Startup in Residence Demo Day: the highlights

Demo Day

After six months of workshops, meetings, mentor sessions and prototype building, the startups got to show off their progress last week, at the Startup in Residence Demo Day. In a packed Groninger Forum, six out of the eight selected companies shared their experiences and showed their progress. Here are the highlights:

Sustainable Buildings: understanding the problem behind the problem

Making sports facilities like swimming pools and ice skating rinks more sustainable is no easy feat. Sustainable Buildings’ initial proposal was to make real-time energy consumption data relevant for consumers visiting the sports facilities. “When we signed up for this challenge, it was pretty broadly defined”, Guido Aris explains. “So in the process, you have to figure out what the real problem is, and what we can do to solve it. Climate awareness and regulation are on the rise, and we have the tools, the data and expertise to help.”

SecGroep: joining the Amsterdam program

Keeping lawns and other vegetation in the Noorderplantsoen healthy and thriving, that was the challenge for SecGroep. With special sensors set up, the startup can monitor the condition of the soil in real time and suggest preventive measures. “Our pilot will go on for a little longer, to see if things will work on busy spring days. We’re also working with the university on a tool to monitor how many people there are”, Erik Schoenmaker says. “We’re also signing up for the Startup in Residence program in Amsterdam this year,”

Growth: the big pivot

Attracting IT talent to Groningen Seaports starts with finding them before they graduate, according to Growth. “Let’s give students relevant work experience, instead of delivering pizzas or serving beers”, Ranan Branbergen says. “We originally wanted to create student teams for companies, but decided to go for a platform to match students and companies. And no, it’s not going to anything like Tinder!”

Rand Design: helping the next generation

Rand Design also wants to help Seaports attract talent, but by creating better secondary benefits, like facilitating childcare. “With a project called Kinderopvang Noord, I act as a broker between companies and daycare facilities”, says Katarina Mihaljevic. “It’s not enough to offer competitive salaries if you want to attract a new generation of talent, you want also give support in helping to balance work and family life.”

Greatwaves: patience

How do you make buildings more sustainable, safer and healthier to work in? Greatwaves says all you need is Wi-Fi routers with added sensors, and is currently testing its prototype at the Zernike Campus. “One of the most valuable lessons the program taught me, is being patient when you’re working with big clients”, Wouter Zijlstra says. “Your instinct is to go fast, but it’s all about taking small steps and learning how to make your ideas relevant in big organizations. Working with them, we included a lot of cool features we normally would never have thought of.”

Zupr: going international

Helping local shops, big brands and consumers, all with one platform. Zupr wants to turn Groningen into the first Zupr city, where consumers can easily find products at local stores and help brands see the local demand. “It’s not easy to explain Zupr because there’s nothing like it”, Michiel Vos says. “The pilot was a great showcase for us and the City helped us get our product video shown at a conference in Brussels. So now shopping malls in Miami and Belgium are also interested, which is awesome!”