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XL Day: refreshing start for HighTechXL’s new ‘demo day’

The HighTechXL programme organization decided to do things different this year. After breaking up with Startupbootcamp, they went ahead themselves – with the help of the Eindhoven Startup Alliance. The result? A semi-refreshing new take on the concept of ‘demo day’.

Guus Frericks, CEO of the HighTechXL programme, started the day with some well known words. “It’s our mission to make Eindhoven the hightech capital of the world.” And: “We are not bragging enough about our successes.” Of course, that’s Neelie Kroes all over again. However, Frericks managed to go beyond bold: In 2015 the HighTechXL programme entered the top 5 in the UBI impact list. “We want to be number 1. Number 2 is first in the ranking of the losers.”

Before we head over to the content of the 8 pitches, it’s good to know how the ‘demo day’ (branded as XL Day: Modern Day Warriors) differed (and how it didn’t) from previous editions.

For starters: the venue (Klokgebouw on Strijp-S in Eindhoven) was the same as last year’s. Great stuff. Unfortunately, the music between the pitches and in the breaks also hasn’t been changed for three editions.

Center of attention

There was little variation in the setup of the pitches. Where the format still is about the almost religiously adopted Pitch Canvas you’ll see each and every time, nearly each startup showed something special in the form of showcasing big media attention (thanks Neelie) or a live demo of the product.

The design of the room was also new. No benches, bean bags and swings, but a nice lean setup of white chairs around a stage in the center of the room (instead of on one side). Around the stage, on each four sides, were large screens. A clever move: putting the founders literally in the center of attention. The entire room however felt a bit empty. And (just a guess) at least a quarter of the audience consisted of people from sponsor EY.

The totally different part: there was also stage time for alumni. This was a great move. It really showed what happened to the startups after previous Demo Days. Anyway, here are the new startups:

The 8 pitches:

USONO – Victor Donker (COO)
With their product Probefix, USONO lets medical professionals create stable ultrasound images without using their hands. A device is placed and strapped on the patient’s body, making it comfortable for them. The startup’s planning to create software as well. When 1100 devices will be sold in 2017, it expects a revenue of 2.4 million euro. The startup is looking for a 250k investment for product development and trials, and another 550k to expand the team, go into mass production and doing sales & marketing. It’s raising some funds on Leapfunder right now.

Bambi Medical – Fabio Bambang Oetomo (co-founder & CEO)
The father of Bambang Oetomo came up with the Bambi Belt, a belt that allows preterm babies to be monitored wireless. This means no more patches, stickers and uncomfortable wires on a baby in an incubator. The less intrusive, the better. With the belt, babies on average spend two days less in a hospital. In 2018 Bambi Medical expects its first sales, and a 44 percent market share by 2021. It’s looking for 500k in funding on Leapfunder.

Tingle – Nikola Djurendic (CTO)
Tingle is an ‘acoustic instrument for digital artists’. It lets you turn movement of the hands into sound, claiming to ‘feel’ the music. Although it offers a perfect hybrid between electronic music and a ‘real’ instrument, the demo on stage felt… well… cringy. We really like the idea though. It’s coming soon to Kickstarter.

We want one! Pick it up, plug it in and make it Tingle… Great live demo by @tinglesound #XLDAY pic.twitter.com/s1xRL6qj2D

— High Tech Campus (@hightechcampus) September 22, 2016

Ivy – Javier Juarez Mantojo
Ivy is an AI gardening assistant. Or, in practice, a ‘Siri for pots and plants’. You can ask anything garden related to it. The business model is selling gardening stuff. Mantojo claims an 10 percent conversion rate when Ivy suggests you should buy something. So in the end a digital marketplace will be behind it all – calling it a ‘Booking.com for gardening’. On stage, there was a ‘live’ demo of Ivy in action.

Paó – Halit Soysal (co-founder & CEO)
Paó is a wearable that helps you get the right posture. Sitting or standing in a bad way eventually will lead to back, neck and shoulder pains. The fun stuff: the sensor is placed on the chest, were it will calibrate once. Through an app the device will give you feedback. It monitors movement in activity, sleep and posture. In february 2017 the project will go live on Kickstarter, where it looks for 400k in funding.

Pro tip for Halit: wear less tight pants on stage.

Finance Navigator – Wout Bobbink (marketing)
The Finance Navigator is an ‘online CFO’ for startups. As an internal startup by sponsor EY (and obviously not high tech), it wants to address the estimated 5 billion dollar dealmaking market worldwide. It offers to take control and give insights in your financials, preparing you for funding, like several (small) local consultants like Equidam or Golden Egg Check also do. There is obviously a need for these kind of businesses. What we don’t like: the pitch was branded as if EY will be the big saviour of startups. BitchPitch please.

Amber Mobility – Steven Nelemans
There seems to be nothing new about Amber Mobility when they talk about their EV car sharing platform. Yes, shared ownership. Yes, always a car nearby. Yes, it’s a shame cars are not used to their full potential. Ding ding! A sharing economy bingo!

However, I was pleasantly surprised at the end of the pitch. What really makes Amber so awesome is that it wants to create its own car for this. Students from the TU/Eindhoven already came up with a prototype. A brand new car, called the Amber One, designed for sharing. Now that’s something. No wonder they look for a 60 million euro investment. Check it out:

Introducing the Amber One: The world’s most efficient car, on demand. Congratulations @AmberMobi! #XLDAY pic.twitter.com/dwcSUGU7eA

— HighTechXL (@Hightechxl) September 22, 2016

ELBIBI – Nikolaï Carels (CEO)
Elbibi is a new type of vehicle for business commuters. It’s an hybrid between a scooter, bike and a car. For the nerds: it’s the missing link between a high speed e-bike and a Twizzy. You can still paddle like a bike, but you’ll reach speeds up to 45 km/h. Their business model: a lease fee. For their pilot Carels is looking for 1 million euro in funding.

Lay your eyes on the ELBIBI in action. Slick design, don’t you think? #XLDAY pic.twitter.com/bEo4tbTe6k

— HighTechXL (@Hightechxl) September 22, 2016

So after all, HighTechXL tried to create a different event, compared to the Startupbootcamp era. Different however doesn’t always have to mean better. But even just a slight breeze of refreshing change in the format, as seen at XL Day, was more then welcome. Can’t wait to see what will happen next year!

Image: Amber Mobility

Lorenz van Gool
Lorenz is co-editor-in-chief of StartupJuncture. As a freelance editor and journalist, he writes about startups, innovation and (e)-business. Loves to report from conferences. Really likes cleantech and journalism startups. You can ask him anything about dinosaurs. Twitter: @lorenzroman

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