Amsterdam startups selected for first-ever Academic Startup Competition

The Academic Startup Competition aims to find the best startups which can help use innovations in science to create major societal impact by asking Dutch universities and scientific institutions to nominate their best spin-off companies. So far 27 startups have been chosen and are set to pitch at an event at Amsterdam’s Epicentre on 14 May, during which a jury will choose 10 winners. The winners will then be named as one of the top 10 companies with the most pioneering scientific innovations and given the opportunity to present at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which takes place in The Hague on 4 and 5 June.

Life sciences and health companies selected

Two Amsterdam startups working in the life sciences and health sector have been selected for the inaugural Academic Startup Competition: Kepler Vision Technologies and Confocal.

Life Sciences and Health in the Amsterdam Area

Kepler Vision Technologies

A spin-off company from the University of Amsterdam (UvA), Kepler develops body language recognition software using AI which can analyse video footage. Its Kepler Man Down Detector can be connected to existing camera feeds to detect if someone is lying on the floor or needs help. It can be used to monitor elderly people for emergencies and so help them to be able to live at home for longer.


Confocal is also a spin-off company from UvA and was founded in 2016. It aims to disrupt the microscopy industry with a confocal microscope based on the re-scan invention: the Re-scan Confocal Microscope (RCM). RCM combines super-resolution capabilities with higher sensitivity than most confocal microscopes, an upgrade to an existing wide-field fluorescence system. The system was invented by Erik Manders, Confocal’s CTO, who built and developed it alongside his research team at the UvA’s Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences.

Life sciences and health competitors from around the Netherlands

A number of life sciences and health startups have also been selected for the Academic Startup Competition. They include Enschede’s Hy2Care, which has developed an "injectable hydrogel" for the arthroscopic treatment of cartilage defects and recently raised €3.7 million in funds to scale up. Other participants include FaceCode, which launched its product to help diagnose and treat skin disorders and diseases with the use of AI-powered face recognition, and Delft’s Somnox, which has created the world’s first robot that helps users to sleep more soundly.

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