Unknown Stories

We take you backstage in the Unknown Group venture engine by inviting the founders behind the ventures that seek adventure and opportunity in business. Unknown Stories deconstructs the highs, the lows and the in-betweens of navigating the journey of venturing.

Latest episode

S1E17

Collaboration between start-ups, scale-ups, (energy) companies and governments will fast-track the development of technologies which can help us tackle the challenges of climate change. Shell GameChanger stands out as the oldest of all corporate innovation programs. Since 1996, the Shell GameChanger program is fully focused on scouting for disruptive ideas that could be vital to meeting future energy needs worldwide.

In this parallel series, our host Willem Knapp, director of Corporate Venturing at Unknown Group, aims to understand how corporate leaders act upon opportunities, innovation, and disruption. For this episode, he is joined by Lene Hviid, Global Manager Shell Research Alliance & GameChanger, to dive deeper into perhaps the world’s greatest challenge: the energy transition — and not only. What comes first in a good startup? How to spot future trends and tech developments in advance? How can Shell help you as a startup or scaleup to further shape the energy system of the future? This episode of Unknown Stories uncovers the secret of successfully collaborating with industry leaders to bring innovations to the market.

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Previous episode

S1E16

“The massive challenge that we had to solve is to provide what a professor would know after teaching a domain for 50 years.”

Previously being featured as the Unknown Solution of the Week, KIMO is a Dutch AI firm which is making breakthroughs on personalized learning at scale. Their unconventional solution is able to reskill professionals that want to move into another knowldege domain. To provide a guided path through the never-ending online content, KIMO takes into account the already available skills of an user. The result — a personalized journey from job A to job B. How are they doing this? Rens, co-founder and CEO at KIMO, joins our host Jurgen at the studio to answer this question, while touching upon the original promise of MOOC aggregators to make education available for everyone, and how KIMO is moving into this direction.

Want to try out their solution? The platform will be live for users in April, and will be free until June.

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S1E15

We first met Vijaykant Nadadur, Co-Founder and CEO of Stride.ai, when we identified them as a viable solution for the ABN AMRO “Building the Bank of The Future” challenge in 2017. Winning this event elevated Stride.ai to process optimization superstardom especially in the Banking industry, with Stride.ai landing successful collaborations with ING’s Fintech Village and EY. Today, Stride.ai is a one-stop solution that helps companies automate their processes without writing a single line of code. How did they get here? And where to next? Tune in to the newest episode of the Unknown Stories podcast to find out.

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S1E14

“Microplastics are everywhere. In water, air, soil, and in our food, they have been found in Arctic ice, on Mount Everest, in our bodies and so on… If we do not come to working solutions as soon as possible to remove microplastics and micropollutants, we directly have bad influence on our health and we get sick. This is for sure.”
Dr. Katrin Schuhen is the Founder & Managing Director of Wasser 3.0. Although for many seemed like a bold direction to pursue, her extensive research on using hybrid silica gels to purify water gave birth to Wasser 3.0. The non-profit organization tackles the complexity of water pollution with three concepts to achieve zero pollutants in water, which is also the reasoning behind their brand name. In this episode, Katrin, together with our host Jurgen, put a spotlight on the necessity for innovation in the water domain — a vital topic for our survival on this planet — and provide a detailed overview of how Wasser 3.0 contribute in this area. No wonder they emerged as the public’s favourite solution and the pitch battle winner of Get in the Ring Berlin – Impact.
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S1E13

Omniflow upgrade regular street lights to sustainable infrastructures essential for smart cities. Their smart IoT lamp post, powered by wind and solar, is reducing energy consumption by more than 94%, while providing EV charging, smart car parking, 5G small-cell and other value added services. After winning Get in the Ring Lisbon – Impact a couple of months ago, we were eager to discover more about how Omniflow tackles CO2 emissions, while transforming this challenge into an opportunity to expand digitalization. Our host Jurgen is joined by Pedro Ruão, Founder & CEO at Omniflow, to touch upon an innovative business model, future cities, and much more.

