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Fifteen global telecommunication companies recently converged at a market consultation conference in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, expressing strong interest in the commercial development and exploitation of a new subsea data cable connecting London and Rotterdam, known as the ‘Erasmus’ cable. At the conference, companies found business partners to further explore the commercial development, exploitation and construction of this new subsea cable. A new route between the Netherlands and the UK would greatly increase the resilience of the data networks between both countries and beyond.

Anticipating the expected growth in data traffic between the UK and the Netherlands, along with the impending retirement of several existing cables, this new subsea cable could potentially secure an estimated bandwidth capacity of 90 to 170 Terabits per second (Tbps) by 2030, and capture a substantial 15% market share in data traffic volume. This cable strategically leverages Rotterdam’s key data exchange points, including AMS-ix and NL-ix, and taps into the thriving Dutch data center market. Additionally, it offers essential onward connectivity options to major European hubs in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and Paris.

While the Netherlands is home to a number of hyperscale data centers, the Rotterdam region is characterized by a growing number of colocation data centers. In addition, Rotterdam is a strategic location for a new cable because it is a diversity path for the major European internet exchanges.

Stefan Ideler, CTO at the Rotterdam-based i3D.net: “Globally, we are one of the largest compute and connectivity service providers for gaming and real-time applications, serving customers like Discord, EA and Ubisoft. To deliver the most reliable user experience, we want to maximize the number of independent data routes to increase resilience, reduce latency and provide redundancy from the Amsterdam region. We intend to use the Erasmus cable to add another important connection to the UK, which is independent of connections terminating in Amsterdam or crossing through the Channel Tunnel.”

The ‘Erasmus subsea cable’ market consultation event drew over 20 industry leaders to Rotterdam.

The Dutch government recognizes the importance of international data transport infrastructure and is committed to strengthening the nation’s position as the digital gateway to Europe. The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency and regional economic development agency InnovationQuarter work together to offer potential investors support with permitting processes, stakeholder management, or finding experienced contractors with specific local expertise. The city of Rotterdam is involved in this initiative, because the city wants to continuously improve the city’s digital connectivity.

Parties interested in the economic opportunities of a London – Rotterdam subsea cable are invited to contact martin.prins@innovationquarter.nl.

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Spotr.ai, the European market leader in automated building inspection, is expanding internationally. The company raised a € 2.5 million seed round from international investors Volta Ventures, InnovationQuarter, and Concrete Ventures to accelerate the growth to the UK market. With this new investment, Spotr.ai is taking a big leap forward in determining the quality and maintenance status of residential and commercial real estate with AI-powered image recognition.

With an ever-growing population, climate change, and growing compliance obligations globally, real estate is eager for better solutions. Spotr.ai monitors and inspects over 250.000 buildings in the Netherlands and recently launched in the UK with 10 prominent UK housing corporations that will start inspecting their real estate portfolios with Spotr’s software solution. Spotr.ai offers a platform for banks, insurance companies, large real-estate owners, and the government to monitor building characteristics in a fast, precise, and easily accessible platform. This contributes to optimizing their client’s portfolios and activities.

Spotr.ai 1

“It’s about knowing and understanding your portfolio,” says Dirk Huibers, CEO at Spotr.ai. “Think of the dimensions, quantities, and conditions of buildings and their specific components. This information is crucial to make smart decisions when achieving sustainability goals. But it’s also about asking yourself the basic questions. On which buildings can you place external wall insulation? How many floors does a building have? Can you still reach that high floor with a fire truck? Are there trees close to the gutters that could cause water damage? You need accurate data to make the right decisions for your portfolio and wallet. And that data simply doesn’t exist today.”

With only 8% of buildings currently being inspected every year due to budget and time constraints of building owners and facility managers, there’s much to gain. “It’s our ambition to inspect every building in the world every year,” says Huibers. “In the largest global sector in the world, a small deviation can have a major impact on maintenance costs and valuations.”

“Our smart software can make better, faster, and cheaper budget estimations than humans alone, which makes us a reliable and trustworthy partner.” – Dirk Huibers, CEO Spotr.ai

Concrete Ventures General Partner Arnaud van der Wyck quotes, ‘We are very excited about our investment in Spotr.ai, which falls firmly within our sweet spot of investing in technology software companies that make the built environment more efficient contributing to a more sustainable future. We expect this will deliver meaningful value to our partners Starwood, JLL, Nuveen, VINCI, Lockton, and Hammerson and we look forward to actively supporting the very talented team at Spotr.ai in bringing value to real estate partners.”

About Spotr.ai

Spotr.ai utilizes image recognition and artificial intelligence to gather and maintain asset management data. The result is a digital inspection product that aims to make building inspection and maintenance more efficient. The company uses image recognition on satellites, airplanes, drones, cars, and images made by inspectors and tenants to take measurements, perform condition surveys and find upgrade potential in real estate.

About Volta Ventures

Volta Ventures provides (pre)seed and early-stage financing for software & internet companies that originate in the Benelux. Sander Vonk is investing from its second fund and has € 100M under management. Next to capital, the fund’s team assists companies in growing from a startup to scale up. The Volta team aims to make a substantial contribution to the portfolio companies. They achieve this by working with founders and management to identify new markets and clients, attract talent, provide advice and support, and help raise follow-on financing.

