Events - EIC Corporate Day with Dutch Giants on Health: time to step up to the plate!
Four corporates for the price of one, that’s what EIC-beneficiaries were offered during the EIC Corporate Day with Dutch giants on Health, which took place on 1 and 2 February 2021. KPN, Schiphol Group Innovation Hub, Achmea and Philips had the chance to hear 37 start-ups pitch, meet with them and hope to close new deals or partnership. What were the corporates’ and start-ups’ impressions and expectations? Let’s find out.
The four large corporates were again brought together with the help of Cumulus Park, a collaborative innovation district in Amsterdam, and Corporate Venturing Network (CVN), a non-profit, peer-to-peer network of corporates and regional development organisations active in corporate venturing and open innovation. Although the four corporates come from different sectors, e-health was the topic of the day. We sat down with Alexander Nieuwborg and Jan Zekveld (Schiphol Group Innovation Hub), Marie-José van den Boomgaard en Hans Söhngen (KPN) and Rocco van den Berg (Philips Ventures) to discuss the EIC Corporate Day.
Synergies was the key word of the event, starting with the corporates trying to identify new opportunities and solutions with the present EIC-innovators. Rocco van den Berg, Innovation Lead in Philips Ventures noted: “It’s very important for us to have a good visibility on all the kinds of startups that are out there in the world. When heard about the EIC and saw their portfolio and the number of collaborations and investments they have, I was quite impressed. This is a good first selection mechanism because they already have stepped over plenty of hurdles to be part of the EIC Community.” Jan Zekveld, Innovation Lead at Schiphol Group Innovation Hub and Alexander Nieuwborg, Researcher at Schiphol Group Innovation Hub added: “The EIC Corporate Day was a good way to see what other start-ups are doing on the topic of health, as a lot of them and also corporate partners and other sectors are dealing with the same challenges. What’s playing in the market, what are the startups doing, the issues they want to tackle. It’s nice to see this overview and insights!” With the Netherlands being a small country, it made sense to partner up with other large Dutch corporates. “We need to show ourselves and show the SMEs that The Netherlands is the perfect ground for startups and scaleups, either to start their business or to expand into. If you have a really innovative tech solution for Digital Health or any other sector, you will receive a warm welcome here” as Hans Söhngen, Managing Director of KPN Ventures stated.
But it was not just corporate-startup synergies that blossomed, the corporates also had the opportunity to discover new corporate to corporate cooperation: Hans emphasized this by saying that ”after the event I believe we understand better what the other corporates are looking for and vice versa – that’s absolutely an added benefit. For Venture Capital, I think it’s the way to go: it’s how investments are done, almost always in a co-investment sphere. Looking outside, to the added value of Corporates next to the purely venture capital funds, to make sure the startup goes as fast as it can.” Rocco concurred and added that “I saw that Schiphol was looking for health monitoring, KPN was looking to image acquisition and AI – the same areas we are working on. Straight after the introduction of the challenges I was very positively surprised: now we have more corporates so we have bigger visibility in the Community. That’s a bigger willingness to show up and present your solution. At the end I really enjoyed it as it improves the relationship we have with the companies.”
Marie-José van den Boomgaard, KPN, Liaison Manager startups/scaleups KPN, was also present for the previous Dutch Corporate Day and was again impressed with the selection on display. She closed the day with a strong statement saying that “Now it’s time for corporates to step up to the plate. The EIC carefully selected the start-ups, funded them, so now it’s up to us to offer them market access and/or finance. That’s a call out to all other corporates, let’s use this opportunity!”
Opening new doors
Nervtech, a startup from Slovenia, was one of 37 selected EIC-beneficiaries. The company provides services in driving performance evaluation and focuses on the assessment of driver skills and functional abilities. The company was selected by Achmea and had the opportunity to pitch their innovation and meet with several of their representatives. Luka Novak and Kristina Stojmenova, who along CTO Jaka Sodnik represented Nervtech at the event said that “the EIC opened a lot of doors to new partnerships and new skills: going from the process of preparing a proposal for funding or for an event like this, it actually makes you think deeper about what you’re trying to develop, who are your competitors and you try to understand yourself better.” The session also offered the opportunity to hear the Dutch corporates’ vision on digital health, with Kristina noting that “yesterday’s session was very interesting for us because we got to hear what the current standings in Europe are: visions, expectations and how to move forward. This was very useful. At the same time it was very interesting to hear all the SMEs pitching and see if we can relate to them: We might have different visions and expectations, but knowing we have similar goals shows we are on the right path.”
More EIC Corporate Days?
Check out our Corporate Day Highlight report and video for more impressions. Do you want to pitch to corporates and exchanges ideas yourselves? The EIC regularly hosts Corporate Days, for the moment fully online. Applications for the EIC Corporate Day with German corporates on Digitalization are still open. Those wishing to meet with Europe’s largest corporates and fellow EIC-beneficiaries, please keep an eye on our calendar.