Findest, Kepler, Confocal win top ten list of most groundbreaking innovations

May 16, 2019

Spin-offs Findest (VU), Kepler Vision Technologies (UvA) and (UvA) are one of the ten winners of the Academic Startup Competition. This was announced by a professional jury in Amsterdam in the presence of State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Mona Keijzer.

As a result of the selection, they will be able to pitch at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), which for the first time is organized in Europe. Besides this the winners are offered a trip to Silicon Valley by the Ministry of EAaCP. The GES will give the spin-offs the opportunity to learn how to scale up their innovation faster and take the step from startup to scale-up.

Findest, a spin off from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, is a company initiated by two former Science, Business & Innovation (VU) students Roel Boekel and Vincent Franken. They developed a technology scouting service that combines human- and artificial intelligence to find​ technologies ​for R&D-challenges. After they joined university entrepreneurship laboratory Demonstrator Lab in the first phase of their adventure, they moved to Amsterdam Venture Studios after outgrowing the startup phase. Nowadays, the startup has grown to 14 team-members and has over 50 customers. a spin off from University of Amsterdam and initiated by Erik Manders and Peter Drent is aiming to innovate the microscopy industry with our plug-and-play feature microscope including the re-scan invention. Their 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.

Kepler Vision Technologies a spin off from University of Amsterdam and initiated by Harro Stokman, Marc van Oldenborgh, Cees Snoek, Arnold Smeulders. 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.

The importance of academic startups

Mona Keijzer, State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate: “Academic startups are extremely important for the Netherlands because it’s often innovative breakthrough technologies that have an international impact. The 10 winners show that Dutch universities are at the global forefront when it comes to knowledge transfer.”  Pieter Duisenberg, chairman VSNU “This top ten list proves that Dutch Academic Startups are leading the way in creating the most groundbreaking innovations in science. They are living proof that Dutch universities are at the heart of our society. Now is the time to continue and keep up the pace by making the knowledge transfer process in the Netherlands even more professional”.

Academic Startup Competition

The Academic Startup Competition is an initiative of VSNU, the Netherlands Academy of Technology and Innovation (AcTI) and StartupDelta. The competition put knowledge transfer and academic spin-offs in the international spotlight. Visit the website: for more information about the competition, the jury and the 10 winning startups.

IXA incubator facilities: Demonstrator Lab and Amsterdam Venture Studios

Demonstrator Lab and Amsterdam Venture Studios are initiated by Innovation Exchange Amsterdam. The joint knowledge transfer office of the UvA, HvA, VU and Amsterdam UMC. With these incubator facilities IXA aims to stimulate entrepreneurship and application of knowledge and science.