Hardware Startup Founders: Modern-Day Heroes

Introducing the HighTechXL Class of Spring 2016

5 min readMay 3, 2016


HighTechXL Class of Spring 2016 on stage minutes after their selection.

Hardware startup founders are a special kind of entrepreneurs. In our eyes, they are heroes. Not the type of Greek epic heroes like Achilles, but modern-day warriors of change, armed with twenty-first century tools and living by the honor code of improving the lives of others.

No hero has ever chosen the “easy way”. It’s a cliché, but yes, hardware is literally hard. Nights of lying awake worrying about supply chain, about the salaries to be paid, building a prototype and iterating it to a pilot, or the lack of investors — building up a successful hardware company from scratch is probably the most difficult thing that the startup founder will do in their lifetime. As one of Will Smith’s most quoted lines goes: “Skill is only developed by hours and hours and hours of beating on your craft.”

But there’s more to the plain pain and suffering. High-tech hardware startups can do better than merely producing trendy commodities and gadgets. A myriad of hardware devices out there are conceived and designed to bring about a tangible change on a greater scale. Especially here in Eindhoven, in this innovative region — the “Silicon Valley of Western Europe” — they are developing technology that has the potential of impacting the lives of millions of people across the globe. That’s what makes them real heroes.

This is the kind of startups we selected to join the first edition of HighTechXL. They are tough, and we’ve turned them upside down and inside out, making sure that they have what it takes to walk the growth path towards becoming the next industry giants.

Meet our heroes:


Medacc is a design- and user-centered medtech startup, specialized in developing accessories for medical devices. Currently, Medacc is developing a product that can fixate an ultrasound transducer to the body: the ProbeFix. The advantage of ProbeFix is that it can reduce image artifacts during dynamic ultrasound measurements or long ultrasound measurements. It’s also hands-free for the operator!


Bambi Medical

Bambi Medical is developing the Bambi-Belt: A non-intrusive wireless device that monitors pre-term infants’ vital signs. It is designed to reduce babies’ pain and stress levels, and improve parent-child bonding. It provides great advantages compared to current monitoring systems and will save society billions in healthcare costs as a result of shorter hospitalization periods and less special care during childhood.



Nupky is an Invention Factory that uses design to empower great technologies in ways that appreciate the playful human experience. Their first product, Tingle, brings the acoustic touch & feel to the digital music controller. It allows new media artists who use a computer to create visual and audio art to experience the physical “conversation” and feedback that the acoustic instrument offers.



Paó is a compact wearable electronic device that helps the user enhance various aspects of his or her body and behavior, tracking multiple posture and activity-related metrics. It interprets these normally isolated data, creating a more detailed and comprehensive picture, in order to change the user’s attitude, behavior, and mood about themselves and the environment.



HUI! makes growing vegetables at home easier, more guided, and less challenging. More and more people want to grow their own vegetables at home — on their balconies, windows, or terraces. But urban environments differ greatly from each other, and not everyone has a green thumb when it comes to gardening and plant care. That’s why the Úrculo brothers created HUI! — an Intelligent Gardening Assistant that uses Artificial Intelligence to guide users to grow any vegetable at home.



ELBIBI is a great-looking, cool business bike stuffed with innovative features to meet the modern demands of a business commuter. 58% of all car commuters, living at a maximum distance of 30 km from their work, point out that they actually prefer commuting by bicycle. But cycling is not the ideal way of traveling yet. Arriving at work completely sweaty or soaking wet because of an unexpected heavy rain is no fun at all. Elbibi is an electric vehicle specially designed to get you safe, dry and on time to your professional engagements.


Project 33

Project 33 addresses the true thing that most people want: Fast access to transportation on demand, whenever and wherever they are. They are looking for guaranteed mobility, which is exactly what Project 33 offers. In order to realize its unique mobility concept, Project 33 will create the first electric car, rented out on a guaranteed mobility program for around 99 euro per month.

“And you, you the people have the power. The power to create machines, to create happiness. You the people have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.” — Charlie Chaplin

Follow their journey at HighTechXL on www.hightechxl.com and @HighTechXL.




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