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S1E12

In this episode, Jurgen is joined by Giels Brouwer – Founder of leading sport performance analytics scaleups, SciSports and BallJames. These scaleups pioneered a data-driven approach to scouting football players, which was adopted by the world’s leading football clubs such as Olympique Lyon, Leeds United and Ajax. In recent years, SciSports have built a fully-automated solution that quantifies the quality, potential and value of every professional football player in the world. Furthermore, towards the end of the episode, Giels announces his new role – CTO of Unknown Group and discusses with Jurgen his ambitions of building a global scouting machinery to power the Unknown Venture Engine.

Click here if you want to learn more about the Unknown Venture Engine and discover how it can unlock your ventures potential?

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S1E11

New Unknown Group Chairman, Edward de Jager and CEO, Hendrik Halbe speak candidly about the motivations behind the merger between VenturesOne and Unknown Group, delving into what a Venture Engine is and how they envision it working to fuel founders of innovative solutions from all parts of the world. Both Hendrik and Edward have built numerous ventures from scratch over the course of their entrepreneurial journey – what are their key learnings? how do they use this knowledge to fuel the founders of today? and what do they believe it takes to stand out from the crowd?

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S1E10

Giving raw materials a digital identity which enables them to become traceable is a game-changing solution for the recycling industry. One that led Circularise to the Get in the Ring The Netherlands – Impact Final.

Mesbah Sabur, the founder of Circularise, built a decentralized platform that brings transparency to supply chains without comprimising confidentiality. Their innovative Smart Questioning technology allows stakeholders to exchange sensitive information about products in a trusted manner, while addressing competitiveness issues. Mesbah joins Jurgen at our studio to uncover the Circularise protocol and touch upon how they empower businesses to move towards a circular economy through collaborative advantage.

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S1 – Special

The demand for protein is expected to double over the coming decades, as a result of the growing population and also a change in eating habits. Currently, the meat industry is responsible for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions around the world, but what about the moment when the demand will double? Dror Tamir, Co-founder of Hargol FoodTech, pursues an incredible difficult task – educating the market to embrace alternative-protein sources.

In this Zoom session with the student entrepreneurs of the Global School of Entrepreneurship, Dror goes back to the beginning of the world’s first commercial grasshopper farm. How did Hargol FoodTech manage to transform grasshoppers from a farmer’s worst nightmare into a sustainable, high-quality protein ready for commercial farming? How can you leverage international innovation competitions, and how winning Get in the Ring 2017 was the final nail for them into closing a $600k funding round? This episode of Unknown Stories uncovers unique techniques suitable for an unique proposition.

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S1E09

Suzanne Charlotte Vos is the Innovation Coach & Consultant at ING Labs APAC in Singapore, and her main role is to scale disruptive solutions. She joins Jochem at the studio to discuss entry strategies for startups in Asia, further going into how innovative entrepreneurs can get in touch with ING for collaborations and scaling. What is the biggest misconception of doing business abroad? What opportunities are in Singapore for startups? How can ING Labs assist startups to grow and which are the most valuable skill sets they are looking for? This episode of Unknown Stories is a step-by-step guide on the journey of venturing in Asia.

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S1E08

Brad Vanstone is the Founder of Willicroft, a sustainable plant-based cheese solution that aims to tackle global warming by providing a tasty alternative to dairy cheese. In two years, the finalist of Get in the Ring the Netherlands – Impact managed to put a whole range in the major supermarkets. But is it scalable? Brad joins Jurgen at the studio to touch upon Willicroft’s to-market strategy and how they took the best elements of existing solutions to capitalize on the gap in the plant-based cheese market.

Plant-based cheese from nuts to white beans — Willicroft runs a crowdfunding campaign to switch from cashew nuts to beans and allow people with a nut allergy to also enjoy their cheeses. Their project aims to grow white beans in the Netherlands, and tackle the emissions generated by importing those from outside the EU. Let’s show our support: https://crowdaboutnow.nl/campagnes/willicroft

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S1E07

A water purification system driven by solar energy? One that can be rapidly deployed in times of crises, can bring relief to distressed communities and is wholly manufactured in Europe in-line with ESG frameworks? It’s no surprise that Alexander van der Kleij’s SolarDew were amongst the favorites of the Get in the Ring The Netherlands – Impact. Our host, Jurgen is joined by SolarDew Founder to touch upon a wide variety of topics around running an impactful venture while still being an efficient entrepreneur.

