On Tuesday 14 May 2019, the jury of the Academic Startup Competition announced ten winners, from 28 nominated university startups. Two of those ten winners originate from the University of Amsterdam.
In the presence of the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs and Climate, Mona Keijzer, the winners were selected by a jury on basis of their pitch. Kepler Vision Technologies, founded by Harro Stokman originates from the Science Faculty Institute for computer science, develops computer vision and machine learning technology that enables "body language recognition" in videos. Confocal.nl is a spinn off from the Science Faculty - Swammerdam Institute of Life Sciences where Erik Manders founded Confocal.nl in 2016. With Confocal.nl a breakthrough in confocal microscopy technique has been established.
The ten winners will pitch during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in June 2019 (GES) which for the first time is organized in Europe. In addition, the winners are offered a trip to Silicon Valley by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate. There they learn how they can scale up their innovation faster and develop startup to scale-up. State Secretary Mona Keijzer stated "academic startups are extremely important for the Netherlands because of their often innovative breakthroughs that have a great impact on society. The winners show that Dutch universities and institutes can play a role on the global stage." This view is shared by Pieter Duisenberg, President The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) "academic startups gap the bridge between science and society: they transform ground-breaking science into tangible innovations and that is very valuable."
The Academic Startup Competition is an initiative of the VSNU, the Netherlands Academy of Technology and Innovation (AcTI) and StartupDelta. They asked the technology/ knowledge transfer offices of Dutch universities to nominate their most promising start ups. The Amsterdam nominations are coordinated by Innovation Exchange Amsterdam (IXA), the joint knowledge transfer office of UvA, HvA, VU and Amsterdam UMC. With the election the organizers highlight valorisation and University startups international.
The Global Entrepreneurship Summit is an annual international meeting for entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and policy makers. In the program are thematic issues and challenges associated with innovative solutions.