About Concrete Ventures

Concrete Ventures is a leading European Proptech venture capital fund investing in Seed and Series A software companies. By working closely with world-class global real estate partners, they identify the key problems the sector is facing and find talented founders creating real solutions. Concrete Ventures is a hands-on value-added investor leveraging its global real estate and venture capital ecosystem. By doing so, they support the portfolio of companies to drive strategic revenue, support talent acquisition, assist with capital syndication and provide strategic product development support.

About InnovationQuarter

InnovationQuarter is the regional development agency for the greater Rotterdam – The Hague area. It invests in innovative, fast-growing local enterprises and helps transnational companies become established in this unique delta region. As a lifecycle financier, InnovationQuarter finances companies in different cycles of their business growth and draws its investments from four funds: IQCapital, UNIIQ, ENERGIIQ, and the Energy Transition Fund.

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Founded 15 years ago in South Africa, TransLution Software sells software that supports manufacturing and logistics processes. Its customers are medium sized manufacturing and distribution companies across Africa, Australia, Europe and the United States. TransLution also has an office in Atlanta in the US.

“We have been working remotely in Europe and in the United Kingdom for several years but realized that in order to grow we needed an office,” explained Russell Kleyn, Co-founder and Sales Director of TransLution Software.

The ease of the open Dutch business culture

“We chose the Netherlands because it is an easy place to grow a business, the culture is very open and similar to our South African culture. This has created a positive experience for TransLution Software as people are very open to meeting and discussing opportunities. It is also a much easier place to grow into other countries in Europe,” Kleyn said.

TransLution’s software package is designed to capture data from a warehouse or production floor and post it to the client’s business or Enterprise Resource Planning system. By accurately capturing data from the factory or warehouse floor in real time, TransLution simplifies the process, making it easy for operators to use. Initially the product focused purely on manufacturing but over time, has grown to include opportunities for warehouse management, labor tracking and quality control.

Access to the Netherlands highly-skilled workforce

The next step for TransLution Software will be to build a network of people who can assist in selling and implementing their software. The company is currently looking to recruit employees with skills in business systems, consultation and practical factory experience. It can draw on the Netherlands’highly skilled workforce and the high level of expertise in the local IT ecosystem.

TransLution Software was assisted by the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, InnovationQuarter and Rotterdam Partners who supported them in smoothing out the process of expansion, network building with potential organizations and provided valuable advice.

Source: NFIA South Africa

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The Greater Rotterdam-The Hague Area is on its way in becoming the Silicon Valley of Quantum Technology. The first quantum network in the Netherlands is to be released around the end of the year. A quantum link will be established between Delft and The Hague, connecting and entangling two quantum nodes.

The first quantum network in the Netherlands will be released around the turn of the year. A so-called quantum link (Q-link) will be established between the Dutch cities of Delft and The Hague, which will enable two quantum systems to be linked and entangled. If this network works, further scaling up to other cities in the Dutch Randstad region will be considered. Dutch scientists and companies are working hard on the development of quantum technology in the form of quantum networks and computers. But what use will this new technology be to us? And how will it change our lives?

The Netherlands aims to become the Silicon Valley of quantum technology, as indicated in the Dutch Government’s National Agenda for Quantum Technology document. Along with several others, QuTech, which is a long-term collaboration between the Dutch Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), is conducting research into the potential of Quantum Computing and Quantum Internet. It is also looking into practical applications that involve the participation of companies such as the Dutch telecom giant KPN and the American multinational Cisco Systems.

Enormous economic impact

The range of applications seems to be limitless. “The quantum computer makes calculations in a completely different way than the computers we are currently familiar with,” says Ingrid Romijn, program manager at QuTech. “A quantum computer can, for example, calculate the various states of large molecules extremely quickly. This enables researchers to simulate the interaction between substances and cells much more accurately. This enables medicinal drugs to be developed specifically for any given individual who has a particular disease. In addition, quantum technology can contribute to advances in batteries and solar cells. It can also clarify and solve logistical problems much more swiftly,” Romijn explains. The quantum computer can, therefore, have a major impact on the healthcare, energy and logistics sectors, to name but a few. “But that’s not all. Every sector can benefit from a computer with more computational power. Consequently, the economic impact is bound to be enormous.”

It is not yet clear exactly how significant this impact will be. Not all the capabilities of a quantum computer have been figured out by researchers and companies as yet. René Pluis, the cybersecurity leader of the digital acceleration program for the Netherlands at Cisco Systems: “This is more often the case once fundamental research is put into actual practice.” He compares it to the technological revolution of the 1950s. “That’s when electronic appliances and transistors became the norm. Appliances are able to function in more compact, lighter, and cheaper versions. We are completely used to that now,” he says.

“In those days, the transistor radio was invented, but we had no idea at the time that we could also create an MRI scanner based on that same technology. The same holds true for the laser. At first, it was a massive machine. Now it’s tucked away in small appliances like a CD player. We don’t know yet what we can do with quantum technology in the future, so we have to use it and figure it out.”

