Navigate through the valley of death
Are you an ambitious deeptech startup that wants to get ahead of the race as fast as possible?
Pole Position connects you to peers, seasoned Deeptech entrepreneurs and Techleaps experienced and well-connected community. Together, we work on your challenges while developing a strong roadmap through the valley of death towards your dot on the horizon: a global scale company!
A new round for Pole Position, focused on Life Science & Health, is now open for applicants. Deadline for registration is February 26, 2024.
Pole Position in short
Starting a Deeptech company is very challenging. Developing complex technology, operating in a complicated ecosystem while accessing the market, raising money ahead of traction and keeping up the spirit for yourself and your growing team requires a high level of ambition, vision, focus and endurance.
Because we need these breakthrough technologies to find their way to success through the valley of death Techleap designed Pole Position. A programme that challenges you and your team on your vision & ambition, market access, business model, leadership & team and funding roadmap. Pole Position is a programme for founders only to level with peers and get challenged by experts and experienced founders that are already ahead of the race.
Who is the programme for
Are you aiming for global impact and does your venture have scaling potential? Then you might be selected based on the criteria (in the image) below. Our next batch is for Life Sciences & Health ventures that develop breakthrough products & services that combine advanced hardware and digital technologies.
Application(s) can range from diagnostics, implantables and equipement, robotics & monitoring.
“The most important payoff for me was that they bring together a community for collective learning.”
“So far, the most insightful time and effort I’ve spent on learning how to successfully scale our organisation and connecting with fellow deep-tech entrepreneurs.”
“The Pole Position programme allowed me to connect with other deep tech founders about common challenges we all share even if the technology we work on can differ wildly. I highly recommend the programme as I had many useful takeaways on team growth, funding, pitching, and scaling.”
– Applied Nanolayers
No Palm Ingredients
“The Pole Position programme has forced us to increasingly move between day-to-day focus and a helicopter view, allowing us to plan further ahead than we would otherwise have done.”
– No Palm Ingredients
“From the beginning on I had the feeling that I was in a safe space where I could speak up and discuss my challenges.”
“The Pole Position programme strengthened our beliefs in focus and solving one problem at a time. It is easy to get distracted by shiny objects, Techleap and the challengers ask the right questions to make the tough decisions.”
“The excellent organisation of the programme created an unique group of promising companies, led by talented and driven people, making sure that all the time you invest is inspiring, educative and worthwhile.”
“The Pole Position programme helped us critically reflecting with experts from the field on our venture and strongly improved our focus, roadmap and strategy.”
“One of the strong parts of the programme is that you’ll get inspired with very good challengers, to critically think about your business assumptions.”
“For us the programme was very valuable for learning from experienced entrepreneurs and inspirational sessions. But also to create a network of peers that are in the same stage of developing a company.”
Planning the main phases
What does the programme offer?
Provide us with necessary information we ask for in the application.
In preparation of the programme you will have to provide us with necessary information we ask for in the application. We will ask you for a video motivation of the ‘Why’ you started your company and what you aim for. When preselected, we will ask you for your roadmap and pitchdeck. These and your live pitch with Q&A will be judged by a jury of investors, founders and experts, chaired by Constantijn van Oranje. When selected, you will have an intake call with the Pole Position team and Race Captain.
Getting to know and prepping you and your company.
This first part of the programme will consist out of assessing, getting to know and prepping you and your company by means of a scale scan, 1 on 1 sessions with our pitcrew and 2 kick-off days offsite.
Work on your challenges and get insights on where to focus on as a company.
In four group sessions together with scale founders, serial (deeptech) entrepreneurs and experts you will work on your challenges and get insights on where to focus on as a company after the programme.
Challenging elements of your roadmap like Market Access, Team and Leadership, Business models and Funding will be discussed in depth. There is always an inspirational element!
Boost & Connect
Boost your journey towards global impact.
All the knowledge, tough love, shared learnings and insights will help you in your journey to global impact. In the period after the programme you will be supported by the Techleap platform and the BOLD community.
