Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge

Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge

In 2021 Proefdiervrij set up the first Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge. We want to accelerate and increase the impact of animal-free research on the use of laboratory animals. One way to achieve this, is by strengthening the position of animal-free models by setting up a commercial organization. Unfortunately, due to lack of experience and knowledge on the part of scientists this isn’t done as often as we would like. In order to tackle this, mentoring by experts is invaluable.

The Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge offers this mentorship. During a 3 months-long program teams are guided through setting up a venture plan, which takes an animal free scientific breakthrough in the life sciences and transforms it into a solid business case. Participants will learn various skills needed to build or expand a company. During the program, the teams will work on their ‘pitch’ and will be introduced to Life Science experts, investors and experienced entrepreneurs. The teams will be mentored by the team of the GameChanger Challenge BV, who have over 10 years of experience in guiding start-ups to success.

The program consists of two 3-day bootcamps, weekly coaching sessions and to close it off a final pitch with a festive award ceremony. The bootcamps combines plenary sessions with groups assignments and presentations from guest speakers with real-life experience. During the final, the teams will present their start-up plans to a jury made up of experts from the science and business world and a panel of potential investors.

venture challenge

Overview of the Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge

More information

The Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge originates from the regular Venture Challenge for starting entrepreneurs, be it with an adjusted scope. Innovations that qualify for the Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge must meet the following conditions:

  • It’s a 100% animal-free innovation that doesn’t use animals that don’t fall under the EU Directive 2010/63/EU either. This means no shrimps, fruit flies, etc. and also no slaughterhouse material.*
  • It’s an idea in the following sectors, among others: medical, food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, chemistry – this list is not exhaustive.
  • The innovation can generate a demonstrable, positive impact on the use of laboratory animals. The question “what positive impact can this innovation have on the use of laboratory
  • When in vitro methods are involved, an FCS-free medium is preferred.

* Use of already existing laboratory animal data is only possible in consultation and in combination with human data (new or existing).

A maximum of 6 teams can participate in the Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge. A selection committee will select 6 teams from the incoming applications.

Participation in the Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge is possible for teams that meet the following conditions:


1. 1. The team consists of a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5 people.

2. The team wants to market a new product, process or service based on a new technical invention or a new application of pre-existing technology, arising from scientific research. This must fall within the aforementioned scope.

4. When the idea includes setting up a company, this must be focused on countries within the EU that have a clear connection with the Netherlands (a Dutch founder for example)

5. If the application is made by a startup, the startup cannot be older than 5 years.

Do you have questions regarding the sign up procedure or the Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge in general? Contact Saskia Aan for more information.

“”With the help of the Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge, animal-free models can make the step from development to real application. In this way, they can contribute even better to a world without test animals.””

Saskia Aan, science & innovation advisor at Proefdiervrij
Dr. Twan de Vries
venture challenge

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