When it comes to innovation, it is a tricky balancing act. Established companies have the resources but can be constrained by scope and shareholder interests, whereas startups often struggle for resources to realize their bold and (overly) ambitious plans to change the world. Bringing both established companies and startups together, along with multi-stage capital funding, lies at the heart of the Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) in Eindhoven, the Netherlands which aims to develop responsible innovations for a better world.
Supported by leading corporations, venture capitalists, foundations, policymakers, universities and tech conferences, XTC is one of the world’s biggest startup competitions. There are ten categories inspired by the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as Cleantech Energy & Environment, Digital Health, Mobility and Sustainable Smart Cities.
New Year, New Challenge
XTC 2022 is already well under way and the deadline for open applications to the regional competitions is rapidly approaching. For the Netherlands and Belgium, that deadline is 14 February before regional finals at Eindhoven’s High Tech Campus on 24 March. A €5,000 encouragement award is available for a fledgling start-up while the regional winner receives €20,000 and goes onto the global finals in June. In addition, at the 2022 global finals, competitors will be considered for two special awards – the People’s Choice and Female Founders award.
The Key to Social Challenges
The regional Netherlands and Belgium XTC competition is organized by LUMO Labs – an impact-driven multi-stage (pre-seed through series A) capital fund and accelerator focused on artificial intelligence blockchain, robotics and drones, Internet of Things (IoT) and virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR). According to LUMO Labs Founding Partner Andy Lürling, “Emerging soft-technologies hold the key to solving the social challenges we face today. But we need to consider both the human and environmental levels in system engineering and cannot simply port current 2D applications into a 3D world. While many startups will never make it, those that do succeed will open up new routes within the urbanized, digitalized and connected world.”
For NXP, partnering with innovative startups and helping them accelerate and become the next big thing has numerous benefits. Chief Technology Officer Lars Reger says, “Ecosystem intelligence – as we call it – has boosted NXP big time over the last 10 years. We have a huge number of customers and they are far better than we are in applying chip technology to new innovations. So naturally we are open and eager to expand our ecosystem with startups who we hope can successfully apply our technology. In fact, as CTO I want to enable a playground for startups, and I hope the Extreme Tech Challenge will contribute to that.”