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Funding proved to be crucial

Proof-of-concept funding and pre-seed loan

IXA has two types of financial facilities available for start-up or early stage companies. A Proof-of-concept funding (POC) offers (aspiring) entrepreneurs the opportunity to carry out technical feasibility studies on their concept, invention or idea. A Pre-Seed loan allows start-ups to create and further build a business. By providing a financial ‘helping hand’, IXA aims to encourage research-based entrepreneurship among scientists and to create a stimulating environment where new inventions and initiatives can be explored and tested.

The need for speed

"We started the company with a technology looking for a market, so we had to find market demand ourselves through identifying customers with a relevant need. We managed to build our first product and even a second-generation version on our own. By then, an idea for a new product came up, but we needed external funding for its development. The Proof-of-Concept funding we acquired from IXA proved to be crucial. It not only allowed us to professionally execute the product development track of the Nanoindenter, but also to accelerate the overall process. Speed is essential, if you move too slowly, you risk losing the window of opportunity in the market. The Proof-of-Concept scheme has helped us tremendously."

Hans Brouwer, Co-founder and CEO of Optics11

A broader scientific horizon

"Academic entrepreneurship is worthwhile: it has taught me the difference between doing and delivering. At the same time, it broadened my scientific horizon. It required a completely new way of thinking to get me out of the comfort zone of my lab. We had to shift from focusing on what we wanted to do for ourselves to what we wanted to deliver for others. But it was worth it. The disseminating of my technology has brought me into contact with scientists from all kinds of disciplines. These contacts are inspiring as they often lead to new scientific questions and ideas. I now think about areas that used to be way beyond my horizon, like neurosciences, cell biology and tissue culture!"

Davide Iannuzzi, professor of Experimental Physics at the VU and co-founder of Optics11.

Optics11, founded in 2011, exploits proprietary fibre-top technology to construct Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) directly on top of optical fibres. Optics11 builds on the work of Davide Iannuzzi.