Planning timeline Life Science &
Health in 2024
Pitcrew and Challengers
Partner PureTerra Ventures
Founding Partner Zero Carbon
CEO Nearfield Instruments
Fabrizio Del Maffeo
CEO & Co-founder Axelera
Bram de Zwart
Menno van Dijk
Ton van ’t Noordende
Constantijn van Oranje
Special Envoy TechleapNL
General Partner KEEN Ventures
Investment Manager Forward.one
CEO Smart Photonics
Deeptech Equity NL
Rene de Vries
Deeptech Equity NL
Arno van Mourik
Founder SMART Photonics
Managing Partner Rubio Ventures
Teska van Vuren
Partner Deeptech XL
Gert Jan Vaessen
Fund Manager Deep Tech Fund
Founder Onera Health
Art de Boo
Partner Kompas VC
General Partner Regeneration VC
Pitcrew and Challengers
Life Science & Health
Founder & CEO at The Social Network, on a mission to give everyone access to the best medicines
Scientist-turned-entrepreneur, founder & former CEO of Crucell, mentor
Eline van Beest
CEO Hybridize Therapeutics and Venture Partner at Thuja Capital.
CEO at Castor, Making Decentralized Trials Scale.
InspiringFifty Europe winner, MedTech & Life Sciences, Scaling start-ups and C-Suite Executive and Board member.
Early Stage Investor. Managing Partner NP-Hard at Ventures and Founding Partner Planet Positive
Harm de Vries
General Partner Innovation Industries
Ger van Jeveren
Business man with a strong social drive, entrepreneur & investor in health care
Mentor for startups and scale-ups in Life Sciences, Biotech, Medtech and Cleantech
Building business in Biotechnology, Food and Biomedical materials
Alain le Loux
Partner at Dutch-American deeptech VC firm Cottonwood Technology Fund
Owner BeyoUnd Transformation. Developing thriving teams and authentic leaders
Mentor Capitalist, Investor and Corporate Adviser. Pioneered the HealthTech space as entrepreneur. Founder of HealthTech Capital and MedStars.
Managing Director LAMA Ventures
Jorge Juan Fernandez Garcia
Venture Partner Nina Capital
Founder, CEO Leyden Labs
Ton van ’t Noordende
QDNL Participations, PHX
What participants say about
Who participated in Pole Position?
These are some of our alumni
Are you a deeptech founder that matches the criteria but are not fitting the greentech theme;
leave your details here so that we can keep you updated on future batches.
Meet the team
Snr. Programme Manager
Lech Bakhuizen van den Brink
Peter Maarten Westerhout
How do I apply
Once you submit your application, your candidature will be thoroughly reviewed by a group of experts. Eventually, we will select fifteen ventures that will be invited to pitch and do a Q&A in front of the selection committee on the September 11, 2023.
Application deadline September 11
Selection day September 28
You will get an answer on their decision ultimately on September 29, 2023.
What are the costs?
We do not seek equity. There are no participation costs involved besides your full commitment. We aim to build a thriving (deeptech) startup & scale community and therefore we do ask you to give back. For both Pole Position and this community, we believe that the more effort you put in the more you will get out of it. Let’s make an impact together!
What is the selection process?
Once you submit your application, your candidature will be thoroughly reviewed by a group of experts. Eventually, we will select fifteen ventures that will be invited to pitch and do a Q&A in front of the selection committee on September 28, 2023.
You will get an answer on their decision on September 29. 2023. Once selected you will be part of the greater Techleap community of serial entrepreneurs, investors and other ecosystem stakeholders.
What is Pole Position’s added value?
With the Pole Position Programme we will help you, as a deeptech venture, to bridge the so-called 'valley of death' with its complex obstacles. This includes expert support, peer-to-peer and role-model learning (with tough love) and access to an extensive and (sector specific) relevant network including great (intern)national exposure. Summarised:
- The benefit of 13 collaborating Dutch public incubators including their networks, their proximity to research and scientific facilities and their startup expertise.
- The benefit of Techleap’s network of high quality experts, including policymakers, top-notch entrepreneurs and other ecosystem stakeholders.
- You will gain (facilitated) exposure for your company on Techleap.nl and Incubators United channels.
- You’ll learn from like-minded entrepreneurs through our peer-to-peer sessions, ignited by theme specific role models.
Do you run the Pole Position initiative for startups from all industries?
Yes, however, we focus on specific themes to create added value among peers and address similar challenges. The fifth theme will be focused on Greentech.
In case you are interested in joining the initiative but do not fit any of these batches, please contact our Programme manager Lech Bakhuizen v.d. Brink at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your contact details here.
Still more questions?
We are happy to answer them! Please reach out to our Programme manager Lech at email@example.com.