Here are the 28 Academic Startups showing how Universities turn research into startups

Ranging from life-saving medical devices to AI-powered body language analyzers to assist the elderly, these academic startups are breaking new ground. Competing for the Top 10 title in the inaugural Academic Startup Competition, each university has nominated their best startups for this Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) event happening on the 4th and 5th of June!

The Academic Startup Competition is an initiative of the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), the Netherlands Academy of Technology and Innovation (AcTI) and StartupDelta. The selection process consists of this shortlisting round by the universities (the 28 listed below) and a final on the 14th of May in which a jury chooses ten winners. They will be part of the top10-list of most groundbreaking innovations in science in the Netherlands. During the in The Hague, these startups will also be given the opportunity to present their startup to a global audience.

So, find out more about these pioneering Academic Startups, the technologies they are working on and the impact they will have.


Company Description: ArthroSave provides a medical device for a joint saving surgical treatment for relatively young patients with painful knee joint damage (osteoarthritis). Today no adequate joint-preserving treatment is available for these patients. ArthroSave is a promising company in a large and growing market with benefits for patient and healthcare system.
Potential Impact: With ArthroSave’s KneeReviver you save your own knee and reduce healthcare costs.
University: UMC Utrecht
Team: Karianne Lindenhovius, Floris Lafeber, Peter van Roermund


Company Description: A technology scouting service that combines human- and artificial intelligence to find​ technologies ​for R&D-challenges
Potential Impact: 10.000 innovations in 10 years
University: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Team: Roel Boekel & Vincent Franken


Company Description: BunyaVax commercializes breakthrough technology for rapid generation of novel Plug & Play vaccines against (emerging) infectious diseases and cancer.
Potential Impact: Faster containment of (zoonotic) viral outbreaks and new mechanisms to beat cancers.
University: Wageningen University & Research
Team: Prof. Jeroen Kortekaas PhD, Paul Wichgers-Schreur PhD, Jochem Bossenbroek MSc. MBA


Company Description: CardiacBooster is developing the next generation percutaneous cardiac assist device. The device will help physicians to support patients’ hearts through periods of hemodynamic distress such as cardiogenic shock and/or high risk PCI (percutaneous cardiac/coronary procedures).
Potential Impact: Lowering mortality associated with cardiogenic shock.
University: Radboud
Team: Daniël van Dort Radboud


Company Description: Sensius empowers cancer therapy by adding thermotherapy to radio- and chemotherapy. It improves outcome for patients up to 50% without additional toxicity. In Erasmus Cancer Center, already over 70 patients have been treated this way. 10 clinics worldwide want to get started with this therapy.
Potential Impact: Improved outcome of cancer treatment without additional negative side effects for patients.
University: Erasmus MC
Team: Sensius Paul van den Biggelaar, Peter van Paasse n, Onno Yntema, Gerard van Rhoon, Maarten Paulides


Company Description: Stentit aims to restore diseased arteries using regenerative stents. These unique bioresorbable devices allow for minimally invasive implantation to provide instant support to the lesion while triggering a natural healing response using the patient’s own circulating blood cells to reconstruct a whole new artery.
Potential Impact: Vascular regeneration will improve long-term clinical outcomes for millions of patients while reducing health-care costs.
University: Eindhoven University of Technology
Team: Sol Cabrera and Bart Sanders

Numeric Biotech

Company Description: Recent worldwide research discovered the importance of accumulation of senescent cells in the body as a prime cause of many age-related diseases, such as cancer, Alzheimer, eye diseases. Numeric Biotech patented compounds remove these senescent cells and thereby cure and prevent human age-related diseases.
Potential Impact: Staying healthy at an older age will have a huge positive societal impact.
University: Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam
Team: Hans van Berkum, Brian Eisenburger

Levels Diagnostics

Company Description: Levels Diagnostics is developing a rapid diagnostics tool that can quickly distinguish a bacterial from a viral respiratory tract infection. This will allow general practitioners to accurately diagnose patients in the flu season. Saving cost and time in the process.
Potential Impact: Preventing bacteria becoming insensitive to antibiotics globally and helping general practitioners locally
University: LUMC
Team: Mark Schoonderwoerd, Coen Breedveld, Blandine Le Tallec


Company Description: Effective communication is of increasing importance to organizations and professionals. Yet opportunities to practice are scarce. DialogueTrainer provides a platform and content for practicing communication skills with a virtual avatar. In a safe environment, users experience challenges and explore the effects of approaches.
Potential Impact: We connect theory to practice. We map and disclose communication knowledge to the organization, and provide users with a safe learning environment.
University: Utrecht University
Team: Michiel Hulsbergen, Johan Jeuring, Jordy van Dortmont

