What is pole position?

Pole Position is an initiative for ambitious deeptech entrepreneurs who want to make an impact. In a safe, active environment startup founders of early-stage deeptech ventures discuss their growth challenges during tailor-made sessions led by experienced entrepreneurs & key stakeholders.

Currently, we’re looking for the next 10 deeptech ventures with a focus on Agri & Food to join the initiative. The application deadline is April 8, 2022.

In short

Being a deeptech entrepreneur can be challenging. Developing your complex technology, while already accessing the market, raising money ahead of traction and growing your business at the same time, require a high level of ambition, focus, and endurance. With Pole Position we will give you insights, help you to bring the right focus, link you to like-minded peers and experienced entrepreneurs and push you in the direction of pole position.

Who is the programme for?

We select deeptech companies that are aiming to get product-market fit and are speeding up towards a series A funding. Their newly developed technology must have proof of concept and thorough market validation.

The criteria

Your company should

  • Fit the Agri & Food theme
  • Have a dedicated founders team
  • Have a scientific, technological basis
  • Have a TRL 4+
  • Have found your problem-solution fit
  • Have found your beachhead market
  • Have initial funding (grants/ seed/ pre-series A)

Selection day will take place on April 22, 2022 and the
programme starts in week 20. 

Getting deeptech stars
ahead of the race

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Pole Position has a thematic approach, bringing together startup founders with similar focus areas such as Health, Agri & Food, Hightech & Materials, Energy, Logistics and Construction. Agri & Food will be the theme for the second batch starting spring 2022.

  • You will be connected with other top deeptech startups in the same life phase, within your sector or theme.
  • You will become part of a national community of like-minded ambitious entrepreneurs.
  • You will gain access to the Techleap.nl platform with the best (inter)national experts and serial entrepreneurs in the field.

This will be the next step of your entrepreneurial journey. The Pole Position programme is a joint initiative of the leading Dutch deeptech incubators – ‘Incubators United’ – and Techleap.nl.

Planning – the main phases

What does the programme offer?



In preparation of the programme you will have to be selected by the committee, after which you will have an intake call with the Pole Position team.

Phase I


This first part of the programme focuses on the individual track, getting insights by 1 on 1 sessions with experts, assessments and all about visioning a great business. This will be done during the kick-off days.

Phase II


Four group sessions together with the other peers to learn from each other and get the focus you need. Topics like Market Access, Team and Leadership, Business models and funding will be discussed.

Phase III


All the knowledge, shared learning and insights will have to be put into practice. Through some individual coaching tracks and a final ecosystem day.

What’s next

Timeline Pole Position Agri & Food 2022


25 – 29 April

Kick-off days

19 – 20 May

Session 1

31 May

Session 2

7 June

Session 3

21 June

Session 4

28 June


5-7 July

Upcoming batches

In 2022 the Pole Position programme will start another three batches (themes per batch to be announced).
The application dates are:

March 14

Batch 2 – Agri & Food

August 1

Batch 3 – Healthcare

October 6

Batch 4 – Smart Industry

Interested in another theme e.g. Hightech & Materials, Cleantech, Circular Economy?
Make sure to leave your email address to stay informed of the latest news and application openings.

Pole Position has the power to build something that creates impact. Creating a movement that results in a greater community on a national level that I want to be part of.”

Patrick de Boer – Aiosyn

How do I apply

To apply, fill in the application form.

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 April 21, 2022.

Application deadline April 8
Selection day April 22

You will get an answer on their decision on April 23, 2022.

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 April 22, 2022.

You will get an answer on their decision on April 23, 2022. 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. Pole Position will help you to get insights and focus to take action on the right exit strategy whether this is an acquisition or a scalable growth path. This includes expert support, peer-to-peer and role-model learning and access to an extensive and (sector specific) relevant network including great (intern)national exposure.


  • 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 second theme will be focused on Agri & Food. After this batch, we will continue with a Healthcare theme (application open: Summer 2022) and Smart Industry theme (application open: Fall 2022).

In case you are interested in joining the initiative but do not fit any of these batches, please contact our Batch manager at lech@techleap.nl or leave your contact details here.

Still more questions?

We are happy to answer them! Please reach out to our Batch manager Lech at lech@techleap.nl.

Meet the team

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Anne Strobos

Director Technologies

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Annemieke Wisse

Programme Manager

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Iris Visser

Project Manager

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Lech Bakhuizen van den Brink

Batch Manager
Pole Position

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Peter Maarten Westerhout

Lead Early-stage