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Extensive national and international measures have been taken in recent days to limit the further spread of the coronavirus. More and more companies are feeling the consequences of the virus and the measures taken. There is an acute drop in demand, there are supply problems and, above all, a lot of uncertainty. What are the short and long term effects for your company?

We would like to inform you about the measures we have taken at InnovationQuarter.

External and internal communication

Everyone’s health comes first. That is why we have not been working from our office since last Friday, March 12.

However, we try to keep in touch with our relations and stakeholders, and with each other as much as possible. We use digital communication, such as tele or video conferencing. Our organization is well prepared and equipped for this.

Events

All our physical events and meetings for the coming period (at least until the end of April) are cancelled or postponed. Where possible, we reorganize events and appointments to take place virtually.

Investing

The three funds IQCapital, ENERGIIQ and UNIIQ invest in innovative startups and scale-ups. Our portfolio companies are often in a phase where there is insufficient financial resources available to withstand major fluctuations that a Covid-19 outbreak may entail. During this period we are in extra close contact with our portfolio companies to answer questions and think about solutions.

Currently, our teams at all three funds are conducting an assessment on our portfolio companies to:

  1. Create awareness and dialogue with our portfolio companies about this outbreak,
  2. Obtain insight into the possible implications for business operations,
  3. Obtain insight into the possible implications for income, and
  4. Obtain insight into which mitigating measures have been taken or should be taken.

The results will be incorporated into a risk matrix for our entire portfolio. An action plan will then be drawn up for each company. In addition, we are in contact with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, fellow Regional Economic Development Agencies in the Netherlands, TechLeap and others to see which suitable additional support measures can be taken for startups and scale-ups.

Internationalisation

International business travel has virtually stalled. We also no longer make international trips. As a result, the number of incoming and outgoing international delegations, missions and so-called fact findings from companies is currently zero. We maintain virtual and digital contact with our foreign relations and companies as much as possible. We are able to help you set up a strategy for your exportmarkets and connect you to our network.

A new English website has recently been launched, which contains a lot of relevant information about our region. We refer our international relations to this website (www.investinrotterdamthehaguearea.org). We are also currently organizing digital fact findings for various foreign companies. Furthermore, we focus our activities mainly on Investor Relations (maintaining contacts with foreign companies already established in our region).

Innovation and collaboration

We are working together on a future-proof economy in the Greater Rotterdam The Hague area by building innovative ecosystems, programs, projects and business cases.

In the light of the current situation, our core task of innovation sees reluctance to enter into new partnerships, pilots and projects. Many events and introductions have understandably been postponed, because entrepreneurs currently have different priorities. We will remain in close contact with our relations and in the coming weeks, we will focus in particular on continuing existing projects and supporting entrepreneurs with specific questions.

Questions

The most up-to-date answers to questions from entrepreneurs can be found at business.gov.nl. But we are also happy to help you. Please contact one of our colleagues directly via the details here. Or send an email to info@innovationquarter.nl.

In the coming period, we will be even more driven than ever to work on stronger, smarter and healthier, greater Rotterdam The Hague area.

As Prime Minister Rutte said, “Together we will overcome this difficult period.”

Kind regards,

Rinke Zonneveld

Rinke Zonneveld

Director InnovationQuarter
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Investering Edumundo

RoboCrops is the world’s very first event linking robotics and greenhouse horticulture. It will be organised on 23 and 24 April in The Netherlands at World Horti Center and RoboHouse. Growers, technology companies, universities and investors will be challenged to the limit. Goal: developing new horti applications using sensors, robotic arms, autonomous vehicles, AI and data. Harvesting crops is a very delicate and complex task, automating the process is not that easy. Registrations don’t only come from Europe, but also from Japan, Canada and Israel. RoboCrops provides a solution for the worldwide need to find each other and to achieve breakthroughs together.

RoboCrops

Harvesting technology to feed the world

Even before the program is final, Lely, Panasonic, Rijk Zwaan and renowned professors confirmed their arrival. The fact that they and companies such as KINOVA and Ecoation are willing to travel from Canada to the Netherlands proves that the subject is considered to be important and urgent. The growing world population, climate change and a growing demand for safe and healthy food are global issues. It is clear that there are opportunities here for robotics.

