Revealed: The 2024 NL Startup Competition Winners

Rotterdam, 30.05.2024: Out of 109 applicants, 16 startups pitched their innovative ideas this Wednesday at the first edition of the NL Startup Competition during the UPSTREAM Festival at Annabel in Rotterdam. Competing in front of an expert jury, the startups showcased their projects in four impact-focused categories: social, energy transition, digital, and circular/sustainable.

Most Innovative Social Startups

The Most Innovative Social Startups recognizes startups making significant contributions to social impact. The winners in this category receive:

1. A €10,000 cash prize to support their continued development and growth: ChatLicense

2. A 1-hour media training session with MT/Sprout to enhance their communication and public relations skills: PAL

3. A 3-month co-working space provided by Erasmus Enterprise, fostering collaboration and innovation within a vibrant entrepreneurial community: Subul & TeachBuddy.

Most Innovative Energy Transition Winner

The Most Innovative Energy Transition Startups category recognizes startups that are driving the shift towards sustainable energy solutions:

1. A €10,000 cash prize to help fuel further innovation and development in their energy transition projects: FLASC B.V.

2. A 1-hour media training session provided by MT/Sprout, aimed at honing their communication skills and enhancing their media presence: Avoxt

3. A unique opportunity to race with Max in an electric Porsche on the circuit in Zandvoort, courtesy of VolkerWessels, providing a thrilling experience and networking opportunity: Tree Composites

4. A 3-month co-working space at BlueCity, fostering collaboration and innovation within a community dedicated to sustainability and circular economy principles: iON-ENERGY.

Most Innovative Digital Startups:

The Most Innovative Digital Startups category honors those startups that are pushing the
boundaries of technology and digital innovation. Winners in this category receive a robust
support package designed to enhance their growth and visibility:

1. A €10,000 cash prize to accelerate their technological advancements and business development: I see U baby care

2. A 1-hour media training session by MT/Sprout, aimed at refining their public speaking and media interaction skills to better promote their innovations: Spatialise

3. An exhilarating opportunity to race with Max in an electric Porsche on the circuit in Zandvoort, provided by VolkerWessels. This unique experience not only offers excitement but also a chance to network with key industry figures: Syntho & TwinAi.

Most Innovative Circular/Sustainable Startups:

The Most Innovative Circular/Sustainable Startups category recognizes startups that are leading the way in sustainability and circular economy practices. Winners in this category receive a comprehensive prize package designed to support their growth and enhance their impact:

1. A €10,000 cash prize to further develop their sustainable initiatives and expand their market presence: Kumasi Drinks

2. A 1-hour media training session by MT/Sprout, equipping them with the skills to effectively communicate their vision and engage with media outlets: Nature’s Principles

3. The prestigious V.O. Patents & Trademarks ‘Innovation Award,’ which includes a patent search valued at €2,500 to protect and advance their innovative solutions: Coastruction

4. An exciting opportunity to race with Max in an electric Porsche on the Zandvoort circuit, courtesy of VolkerWessels. This unique experience not only offers thrill but also provides a valuable networking opportunity: Back to Batteries. 

On top of the category prizes, the judges awarded ChatLicense with an entry ticket to the Top 250 Bootcamp for the Entrepreneurship World Cup. This exclusive ticket offers unparalleled opportunities for mentorship, networking, and furthering their entrepreneurial journey on a global stage. “We’re super excited to go to the Startup World Cup, because this is a global stage and ChatLicense deserves a global stage, because it offers a solution to a global problem” says Marjolein van Tilburg, co-founder of ChatLicense.

A message from the judges:

"The value of this event is to really get to know new ideas, new people and a lot of energy. I really believe that we will stay in touch for a long time and see how we can work together."
Dewi Wesselman
Project Manager ESG & Digital at Damen.

About NL Startup Competition

The first NL Startup Competition is a joint initiative organized by Upstream, MT/Sprout, Golden Egg Check, and Erasmus Enterprise. This initiative is supported by esteemed partners such as the Port of Rotterdam, the Municipality of Rotterdam, V.O. Patents & Trademarks, Rabobank, Damen, VolkerWessels, Econsulate, and HelloPrint.