Elevate Health

Company Description: Elevate is born as a spin-off from the UU and UMCU to develop online education to health care practitioners and researchers in Health and Life Sciences and thereby to contribute to the improvement of health care worldwide. On our Elevate learning platform, we offer online medical courses on Master and PhD level. We also offer learning solutions to (academic) organizations and companies.
Potential Impact: Accredited online master Utrecht University, 10.000 participants from 70+ countries, 15 International consortia.
University: Utrecht University & University Medical Center Utrecht
Team: Prof. dr. D.E. Grobbee


Company Description: We have developed a Brain Computer Interface that allows locked-in patients, who are fully paralysed and cannot speak, to interact or communicate by controlling a computer with brain signals.
Potential Impact: Helping people who cannot communicate anymore and giving humanity a new way to interact with computers
University: Radboud University Nijmegen / Donders Institute
Team: Ivo de la Rive Box (CEO) and Peter Desain (CSO)


Company Description: IVWear is a University of Groningen/UMCG startup, established to develop an innovative wearable IV. Current IV pumps require an IV pole, which hinders the patient’s mobility. IVWear’s patented wearable IV, the Ivy One, frees patients from the IV pole and allows them to move more and therefore recover in a better and quicker matter.
Potential Impact: Improving patient mobility worldwide — disrupting the experience of IV therapy as we know it
University: University of Groningen/UMCG
Team: Maximilian Heintzen, Niels Weijermars, Melcher Frankema, Gijs Schumer and Peter Tuin

EV Biotech

Company Description: EV Biotech solves the problem of having to use chemically synthesized flavours, fragrances, materials, and pharmaceutics. We develop micro-organisms that function as highly effective biological factories in a sustainable way. Our key asset, computational modeling. We have set up a computer laboratory reducing laboratory-work 95%, limiting plastic and chemical use.
Potential impact: Breaking the market of petrochemical use for flavour, fragrance, material and pharmaceutics production
University: University of Groningen
Team: Linda Dijkshoorn, Agnieszka Wegrzyn, Sergey Lunev

Kepler Vision Technologies

Company Description: Kepler develops Artificial Intelligence that looks after the well-being of humans. Our first product is the “Man Down” detector which sends an alarm if it recognizes a human needs help. The solution has many applications in different industries. Our current focus is to help elderly live at home longer.
Potential Impact: Body language recognition addresses the elderly care time bomb by allowing your parents to age at home.
University: University of Amsterdam
Team: Harro Stokman, Marc van Oldenborgh, Cees Snoek, Arnold Smeulders


Company Description: Contamination of medical devices causes 50% of healthcare infections. Current technologies — drugs or nanoparticle-based — provide marginal improvements. LipoCoat BV, est. sep-2016, is the result of research at the University of Twente and designs & develops drug-less, bio-inspired coatings that prevent contamination and improve device performance.
Potential Impact: First products are ready for sale in Q4 2019 Reducing healthcare infections by Increasing comfort, safety and performance of medical devices using LipoCoat coatings
University: University of Twente
Team: Jasper van Weerd, Marcel Karperien, Pascal Jonkheijm, Alain le Loux, Raoul Oostenbrink

Concord Neonatal

Company Description: Concord Neonatal exists to help babies to win in the first minutes of life. Especially the ones that are born too soon or need extra support. Our recently launched Concord Birth Trolley allows caregivers to provide lifesaving care with the umbilical cord intact. Close to mom, the baby gets maximum benefit from the blood from the placenta, up to the moment it is breathing on its own.
Potential Impact: Reduce complications at birth, resulting in less children with long term handicaps and prevent loss of life.
University: Leiden University Medical Center
Team: NLC, Luris, Prof. Arjan te Pas (LUMC inventor), Alex Vernooij (LUMC co-inventor and CTO), Rianne Rotink (CEO)

Company Description: is aiming to innovate the microscopy industry with our plug-and-play feature microscope including the re-scan invention. Our new microscope has an improved resolution and strongly improved sensitivity than most confocal microscopes, and will be available as a highly affordable and easy to use device.
Potential Impact: Our Near InfraRed confocal microscope (RCM-NIR) will change cancer diagnostics!
University: University of Amsterdam
Team: Erik Manders/ Peter Drent

i-Med Technology

Company Description: i-Med has developed a state-of-the-art, ultra-lightweight digital surgical loupe and enabling surgeons to view preoperative data in unprecedented 3D full-HD quality while performing surgery. In addition, for education and archiving purposes, it provides streaming and recording of surgeries showing exactly what the surgeon sees during the procedures.
Potential Impact: i-Med’s technology will make complex surgical procedures, less invasive, faster and safer.
University: University of Maastricht & Maastricht University Medical Centre
Team: Vincent Graham — CEO, Jaap Heukelom — Commercial Director


