On the 1st of May, I received a mail from The Next Web informing that I had been selected for the T500. An initiative to celebrate 500 people under the age of 25 who are bringing a change in technology. Including entrepreneurs, architects, designers and academic researchers. The award provided me with a 2-day pass to attend their conference in Amsterdam for free. Visited by 15.000 tech enthusiasts, the event is notorious for being a hub where entrepreneurs, investors and industry experts mingle to participate in speaker and matchmaking sessions. I decided to visit the startup exhibition, because the majority of sessions revolved around technologies that I already explored to some extent (artificial intelligence, big data, virtual/mixed/augmented reality). Out of 280 participants, there were 3 startups that really caught my attention.

Before immigrating to the Netherlands, I founded a company that accelerated fashion using 3D printing. The reality of how difficult it is to deal with technology in its primitive stages is someting I personally experienced. There were a lot of limitations in regards to printing materials and the size of applications for customer-facing products. When I bumped into Gijs van der Velden from MX3D, it was a surprise to see how 3D printing evolved in my time of absence. His company develops a series of industrial robots to print sustainable materials (including metals and synthetics) in any shape or size. What distinguishes their technique from traditional additive manufacturing is the possibility to print ‘outside of the box’. Using a 6-axis model instead of 3, their robots can print constructions mid-air without the need of a support structure. Last year, they printed a functional life-size bridge over water in the center of Amsterdam. They collaborated with Autodesk, TU Delft and Heijman and plan to work with more R&D partners to continue developing their technique.

The surge of excitement for IoT has given birth to a range of startups focusing on providing personalized experiences for their customers. Minibrew is one of the very few companies that managed to push this frontier. In 2015, Olivier van Oord and Bart van de Kooij tapped into the ‘brew it yourself’ revolution. A reaction against the beer industry where brands decide what people drink and little effort is spend tailoring the customer experience. Olivier and Bart sought to reinvent this industry by unifying technology, connectivity and craftsmanship. The result is a beautifully designed brewing machine that brings the beer tasting experience to another level. Minibrew enables people to share and discover beer recipes from around the world and brew it with their own machine. A bit like mixing the advantages of rapid manufacturing with the dynamics of a social network. When I returned home from the conference, I discovered through my LinkedIn feed that the team had raised 2.45 million and won the TNW Conference Boost award. I wish the founders a lot of success in continuing their product development and expanding to the US and Asian markets.

Music production software, instruments and mixing setups differ from environment to environment and there is no way of sharing the configuration of a music studio with another person. The founders of Traxo developed a solution for musicians that need to collaborate on projects from remote locations. When musicians are working on a collaboration, the fastest way to share the musical project is to export all of the audio files and send them to the other party over a file sharing solution. The other party will then in turn import all of the files and rebuild the project from scratch. Changes happening between the two projects need to be communicated and recreated manually. It is not a fun job to do and ridiculously time consuming. Traxo offers an online based experience for music creation in which multiple people can access the same environment. The difficulty of having to manage files and changes in different environments is gone and musicians can fully focus on creating amazing tracks. My compliments to the team for acknowledging the need of a Github for musicians. I anticipate a lot of support from the music industry.