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Techleap.nl Updates

A COL for help: 3 startups coming out of the Covid-19 crisis thanks to the bridging loan

Pauline Biard

Monday, July 6, 2020

At Techleap.nl our main objective is to empower Dutch tech leaders and accelerate the tech ecosystem of the Netherlands. Tech companies are important more than ever to the Netherlands and it’s our mission to help innovative startups and scaleups overcome the corona crisis. This is why we created together with the ROMs and Invest-NL a portal where those companies could apply for a bridging loan.

The so-called Corona-Overbruggingslening (COL) is an emergency loan for innovative entrepreneurs and SMEs who do not have a bank loan facility and are facing financial difficulties as a result of Covid19. To understand better the challenges those companies are going through, what are they doing and how important this loan is, we reached out to them and asked them a few questions. 

CARBYON - Closing the CO2 cycle ♻️

  • In which phase is your company? 📊

We are in the Seed phase at the moment. 

  • Last year’s growth in FTE and revenue? 💰

Carbyon started about a year ago and is steadily growing even in the early phase we’re in. Our versatile team consists of 7 FTE and we are currently recruiting to further grow our team with a physicist and a chemist.


Carbyon has developed a technology to capture CO2 from ambient air. This allows the energy industry to produce 100% circular and renewable fuels from renewable electricity. Carbyon’s unique solution enables the renewable energy sector: making fuels from water and air in a closed-loop powered by renewable electricity.  We aim that our innovation can be used to make renewable energy cheaper than fossil.

1) What was the impact of COVID-19 on your business?

"When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, we at Carbyon were in the middle of research activities to validate crucial parts of our novel technology. We had a full program of planned experiments in a number of highly specialized lab facilities (e.g. at TU/e and TNO). This was abruptly halted when those labs were closed down from one day to the next. Not much later, we also found out that the supply of materials and equipment that we were in need of, was delayed due to the pandemic. Still, we had ongoing fixed costs that would add up to our project costs if we couldn’t keep up with our planned progress. So, in these uncertain and unpredictable conditions, we had to find ways to minimize further delays and make sure we wouldn’t run out of cash in the meanwhile."

2) Why did you apply for the COL funding?

"The COL funding came right on time for us. We applied so that we could create a financial buffer to take mitigating measures and get our progress up to speed again. It was important that the entire application process went swift in order not to lose time. Addressing other means of funding simply would have taken too much time, while other COVID-related compensation measures were not applicable for us as a fresh start-up with no revenue stream yet."

3) What will the funding you received be used on?

"As we don’t have any income stream at this stage, we keep our expenses at the lowest possible level. Actually, that’s the normal way of working for us as a start-up anyway. Personnel costs are kept at a minimum and some external expenses were postponed wherever that was realistically possible. Still, we didn’t want to delay any further. More than that, we found ways to catch-up on our research and development schedule as much as possible by involving expertise in very specific areas where we saw we could skip some learning curves. In the meanwhile, we arranged our own lab facilities to conduct our most important experiments. In this way, we kept the impact of COVID-19 to a minimum, both technically and financially and we are now well-prepared in case a second wave should hit us!"

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ENERGY FLOORS - Closing the CO2 cycle 🌱

Energy Floors develops, sells and installs energy-generating floors for temporary and permanent installations.

Our goal is to involve as many people as possible actively and in an inspiring way in the generation of sustainable energy.

  • In which phase is your company? 📊

We are in the Early Growth phase. 

 

  • Last year’s growth in FTE and revenue? 💰

FTE: 30% / Revenue: 70%

1) What was the impact of COVID-19 on your business?

"Energy Floors has roughly two activities: rental of temporary installations for events, and sales for permanent installations. The rental activities have come to an abrupt stop since the beginning of March as all events of our clients were cancelled or postponed. This meant a drop in turnover of 100%. Our sales activities more or less continue as we already had signed projects in our pipeline. However, new projects were not signed since March. It's only towards the end of June that we could see our clients gaining confidence again and got new first contracts signed." 

2) Why did you apply for the COL funding?

"We applied for the COL as part of the package of Corona measures we have taken: financial arrangements with our suppliers, the contribution of our shareholders, minimizing costs and applying for support programs the Dutch government offers. Banks were not very willing to help as it is very uncertain when the business will pick up again. Besides this, we are still heavily investing in our products and organization and are in the midst of an investment round that was postponed by Corona. COL was the perfect instrument for our company."

3) What will the funding you received be used on?

"We use the COL to cover the remaining costs of the organization and the activities related to the fixed installations. This includes marketing and sales costs, purchasing materials, hiring third parties and necessary investments in development."

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MCCHARGE - Charging-as-a-Service 💻

McCharge supplies the charging points and arranges everything, including connecting them to your electrical installation and optimally balancing the energy demand over the plugged-in vehicles. The charging points are accessible to all users, all charging cards and the popular charging apps. In addition, we offer a 24-hour telephone helpdesk for you and your visitors (including weekends). And all this without any financial investment on your part. You receive a fee for the energy your location supplies to the charging stations.

  • In which phase is your company? 📊

We are in the Early Growth phase. 

1) What was the impact of COVID-19 on your business?

"McCharge provides Charging-as-a-Service solutions at offices, hotels and restaurants and other places where people meet. For most businesses, charging electric vehicles is just not their core business. We jumped into that niche and provide everything that is needed to charge vehicles and provide that as a service, so the location host does not have to invest. When Covid-19 hit and governments ordered those sites to lockdown, we saw traffic at our charging stations drop dramatically."

2) Why did you apply for the COL funding?

"The transition to sustainable transport is very clear. During the Covid-19 crisis, one of the things people in general noticed were the clean, blue skies. We think the skies will remain blue if transportation shifts to electric vehicles. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has hit us very hard while we still need to build our network of charging stations. The COL funding was a perfect opportunity for us to receive the funding we need to continue to expand the business and build new locations."

3) What will the funding you received be used on?

"The funding will be used on continuing to build the business, while society is still starting up again. It helps us build new locations that might currently not get the traffic they would normally get. But we know they will be up and running in the near future. Even during the lockdown, we received requests from potential future locations to consider them as a McCharge location. The funding makes it possible to continue. Also, we see that a lot of businesses have taken a hit so if they do not have to invest in charging and have McCharge taking care of everything, it helps those businesses stay afloat."

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