The two key principles

Quantum technology works on the basis of two principles: entanglement and superposition. These two characteristics make the technology stand out from all others. Quantum technology does not look at bits, but instead, it deals with qubits. The currently used bits are always a 0 or a 1. A qubit can also be a 0 and a 1 at the same time. The way qubits work is based on principles of quantum mechanics, one of the most precise theories in the world. Thanks to major breakthroughs over the past decade, it is now clear that these principles can be applied in new cutting-edge technologies. “By having the quantum computer perform computations using qubits, in principle, several computations can be performed at the same time. Since quantum computers can perform multiple operations all at once, they have the potential to solve problems that are practically unsolvable for conventional computers,” Pluis asserts.

The second characteristic of qubits that makes quantum technology possible is entanglement. This means that two quantum systems, for example, electrons or photons, are connected with each other without actually ever being physically connected. If one quantum system changes, the other one will also sense that, even if they are thousands of kilometers away from each other. “This also sounds almost magical, but it has been proven to work,” Pluis goes on to say: “As a consequence of this entanglement, there is a link between the states of the two systems from a distance. It is as if they are one system, so to speak.”

Romijn adds. ” This allows you to synchronize things much faster when two quantum systems are remotely entangled,” she says. This could, for one thing, result in more accurate positionings and localizations and could be incorporated into astronomy. Pluis: “The more accurately atomic clocks are tuned up with each other, the finer satellites and telescopes can be tuned.”

Improved security

An entangled connection also provides a higher level of security. “You then have a quantum link to someone else. If someone tries to access or eavesdrop on an entangled connection, the entanglement disappears and it is immediately clear that someone was attempting to read the data,” Romijn explains. According to Romijn, one of the first applications of quantum computers and networks will be to secure confidential information, e.g. that of the government or the military. “For instance, we are working with a Dutch bank to examine the scope for security,” she says.

Not only does the quantum computer offer new forms of security, but it also poses security risks. The current security provided by encryption, a cipher sequence generated by multiplying large prime numbers, is no longer as secure when a quantum computer comes into play. “It is very difficult for a standard computer to reduce this type of cipher sequence down to those two prime numbers. This is why data is secure. But because a quantum computer performs these kinds of calculations far more quickly, it can easily crack these kinds of codes,” explains Pluis, who works at Cisco.

“The quantum computer’ is still a few years down the road. But if someone were to save files now in order to decrypt them sometime in the future, that might pose a problem. Not all documents will still be relevant in a number of years, but government documents often still will be,”, he notes. That is why a new type of security is needed for important – classified – documents. “An encryption system is currently being developed on the basis of quantum network technology that no longer relies on the huge computational power of quantum computers,” Pluis states.

Good or evil

Data security is one of the many applications of quantum technology. As such, the new technology has two faces. On the one hand, it can crack today’s security systems, with all the ensuing implications. On the other hand, it can provide new and more sophisticated forms of security. Romijn: “What if the technology falls into the hands of criminals? The government, among others, is quite concerned about that.” According to the program manager at QuTech, this is a recurring question that always arises where technological developments are concerned. “When the laser was invented, people were also afraid that criminals would make weapons out of it. Now it appears that good things are done with it in the main,” she comments.

“The technology is not good or evil. We have to make sure that it is put to good use.” There is a lot of emphasis on the ethical side of things within the National Agenda Quantum Technology document. “We want to focus on social impact and actually involve society in the development process. Not only technicians but also philosophers and lawyers, for instance”. Romijn thinks that this is a way for Europe to distinguish itself from China and America, which are also actively involved in the development of quantum technology. “Whereas for China and America it is mainly the technological and economic aspects that play a leading role, Europe has also introduced a third element into the discussion: impact and ethics. This element is often essential when it comes to gaining public acceptance for new technology and the regulations surrounding them.”

Cooperation as a guiding principle

Apart from the competition to be the first to realize a fully functional quantum computer, in Romijn’s view it is also imperative that countries and companies work together. “For example, researchers all have their own expertise, but so do companies and even countries. We can subsequently arrive at the most optimal result by working together,” she states. This is why a few months ago, TNO, TU Delft, QuTech, and the municipality of Delft jointly set up the Quantum Delft ecosystem. “Labs run by large companies and start-ups are being brought together here. Everyone is working on their own technology or a component of the computer or network. Because everyone is working on the same campus, people get to meet each other more easily and in turn, more new initiatives spring up from that contact. This enables the development to speed up even more,” Romijn points out.

Jacqueline Schardijn, a business developer in the field of quantum technology for the regional development corporation Innovation Quarter adds: “There is already a wonderful ecosystem set up around Quantum Delft, where start-ups are working with scientists on quantum issues and associated technologies. It is useful for the business community to know who they can turn to when they want to focus on Quantum Technology. They want to stay informed about the possibilities and impossibilities of quantum technology. Like how to run simulations on quantum platforms such as Inspire. The Cronos Group, QuTech, and Innovation Quarter are all working on this; raising awareness about the business side. We are delighted to welcome the business community to the wonderful world of quantum technology.”