These organizations have come together to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, and to provide a platform for startups to showcase their impactful solutions in various sectors.

Social Category Finalists


PAL (Amie Technologies BV is a digital palliative care platform for timely and efficient access to care for anyone with a life-limiting illness. Pal is a palliative care platform fuelled by family observations that empowers the whole care team. It is a scalable, accessible, and affordable alternative to in-person care, which can be introduced at the earliest point in the patient journey. 

Subul is an impactful global tech talent solution, where cutting-edge technology and a sophisticated platform take center stage. Our mission combines the dynamism of ethical outsourcing and out staffing with the power of advanced tech to unlock the potential of disadvantaged communities, aiming for both business growth and societal transformation. 

TeachBuddy is a peer-tutoring software, that helps schools create large-scale projects in which their students support each other through tutoring. The software matches the right pupils from the same school together, plans when they meet, tracks their progress, and keeps teachers informed. 

ChatLicense offers a smartphone diploma and experience game for kids, where kids earn the use of apps while engaging parents through the parent platform. 

Digital Category Finalists

Syntho is an AI generated synthetic data by generating an entirely new dataset of fresh data records. Therefore information to identify real individuals is simply not present in a synthetic dataset which allows you to share your data without privacy concerns. 

Twin AI provides a low-code AI platform that automates repetitive tasks and integrates various AI models seamlessly. Our solution enables organizations to set up workflows once, automate prompts, and iteratively improve results without the need for continuous coding, making AI adoption more accessible and efficient. 

Spatialise is enabling the regeneration of soils through geospatial intelligence by helping farmers make better use of their assets (stable, machines & land) while decreasing pressure on natural resources for people, planet and prosperity. 

I See U baby care

Our AI software will help uncover and decrease sleep deprivation in hospitalized (pre)term baby’s, leading to better (brain) development, faster growth and fewer infections; altogether we strive for better changes at a healthy future. For more information contact:

Energy Transition Finalists

Avoxt BV offers a membrane less electrolyzer that has ultra-low maintenance, high up time and high efficiency, therefore reducing the cost of green hydrogen with 25%. 

FLASC HPES (Hydro-Pneumatic Energy Storage) offers the first solution tailored for colocation with offshore wind. With the co-located FLASC HPES system, offshore wind farms can become an active provider of grid flexibility when using energy storage. Recent studies show that this can add 10-20% more value to the wind farm output by improving the way it is monetized. For more information visit this website

iON-ENERGY utilizes its patented energy harvesting technology to produce clean electricity for domestic use, 24/7/ 365. The home device called the E-Box will revolutionize the way households can obtain the best energy solution for the best price. The E-box will provide 5,000 kWh per year, which is more than most household use per year. It is portable, does not require installation, and is more affordable than the alternative solar panels. 

Developing composite joints to enable better, lighter and cheaper jacket foundations for offshore wind turbines. 

Circular/Sustainable Finalists

The energy transition causes a material transition with a few local sources and vulnerable supply chains.Back to Battery offers a closed-loop circular solution for end-of-life Li ion batteries, producing critical raw materials locally and sustainable, reducing CO2 by >90% and minimizing waste. 

Building a sustainable future with nature-inspired and purpose-built 3D-printed reefs for marine life restoration, conservation and coastal protection. By leveraging unique powder bed technology, Coastruction creates sustainable substrates that blend seamlessly into the natural environment, addressing the urgent threats facing marine ecosystems. Our multifunctional solution not only restores damaged reef systems but also protects vulnerable coastlines and boosts local economies. 

We fight food waste and income waste by upcycling cacao fruit into appealing fast moving consumer products. We revolutionize the cacao industry, uplift farmers, and create delicious products, first within the beverages category and now across others. We do this by pioneering the vertical integration of cacao fruit as a new ingredient for a wide range of consumer products and expanding on the innovations of upcycling more parts of the pods (husk). 

