How do you deal with climate change as a city and ensure that residents can save on increasingly precious drinking water? And how do you make sure that plastic and other waste in the harbor is processed properly? These and other questions will be tackled by four startups in the coming six months, during the second edition of Startup in Residence North Netherlands. At the kickoff in the Groninger Forum on 12 May, the startups introduced themselves and shared their plans.
Startup in Residence provides startups with the opportunity to actively collaborate with public organizations in Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe for a period of six months. This edition, the startups will collaborate with the municipalities of Leeuwarden, Water Company Vitens, Groningen Seaports and the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe. During the program the entrepreneurs will receive support and guidance from professional coaches to further develop their idea and prototype into a successful product. The resulting solutions can also be purchased by the partners at the end of the program. But who are the startups and what are their plans? Let's introduce them!
More than 70% of our plastic waste is not recycled. That is why Groningen Seaports is looking for a partner who can help them with sustainable asset management. They have found that match in Uppact. With its unique Unwastor technology, Uppact recycles plastic and textile waste. "Under pressure and by friction, the waste is melted in the Unwastor and converted into high-quality new materials," says founder Jan Jaap Folmer. "In the coming months we will set up a pilot to see what kind of materials we can make with it for Groningen Seaports."
With increasing drought and persistent heat waves, we will need to look at effective ways to save water. For Startup in Residence, Hulo is working with the Municipality of Leeuwarden and Water Company Vitens on a solution to reduce water consumption. "Based on a smart meter, an app, gamification and machine learning, we want to start making sure that residents can save water better and easier," says Hulo co-founder Frank van der Hulst. In the coming months, the startup will also work with the municipality and the water company to develop this into a solid revenue model.
As a startup, what exactly do you get out of the program? And what are important lessons? Startup in Residence alumnus Lasse Licht, founder of Mindhash, talks about his experiences: "The network has definitely helped us attract new talent. We got into talks with the RuG and the Hanze, and that has made it much easier for us to be able to bring in talent from Groningen as well." What would he have done differently? "We mainly had a lot of contact with our liaison from the Province, but he left at a certain point. To really build a lasting relationship, we really should have made broader introductions and maintained contacts with the entire department."
How do you create a climate-adaptive city that can cope with persistent heat and massive rainfall? For the Municipality of Leeuwarden, startup Waterweg is going to work on reducing the effects of climate change, with water-passable tiles made from dredge. "The tiles solve flooding in the city and are made with an abundant residual flow from Dutch rivers and canals," say founders Eva Aarts and Wies van Lieshout. "By producing the tiles in large quantities, a large part of the Dutch dredge spoil can eventually be used. But that has to be set up locally as much as possible, so that's what we're now going to work on with the municipality."
Shared transport is becoming increasingly popular, which is why Joinby is going to work for Hub | Groningen & Drenthe, a program of the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe, for more than 50 hubs. These are places where you can switch from one means of transport to another. "Joinby develops custom community apps that allow organizations to connect their target audience," says founder Bas Kremer Hovinga. " In the app, users find activities in which they can participate and can get to know like-minded people. This should help to boost local economies and also to ensure that hubs are experienced as pleasant and safe places."