Pluis: “It is no longer a matter of whether quantum technology is going to change the world, it is a matter of when that is going to happen. What we now know about the possibilities of this technology is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Only time will tell what the impact of this technology will be.”

Jacqueline Schardijn

Senior Business Developer Digital Technology
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Overview of the Dutch AI Artificial Intelligence ecosystem in the Netherlands

Europe is making vast investments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in order to remain competitive in the global market. How does The Netherlands perform on AI? Why does Greater Rotterdam-The Hague (province of Zuid-Holland) play such an important role?

We are proud to share this market map of the AI startup ecosystem for the province of Zuid-Holland, which is part of “Making AI work in The Netherlands”, published by InnovationQuarter and Birch Consultants.

Topics of this study, for which over 40 organizations were consulted, include: Startups & Capital, Research & Innovation, Industry Adaptation, Human Capital. The report specifically focuses on developments in Greater Rotterdam- The Hague, where AI applications are concentrated within 6 specific domains: Life Sciences & Health, Manufacturing, Port & Maritime, Horticulture, Security and Energy & Sustainability.

Our region is well-positioned to generate great impact in these domains. With three global top-100 universities providing top tier talent, several technological top institutes, world-leading corporations and a thriving startup ecosystem; our region is equipped for the global AI race that’s ahead. We invite you to read the report, and to take on this challenge together.

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Quantum Qutech Zuid-Holland

Quantum Qutech Zuid-Holland

Today, Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven and European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel launched Europe’s first public quantum computing platform: ‘Quantum Inspire’. The platform was developed by Delft-based QuTech, a collaboration between TU Delft and TNO. Quantum Inspire makes the quantum computer accessible to everyone and is the first in the world to use a quantum processor made of scalable ‘spin qubits’.

Real quantum computing for all

With Quantum Inspire, QuTech aims to make quantum computers accessible to the market and society as quickly as possible. QuTech has launched a web portal at www.quantum-inspire.com, and Kees Eijkel (Director Business Development) said that it makes the new quantum technology a reality for a broad audience: “Our platform focuses primarily on training and education, and the development of applications, so that more people can use the quantum computer as it develops further and becomes more widely available. First-hand experience will allow the technology to be adopted more rapidly in society. Quantum Inspire is also  an important magnet for the ecosystem forming in Delft of knowledge institutions, companies and start-ups.”

Electron spin qubit

A quantum computer performs its calculations using quantum versions of bits – so-called ‘qubits’. As a world first,  Quantum Inspire contains a processor made of highly promising semiconductor ‘spin qubits’. Richard Versluis (Systems Engineer): “The electron spin qubit is made with the same technique as a classic transistor and is just as small. This makes it suitable for mass production. Our platform also provides access to a processor made of superconducting (transmon) qubits – a unique combination. Users can experiment with quantum algorithms and compare the processors.”

Key technology

The quantum computer is seen as a key technology, enabling radically new products and services. It has the potential to solve certain problems much faster than ‘classical’ computers will ever be able to achieve. Versluis said that one example is helping to unravel the complex behaviour of molecules for drug development: “Quantum computers calculate using the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics, so the qubits can be both 0 and 1 at the same time. This changes dramatically what we are able to achieve with some calculations.”

Quantum Flagship

The European Commission recognises the potential of quantum technology for society and launched a billion-euro program in 2016: the Quantum Technology Flagship. This large-scale European research programme is part of the ‘Technology Package’; a broad package of measures to strengthen Europe’s digital economy.

Mariya Gabriel (European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth): “Europe is in a unique position to lead the next quantum revolution. Harnessing the power of quantum technologies is key to building a smarter, more sustainable, and more secure European Union. The launch of Quantum Inspire marks an important step forward for European quantum, enabling our researchers to unlock the full potential of quantum technologies.”

National Agenda for Quantum Technology

The Netherlands has drawn up the National Agenda for Quantum Technology (NAQT). This agenda includes catalyst programs (CATs), whose goal is accelerating maturity of technology for application areas in market and society. Quantum Inspire will serve as the backbone of one of the CATs: the ambitious Quantum Computing and Simulation testbed. Last January, the Dutch government announced an initial investment of € 23,5 million to fund the high-priority actions in the agenda.

Ingrid van Engelshoven (Minister of Education, Culture and Science): “Quantum computing is a key technology for the future. The Netherlands is a scientific leader in this field. I am extremely proud of the researchers and engineers from Delft, who combine research with innovation, entrepreneurship and the training of talent. Quantum Inspire is a first step, the intention is to further scale up the platform within the Netherlands and Europe. Even in times of crisis, it is important to share knowledge and continue to work on tomorrow’s innovations”.

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€1 mln. voor HR Tech startup Equalture die teams optimaliseert door diversiteit

Rotterdam startup Equalture has secured a €1m investment from InnovationQuarter and 4impact. The investment will enable the company to expand its team and scale up its customer base. Equalture provides SaaS recruitment solutions for fast-growing companies. By predicting the success of each applicant, it can objectively determine best-fit candidates for a position and optimise a diverse team composition. Equalture was founded by twin sisters Charlotte and Fleur Melkert.

