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

Join us for a groundbreaking episode featuring Chief Researcher Gabriel Mora at Real Deal Milk, where innovation meets dairy-free transformation! 🌱

Discover how Real Deal Milk is revolutionizing the dairy industry, producing your favorite dairy products without a single cow involved! Their animal-free cheese fights climate change and preserves food culture using precision fermentation.

Plus, get the scoop on the Desafía food tech program, landing innovative Spanish startups in the Netherlands and gaining recognition from industry giants like Rabobank and StartLife. 🌟

Tune in to explore the future of dairy, sustainability, and innovative food solutions! 🎧👇

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Previous episodes

From melon seeds to innovation in ingredients, we delve into Väcka’s journey of creating planet-conscious plant-based cheeses. 

Väcka is a Barcelona-based FoodTech startup that produces plant-based cheese alternatives. Founded in 2021 by Luz Sanz and Maxime Boniface, who were inspired to create vegan cheese alternatives after changing their diet to a vegan one. Väcka’s cheese alternatives are made with fermented melon seed milk and extra virgin olive oil, and are available in more than 400 points of sale, including retail and foodservice outlets. 

In this episode we sit down with Luz Sanz, CEO and co-founder of Väcka, to discuss their journey, which has been all about experimentation, connection, and learning. 

Tune in to learn more about their story and aspirations

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Despite its lengthy decomposition time and difficulty to be recycled, over 300 million tones of plastic is produced each year. Would we ever be able to deal with the ever-growing amount of discarded plastic? Well, first believe that it is possible, and then you’ll see🎙️

Hailing from Israeli, founder Tal Cohen developed a unique solution. Through PlasticBack, Tal Cohen and his team work alongside waste handlers and petrochemical companies to turn plastic back into its original form. Commercial plants with 20.000 – 30.000 tons per year capacity to tackle plastic waste — at a remarkable CapEx and OpEx — coming soon in 2025.

Hop on Tal’s journey to making an impact via unknowngroup.com/podcasts, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.

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Through virtual reality, you are immersed into a different world. Through the use of SenseGlove, you can also touch it. 🎙️

Today, our host Jurgen Nieuwenhuijsen is joined by Gijs den Butter, Co-Founder of SenseGlove.

SenseGlove is the mouse and the keyboard of the future. Their haptic glove technology is enabling you to feel the touch and sensation of holding objects while being in VR. What started as a student company is now bringing VR in the hands of employees from companies such as Volkswagen, Netherlands Army, and Honda.

The combined use of VR and haptic technologies allows people to virtually experience the training areas and interact with objects by receiving direct feedback on shape, weight, and motion. Could their solution be the next step towards the success of the Metaverse?

Tune into the seventh episode of this season’s stories to learn more about their solution and the future of digital reality.

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Did you know that the average edible insects have far higher protein content than the average protein source? To Daniela Arias, our next guest on the Unknown Stories podcast, this is no secret.

Coming from Costa Rica, Sibö B.V. is working to bridge the gap between insects and food companies! Through the use of their Entowise technology, they help insect manufacturers develop high-value products with only 5% of the carbon emissions of the current alternatives.

As one of the runner-ups of the Global Meetup 2022 Final Battle, Sibö has strengthened their vision to standardize insect-base protein in the market. Tune in to this week’s podcast to learn more about their solutions and aspirations on unknowngroup.com/podcast, Spotify, or Apple Podcasts!

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Discover a truly unconventional solution that stores energy in liquid air. Meet Phelas, our latest guest on the Unknown Stories podcast.

In the fifth episode of this season, Leon, one of the co-founders of Phelas, joined us from Germany to explain how their solution is crucial for the energy transition. Phelas created a battery which uses the liquification of air to store energy and release it via expansion in a highly efficient manner.

After emerging as the Rising Star during the Global Meetup 2022, Leon and Phelas are joining us to share their vision of a world powered entirely by renewable energy.

Learn more about his solution and how it is fixing the future by tuning into the podcast on unknowngroup.com/podcast, Spotify, or Apple Podcasts!

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Warp VR‘s vision for the future of work is where workforces leverage VR to ensure they are trained for high-pressure situations. Story-based, immersive VR modules to onboard and upskill will be the way to go!

In the fourth episode of the Unknown Stories podcast, we are joined by Thijs de Vries, CEO at Warp VR, who explains how cutting-edge VR training modules are making onboarding handbooks obsolete in field-based roles. Check out this episode of the Unknown Stories podcast on Spotify, Apple Music or wherever you get your podcasts.

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Going carbon neutral in the horticulture industry is an ambitious dream. With BBBLS it is possible.

In the third episode of Unknown Stories, our host, Jurgen, is joined by Anton Paardekooper, Founder & Managing Director at BBBLS. Using soap bubbles, BBBLS is reinventing greenhouses. Their solution equips greenhouses with extra insulation, enabling the production of high quality crops with a fraction of the energy used.

How can extremely thin films of soap and water with enclosed air be the solution to slashing the carbon footprint of the horticulture industry? Listen to this holiday special episode to find out.

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When crumbs of energy come together as Powercrumbs! Episode 2 of the second season of the Unknown Stories is here to dive deeper into overlooked energy sources.

In the energy transition, all energy sources matter. For this episode, Jurgen is joined by Pieter Mans, Co-founder of Powercrumbs. On a mission to unleash the true potential of untapped energy sources – power crumbs – Pieter, together with Jelmer and Jan, are creating sustainable energy streams.

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In the first episode of Season 2, Jurgen is joined by Linda Klunder to go into an in-depth tour of the first cocoa pulp-based soft drink on the market.

Living at the poverty line, cocoa farmers earn only 6% of the final value of a chocolate bar. However, to produce it, much of the cocoa fruit is discarded as waste, when in reality, it is a rich pulpy fruit.

So, what can we do to increase the income of cocoa farmers? Drink more Kumasi!

Kumasi fights food loss and poverty by making soft drinks and thus creating an additional revenue stream for cocoa farmers out of the previously wasted cocoa pulp. Leading the “Juice Revolution”, Linda, co-founder of Kumasi, is already selling via Albert Heijn, Hema and speciality shops.

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Did you know that The Netherlands offers the biggest and widest range of plant-based products? Or that Spain is emerging as one of the leading FoodTech ecosystems in the world? The synergy between the two countries should be leveraged.

In this Unknown Stories Special episode of Season 2, Jurgen is joined by Alejandro Álvarez, CEO & Co-founder of Quevana (former Vegetaleso) to share with us his main learnings from the Desafia Netherlands program. Quevana is a Spanish startup that produces sustainable plant-based cheese made entirely from organic cashew nuts. Now, they are part of the alumni network of Desafia FoodTech Netherlands. Supported by Unknown Group, with this initiative, ICEX aims to promote the internationalization of Spanish companies and foreign investment.

As a participant in last year’s edition, Alejandro dived deeper into the ins and outs of running a business in The Netherlands. His favorite part? The mentors that guided him in his journey towards transforming the food industry through vegan cheese.

Listen to the full episode to see what makes The Netherlands a great market for food tech innovations!

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In this episode of the Unknown Stories podcast, Jurgen is joined by Coenraad de Vries, co-founder of Oneplanetcrowd. Oneplanetcrowd is The Netherlands’ largest sustainable crowdfunding platform; with a community of 30,000 impact investors, they have financed more than 200 projects by sustainable entrepreneurs.

Listen to this episode for insights on how they became the largest Dutch sustainable crowdfunding platform, their ambitions of supporting the energy transition by empowering early-stage impact entrepreneurs and a peek into their preparations as they scale beyond The Netherlands into the EU.

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“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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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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“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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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