Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge 2021 (EN)

(Klik hier voor de Nederlandse Versie)

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, lack of experience and knowledge of scientists makes that this isn’t done as often as we would like. To remove this obstacle, proper guidance by experts is of great essence. That’s why  we are organizing the first edition of the Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge.

This 10 to 12-week program will convert scientific breakthroughs within the life sciences into a solid business case. The participants will gain the skills necessary to either start or further develop a company.

During the course of this program, the participants will work on their pitch and come in contact with Life Sciences experts, possible investors and experienced entrepreneurs. The Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge will, in terms of content, be guided by the experienced team of the regular Venture Challenge, which has already seen over 20 editions.

Please note: we are organising a separate Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge, which is not linked to the regular Venture Challenge organised bij NWO (and has about the same deadline for registration).

Venture Challenge

Timeline Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge 2021

Conditions Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge

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:

  1. 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. *
  2. It’s an idea in the following sectors, among others: medical, food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, chemistry – this list is not exhaustive.
  3. 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 animals in general – in the short and/or long term?” must be answered with strong arguments.
  4. 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).

Who can participate?

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. 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.
  3. The team is prepared to cooperate in communication from Proefdiervrij. We take any sensitive/secret information into account: the emphasis in the communication lies on the motivation to participate, why animal-free research is so important, the expected effects on the use of laboratory animals, etc.
  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.

Participation in this challenge requires a personal contribution per team. The amount of personal contribution depends on the number of team members:

  • € 2,000 with the participation of 3 team members
  • € 2,500 with the participation of 4 team members
  • € 3,000 with the participation of 5 team members

Application procedure

Registration for the Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge will be possible from the 1st of December 2020 to the 25th of January 2021:

  1. Download the registration form here.
  2. Fill in the registration form.
  3. Send the completed application form with attachments to Saskia Aan, Science and Innovation Advisor -> before the 25th of January 2021 at 14:00.

Assessment procedure

The first step in the assessment procedure is a test, which will determine whether the application can be processed. The conditions as described under ‘Who can participate’ will be part of this determination.

If the application is processed, the selection committee will invite you for an interview. Based on the advice of the selection committee, we decide which teams will be invited to participate.

The timeline for the procedure is as follows:

  • Application deadline: January 25th, 2021
  • Interviews selection committee: 3rd and 5th of February 2021
  • Participation decision or rejection: mid-February 2021
  • Announcement final decision: end of February 2021

Please note! For the Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge to take place, we will need at least 4 teams of high quality to participate. If we conclude after the assessments that this number cannot be reached, the Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge will  be cancelled.

Grounds for rejection

Requests to participate are rejected if:

  1. the operation of the new product, process or service has not been sufficiently validated with specific, experimental data;
  2. there is no clear competitive advantage for the future Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge startup;
  3. the future startup or the new product, process or service has insufficient commercial potential;
  4. there is insufficient confidence that at least two members of the Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge team will be present at each meeting;
  5. one or more members of the Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge team have previously participated in the regular Venture Challenge program or a predecessor, with the same technological invention or application of existing technology, without this technology or application being greatly improved;
  6. there is insufficient confidence that the members of the Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge team have the capabilities to build a successful startup.

Ranking criteria

Applications that have not been rejected will be ranked higher, the greater the:

  1. commercial perspective of the new product, process or service;
  2. new product, process or service is innovative;
  3. future perspective of the competitive position of the future Proefdfiervrij Venture Challenge startup;
  4. financing potential of the future Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge startup;
  5. quality of the Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge team, judged on the degree of complementarity of the members, the capacities and/or abilities and the division of roles within the team;
  6. added value of participating in the Proefdiervrij Venture Challenge program for the future startup.
  7. Positive impact of the product or process on the use of laboratory animals.

The criteria mentioned weigh equally in the ranking process.

Applying for interviews and ranking

If your application meets the conditions, you will receive an invitation for an interview. Applicants will be allowed to present their concept to the selection committee, who will then have the opportunity to ask questions for the purpose of further explanation of the concept. The members of the selection committee will advise on both the rejection and ranking of the applications, based on the grounds for rejection and the ranking criteria (see above)

Announcement final decision

When the final decision has been made, the selected teams will receive an invitation to participate in the Proefdiervrij  Venture Challenge.

“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 animals.”

Saskia Aan, science & innovation consultant at Proefdiervrij