€1 mln. voor HR Tech startup Equalture die teams optimaliseert door diversiteit

Better hiring decisions thanks to artificial intelligence

Equalture aims to help build top performing teams by predicting optimal composition and preventing ‘bad hires’. Their recruitment solution ensures an unbiased selection of candidates by using algorithms, gamification and artificial intelligence to predict the success of a candidate in a given position and within a team. In addition to the usual criteria of education, work experience and competencies, cognitive skills are also tested to evaluate personality and cultural fit.

On average, the success rate of the hiring process is around 25%. The remaining 75% of people hired turn out to be a mediocre to poor match within a role or a team. A poor hiring decision can cost a firm 1.3x the annual salary per employee, plus the delays in successfully fulfilling the position.

Promoting diversity through fact-based recruitment

Diverse teams, in terms of skills, backgrounds, personalities, gender and other factors, generate on average 19% more turnover than homogenous teams. As Equalture’s algorithms are unbiased and allow for blind recruitment, subjective characteristics that often unconsciously influence the selection process are eradicated. This objective hiring helps employers achieve diversity in their teams and grow their company.

The self-learning nature of the algorithms used to create the Equalture software solution ensures that the quality of the matching profile constantly improves and results in a more efficient and accurate hiring process. Moreover, the inclusion of gamification in the first step of the application process makes this an innovative recruitment experience for applicants. These neuro-assessment games map a candidate’s skills, intelligence and personality traits. To help predict a good cultural fit, the team which the recruited candidate will join is also tested, mapped and included in the score of the matching profile as are relevant industry benchmarks.

Equalture is the second recruitment sector company that Charlotte and Fleur Melkert have co-founded. The sisters launched Equalture during their studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Since successfully optimising its software for upscaling, the company has expanded to five countries and has seen its customer base grow rapidly.

Charlotte Melkert, CEO of Equalture:

“The investment by 4impact and InnovationQuarter will enable us to achieve our international growth targets. We are delighted that both 4impact and InnovationQuarter have placed their confidence in us. Due to the combined experience of these funds, we now have the necessary tools to turn our ambitions into results.”

€1 mln. voor HR Tech startup Equalture die teams optimaliseert door diversiteit

Liduina Hammer, head of investments at InnovationQuarter: “It’s great to see two young entrepreneurs having such an impact by applying AI to recruitment, enabling their customers to select job candidates without bias. Among other things, this helps promote diversity within the labour market. With this investment, InnovationQuarter is also contributing to the objectives of the FundRight statement signed on 19 May to boost women-led entrepreneurship in the Netherlands.”

Ali Najafbagy, 4impact managing partner: “Equipped with a highly scalable SaaS model, Equalture contributes to three of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: gender equality, decent work and economic growth and reduced inequalities. It’s an excellent combination of tech4good, which we at 4impact strongly endorse, and a win‑win for both companies and candidates. 4impact has a unique background in the HR industry and we are incredibly enthusiastic about Equalture’s exceptionally driven and ambitious team.”

€1 mln. voor HR Tech startup Equalture die teams optimaliseert door diversiteit

FundRight ambassador His Royal Highness Prince Constantijn van Oranje:

“Equalture helps strengthen diversity by eliminating implicit hiring biases in selection algorithms. Techleap.nl congratulates our #FundRight partners InnovationQuarter and 4impact on this investment.”

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2Tokens project aims to clarify the path to widespread and accessible usage of tokenisation, by any type of organisation, and to realise new value streams. The project is sponsored by the European union and is a joint effort of Blocklab, YES!Delft, InnovationQuarter and LIFT-OFF Partners with the endorsement of the Erasmus University, TechLeap.NL, the Dutch government and several industry players.

The usage of tokens in society goes back to antiquity and technologies such as Blockchain can dramatically reduce the cost of secure and trusted token exchange. The potential for tokenisation to disrupt existing interactions is huge – offering more efficient solutions to existing paradigms (e.g. crowdfunding, fractionalised ownership) as well as opening up whole new models for financing and collaboration.

One clear example of a use case for tokens is in funding. While crowdfunding has helped democratise funding, far too often worthwhile ventures remain unfunded. Tokens can potentially bridge the gap between organisations in need of funding and investors, who have funds available.

The implications of tokenisation are widely appreciated and various parties are re-imagining value flows and guiding behaviours within ecosystems, enabling a fairer distribution of created value. The implications affect the core of what a legal entity is – challenging currently dominant legal forms based on stock ownership to look at flexible, incentive-driven and automatic market-making approaches. Tokenisation has potential benefits across society – from businesses to public or social initiatives that may now be able to secure the investment needed to succeed.

By their nature, tokenisation initiatives will have a large network-effect – which means that there will be a large first-mover advantage. The Netherlands is well-positioned to play a leading role in this transition but needs to act quickly to capture this opportunity.

Feeling inspired?

We are happy to answer your questions and introduce you to potential partners!

