Graduate Entrepreneur is an initiative of a group of influential and merited alumni of Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus MC, Delft University of Technology, executed by students and experienced fund managers. The alumni offer funding as well as coaching and access to an extensive network.
Together, the alumni and investors aim to build a start-up network by uniting all the existing organizations in Delft and Rotterdam focused on entrepreneurship. Their ambition is inspired by the successful start-up climate in the United States. The official launch of Graduate Entrepreneur was on April 8, 2021, when Rotterdam alumni Sandro van Hellenberg Hubar (founder Xindao), Michiel Muller (serial entrepreneur, now Picnic), Frans van Houten (CEO Philips), Delft University of Technology alumni Gert Jan van der Hoeven (founder and managing partner H2 Equity Partners) and Menno Antal (former managing partner of 3i Group) together with the presidents of Delft University of Technology, Erasmus University and Erasmus MC announced the initiative.
Graduate Entrepreneur consists of:
• The Graduate Entrepreneur platform aims to further strengthen the ecosystem of existing parties in Delft and Rotterdam. All organizations focused on providing the facilities for innovative entrepreneurship will provide support such as: education, training, masterclasses, coaching and mentoring, office space, validation and incubation programs, and funding. The alumni network of Delft University of Technology,Erasmus University Rotterdam and Erasmus MC will provide mentoring and coaching programs for startups. This is often a decisive added value next to funding.
• The Graduate Entrepreneur Pre-Seed Fund was set up by alumni of all three universities. Alumni have already donated €4,5 million. The first start-ups that have received funding from the Graduate Entrepreneur Pre-Seed Fund are Workwize (an online procurement platform for working from home for employers and contractors), Clickdrive (a marketplace for finding a good match between driving instructors and potential students), Focus (which uses Artificial Intelligence to predict if, and when, new technologies conquer existing markets based on data from the patent industry), Loop (a biotechnology company that makes living coffins from mycelium, making it possible to compost bodies) and Rapidemic (which has developed a test method that can be used immediately in the event of an impending epidemic, so that people can be tested quickly and on a large scale).
• A second fund, the Graduate Entrepreneur Seed Fund will focus on larger follow-on investments. This will help young tech companies with high potential and larger capital needs through the next growth phase. Before the first close, the Seed Fund invested already in Quantware (which wants to make quantum chips widely available and has the ambition to become the Intel of quantum computers).