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S1E06

In this new parallel series, every month our Host, Willem Knaap (Director of Corporate Venturing at Unknown Group) aims to understand how corporate industry leaders act upon opportunities, innovation and disruption. In the inaugral episode, he is joined by Sake Algra, the Managing Director of T-Systems. “Is innovation a threat or an opportunity” is where we begin, before the episode navigates to the ingredients necessary for a successful startup-corporate collaboration, how 5G will effect businesses (and how T-Systems are unleashing it for their clients), hyper-adaptibility during the COVID era and the un-ended battle between purpose and performance.

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S1 – Special

Starting an A.I.-powered solution that reduces the need for lawyers in the legal industry, an industry that is infamous for their slow adoption of new technologies — it seems crazy until someone actually does it. And that’s precisely what Shashank Bijapur, Co-Founder of Indian legal-tech innovator Spotdraft did!

In this Zoom session, Shashank speaks about the challenges for disruption in the legal industry, how Spotdraft positioned themselves as saviors and not competitors of lawyers and his experience as Winner of the Get in the Ring Global Startup Competition in 2019.

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S1E05

Ever wondered how large militaries innovate and stay ahead of the curve? Then this one’s for you.

Fons Van der Ham is the International Innovation Manager of Defensie Materieel Organisatie, The Netherlands Ministry of Defence. He joins Jurgen and Tom at the studio to discuss the digital NATO Innovation Challenge organised by Unknown Group in Spring 2020, further going into how innovative startups can get in touch with the Ministry of Defence for collaborations and scaling.

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S1 – Special

From being the Global Winner of Get in the Ring 2013 with his company EyeVerify (now ZOLOZ), to being acquired by Ant Group for $100 million three years later, saying Toby Rush has some valuable insights to share is an understatement. He sat down for an AMA session earlier this year with students of the Global School for Entrepreneurship to detail his journey.

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S1E04

Paul Nizet is the CTO of SneakMart, the first peer-to-peer marketplace dedicated to streetwear. He joins Jurgen and Noortje at the studio to explain the cultural phenomenon of streetwear and high fashion collaborations. Paul is a student entrepreneur at the Global School for Entrepreneurship and he explains how his education allows him to fully-focus on growing SneakMart.

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S1E03

Finalists of Get in the Ring Netherlands in 2016, Edorado Marine make fast-moving premium electric powerboats, matching sustainable charging docks as well as tailor made marina development and management services. This way they aim to offer what nobody else can – a complete zero emission water sport experience; from the powerboat to the dock.

On this episode of Unknown Stories, Edorado Founders, Godert van Hartenbroek and Giel Groothuis join Jurgen to talk about the meeting of the minds that led to a professor with a passion for motorsports and an energy and boating enthusiast to come together and start Edorado.

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S1 – Special

In 2014, Gibran Huzaifah won the Get in the Ring Global Startup Competition with his innovative smart fish feeding system, eFishery. Over the years, eFishery has blossomed into a leader in the global fish farming industry, capturing the market with their range of products and services. Earlier this year, Gibran spoke with the students of the Global School of Entrepreneurship, detailing his entrepreneurial journey, lessons learnt and plans for the future after they closed a lucrative Series-B funding round. The session was so insightful, that we decided that the rest of the world needed to hear it too!

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S1E02

Will crickets and grasshoppers become a key source of protein in a conscious and circular European’s diet by 2030?

De Krekerij certainly think so! To spark this revolution, they have been innovating with their cricket-based burgers, meatballs and sausage rolls – all loaded with protein, all delicious and all without insect legs. In a special Impact Fest 2020 edition of Unknown Stories, we are joined by De Krekerij Co-Founder, Sander Peltenburg to discuss Sander’s journey as an entrepreneur with a unique proposition, how his brand combats preconceived notions about insect meat and also valuable insights into the techniques they used to get their business off the ground.

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S1E01

The world is going solar and SolarMonkey’s ambition is to guarantee the energy yield of solar panels by using their software to disrupt solar panel installation. Check out this special ImpactFest 2020 edition of Unknown Stories, starring Jan Pieter Versluijs, CEO of SolarMonkey. Intrigued by solar energy business models, shirtless car repairs and discussions about ‘impact’ as a buzzword? Then you don’t want to miss this one.

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