Seven teams of innovative entrepreneurs presented their work to a jury panel and an 80-strong audience during the Pitch Competition of Startup Pirates Maastricht on 31 January 2014.
For its fourth edition, Startup Pirates Maastricht was held under the theme “The Innovator’s Edition”. This year’s event wasthe result of a collaboration between Chemelot Campus and the Maastricht Centre for Entrepreneurship aiming to support the next generation of regional entrepreneurs.
From 25 – 31 January, the teams took part in an intensive 12-hour programme of workshops, entrepreneur talks, coaching sessions and late working hours.
At the end of the week, each team gave its best try at convincing the jury panel, composed of five leaders of the industry and investors, of the potential of their startup. Each idea was judged on market need, feasibility and the ability of the team to develop it further.
The winners of the Pitch competition were:
3. Memory Atlas, a smart selection and organization platform for photos;
2. Ludewa, a company specializing in bed sheets made of eucalyptus;
1. Pesticeps, first prize, an innovative bio friendly alternative to pesticides.
The brainchild of Raju Gurung and his team, Pesticeps stole the first prize and the audience’s admiration. Originally from Tibet, Raju studied biochemistry in Bremen and has been working with Cordyceps, a rare mushroom, commonly used in Chinese medicine and also known as a natural pesticide. Raju and his team plan to develop a way to artificially cultivate the mushroom in order to produce it larger quantities andto enter the pesticide market.
Midway through the program, Hugo Delissen, business development officer at Chemelot Campus, introduced anew service created by Chemelot Campus B.V. in cooperation with DSM Resolve, CHILL, Enabling Technologies, DPI Value Centre and TI COAST. TheService Boulevard, as the initiative has been named, will direct companies (including SMEs), universities, schools and institutes struggling with knowledge-related questions to the best fitting company at Chemelot Campus or to parties in the Service Boulevard network. The aim of this new service is to help share knowledge and create collaborations.
Jos Schneider, chairman of the Limburg Economic Development platform, was invited to speak for the occasion and stressed the importance of such collaborations between scientists and the industry.
The inauguration was celebrated with the Service Boulevard partners in a very symbolic way. Where traditional approaches would call for a glass of sparkling wine, Chemelot had something very different in mind. Using a mixture of liquid nitrogen and hot water, as symbols of the two worlds that would come together through this collaboration, the Service Boulevard was launched with a bang. To the admiration of the audience, a cloud of steam filled the stage under the careful supervision of a scientist.
The day ended on a very positive note, with a call for more collaboration between the industry, entrepreneurs and the educational environment.
Startup Pirates will take place again in collaboration with the Entrepreneurship Summer Schools in August 2014. More “Innovator’s Editions” are expected to be organized in collaboration with Chemelot Campus and other industry leaders.
By Ana Mihail
Chief Inspiration Officer Maastricht Centre for Entrepreneurship