Navigate through the valley of death to get your breakthrough technology towards global impact!

Are you an ambitious deeptech startup that wants to get ahead of the race as fast as possible?

Pole Position connects you to peers, experienced founders 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 Healthtech, is now open for applicants. Deadline for registration is August 30, 2022.

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

It’s a programme for deeptech founders. You fit the programme best if you want to get challenged, if you need to go from successful pilots towards commercial deployments to get product market fit and if you are speeding up towards series A funding.

We select deeptech companies with the potential to scale and that want to have global impact and fit the following criteria. The programme is only for deeptech founders and at least one of the founders should be present at all the sessions.

Criteria to enter the
Pole Position Programme

Have initial funding

Have a dedicated founders team

Have found your problem-solution fit

Have found your beachhead market

Have a TRL 4+

Fit the healthtech theme

Have a scientific, technological basis


“The most important payoff for me was that they bring together a community for collective learning.”
– Aiosyn


“The Pole Position program strengthened our beliefs in focus and solving one problem at a time. It is easy to get distracted by shiny objects, Techleap and the coaches ask the right questions to make the tough decisions.”
– Trabotyx

No Palm Ingredients

“The Pole Position program 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


“One of the strong parts of the programme is that you’ll get inspired with very good speakers, to critically think about your business assumptions.”
– SlamOrtho


“The Pole Position program helped us critically reflecting with experts from the field on our start-up and strongly improved our focus, roadmap and strategy.”
– Addcat


“The excellent organisation of the PPP Batch Agrifood Deeptech 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.”
– Inphocal


“From the beginning on I had the feeling that I was in a safe space where I could speak up and discuss my challenges.”
– Nostics

SG Papertronics

“The range of experts and entrepreneurs allowed us to grow our network while also providing inspiration and challenge to our growing company.”
– SG Papertronics

Scope Bio

“Pole position gave us the opportunity to be inspired by leaders, founders and experts in the AgriFood & Deeptech field, as well as to constructively build on our challenges with a group of peers.”
– Scope Bio


“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.”
– Augmedit

Agri Data Innovations

“Apart from the fantastic venues, excellent speakers and inspirational cohort, Techleap provided our founding team with an opportunity to gain perspective. It is too easy to become preoccupied with day to day business operations and miss the benefits of a high level helicopter view.”
– Agri Data Innovations

Agri Data Innovations

“Techleap has helped us to understand how to make decisions in the best possible way, without relying on assumptions only. This includes diving into structures and methods that lead to the most favourable outcomes.”
– Glowfarms

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.

Pase I


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.

Phase II


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 and to define the critical focus for the last phase of Pole Position.

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!

Phase III


Boost your roadmap towards global impact.

All the knowledge, shared learnings and insights will be put into a dedicated focus track to boost your roadmap towards global impact. All of this will be supported by the Techleap platform and the BOLD community.

Your planning timeline

Experts & inspirators in health

Sjaak Vink

Founder & CEO at The Social Network, on a mission to give everyone access to the best medicines

Dinko Valerio

Scientist-turned-entrepreneur, founder & former CEO of Crucell, mentor

Eline van Beest

CEO Hybridize Therapeutics and Venture Partner at Thuja Capital.

Derk Arts

CEO at Castor, Making Decentralized Trials Scale.

Judith Heikoop

InspiringFifty Europe winner, MedTech & Life Sciences, Scaling start-ups and C-Suite Executive and Board member.


Anke Huiskes

Early Stage Investor. Managing Partner NP-Hard at Ventures and Founding Partner Planet Positive

Jaap Maljers

Business man with a strong social drive, entrepreneur & investor in health care

Chretien Herben

Mentor for startups and scale-ups in Life Sciences, Biotech, Medtech and Cleantech

Jan Hunik

Building business in Biotechnology, Food and Biomedical materials

Alain le Loux

Partner at Dutch-American deeptech VC firm Cottonwood Technology Fund

Miranda Berkhof

Owner BeyoUnd Transformation. Developing thriving teams and authentic leaders

Anne DeGheest

Mentor Capitalist, Investor and Corporate Adviser. Pioneered the HealthTech space as entrepreneur. Founder of HealthTech Capital and MedStars.

Selection committee

Constantijn van Oranje



Harrold van Barlingen

Thuja Capital

Patrick de Boer

Founder Aiosyn

Fenna Heyning

Meike Bomhoff

Hull Associates Ltd

What participants say about Pole Position

Who participated in Pole Position?
These are some of our allumni

Are you a deeptech founder that matches the criteria but are not fitting the healthcare theme; leave your details here so that we can keep you updated on future batches.

Meet the team

Coffee Bean

Annemieke Wisse

Programme Manager

Coffee Bean

Iris Visser

Project Manager

Coffee Bean

Lech Bakhuizen van den Brink

Batch Manager

Coffee Bean

Natasja Marchese

Batch Manager

Coffee Bean

Peter Maarten Westerhout

Lead Deeptech community

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 March 11th, 2024

Application deadline February 26th,
Selection day March 11th

You will get an answer on their decision ultimately on March 12th, 2024.

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 March 11th, 2024.

You will get an answer on their decision on March 12th 2024. 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 getting challenged by experts and experienced founders that are already ahead of the race.
  • 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's 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 sixth theme will be focused on Life Sciences & Health.  

In case you are interested in joining the initiative but do not fit our upcoming batch, please contact our Programme manager Lech Bakhuizen v.d. Brink at or leave your contact details here.

Still more questions?

We are happy to answer them! Please reach out to our Programme manager Lech at