25 mrt Invi Bracelet – Winner 2015
Our product, the Invi Bracelet, enables people to walk around with the confidence of knowing they can defend themselves without using violence. When activated, the Invi Bracelet releases a foul-smell that can deter aggressors and alarm others.
Participating (and winning) the Philips Innovation Award proved to be extremely valuable for bringing our start-up to the next level. Competitions like the Philips Innovation Award pushes you to have your proposition sharpened, your team aligned and your business plan ready to execute. Pitching for a crowd of 800 people is scary, but any pitch after becomes so much easier and that is an important skill to possess as an entrepreneur, whether you are looking for investors, partners or new team members.
“Sometimes you need a stamp of approval from an authority”
After winning the Philips Innovation Award, I found the courage to quit my job and work full time on Invi Bracelet. My best decision so far. The team was motivated more than ever, and we had finally some budget to spend. Funny thing to experience is that sometimes you need a stamp of approval from an authority. In our case the jury members, or maybe even more important the public vote, to have that “wild, crazy idea” taken seriously.
I would recommend anybody who aspires an entrepreneurial career to do it with co-founders. Disappointments are easier to digest, and successes are experiences more intense. I am proud that we succeeded our product development and academic testing without the help of investors. However, if you want to go to market fast, you might need to consider a different approach.
Violence against women and girls is not confined to any particular political or economic system, but it is prevalent in every society in the world. Invi Bracelet has a preventative innovation that could really make a difference, but we are also her to provoke some thoughts on the issue and our ambition is to make a global impact. Currently we are selling our products to customers and businesses. But we also work with NGOs to distribute Invi Bracelets together with an inclusive awareness programs (e.g. our project in East Congo).
What advice do you want to give the participants of 2019?
“find a way to stand out between all those incredible entrepreneurs”
Do something special when it is your moment to shine. If you are lucky enough to get to the finals, find a way to stand out between all those incredible entrepreneurs. Prior to my pitch, I shook the hands of Jury member Frans van Houten while I had DNA dye on my hands. On stage he asked about how DNA dye exactly works. “Well Mister Van Houten” and I put a UV light out of my pocket, “let me show you!” He was quite surprised to see his hands suddenly glowing. Think of how you can use these little moments to tip the scale in your favour!