Ideas into action
The University of Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and Amsterdam UMC are gearing up to launch a new collaboration that builds on their support of students and researchers setting up their own businesses. The agreement formalizes their partnership with the ACE incubator program, which has already supported more than 150 startups from Amsterdam universities over the past five years. By increasing ACE’s capacity to organize supporting programs and recruit talent, the goal is to have more budding entrepreneurs successfully adapting their academic innovations and breakthrough technologies for the marketplace.
A scaling relationship
The involved universities already began sharing resources in 2014 with the establishment of the knowledge transfer office Innovation Exchange Amsterdam (IXA). In 2017, they launched the university incubator Amsterdam Venture Studios (AVS), which offers startups a physical space on campus – backed by training, support and access to university networks. Now the universities have partnered with the ACE incubator program to provide an intensive trajectory of support, coaching and mentoring from business experts and startup and scaling coaches.
The ACE program already has a proven track record. Companies such as Lumicks (VU), Metrica Sports (UvA) and Radically Open Security (VU) are now working with teams of 30 to 50 employees to bring their products and services to national and international markets. Another example: the AI company Scyfer (UvA), another ACE alumni, was acquired by IT firm Qualcomm in 2017.
Upcoming programs 2019
For 2019, six two-day programs will offer industry-specific sessions for researchers and students in fields such as of life & earth sciences, physics & astronomy, chemistry and humanities. ACE will also organize an extensive three-month Incubation Program for 10 university spin-offs. The upcoming program starts 1 April 2019 and is open to all researchers and MSc students from the participating universities. A program board will advise on the structure and content of the programs, as well as help source talent within the universities. Board members already include seasoned entrepreneurs such as TomTom CEO Harold Godijn and Endeit Capital co-founder Hubert Deitmers.