Jacqueline Schardijn

Senior Business Developer Digital Technology
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Protecting innovations through patents is crucial in bringing new products and services to market. However, maintaining this protection year after year and for various countries is costly. Therefore, deciding which patents are worth keeping is a choice all R&D-oriented companies periodically deal with. Focus, a company based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, has come up with a solution for this problem. Focus is developing an algorithm that enables patents in a portfolio to be ranked quickly and automatically, based on their technological importance. To further develop their algorithm and test it extensively with customers, Focus receives an investment of proof-of-concept fund UNIIQ. The investment was announced by Martin Luxemburg, director of the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, where the office of Focus is located.

Screening hundreds of thousands of patents manually

R&D activities across the globe lead to the existence of large patent portfolios with various companies. These portfolios consist, depending on the innovative character and scope of the company, of hundreds of thousands of patents. The investments made to maintain such a portfolio run into millions of euros per year.
Each portfolio is continuously subject to change. New patents are added while existing patents are stricken from the portfolio. Maintaining the portfolio as such is the task of a select group of patent- and technology experts. Periodically these people manually go through parts of the portfolio, to identify which patents are important, and which patented technologies can be stricken without damaging the company’s position. With no tools available on the market to rank patents based on their importance, the patent- and technology expert has to screen the entire patent portfolio manually.

Focus’ patent ranking algorithm makes portfolio management much more effective

This manual screening makes the management of a patent portfolio a labour intensive and costly process. Focus is developing an algorithm with which this screening becomes a lot more efficient. This algorithm ranks patents within a portfolio automatically based on their technological importance. In placing the patent in a ranked order, the algorithm takes into account the context and development of the entire patent landscape within the domain concerned. Therefore, the patent expert instantly gains insight in what the most and the least valuable patents are in his portfolio, after which he can look into these particular patents in more detail.

Performing pilots on complete patent portfolios

The founders of Focus, Jard van Ingen and Thijs van de Pol, combine knowledge of the patent industry with a model-based, econometrical outlook to develop a superior and unique ranking algorithm. This algorithm has proven itself within a select number of technical domains during tests with potential customers. Focus will use the UNIIQ investment to further develop the algorithm to enable its use on the worldwide network of patents, and all technical domains.

Jard van Ingen, co-founder Focus: “We are thrilled and honoured that UNIIQ has placed their confidence in our ability to take this venture to the next level. The UNIIQ investment will enable us to scale up our algorithm, execute multiple pilot projects with prospective customers, and design a simple interface for users to interact with our algorithm”.

Liduina Hammer, fund manager UNIIQ: “With the investment in Focus we add the first legal tech company to our portfolio. The algorithm of Focus can support R&D-oriented companies with the labour-intensive and valuable process of portfolio maintenance, hereby contributing to the innovative power of the company”.

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Doculayer.ai, the intelligent content platform that processes and manages unstructured information, has secured €3 million in growth capital. The investment by InnovationQuarter, Disruptive Technology Ventures (DTV) and an angel investor was announced by Deputy Mayor Saskia Bruines at a side event of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2019.

Richard Smit, CEO of Doculayer.ai says, “We are extremely proud that these investors believe in our solution and vision and are supporting us in our ambition to grow and further develop the platform. More than 80 per cent of the information held by organisations is unstructured. Using AI-powered technologies, Doculayer.ai helps them automate the processing and structuring of this vast amount of unstructured data and uncover its hidden value.”

Innovative artificial intelligence

Doculayer.ai is the intelligent content platform that processes and manages unstructured information, such as scanned documents and images, using innovative artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies. In doing so, the platform can automatically analyse, enhance, enrich and improve the findability of large quantities of data.

The Doculayer.ai platform integrates seamlessly with business applications and processes in the current IT landscape, which means it can process unstructured content in existing systems. This enables the company to respond to the explosive growth of information and the actions required to store data in the correct manner, compliant with privacy legislation (GDPR).

Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security and KPN

Numerous organisations already use the platform. For instance, in partnership with the Justitiële Informatiedienst (Judicial Information Service), Doculayer.ai takes care of improving and enriching millions of documents. The automated allocation of metadata ensures the documents are digitally archived and secured in the correct way and in compliance with the Dutch Archives Act.

Doculayer.ai is also used by KPN for the intelligent processing of customer contracts. Using AI, contract documents are classified based on their contents and assigned with metadata, after which they are structured into files in a fully automated way.

The investment will enable Doculayer.ai to strengthen and expand its teams in the areas of R&D, product development, sales, marketing and customer support. Daan Nollen, partner at Disruptive Technology Ventures says, “The amount of unstructured information is growing exponentially. Doculayer.ai provides a disruptive solution to access and process this information using AI. The customer base already successfully using Doculayer.ai is impressive and we see great potential for the platform to become the international market leader in intelligent content management.”

According to Francis Quint, head of InnovationQuarter Capital, Doculayer.ai has become a strong asset to the West Holland security network within a short space of time: “Using AI, Doculayer.ai generates files that are always up to date, which means that organisations automatically comply with the latest privacy legislation. We believe Doculayer.ai is an innovative, disruptive company that will bolster the regional security cluster with a powerful privacy solution. Thanks to the implementation of interactive learning AI, the innovative platform will, we expect, make a substantial contribution to the robotisation of content management. With this investment, Doculayer.ai will be able to accelerate its international expansion.”


