Apollo 14 is the collective building for starting entrepreneurs who work hard on their innovations for a better world, located in the beating heart of the Hague impact economy. Besides renting a wonderful space you can receive all the support you need as a startup. UNIIQ is also present in Apollo 14: an investment fund focused on the first phase of a startup. This is a crucial phase in doing business: how do you prove that your business idea has a chance of success? An interview with Thijs van de Munckhoff from UNIIQ.
UNIIQ was founded by a consortium consisting of Erasmus MC, TU Delft, Leiden University and the regional development company InnovationQuarter, and is funded, among other, by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund). Through the connection with the consortium, the investment managers of UNIIQ can draw on the large network that this consortium entails. UNIIQ is focused on the proof-of-concept phase. In this first phase, a company must literally prove that the business plans are feasible.
UNIIQ particularly helps entrepreneurs in Zuid-Holland to bring their innovations for a better world to market. Here they offer the starting capital to realize your plans and to bridge the most risky phase: from concept to promising company. Examples of companies that have been further advanced by UNIIQ are Andrupos, Wolk Company, Sense Glove and VarmX.
The unique UNIIQ approach
Entrepreneurs who connect with UNIIQ will notice that their approach is different from that of other investors. Their goal is not to invest in a company to sell it for as much money as possible. The goal is to give starters a chance to turn an idea into a real startup as quickly as possible. The company can then continue to grow by itself or together with a new investor.
During this concept phase, entrepreneurs can test whether their technology actually works. Usually this is done through a pilot. Under the guidance of the specialists at UNIIQ you get a year to test your idea and prove to the outside world what you are worth.
Selection of interesting starters
Not everyone is eligible for this. Thijs van de Munckhof – investment manager at UNIIQ: “This means that we look for interesting companies in the province South Holland that we can invest in and which fall within UNIIQ’s specifications. It is important that an entrepreneur has a real innovation, and then you quickly see new, scalable technologies that have yet to be proven. An important criteria is that the idea can be protected by means of patents or licenses, so that it can not be easily copied. ”
In addition, UNIIQ focuses on specific sectors that match with the city of peace, justice and security such as infrastructure, security, cleantech and life science solutions. The company must contribute to a sustainable world and make a real social impact. Thijs: “In the conversations with the entrepreneur, the team also looks closely: which people are on board and what is their knowledge and experience? Do they really go for it, is there passion? Are the plans concrete? If everything is right then we will be triggered and will continue “UNIIQ then carries out thorough research on the business plan and also asks experts for their opinion. Finally, the agreement is signed and the pilot can start.
The services by UNIIQ
The usual investment of UNIIQ in a startup is 300K. This amount is paid in 3 instalments through a number of phases during the pilot and must be sufficient to reach the next stage of financing.
Companies that are in this phase fall within the portfolio management. Thijs: “That does not mean that you are taken by hand. The entrepreneur is in the lead and can ask for input. We can help and advise.” Companies report on progress every month, and there is also a meeting with the portfolio manager. This pilot period lasts about a year, sometimes a little longer. Have all the criteria of the pilot been met? Then the company is past the proof-of-concept phase and the mission is successful.
Life after UNIIQ
Na een geslaagde pilot heeft een ondernemer verschillende mogelijkheden. De eerste mogelijkheid is om de financiering, met rente, terug te betalen. Dat kan bijvoorbeeld als je een nieuwe investeerder hebt gevonden. De tweede mogelijkheid is om de lening om te zetten naar aandelen. Dit kan alleen als de ondernemer een grotere investeerder binnenhaalt. Deze nieuwe financier is daarna in de lead.
After a successful pilot, an entrepreneur has several options. The first option is to repay the financing with interest. This is possible, for example when you have found a new investor. The second option is to convert the loan into shares. This is only possible if the entrepreneur has found a larger investor. This new financier is then in the lead.
De spreekuren in Apollo 14
In Apollo 14 you can register for a consultation sessions with an investment manager from UNIIQ: here you can do an intake interview in one hour and immediately discover whether UNIIQ is the partner to take your innovation to the next phase.