WIN-WatCo first Dutch start-up in the Brainport region

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

SLE Enterprises B. V., a new Dutch start-up, has been created based on the breakthrough technology of scalable liquid encapsulation (SLE). This start-up was created with assistance from Brainport Eindhoven's innovative ecosystem. Located in Southeast Brabant in the Netherlands, Brainport Eindhoven consists of high-tech manufacturing industry, an extraordinary design sector, and a unique cooperative model.

Professor Sushanta Mitra has been working with WatCo, the University of Waterloo's Commercialization Office, to bring this novel encapsulation technology to the market. "We saw an opportunity in the EU market as our technology removes the need for microplastics. We have been working with Brainport for some time, and therefore setting up the start-up in Eindhoven was a natural choice", said Professor Mitra.

Johann Beelen, the Business Development Manager at Brainport, shared that "the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) and the University of Waterloo provide an excellent ecosystem for moving laboratory research to potential markets. Brainport has a strong partnership with WIN, and we encourage high tech start-ups like SLE Enterprises to take advantage of the Brainport ecosystem in terms of scale-up".

Sushanta Mitra signing the Chamber of Commerce documents to set up the SLE Enterprises B.V. at Eindhoven
SLE Enterprises has chosen to set up its office in Alpha (Twice) at TU/e campus to access the local talent available at the TU/e, proximity to other start-ups in Eindhoven including those at the High Tech Campus, and access the local industry contacts in food & beverages, confectionaries, pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, and cosmetics.

Sushanta Mitra signing the Chamber of Commerce documents to set up the SLE Enterprises B.V. at Eindhoven.

Many formulations of goods selling in the billions of Euros have been based on chemicals that are now considered “microplastics” that will be banned under EU regulation, and consumers and advocacy groups already disfavour. For this reason, manufacturers of such formulations are seeking novel alternatives. SLE Enterprises’ technology enables a customer to continue to use a high-value product necessary for commercial success but without microplastics.

SLE Enterprises seeks Brainport Eindhoven as a preferred choice to set up its operation. As a country, the Netherlands provides access to a trained workforce as outlined in Global Competitive Index 2016 – 2017 and has a very competitive corporate tax structure. Brainport Eindhoven provides an exceptional opportunity of accessing high-tech equipment and systems engineering, which is very critical for the success of the SLE technology. It would involve the integration of modular electronic controls, robotic-assisted systems, advanced component manufacturing, 3D printing, and automation, for which Brainport Eindhoven is an excellent ecosystem as it provides all such requirements through its established OEMs. In addition, Brainport Eindhoven has a low cost for doing business, connectivity to major hubs within Europe and has an exceptional track record in hard-tech start-ups. Additionally, access to 32 field labs will enable SLE Enterprises to partner in R&D activities for further accelerating product development. Finally, it is critical that SLE Enterprises has access to the EU market – the Brainport Eindhoven’s strategic location along the borders of Germany and Belgium allows for high growth scalability internationally in the future.

Waterloo Commercialization Office (WatCo) at the University of Waterloo facilitates transferring research innovations into the marketplace that can have transformative societal impacts on improving quality of life, enhancing business productivity and job creation. The University of Waterloo combines world-class research with a unique "creator-own" intellectual property (IP) rights policy to foster an entrepreneurial environment that drives innovations from the lab to the marketplace. "SLE Enterprises is the first Dutch start-up that has been created, for which WatCo has a stake in the company. It was a learning experience for us, and we hope that it would provide opportunities for other University of Waterloo start-ups to look at the Dutch innovation ecosystem to enable access to the EU market and beyond", says Scott Inwood, Director of Commercialization at WatCo. "WatCo has been working with Professor Mitra's team on the commercialization of this unique encapsulation technology. We are supportive of the successful commercialization of this technology through SLE Enterprises and other technologies from UWaterloo/WIN", stated Khosrow Modarressi, Technology Transfer Manager at WatCo.