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Investering voor LeQuest

Supplier of medical technology education LeQuest has received a € 7 mln. injection from new investors MedFinance and InnovationQuarter and the company’s existing financiers NextGen Ventures, Noaber Ventures and Philips Health Technology Ventures. Hermineke van Bockxmeer, director of Urban Development of Rotterdam congratulates CEO Hicham Shatou with the investment in LeQuest.

Reinventing medical personnel training

LeQuest was founded in 2011 with the mission to reinvent how medical personnel is trained on medical technology. Goal of LeQuest is to improve the quality in healthcare, increase medical technology efficiency and reduce adverse events. LeQuest focuses its simulation-based educational solutions on high risk medical technology in hospitals and more specifically in OR’s, ICU’s and Radiology departments.

Over the last few years LeQuest experienced a strong demand for its services from hospitals as well as manufacturers in order to effectively train and certify healthcare professionals in the use of medical technology. LeQuest is working with Philips, Siemens, Medtronic, GE, and other large medical device manufacturers, and has active users in more than 15 countries in Europe, North- and South-America.

Increasing the quality of care

With this investment round LeQuest will accelerate its growth by intensifying its collaboration with the device manufacturers and expanding its services to hospitals geographically.

“We are proud of the strong network of partners and customers we have attracted and together we look forward to increase our impact globally and serve our customers even better in the coming years. This could not have been possible without the strong will of our dedicated and talented team that want to improve the use of medical technology and increase the quality of care.” says Hicham Shatou, founder and CEO of LeQuest.

Francis Quint, head of InnovationQuarter Capital, is pleased with the opportunity to invest in LeQuest alongside strong consortium partners Noaber/NextGen, Philips Health Technology Ventures and MedFinance: “LeQuest is a good example of how a young, dynamic company can grow from startup to scale-up. The ability to constantly adapt its business model to developments in the market while remaining flexible has brought LeQuest to where it is today. This investment round will enable LeQuest to accelerate its growth together with its strategic partners.”

Terug naar overzicht

On the 18th of April, the Invest in Holland IT Seminar took place at the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Istanbul. Turkish, Dutch and International guests were welcomed by the Consul General, the Invest in Holland Network and the Holland Innovation Network. Consul General Mr. Bart van Bolhuis kicked-off by emphasizing the strong economic ties between Turkey and the Netherlands, but also the importance of IT in both countries. Seven interesting speakers followed and enlightened the audience with insights, developments and opportunities in the Dutch field of cyber security and artificial intelligence.

Why The Netherlands

Eric van Pelt, IT Sector Specialist at the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, shared his knowledge on the key advantages of the Netherlands and its IT sector. The Netherlands is one of the most connected countries in the world and is renowned as Europe’s Digital Mainport and Gateway. For example, the country is home to the world’s largest Internet Exchange, houses more than 200 large data centers and 96% of Dutch households have broadband connections. The Netherlands has a great track record of IT innovation which is taking place in the many IT ecosystems the country provides. Focal IT areas in The Netherlands are: artificial intelligence, big data, cyber security, data centers and gaming. At the same time Turkey has a fast-growing IT sector which is among the leading sectors of the country and more than 60% of IT export goes to the EU. In other words, IT is of great economic value and fuels business both in Turkey and The Netherlands.

“We cannot imagine life without IT as we have become very dependent on technology. Cyber security is very important to ensure society’s digital transition and to protect the enabling properties of IT. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will help us to improve the use of IT and the output we desire.” – Eric van Pelt, IT Sector Specialist at NFIA

IT and Cybersecurity landscape of the Netherlands

André Hendriks, Partner at Verdonck, Klooster & Associates gave the audience a better understanding of the IT industry in the Netherlands and more specifically a breakdown of the Dutch cyber security market. According to VKA’s research the importance of cyber security has increased due to the increasing digitalization in society. To support that statement Mr. Hendriks shared an overview of the number of IT companies, the amount of cyber security companies and their economic added value. In conclusion, cyber security is a sub-sector of IT and grows twice as fast compared to the IT sector as a whole. Cyber attacks are a major cause of damage and trigger serious financial losses to the Dutch nation. Compared to other countries in the EU, but also worldwide, the Netherlands ranks relatively ‘high’ on annual loss due to cybercrime incidents, most likely due to its vast IT infrastructure and central position. Cyber crime will remain a serious challenge for the coming years.

Turkish experience in the Netherlands

Gönenç Seçil Tarakcıoğlu, R&D Manager at Triodor. Triodor Software is an international technology company with a versatile expertise in ICT and robotics. The company introduces unique innovation-driven business models and develops high-technology solutions for different sectors worldwide. Major projects are operating in domains of farming, food, logistics, smart living, call center and gaming. The Triodor story began in 2003, when entrepreneurs of Turkish origin living in the Netherlands realised their dream of establishing a software sourcing company. Nowadays, after a rapid growth, it counts more than 100 employees covering diverse fields and specialisations and has set up partnerships with many companies worldwide. The sales, business consultancy and board-level management are handled at the Headquarters in Amsterdam, whereas research and development operations are conducted in Istanbul. Among various other awards, the Development Center in Istanbul has been awarded to be Turkey’s Best Software R&D Center many years in a row.