We offer a ground-breaking process for lactic acid production to make biopolymers from residual streams. Production of lactic acid and derivatives from 2G feedstocks in a cost-effective operation. 

For Media Inquiries: ​

Erasmus Enterprise
Johanna Raats
Marketing & Communications Lead

Students Gain Unique Opportunity to Connect with 45+ IndustryExperts at Erasmus University Speed Date Event

Rotterdam, Netherlands May 28th: Last week’s Speed Date Event at Erasmus University College, centrally located in the heart of Rotterdam, marked a significant milestone in the ongoing Erasmus University Challenge. Held on Day Zero of the Upstream Festival, the event was a remarkable success, fostering innovation and collaboration between entrepreneurial teams and industry experts. 

The event featured an impressive line-up with 53 teams and 45 coaches from various industries, including logistics, education, energy transition, and more. With over 150 speed dates taking place throughout the day, the atmosphere was buzzing with enthusiasm and innovative ideas.

Matthew Harvey, Managing Director of Erasmus University College, opened the event withthe historical significance of the building and reminding participants that “Life is not a sprint.It’s a marathon!” Followingly, Oscar van Veen, Director of Innovation at Port of Rotterdam,captivated the audience with his compelling journey from an aspiring basketball player to a lifelong entrepreneur, emphasizing that innovation is a collaborative process and that skill scan transfer seamlessly between the startup and corporate environments. Throughout the event, partners provided invaluable feedback, shedding light on market needs, validation, strategic alignment, and potential challenges. “It’s fantastic to see so many teams well-prepared with insightful questions for us partners” as noted by Jits Brouwer from ErasmusX.

The synergy between the diverse teams and seasoned experts was evident, highlighting the importance of exchanging innovation with industry leaders from diverse backgrounds. Such interactions are essential for sustainable growth, the success in the entrepreneurial landscape and refining the participating teams’ business strategies.

Want to know more?

Want to know more about the 3rd Edition of the Erasmus University Challenge and all theparticipants? Visit our website: and follow us on social media (@Erasmus_University_Challenge). For questions, reach out to or

The Erasmus University Challenge is initiated by Erasmus Enterprise and organized annually in collaboration with Soapbox. 

Erasmus University Challenge- Speed Dating Event

Date: May 28, 2024
Location: Erasmus University College, Nieuwemarkt 1A, 3011 HP Rotterdam
Time: 13:30 – 19:00

Erasmus University Challenge

On May 28, the Erasmus University Challenge is hosting speed dates at Erasmus University College in Rotterdam. During this gathering, student teams will have the opportunity to present their innovative ideas and projects directly to potential investors, mentors, and other interested parties. This speed dating session is a key highlight of the Erasmus University Challenge taking place on Day Zero at the UPSTREAM festival, where innovation meets community.

The Erasmus University Challenge provides a platform to spotlight the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of students across three categories: ideation, prototyping, and start-up.

Ideation: Where dreams and initial ideas begin to take shape.
Prototyping: Where visions and sketches evolve into the first versions of tangible projects.
Start-up: Featuring projects that have already entered the market and are actively seeking to expand.

Participant teams

From a diverse pool of over 95 entrepreneurial student teams, this edition of the Erasmus University Challenge has seen impressive growth. Returning partners like Go-Tan will inspire the teams to take their next step in their entrepreneurial journey. As Erik van Elderen from BTS said last year; “there is a lot of entrepreneurial eagerness!”

One of this year’s participating startups in the prototyping category is Cuphub. This student team has developed Casey. Casey is a reliable on-the-go menstrual cup cleaner, designed to provide convenient and hygienic care for women all over the world.

Another showcase of innovation this year is the start-up Biocrafts. Their mission is to revolutionise the construction industry by replacing conventional methods with innovative, greener solutions that prioritise sustainability without sacrificing quality or performance.

Last but not least, Fungi for Future is developing a material to replace plastic in the packaging sector with materials that are truly biodegradable. Partners such as Albert Heijn and Rituals have already shown interest in the team.

