"A corona loan kept us going"
The Breda startup Vander Ventions saw many projects come to a standstill due to corona, resulting in liquidity problems. The Starters-lift Bridging Loan (‘Starterslift Overbruggingslening’ or, SOL) offered a solution. "I am really very happy with this," says director and co-owner Dhargyäl van Oorschot, who also expressed his satisfaction with the application process and guidance. "Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be an inventor," says Dhargyäl. In an attic, together with a partner, he developed Kaplock, an innovative coat rack that prevents coat theft. "From that I learned how challenging it is to develop a marketable product from an idea."
The private R&D department
Kaplock is now an independent company. Lessons learned from Kaplock formed the basis for Vander Ventions; an 'inventor's factory' that rests on three pillars, namely:
- rapid prototyping: the extremely swift development of a prototype to see if an idea actually works
- top-level product development: transitioning from prototype to mass production, and
- consultancy: advising companies on their product development. "We are actually the private R&D department for other businesses."
Patent and patent applications
Vander Ventions began in 2018 and has 12 employees, ten of whom are engineers. We have several interesting and promising projects, but we cannot discuss them in detail due to various pending patent, patent applications and non-disclosure agreements with clients. "However, an example is a bracelet that provides feedback about physical condition, which does not exist yet in this form, this project is well underway. We have also developed a new service: a fast-printed circuit-board service. We can go from idea to guaranteed error-free assembled circuit board within two weeks, for series from one to about a hundred pieces. The big providers can't do that."
"We invoice on average once every 2 weeks during the development processes. Due to corona, many companies came to a standstill and these processes were put on hold. This caused liquidity problems. That's pretty strange, although you know future income is guaranteed, you won’t have it for a while. I am therefore really satisfied with the SOL. Thanks to it, we were able to continue to pay the salaries, which would have been very difficult without SOL. I find it very chill that these kinds of schemes exist in the Netherlands."
Dhargyäl is not only satisfied with the loan. The entire application process was also a positive experience. "It was also just well organised. It progressed very quickly, complete in 12 days. The process was also fluid. After the telephone intake, you filled in a form and received feedback on it, which you processed. We were guided – and screened – by Arthur Nijhuis of B'wise, who supports start-ups in multiple areas. Then we gave a presentation and there was an immediate answer. Very smooth and well done. As far as I'm concerned, a double thumbs up for everyone involved." The municipalities of Breda and Tilburg and the province of Noord-Brabant were involved. They made the necessary resources available. Starterslift, B'wise, which support start-ups in West Brabant and Midpoint Brabant took care of the implementation.
The business is largely operational again, but Dhargyäl feels uncertain about the future. "The question is: how will the economy develop? Our new customers often come through word-of-mouth, and that is diminished now, due to the reduction of physical contacts and meetings. We will increase our online presence, something we will address in the coming period." "The SOL was a welcome breeze in the back, which gave new energy. You feel supported as an entrepreneur. All in all, we are very happy with the corona funding schemes; I see it as society’s involvement in our success. This kind of thing is really worth its weight in gold."
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