The Eindhoven CommUnity organised a case-solving discussion with the startup 'Sustonable' on February 23rd, 2017 at the HighTechXL campus. Eindhoven and Karlsruhe CommUnity members discussed how their innovative engineered stone product could be brought to market and how the IE CommUnity can help make that happen.
One of the best resources Eindhoven has to offer is the nearby High Tech Campus. This community of over 135 companies (roughly 60 of them startups) was responsible for over 40 percent of all Dutch patent applications in 2014 (more info here). Central to this innovation is HighTechXL, a startup incubator and accelerator that provides co-working space, business development support and financial support to help startups get off the ground quickly.
On February 23rd, the Eindhoven CommUnity hosted a case solving discussion with the HighTechXL startup Sustonable, which has developed a revolutionary new thin and ultra-lightweight building material produced from just quartz and recycled plastic (PET) with the physical look and feel of engineered stone. Initially, they were looking to sell their product as a substitute for engineered stone countertops, as they could be produced for one third the cost of traditional engineered stone with far less waste. Sustonable presented this product to the InnoEnergy CommUnity with the hopes of answering what other applications could be present for their unpolished product and what sort of requirements and certificates would they need to acquire to enter those markets.
After a brief presentation of the case and some pizza to fuel our brains, the 8 attendees that braved gale-force winds to attend sat down with Sustonable co-founder and CFO Laurens van Graafeiland to discuss how to solve these challenges. From this discussion, several ideas for new applications ranging from pools to 3D printing and even solar cells were suggested as possible solutions, all of which could take advantage of the unique properties of their unpolished product. Needs such as measurement of thermal and optical properties were also identified.
However, the discussion didn't just stop with fresh ideas. suggested there may be opportunities for the research organisation VITO to collaborate with the life-cycle assessment (LCA) needed for certification. The university students and staff present also suggested that there may be opportunities for collaboration with TU/e in the Netherlands, EPFL in Switzerland and other universities and research institutions to help find ways to measure the benefits of the technology. In addition, Sustonable agreed to post future internship and job opportunities on the CommUnity portal's Career Centre web page, so that more InnoEnergy students could get involved in making this technology a reality.
This case solving event was practically a tailor-made case study of the potential for strategic collaboration with HighTechXL. Thanks to the efforts by Eindhoven CommUnity members (and especially honorary member ), this collaboration seems like an excellent first step.
By Sergio Costa
The CommUnity Post
5 March 2017