Speed Dating

The speed dating, which will take place on 28 May at Erasmus University College, is a great opportunity for participants in this year’s edition to discuss the next steps in their entrepreneurial journey. “Today’s speed dating was great. Some really brilliant ideas,” said Oscar van Veen from the Port of Rotterdam at last year’s edition. As last year’s edition was so successful, Oscar van Veen will be back to network with and support this year’s participants. As Rector Magnificus of the Erasmus University, Annelien Bredenoord said to be proud of the teams participating in the Erasmus University Challenge and she would like to encourage you to stop by!

Want to know more?

Want to know more about the student teams and partners of the 3rd edition of the Erasmus University Challenge? Visit the website or follow us on social media (@Erasmus_University_Challenge). The Erasmus University Challenge is initiated by Erasmus Enterprise and organized annually in collaboration with Soapbox. 

Registration is possible via

"Join us on May 28 at Erasmus University College from 13:30 for the Erasmus University Challenge. Explore the entrepreneurial spirit fostered by Erasmus Enterprise and be inspired by innovation and ambition at Erasmus University Rotterdam."
Liesje Goldschmidt
Erasmus Enterprise

A Closer Look at Funding: How Funding Can Help Your Startup?

“Money is like oxygen to a business; without it, it simply cannot survive.” – Sir Richard Branson

What is funding?
Funding refers to the financial support or capital provided to startups or businesses so that businesses can grow and achieve their goals. It can come from various sources such as investors, venture capital firms, government grants, or even personal savings. Startups often need funding for several reasons:

  • Launching and Development: Startups require capital to turn their ideas into reality. This includes developing prototypes, conducting market research, building a team, and refining their products or services.
  • Expansion to Scale-up: Once a startup has established its initial presence, funding becomes crucial for scaling up operations, entering new markets, or expanding the customer base. This often requires significant investments in marketing, infrastructure, and hiring additional staff.
  • Research and Innovation: Many startups operate in industries that require continuous research and development. Funding enables them to invest in innovation, explore new technologies, and stay competitive in the market.
  • Attracting Talent: Startups need to attract skilled professionals and experts to fuel their growth. Funding allows them to offer competitive salaries, benefits, and stock options, making them more attractive to top talent.

How can Erasmus Enterprise help you?

  • Access to Regional Investment Funds: Erasmus Enterprise collaborates with regional investment funds, such as UNIIQ, to provide startups with potential investment opportunities. Through this partnership, startups within the Erasmus Enterprise community can pitch their ideas and business plans to these funds, increasing their chances of receiving financial support
  • Alumni Investors Network: Erasmus Enterprise actively engages with its network of alumni investors who have a vested interest in supporting entrepreneurial ventures. By connecting startups with alumni investors, Erasmus Enterprise creates opportunities for funding and mentorship. These investors can provide capital, industry expertise, and valuable connections to help startups grow.
  • Graduate Entrepreneur Fund: Erasmus Enterprise extends its investment network to all members of its community through the Graduate Entrepreneur Fund. This fund offers financial support specifically targeted at entrepreneurial ventures initiated by graduates of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Startups founded by Erasmus alumni can access this fund to secure funding for their businesses.
  • Erasmus University Challenge: The Erasmus University Challenge is an initiative that aims to support and fund students and entrepreneurs through a competition-style program. Participants pitch their innovative ideas or startups to a panel of judges, with funding prizes awarded to the winners. This financial support enables them to further develop their projects or businesses, providing participants with exposure to a widen their networks, helping them foster connections. Within this network, investors may offer funding, mentorship, and other forms of support like guidance and this guidance boosts participants’ chances of attracting funding, not only within the competition but also in the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem. Hence, by being part of Erasmus University Challenge, participants gain validation, visibility, and a platform to showcase their ideas or startups to a broader audience of industry professionals and the academic community.Find out more about Erasmus Enterprise by following our social media and stay up to date with upcoming events.