Access to Communities & Ecosystems

Brian Gharibaan, Founder of The Hague Tech explained that the Netherlands has a long history of innovation and is home to a multitude of tech clusters. The Hague Tech is one of the prominent IT-Tech communities in The Netherlands providing an environment where entrepreneurs and innovators come together and share ideas openly. The community has grown to 300 members where The Hague Tech facilitates and organizes events on a daily basis. Members come together to solve challenges that large organizations – such as Samsung – are facing. THT’ers also join forces to accelerate technology adoption in society. The team of The Hague Tech is there to support the member’s mission and to build the environment where they thrive with networks, knowledge and inspiration. For newcomers and interested companies there is a dedicated ‘soft landing program’. It is a full-service program offering entrepreneurs a one-stop-shop for business expansion and soft landing related services. It is created for international Tech startups and scale-ups who are interested to get a taste of the Dutch market, who want to validate their product-market fit, have interest in meeting potential customers and partners and want to join an active Tech community in The Hague. The program is free of charge, tailor-made and open for startups and scale-ups in all phases. The Hague Tech has also established great relationships with other tech hubs worldwide, such as in San Francisco and South Africa.

Public Private collaboration

Eveline Vreede works at Delft University of Technology in the capacity of Managing Director Cyber Security Academy and Manager TU Delft Safety & Security Institute. The Netherlands is known for public-private partnerships and Ms. Vreede is a strong advocate of innovation collaboration as well. The Cyber Security Academy (CSA) is a collaboration between Leiden University, Delft University of Technology and The Hague University of Applied Sciences. At CSA scholars, lecturers and experts from private and public sectors translate cyber issues into a varied range of multidisciplinary learning tracks for highly educated professionals. The TU Delft Safety & Security Institute brings together a diversity of research on fundamental technologies, socio-technical complexity, methodology and models for Safety & Security in the public sphere, private sphere, and the movement between those spheres. DSyS functions as a window for Public Private Innovation on the topic of S&S. It creates a platform for cooperation with industry and government and encourages multidisciplinary cooperation. Delft University of Technology also known as TU Delft, is the largest and oldest Dutch public technological university, located in Delft, the Netherlands. It counts as one of the best universities for engineering and technology worldwide, typically seen within the top 20. It is repeatedly considered the best university of technology in the Netherlands

A Turkish customer journey to the Netherlands

Hakan Terzioğlu, VP of Sales & Marketing at Biznet Bilişim was able to share from experience what it took to expand business to the Netherlands. Biznet Bilisim is a leading cyber security services company with a holistic approach to IT, OT and IoT Security. The company offers best of breed products from leading global technology vendors as well as project delivery, technical support, consulting and auditing (incl. PCI-DSS and penetration testing) services to more than its 250 enterprise segment customers including Energy, Finance, and Telco. Biznet Bilisim, a Gartner recognized cyber services company and listed in Deloitte Technology Fast50 Turkey multiple times, has over 90 employees based in Turkey and now also the Netherlands. Biznet decided to open its doors at The Hague Security Delta (HSD). HSD is a well organized Security cluster in The Netherlands and is home to a community of companies, governments and knowledge institutes. Together the cluster works on knowledge development and innovation in security. It has a common goal: a more secure world, more business activity and more jobs. HSD’s primary focus areas are cyber security, forensics, national security, and critical infrastructure. HSD offers access to Talent, knowledge, innovation, capital, contacts and events.

Regional representation from the Netherlands

Chris van Voorden, Director Foreign Investments & Internationalization at InnovationQuarter represented the Dutch partners in economic promotion of the Netherlands. Several regions from the Netherlands were attending: the greater Rotterdam-The Hague area (InnovationQuarter), The Hague (The Hague Business Agency), Rotterdam (Rotterdam Partners) and last but not least Amsterdam (Amsterdam in Business). The regional partners cooperate with the Netherlands Foreign Investment agency under the flag of ‘Invest in Holland’ to promote the Netherlands internationally and attract foreign companies to the regions. As the first port of call, Invest in Holland can offer free and confidential services such as providing up-to-date information; introducing relevant business contacts, government authorities, ecosystems and service suppliers; organizing fact-finding trips and site selection missions; providing personalized guidance and counsel on tax, government and permit procedures, location options and business solutions.

“The Invest in Holland network welcomes Turkish business and innovation to the Netherlands. We are here to guide you” – Chris van Voorden, Director Foreign Investments & Internationalization at InnovationQuarter

Meet InnovationQuarter

InnovationQuarter is the economic development agency for West Holland. InnovationQuarter finances innovative and fast-growing companies, assists international companies in establishing their businesses in West Holland, and facilitates (international) collaboration between innovative entrepreneurs, knowledge institutes and government.

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