That the very first crossover between robotics and horticulture is taking place in West-Holland is not surprising. Greenport West-Holland is the world’s most innovative region in the field of greenhouse horticulture. Because of the variety of industries in the region, there is a strong hightech community, also stimulated by several universities and knowledge institutions. Only by working together will it be possible to develop and scale up practical solutions.

RoboCrops

You want to join RoboCrops?

More information is available on the website. You can register here.

Autonomous harvesting: to pick or not to pick?

In order for a robot to autonomously harvest crops, it must combine sense (where is the tomato?), think (to pick or not to pick?), and act (pick and place in a container). Although good progress has been made in the development of harvesting robots in general, they are still not widely used in our greenhouses. Delicate crops, such as tomatoes, peppers and strawberries, are particularly problematic. By bringing together international growers and technology companies and challenging students to develop solutions, RoboCrops hopes to set a global acceleration in motion.

RoboCrops

Programme

23 April: robotic developments and hackathon

On 23 April growers and other attendees will be informed about the latest developments in robotics for greenhouse horticulture. The chairman of the day will be Peter Jens, Director Strategic Alliances at Koppert. He deals with agricultural, food and nutrition issues all over the world and promotes cooperation between farmers, cooperatives and research institutes. Keynotes include André van Troost, CEO at Lely, the internationally operating number one manufacturer of robots and data systems for dairy farming. Josse de Baerdemaeker is also on stage. He is Professor of Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors at KU Leuven and is recognised worldwide as the founder of the basic principles in precision agriculture.

In addition to the day programme in World Horti Center, students from Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University will start that day on a hackathon in the RoboHouse fieldlab in Delft. This hackathon can be followed in the evening via livestream during the network dinner in World Horti Center.

24 April: technical challenges and hackathon

On April 24, technology companies, universities and other interested parties can explore the technical possibilities and challenges for robotics in horticulture in World Horti Center together. Chairman of the day is Jim Stolze, who started Aigency, a company that provides solutions in the field of artificial intelligence. Vegetable breeding company Rijk Zwaan will be on the programme that day and Jaimy Siebel, Managing Director at RoboValley and RoboHouse, will also provide a keynote. At the end of the day the students, who’ll pull an all-nighter for their challenge in fieldlab RoboHouse, pitch their hacks in the World Horti Center. On both days there will of be plenty of opportunities for matchmaking.

Locaties RoboCrops

Would you like to participate in this unique event as well?

The organization of the event is currently still in full swing. You can find more information on the RoboCrops website. If you want to join us, you can register here. There is still a limited number of places available for participants, sponsors, exhibitors and speakers. In the upcoming weeks a series of vlogs about robotics in greenhouse horticulture can be followed on this YouTube channel.

More information

Feel free to contact us.

Colinda de Beer

Senior Business Developer Horticulture
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Scottish medtech company WheelAir is opeing a subsidiary office in the Netherlands, near its European partners and customers to expand its operations and support business growth in the EU. Wheelair was assisted in its relocation by the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, Rotterdam Partners and InnovationQuarter.

Solving a pressing health issue

The majority of wheelchair users regularly experience overheating and sweating. This not only causes great discomfort but can also result in the formation of pressure sores. More severely, overheating tends to cause muscle spasms, heat-induced seizures, nausea, fatigue and potential heatstroke. Confronted with this realization and on a mission to solve this problem, managing director Corien Staels formed WheelAir in Glasgow in 2016.

Instant relief

The WheelAir system provides cool air at the interface between body and wheelchair, instantly influencing the microclimate where it affects users. studies demonstrate that the WheelAir system can lower body temperature by 8˚C in 30 minutes and – when used preventively – can avoid any heat and moisture build-up altogether. This, in turn, has a huge influence on pressure sore management and prevention. Countries spend an average of 4% of its healthcare budget in treating this issue.

Business growth

The WheelAir temperature regulation system is the first of its kind and is designed for and to fit all wheelchairs. Since its introduction to the market in 2017, WheelAir systems have been sold internationally to not only retailers but some of the largest custom seating manufacturers in the world, such as Ottobock. There are several other large Dutch partnerships in the pipeline, although we can’t share anything on those yet. After four years based in Glasgow, WheelAir opened a new office in the Netherlands in February 2020.

“With sales increasing in Europe we decided that now is the time to branch out.” Said Staels. “The Netherlands is a very innovation-driven country with a much stronger link between universities, hospitals and entrepreneurs. With our planned clinical trials coming up, this environment will make further developments with the healthcare sector a whole lot easier.”

