Sieuwe wins top prize at Dragons' Den

Fontys Information and Communication Technology
Winning 5,000 euros for the best idea from all higher education institutions and universities in North Brabant. That is what student Sieuwe Elferink (Fontys ICT and Master Applied AI and Robotics) managed to do last Friday during Dragons' Den, a pitch battle that closed the Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Sieuwe Elferink (links) met zijn compagnon Wout Veenendaal, drone en cheque

Sieuwe Elferink (Fontys ICT and Master Applied AI and Robotics), as owner of the start-up MultiRotorResearch, is taking on the pitching from Fontys this day. "I'm not really nervous, but the healthy tension is present," he says. Sieuwe also competed earlier this year at the Fontys Student Startup Festival. "I didn't win then, but I learned a lot from it. The knowledge I gained there, I will take with me to today. Whereas during the student festival I talked a lot about technology, which of course I enjoyed very much myself, today I go deeper into our business model. Something that is a lot more relevant to the jury and potential investors."

The jury trying to convince Sieuwe consists of a start-up banker from Rabobank, a programme manager from Midpoint Brabant, an entrepreneur and an investment director from Round One Ventures. Together, they are good for prize money of no less than €9,000.

World a better place
To win one of those prizes, Sieuwe will have to compete against students from TU/e, Tilburg University, JADS, Avans, Fontys, BUas and HAS. All of them have ideas that will make the world a better place. Think tofu with special flavour, an accessory for wheelchairs that allows more interaction between caregiver and patient, sustainable fry snacks made of 'ugly vegetables' or motorbikes that should turn the boating world into hybrid transport.

Once it is the turn of Sieuwe and his company MultiRotorResearch, he immediately takes us back to the past. At 15, he got a drone, but was done with it after 10 minutes. Not because he didn't like drone flying, but because the thing was stuck in a tree. "I never got that one out again. Drone flying is not easy, but we solve that for everyone."

Data collecting and analytics
Sieuwe developed a technology that makes drone flying possible for all kinds of groups, such as farmers. "By allocating our drones as a service, they get different insights into their plots. For example, through data collection and smart analytics apps, we can see down to the metre where farmers can reduce pesticide use on their land, allowing a ninety per cent saving to take place."

An impactful start-up, is how the jury describes MultiRotorResearch. Sieuwe is passionate, but how does he stay ahead of the competition? How many customers has he spoken to and what is the most important lesson he has learned so far? He knows how to answer every question from the expert jury flawlessly.

The knowledge, expertise and passion that Sieuwe exudes ultimately earns him first place. As the winner, he receives a cheque for 5,000 euros. "I did not expect this, but I am very happy with it. We are going to invest this money in a better camera so that we can offer our customers more insights and make the agriculture sector even better."