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The winners of the Academic Startup Competition 2020 are known!

Follow their journey.

The winners of 2020

Ground-breaking innovations in various fields, including Life Sciences, Health, High Tech, Energy, Logistics and Agri-food. The winners were selected based on their value proposition, the innovative character of the technology involved, the potential of their business and profit model, and the startup team composition.

Read about the winners on Twitter.


ARE YOU an academic startup that is building scientific solutions to global issues working hard to make a positive impact around the world? Applications for 2020 are now closed.

The competition offers the selected academic startups the chance to follow a customized incubator program and accelerate their business. The startups are in the race to become one of the winners  and participate in an unique program of workshops, promotion track and peer to peer learning to help the founders to accelerate the growth and scalability of their business. They are introduced to the innovation ecosystem, and help them develop a network of peers, experts, and mentors.

To apply you need to meet the following requirements:

  • An academic startup with the ambition and potential to be disruptive and scale internationally within the coming 5 years. 
  • A successful transfer from science/technology developed at a Dutch University, University Medical Center, KNAW, NWO institute or TO2.
  • Maximum 3 years in incorporation
  • Registered at the Chamber of Commerce 
  • Present at both program days (October at CES Unveiled and Jan 2021 at Impact Festival) (with reservation due to any changes regarding COVID)

Aftermovie 2019


Please meet our Academic Startup Competition Ambassadors 2020. Each of them being an expert in a specific, relevant domain. They contribute to the competition by spreading awareness about the Academic Startup Competition through their networks. The ambassadors open potential doors for participants, provide feedback, give insights and assist throughout the competition.
Liesbeth van de Garde
Head of HRM Policy & Innovation at UWV

"It is important that scientific findings and technologies accelerate into successful business opportunities. I am honoured to help the winners of the Dutch academic startup competition by sharing their stories"

Dennis Schipper
CEO Demcon

"De begeleiding die wij destijds met de oprichting van Demcon van de Universiteit Twente hebben gehad is van grote waarde geweest in onze startfase. Al jaren helpen wij start ups in verschillende facetten om zo door te groeien naar een professionele organisatie met een stevig fundament voor de toekomst. Waardevol voor hen, vaak ook inspirerend voor ons."

Karianne Lindenhovius
CEO ArthroSave B.V. and ASC winner 2019

"Bring science and technology alive and take part in the Academic Startup Competition to create impact by entrepreneurship"

Frans Nauta
Founder ClimateLaunchepad
Hester Bijl
Vice-Rector Magnificus of Leiden University
Anne Wil Lucas
Director Kennispark Twente
Sonja Vos Poppelaars
TU/e Participations

“Entering the ASC can be a powerful experience for your business. It can be a great way to build momentum during your critical first year”.

Jasper van Weerd
Founder & Managing director Lipocoat BV and ASC winner 2019

"ASC offers your startup the opportunity to showcase its value. It provides a channel to expand your network domestically and abroad, and offers support to become a better entrepreneur. In addition, the interactions you have with other startups, experts and policy makers is extremely valuable in your fine-tuning your strategic plan and in shaping the startup ecosystem"

Marloes Pomp
International Strategy Dutch Blockchain Coalition & National AI Coalition / AI pilot program Dutch Government

"Academic startups, this is your moment. Own it. Help us to rebuild the economy in a sustainable way, by building scientific solutions with a global impact."

Carmen van Vilsteren
Chair Topsector Life Science & Health, Director Health at TU/e and Chair of e/MTIC Board

"Building a startup company requires passion, focus and a great team. And a supportive network!"

Prof. Eric Claassen
CEO Vironovative BV and prof of entrepreneurship in the life sciences at Vrije Universiteit Athena Institute

"Start your business with a good exit strategy"

Maroeska Rovers
Professor of Evidence-Based Surgery

“Be the hero of your own innovation, and prove its added value to make this a better world”

Maarten Steinbuch
Scientific Director at EindhovenEngine, Distinguished Professor and section chair at TUeindhoven

"Join the competition and help research results to have real impact for people and planet!"

Olivier Tardieu
Founder Dutch Academic Impact Fund

"There is a lot of high quality academic knowledge in the Netherlands to be converted into breakthrough products and services for the benefit of today's society and economy. Academic startups and scaleups are best positioned to do this, therefore: let’s support them!”

Hans Schikan
Biotech entrepreneur, Board member

"To build a company, together with a team, based on a great idea is Fantastic, Unparalleled, and (at times) Nerve-racking, but in one word FUN!" "

Mark Post
CSO Mosa Meat and Professor at Maastricht University and ASC winner 2019

"Starting a company is a one in a lifetime event and a scarily steep learning experience. Great ride especially if you get a lot of help and advice."

Erik Boer
Lead Entrepreneurship & Impact Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

“Academic startups are of key importance for Universities to stay relevant and great opportunities for individual students and researchers to create societal and economic impact.”


October - Pitchday

From all applications the best 20 will be get a fullday program during CES Unveiled including a pitchtraing, workshops and matchmaking. You will pitch in front of a jury.

November - Promotion tour

The jury will select the best 10 startups and each startup will be highlighted indivually through an online campaign.

December - Incubator program

A unique program, composed by the Consulate of San Francisco, to help you grow your business and build a community. This program is supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.

January 2021 - ImpactFestival

During this second event day you will meet with peer-entrepreneurs, alumni of last year and workshops.


Do you still have some questions? No worries! You can visit the FAQ, call Ilona van der Rijt 0648798424 or email for questions.

Join The Event
Get inspired by the participating startups and our speakers!
Register now to join the event.