Skip to content

Get to know one of the 10 Academic Startup Competition winners 2020! 
Digi.Bio B.V.: a short introduction

From 57 contenders, the Association of Universities in the Netherlands, the Netherlands Academy of Technology and Innovation, and have nominated 20 academic startups to compete in the finals of the second edition of the Academic Startup Competition. Now, the jury has selected the best 10 startups. Among the winners is Digi.Bio B.V., a company that bridges the gap between biology, software and hardware by building digital laboratory automation platforms for scientific researchers. This platform accelerates the discovery of new solutions to major challenges in healthcare, nutrition and the bioeconomy.

The level of the competitors was very high this year, and the most ground-breaking and innovative academic startups were selected to be the ‘Best academic startup in the Netherlands’. These startups are responsible for state-of-the-art and ground-breaking innovations in various fields, including Life Sciences, Health, High Tech, Energy, Logistics and Agri-Food. Digi.Bio is one of the winners in the Life Sciences and Health field.

Digi.Bio was founded in 2017 and uses digital microfluidics and electrowetting to streamline multistep liquid handling applications. The company, part of the Vrije Universiteit, harnesses the power of Digital Microfluidics to rapidly and precisely manipulate droplets on a microscale. This technology is based on electrowetting (EWOD), a technique of microfluidics which allows control of fluid flow and shape using electrical signals applied over a planar electrode array (A). By applying an electric potential over one of the electrodes, an electrical field is generated in the thin dielectric insulator that is present between the liquid and the electrode.

Enabling the automated execution of complex biological protocols
Effectively, this results in an electrical force at the droplet interface, which causes the liquid to cover the activated electrode (B). Due to this electrowetting effect, the liquids – trapped in a hydrophobic system – can be manipulated on the microscale in various ways. The large number of manipulation possibilities enable the automated execution of complex biological protocols. Together with integration of thermal control, purification and optical detection, DMF enables full control over the droplet micro-reactors.

The company, founded by Federico Muffato, can’t wait to participate in all the activities for the 10 winners. Especially participating in an online incubator mission to the United States, offered by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. This mission will introduce the startups to the latest technology and business innovations in their field, while experienced entrepreneurs will be teaching them about all the ins and outs of doing business in the United States.

Great to have you with us!