workshops at Rockstart and the Venture Cafe we improved the concept and tested it with startups, because in the end it has to fulfil their needs just as much as the needs of all the partners. That is exactly what our way of working is: attracting and challenging people and organisations in the Dutch ecosystem to work together and improve the whole climate for startups! Be critical and lean forward, instead of backward!
If you have a quick look at the list of partners of Tekdelta, like KPN, Philips, NXP, ECN, Rockstart, LabsforRent and our Technical Universities, you see that this is an excellent environment to "breed and speed up" technology to the market. An environment where you can learn from each other, create new partnerships and find new ways to realise ideas and concepts.
Because there is no fixed recipe yet for this form of cooperation, we decided to start with a pilot would be the best thing to do. Testing the prototype, so to say. And be critical and challenge each other! What works and what makes partners happy to invest. What doesn't work and why not? How can we improve things?
Prototypes and testbeds are the way forward when it is about innovation. Fixed programmes to control expenses and behaviour of partners are 'Old Style'. One shouldn't fix things at an early stage, because it leads to fixed positions and interests, which hamper a culture of sharing and joining. One should create an open platform. An open source on which others can build and add, exchange, or change and remove when it doesn't work.
This requires a completely new attitude and constant interaction. We are keen to test this with our partners. The focus – if you can call this a focus – will be The Internet of Things and Big Data. A fantastic field where there is so much to explore and develop, and a great opportunity for the Netherlands to steam ahead.
At the end of June we will evaluate the pilot with the aim to launch a fully developed programme. Or perhaps better: an open platform. New partners are of course very welcome to join!
Two more months to go, before we end our work for StartupDelta. The Minister of Economic Affairs will announce the future of StartupDelta 2.0 during the StartupFest Europe at the end of May. Until then, full speed ahead and we will announce more concrete results of how we have aimed to strengthen the Dutch ecosystem for startups with StartupDelta. For instance, a new IP framework which aims at speeding up academic startups to grow their business and works both for TTO's, universities, startups as well as VC's. No challenge is big enough!
Neelie Kroes, Special Envoy For Startups & Sigrid Johannisse, Director StartupDelta