Guest blog by VanPaz co-founder Giovanni Pazienza:

Five Dutch impact inventions

Giovanni Pazienza, co-founder at VanPaz, shares five of his favorite impact inventions. All five of them have been awarded in the City of The Hague’s GetFunded! program.

GetFunded! was initiated by the City of The Hague, in close collaboration with VanPaz and Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland, in response to the European Horizon 2020 program. As part of this program, the European Commission is hand-picking potentially disruptive businesses to invest in and support as part of its Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Instrument.

Businesses can receive up to €2.5 million in funding, but the process is tedious and requires skill. That’s why GetFunded! offers intensive support to a number of local startups to make sure their applications for the European Commission grants are as good as they can get. Professional grant consultants collaborate with the startups on the preparation of their grant applications.

Below, Giovanni introduces the five GetFunded! nominees, each representing a revolutionary impact innovation from the The Hague region.

In Ovo: Preventing the killing of one-day-old chickens

In the Netherlands alone, 45 million one-day-old male chickens are killed every year because they do not have a significant value in the food chain. The figure worldwide is stunning: 3.2 billion roosters killed each year. How can this be stopped? In Ovo, a Leiden-based biotech startup, proposes a solution. They developed a technique to determine the gender of the eggs, so that hatcheries can sort them before hatching, preventing the mass death of one day-old male chickens.

Q42: Combatting loneliness in the elderly

What is the most common pathology among the elderly? If you guessed diabetes or Alzheimer’s you are wrong. It is loneliness, which indirectly causes more health issues than any other disease. But how can we help older people, who are often hosted in home care facilities, to interact with each other? Q42 has the answer: virtual reality. The engineers at Q42 have developed a system to create shared experiences through virtual reality devices. They’ve tested it with exceptionally good results on the elderly in The Hague.

Peeeks: Exploring energy grid balance

Energy consumption tends to be very uneven throughout the day, causing peak demands that are usually met by fossil fuel power plants. They cause pollution and are environmentally unfriendly. But startup Peeeks, which is headquartered in the city of Delft, has developed a brilliant technology to cope with this problem: during times of peak demand it temporarily switches off systems that do not need to be powered continuously and can act as a buffer. An example? Ice rinks or your home freezer. This switching system can help to keep the grid balanced without the need to generate extra power.

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Somnox: Improving sleep quality

Around 44% of the Dutch population has trouble falling asleep with detrimental effects. Four young engineers in Delft have come up with a soft robotics solution that breathes while you embrace it: Somnox. Your body will adjust to its rhythm and relax, thus improving your sleep quality. This is the 21st-century version of the teddy bear that helps you fall asleep.

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Better Future Factory: Making plastic recycling sustainable

Plastic is everywhere: if you think that recycling is the solution, you may be disappointed to learn how much energy is wasted shipping tons of plastic waste to the recycling hubs, which are often located in other countries. A group of smart industrial designers from Rotterdam found a solution: they have invented a process to grind PET and melt it into different products like tiles. This can be done locally, so every community can recycle its own plastic on the spot.

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These five initiatives have been awarded by the GetFunded! program. If you would like to be the next one to receive a 50K grant make sure to check the website or email Giovanni at giovanni@vanpaz.com as the second round in The Hague is starting soon.

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Giovanni Pazienza, co-founder of VanPaz