The rapidly changing landscape of the South Holland region offers numerous opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs. However, this also comes with challenges. The road to a successful innovative company is often a difficult one. And InnovationQuarter knows this all too well. In the recent edition of the Investor Readiness Program, organized by InnovationQuarter, ImpactCity, and Up!Rotterdam, nine impactful companies were supported on their journey to accelerate their growth prospects and enhance their investment readiness.
Over a period of ten weeks, these companies participated in this intensive program, consisting of substantive workshops, individual coaching, and practical assignments. Through interactions with other participants, coaches, and potential customers, this is a unique way to critically assess and advance your company to the next level.
Investor Readiness Program
The Investor Readiness Program (IRP) is a proven instrument within regional development agencies (ROMs) to strengthen companies and increase their chances of securing funding. Of all participants who gather sufficient evidence during the IRP and submit a financing application within three months of program completion around 90% are granted funding.
Participation in an IRP through InnovationQuarter is free for companies. However, a selection process takes place. Additionally, a serious commitment in terms of time and involvement is required.
If you would like to know more about the Investor Readiness program, read more here.
Arceon: develops a special composite resistant to extreme heat, which can be used in satellite jet engines and later as heat shields for spacecraft.
Ore Energy: develops a long-lasting and cost-effective energy storage solution to make renewable energy available to everyone at any time.
MEMSYS: system developer that enables continuous inspection of the technical condition of train equipment and infrastructure using IoT technology and energy harvesting. Sensors measure the constant vibrations of wagons without an energy source.
Doser: develops 3D printing for efficient and personalized medication.
Fibersail: develops a ‘shape sensor’ for increased reliability, productivity, and longer lifespan of wind farms.
Virtual Bodyguard: software developer that scans all incoming files and documents for possible viruses and removes them automatically.
Synergetic: develops technology solutions for the infrastructure and construction sector in the areas of smart infrastructure, digital transformation, and information management. Uses AI to achieve optimization of infrastructure processes and operational efficiency.
Neostove: develops a heat-efficient concept for cooking pans to minimize heat leaks and reduce gas consumption, cooking time, and CO2 emissions.
Vacuo Velit (Iqbizz Innovations): develops affordable vacuum insulation material suitable for historical buildings and monuments.
Attractive to investors: a clear value proposition
‘During the program, you discover the importance of having focus, knowing your market, and identifying the niche you will target. The problem within our market, the pharmaceutical industry, regarding the efficiency of medications, is quite significant, and multiple extensive studies and research have demonstrated this issue. The question is: who specifically are you going to target to differentiate yourself from the rest?
Through interviews with both pharmacists and doctors, the challenge from a certain niche became clear. It’s a problem for which we have the solution. This has led to a clear value proposition, making us attractive to investors. To the question: are we ready for an investment? I now say resoundingly: Yes!” – Arjan van Unen, participant and co-founder of Doser.
Thijs Blad, co-founder of MEMSYS, also states that the program provides the right acceleration and focus to clarify your value proposition. ‘During the program, we learned what the best question is to ask our customers. In our case, this relates to the maintenance programs of freight wagons: how (in)efficient are these actually, and how much can be gained? Over these ten weeks, we spoke with more than 40 potential customers, and most interviewees couldn’t provide a clear answer. Data insights can map this out, and that’s what we offer with our solution. These findings allowed us to refine our value proposition in a relatively short period, something we wouldn’t have achieved without participating in the Investor Readiness Program.’
Access to investors
Upon successful completion of the Investor Readiness Program, a participant can be connected to investors through the valuable network of InnovationQuarter. A notable example is the company Synergetic.
Synergetic was founded in September 2022 by Derek Wilson and Jason Holmes, who relocated from the United Kingdom to the Netherlands due to the attractive business climate and strong startup ecosystem. As part of this ecosystem, InnovationQuarter introduced Synergetic to the Investor Readiness Program. Participation in this program allowed Synergetic to clarify its value proposition, establish problem-solving, and gain visibility among early customers.
‘Participation in the Investor Readiness Program and the support from InnovationQuarter have been essential to our growth and development. The program’s content, coaching, and connections have definitely contributed. The program also helped us establish a clear route to the market, including financing, and through the IRP, we were introduced to various potential investors, such as UNIIQ and Rabobank. With these connections, we hope to raise funds in the coming months and scale up our investments in R&D so that we can have a much faster and larger-scale impact on sustainability than we otherwise could.’ – Derk Wilson, co-founder of Synergetic.
Expertise from InnovationQuarter
‘The one-on-one coaching from InnovationQuarter has provided added value. The expertise in making companies investor-ready has provided a critical mirror and a valuable sparring partner. The guidance from the coaches is an absolute asset and elevates the program to a higher quality level.’- Arjan van Unen, co-founder of Doser.
Thijs Blad mentions that the coaches from InnovationQuarter, in this case from IQCapital, helped with the financing model of their business; an important tool to attract investors.
“The coaching of InnovationQuarter is an absolute asset and elevates the Investor Readiness Program to a higher quality level.”
Arjan van Unen, medeoprichter Doser
Future of the participating companies
The future looks promising for the participating companies. Doser is currently piloting its product in the pharmacy of Leiden University, at a specialized pharmacy in The Hague, and is looking for a third location. MEMSYS has also placed the first prototypes on trains in Germany that collect real-time data.
‘Thanks to the investments from UNIIQ and NWO, we can assemble a team working on the next steps in software development, mechanical design, and data analysis. After ward, we can work on certification and then we can enter the market. In short, we are ready! Thanks to the IRP program, the expertise, and the investment from InnovationQuarter, we’ve been able to achieve this, and we’re incredibly grateful.’ – Thijs Blad, co-founder of MEMSYS.
Consistent growth and market validation as strong foundation
‘The Investor Readiness Program is a valuable program that instills in participants the importance of consistent growth and thorough market validation. This provides entrepreneurs with focus in attention, time, and money, and thus a greater chance of success. By laying a strong foundation in these early stages, a company reaps the benefits in its subsequent steps toward scale-up.
The collaboration with Up!Rotterdam and ImpactCity underscores the shared ambitions of our region and ensures that we can reach more impactful startups.’ – Didier Limpens, Senior Financial Business Developer at InnovationQuarter
Next edition: Digitalzh
The next edition of the Investor Readiness Program starts on Thursday, October 5, 2023 and is part of Digitalzh. This edition focuses on innovative SMEs and startups working on digitalization solutions in the manufacturing industry (including hi-tech and space), horticulture, and the port & maritime industry. Think of AI, robots, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, cybersecurity, etc.
If you’re an innovative SMEs or a startup with a digitalization solution and you want to further grow your company and increase your investability, you can sign up via this page before August 31, or read more about this edition here.
Would you like to know more about the Investor Readiness Program? You can contact Didier Limpens for more information.