“It is great to see the arrival of Wheelair in Rotterdam, a new innovative, medical technology company with social impact. Wheelair brings unique expertise in the field of wheelchair temperature control which fits perfectly into our strong MedTech cluster in the region” said Chris van Voorden, director Foreign Investments at InnovationQuarter

Wilbert Lek, director at Rotterdam Partners: “Rotterdam’s healthcare technology profile, combined with our vibrant entrepreneurial community makes it an ideal place for Wheelair to successfully grow their business and connect with the European market”

Sasja Heijman

Senior Account Manager Life Sciences & Health
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RoboCrops

RoboCrops is the world’s very first event linking robotics and greenhouse horticulture. It will be organised on 23 and 24 April in The Netherlands at World Horti Center and RoboHouse. Growers, technology companies, universities and investors will be challenged to the limit. Goal: developing new horti applications using sensors, robotic arms, autonomous vehicles, AI and data. Harvesting crops is a very delicate and complex task, automating the process is not that easy. Registrations don’t only come from Europe, but also from Japan, Canada and Israel. RoboCrops provides a solution for the worldwide need to find each other and to achieve breakthroughs together.

RoboCrops

Harvesting technology to feed the world

Even before the program is final, Lely, Panasonic, Rijk Zwaan and renowned professors confirmed their arrival. The fact that they and companies such as KINOVA and Ecoation are willing to travel from Canada to the Netherlands proves that the subject is considered to be important and urgent. The growing world population, climate change and a growing demand for safe and healthy food are global issues. It is clear that there are opportunities here for robotics.

That the very first crossover between robotics and horticulture is taking place in West-Holland is not surprising. Greenport West-Holland is the world’s most innovative region in the field of greenhouse horticulture. Because of the variety of industries in the region, there is a strong hightech community, also stimulated by several universities and knowledge institutions. Only by working together will it be possible to develop and scale up practical solutions.

RoboCrops

You want to join RoboCrops?

More information is available on the website. You can register here.

Autonomous harvesting: to pick or not to pick?

In order for a robot to autonomously harvest crops, it must combine sense (where is the tomato?), think (to pick or not to pick?), and act (pick and place in a container). Although good progress has been made in the development of harvesting robots in general, they are still not widely used in our greenhouses. Delicate crops, such as tomatoes, peppers and strawberries, are particularly problematic. By bringing together international growers and technology companies and challenging students to develop solutions, RoboCrops hopes to set a global acceleration in motion.

RoboCrops

Programme

23 April: robotic developments and hackathon

On 23 April growers and other attendees will be informed about the latest developments in robotics for greenhouse horticulture. The chairman of the day will be Peter Jens, Director Strategic Alliances at Koppert. He deals with agricultural, food and nutrition issues all over the world and promotes cooperation between farmers, cooperatives and research institutes. Keynotes include André van Troost, CEO at Lely, the internationally operating number one manufacturer of robots and data systems for dairy farming. Josse de Baerdemaeker is also on stage. He is Professor of Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors at KU Leuven and is recognised worldwide as the founder of the basic principles in precision agriculture.

In addition to the day programme in World Horti Center, students from Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University will start that day on a hackathon in the RoboHouse fieldlab in Delft. This hackathon can be followed in the evening via livestream during the network dinner in World Horti Center.

24 April: technical challenges and hackathon

On April 24, technology companies, universities and other interested parties can explore the technical possibilities and challenges for robotics in horticulture in World Horti Center together. Chairman of the day is Jim Stolze, who started Aigency, a company that provides solutions in the field of artificial intelligence. Vegetable breeding company Rijk Zwaan will be on the programme that day and Jaimy Siebel, Managing Director at RoboValley and RoboHouse, will also provide a keynote. At the end of the day the students, who’ll pull an all-nighter for their challenge in fieldlab RoboHouse, pitch their hacks in the World Horti Center. On both days there will of be plenty of opportunities for matchmaking.

Locaties RoboCrops

Would you like to participate in this unique event as well?

The organization of the event is currently still in full swing. You can find more information on the RoboCrops website. If you want to join us, you can register here. There is still a limited number of places available for participants, sponsors, exhibitors and speakers. In the upcoming weeks a series of vlogs about robotics in greenhouse horticulture can be followed on this YouTube channel.

More information

Feel free to contact us.

Colinda de Beer

Senior Business Developer Horticulture