VU Startups and NextRound competing to become ‘Best academic start-up in the Netherlands’

October 6, 2020 and NextRound are selected to compete with 18 other startups by the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), the Netherlands Academy of Technology and Innovation (AcTI) and Techleap to compete in the finals of the second edition of the Academic Startup Competition.

The 20 startups were nominated from no fewer than an astounding 57 contenders. The level of the applications was very high, but in the end, the most ground-breaking and innovative academic startups were selected to compete to become ‘Best academic start-up in the Netherlands’.

Digi.Bio is a digital biology startup based in the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and is bridging the gap between biology, software, and hardware by building digital laboratory automation platforms for scientific researchers to accelerate discovery of novel solutions to grand challenges in Healthcare, Food, and Bioeconomy.  Digi.Bio is founded by a group of interdisciplinary engineers and scientists: Federico Muffatto, Frido Emans and Jelmer Cnossen.

VU Startup NextRound is the first smart free-hanging boxing bag that provides the user with accurate and reliable feedback on impact force, timing and precision. The data is used to create a gamified workout experience and intrinsically motivate people to exercise and make them as addicted to NextRound as they are to games. NextRound is founded by Nilas van Woersem and Tim van der Vaart.

Digi.Bio and NextRound are based at the Amsterdam Venture Studios at the VU Campus.

The selection

All 20 startups are responsible for state-of-the-art and ground-breaking innovations in various fields, including Life Sciences, Health, High Tech, Energy, Logistics and Agri-food. The finalists were selected based on their value proposition, the innovative character of the technology involved, the potential of their business and profit model, and the startup team composition.

A professional jury will select ten winners from the list of finalists in November. These winners will receive the title of ‘Best Academic Startup of 2020’ for a full year, and will receive access to special workshops, to peer to peer learning, and to a major national and international network of experienced entrepreneurs and researchers. The startups will also be participating in an online incubator mission to the United States, offered by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. This mission will introduce the startups to the latest technology and business innovations in their field, while experienced entrepreneurs will be teaching them about all the ins and outs of doing business in the United States. The winners will also have the opportunity of moving on from startup to scale-up.


About the Academic Startup Competition

The Academic Startup Competition, now being organised for the second time, is a joint initiative of  AcTI, Techleap and VSNU. The aim of the competition is to raise the visibility of ground-breaking innovations being developed at Dutch universities. AcTI, Techleap and the universities are combining forces in this initiative to develop an academic startup ecosystem which is as strong as possible, allowing outstanding Dutch scientific knowledge to be harnessed to create new products and services. This will generate the strongest possible impact that science can have on society.

Visit the ASC website for more information about the competition.