Tuesday, February 24th, VSParticle won the STARTUP Competition. This competition is a collaboration between Delft University of Technology and MIT to encourage entrepreneurship. The winners of the competition will be fully sponsored to go to MIT for three months this summer to take part in the Global Founders’ Skills Accelerator.
The finals took place during the Entrepreneurship Forum in the Auditorium of Delft University of Technology. In front of a packed auditorium the six companies, consisting of PowerWindow, VSParticle, Atmos UAV, Samsara, Beacon en CoH co., had ninety seconds to pitch their startup and answer a few questions from the jury. A great success, according to Kyle Judah, Program Director MIT GFSA: “Students were excited, the teams performed really really well”. After a short discussion by the jury, the jury chairman Theun Baller, dean of the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering, announced the winning team. The jury selected VSParticle based on the following criteria: “Is it real Delft Technology? Is it close to market? And which team would benefit most from a stay at MIT?”.
Aaike van Vugt and Tobias Pfeiffer are the founders of VSParticle. Having a background in Chemical Engineering at Delft University of Technology, they developed a bench top unit that enables the production and deposition of nanoparticles on a carrier in one step, removing all intermediate processes, shipping, and handling costs. For this they used a process based on spark-ablation, developed at Delft University of Technology, that reduces all process steps back to just one single process. This is ground-breaking technology that could lead to many innovations, or how Aaike put it: “We want to bring you guys the next generation of products!”.
De MIT Global Founders’ Skills Accelerator is an annual educational programme for students of MIT and is the premier university student accelerator in the world. Each year about ten teams of MIT will be selected as well as four teams from other universities. Due to the close collaboration between Delft University of Technology and MIT, this year a team of Delft students gets the opportunity to partake in the programme. From June till September teams are being prepared for entrepreneurship and are being supported in developing their startup. During these three months teams can earn up to $20,000 by meeting monthly milestones. In the beginning of September the teams will present their startup to American investors during Demo Day to secure enough investment for a successful start of their company.
At the beginning of February a selection of the applicants for the STARTUP Competition pitched in front of a jury during the semi-finals. Five teams were then selected to pitch at the finals. The winners of the course ‘Turning Technology into Business’ became the sixth candidate this year.
The Entrepreneurship Forum is an event organised by YES!Delft Students to which around a thousand students attend yearly. At this event founders and CEO’s of successful companies share their stories with students and in between their presentations the finalists of STARTUP pitch. In this way an interesting mix forms of lectures from professionals on the one hand and pitches of young talent on the other hand.