Company Description: VSParticle is a leading technology supplier for the production of nanoparticles.
Potential Impact: Nanoparticle-based production will enable a paradigm shift in how we look at high-tech materials and products.
University: TU Delft
Team: Aaike van Vugt, Tobias Pfeiffer, Tobias Coppejans and Vincent Laban


Company Description: Amphera is an advanced clinical-stage biotechnology company developing dendritic cell therapies to treat cancer. Amphera has three ongoing clinical programmes with MesoPher — its personalized immuno-oncology cell therapy, comprised of autologous dendritic cells loaded with PheraLys, its proprietary allogeneic lysate of cancer cell lines.
Potential Impact: Develop a new treatment for mesothelioma, a therapy resistant cancer caused by asbestos
University: Erasmus MC
Team: Ilona Enninga PhD, Rob Meijer, Prof Joachim Aerts PhD MD

CC Diagnostics

Company Description: Annually one million European women are falsely suspected of having cervical cancer, leading to unneeded stress and healthcare costs. We develop a patented screening test which can solve 33% of this problem. After securing 2,4M investment, subsidy and loans we are currently testing our prototype in pilot studies.
Potential Impact: Reducing false positive test results with 33% and annually saving 120M for EU
University: University of Groningen
Team: Nutte van Belzen and Arnoud Huisman


Company Description: Hy2Care develops a proprietary injectable hydrogel for early intervention cartilage repair. The team comprises leading academics in cartilage and tissue regeneration as well as seasoned business experience in orthopedics. Supported by Reumafonds Nederland and several investors, the team aims to initiate a first clinical within 18 months.
Potential Impact: Preventing sports-injuries to develop into osteoarthritis through the early functional repair of damaged cartilage
University: University of Twente
Team: Marcel Karperien, Sanne Both

Company Description: Chromodynamics develops systems capable of producing images of the chemical composition of objects, rather than of their visual appearance. Our unique approach to chemical imaging allows us to perform this feat in real-time, enabling our customers to diagnose their patients or manufacturing processes instantaneously. We provide a vision of what matter’s.
Potential Impact: Chromodynamics We aim to improve the experiences of hospital patients, while saving lives at reduced cost.
University: DIFFER
Team: Wouter Vijvers

Mosa Meat

Company Description: Mosa Meat develops tissue engineering towards a technology that can mass-produce safe and affordable meat.
Potential Impact: Significantly reduce the huge footprint of meat
University: Maastricht University
Team: Mark Post, Peter Verstrate


Company Description: Our solution optimizes the performance of solar cells, as an integrated part of the solar module. By optimizing small groups of solar cells independently, they can produce a 20% higher and more robust yield. By controlling the power flow enable a solar system that is less complex and safe.
Potential Impact: Lower the cost of solar energy and enable the integration of solar into everyday life.
University: University of Technology Eindhoven
Team: Michiel Roelofs, Rein Westerdijk


Company Description: At Scitodate we solve the scientific discovery problem by developing state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence algorithms within a business environment.
Potential Impact: Any scientific research discovery needs to be trivially findable, reusable and reproducible.
University: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Team: Mehdi Farzanehpour, Jon Ezieza


Company Description: 20face is a fast-growing scale-up that offers biometric recognition in a privacy-proof ecosystem. Biometric recognition is a key enabling technology that is becoming mainstream. 20face has added an important innovation to biometric recognition by building an ecosystem of self enrollment, consent and personal data release management (PDRM) around the core technology of biometric recognition
Potential Impact: Combining AI and DLT in a privacy proof system is a key enabling necessity in paving the way for #techforgood
University: University of Twente
Team: Tauseef Ali, Hans d’Hollosy, Peter Hoekstra

Ocean Grazer

Company Description: We are convinced that hybrid offshore systems will play a key part in commercial, sustainable and clean energy production. Our solutions are focused on integrating multiple renewable sources together with on-site energy storage. We focus strongly on the synergy with Offshore Wind and the multi-use of space.
Potential Impact: Realize hybrid farms with high energy yields and sustainable storage to match supply and demand.
University: University of Groningen
Team: Frits Bliek, Bayu Jayawardhana, Marijn van Rooij, Antonis Vakis

Find out more about the Academic Startup Competition