FasTrackathon 2020


Join us for our third virtual FasTrackathon! Since the pandemic moved the world to online environments, we have continued to hold the FasTrackathon and to build deep-tech ventures. Overthe past year, 15 teams based on 12 advanced technologies have joined our venture building program, starting with the FasTrackathon. 
Hosted by
MARCH 17, 2021
Date and Time

We are deep-tech venture builders. We scout advanced technologies from world-renowned research institutions and tech companies. We then recruit co-founders and supporting team members to take the tech market. Teams enter the venture building program where they learn everything they need to know to build a business. It all starts at FasTrackathon.



HighTechXL begins the venture-building process by sourcing technologies from research institutions such as European Space Agency, CERN,TNO, and Philips. We meet with the technology transfer officers and identify advanced technologies around which we can build teams and form a business.



After a thorough assessment of each advanced technology in which experts score the technology from the institute on patent position, novelty, manufacturability and knowledge transfer, we are ready to explore applications for each technology.  


During the hackathon, a gathering of entrepreneurs, technical experts, co-founders and mentors use their brainpower to generate creative and bright ideas. They consider the question: Where can this technology really add value or solve problems? 



This hackathon is also the first step in team formation. Teams ideally consist of dedicated CEO, CBO (Chief Business Officer) and CTO (Co-Founders). Teams are supported by mentors, volunteers, experts and interns.

Selected Technologies


Below we announce the advanced technologies we will present at FasTrackathon. Other technologies may be added, so check this page for more information and follow HighTechXL on social media.

Stimulated Depletion Emission Lithography (STED)


This novel, maskless lithography technology enables the printing of 3D structures with nanometer resolution in polymer resins. Although the technology itself has existed for some time, the printing process was a slow one.  

TNO has developed technology to speed up the printing process, enabling industrial applications without sacrificing superior resolution. The technology involves a multi-laser-based, precision exposure machine as well as patented polymer chemistry. 

Potential applications include maskless lithography and very precise 3D printing of optical structures for optical instruments and photonics chips.

download one pager
watch video

ESA Additive Manufacturing

European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) has developed an additive manufacturing solution to circumvent the limitations of traditional metallic powder-based approaches in a zero-gravity environment. 

Powder-based solutions require an inert atmosphere chamber and inefficient energy sources such as lasers or e-beams, making them unsuitable for use outside of a very controlled manufacturing environment. 

ESA combines conventional light-based heating with a wire feed, enabling a compact and low-complexity approach to manufacturing preforms of parts on demand. This makes the system lightweight and easy to transport and operate in the field with minimum pre-requisites.

This invention could also open the door to new applications of additive manufacturing for bigger or more complex parts using a variety of materials.

download one pager
watch video

Ultra-thin Printed Temperature Sensors


TNO Holst Centre gives new form factors and design freedom to electronics by printing and enables new applications by combining traditional components. New technology includes ultra-thin printed temperature sensors.  

The advantages of an all printed solution:
-Fabrication Process (no pick & place)
-Flexibility (strains of >1%)
-Footprint (1 cm2)
-Thickness (< 50 µm)
-Scaling (arrays)

Potential applications are broad and include:

-Battery Management Systems
-Mobile Communication Devices
-Consumer Electronics
-Household Appliances
-Heating & Air Conditioning
-Industrial Electronics
-Automotive Electronics
-Heating Elements
-Temperature Limiter

The Ultra-thin Printed Sensor team will collaborate withTNO Holst Center to:
-Optimize the current proprietary printed temperature sensing ink
- Optimize the design of printed temperature sensing systems depending on application needs (e.g., battery management system, consumer electronics,…)
-Work with ink manufacturers to scale-up our ink formulation
-Leverage our manufacturing ecosystem to produce and deliver unique printed temperature sensors to B2B customers

download one pager
watch video

fiber optics microscope


Philips researchers have developed a unique, miniature, fiber-optics-based microscope which provides a wide field of view of approximately 200 microns with sub-micron accuracy.
The microscope fits in a probe smaller than three millimeters in diameter and four centimeters long. The technology supports advanced imaging techniques, such as reflectance, fluorescence, 2-photon, Raman spectroscopy or 3D-computed tomography.

Potential application areas:
• Biomedical & pharmaceutical fields for cancer diagnosis
• Pre-clinical trials
• Development of new medicine
• Versatile and cost-effective in-vivo inspection capabilities

In addition to obvious medical application areas, there are other applications beyond the use of simple camera endoscopes. The sub-micron accuracy of this technology enables inspection of hard-to-reach areas with no need for disassembly and enables advanced capabilities such as 3D or hyper-spectral imaging.

The technology is covered by 11 patents.

download one pager
watch video



Philips is opening its extensive portfolio of knowledge and intellectual property on electro-active polymers to explore cool, new applications for this emerging technology.

Electro-active polymers change when stimulated with electricity. When electrical current is applied, it is possible to induce a small deformation of a very thin polymer layer.

The deformation is almost instantaneous and ceases just as quickly when the applied voltage is removed. Various actuators can be realized this way, from microscopic pliers to micro-engines or even passive displays. Since the principle is reversible, it’s also possible to apply this technology to design sensors reacting to pressure, temperature and mechanical deformation.

Key benefits of the technology:
• Can be used as both sensors and actuators
• Soft
• Small
• Silent
• Safe and bio-compatible
• Low power

Potential application areas:
•  Medical wearable and implantable devices, such as sleep monitoring
•  Industrial sensors
•  Micro- and nano-robotics
•  Haptic feedback: sensors and actuators for sports, motion capture
•  Smart clothing, wellness

download one pager
watch video

coaxial pulse conditioner


Scientists at CERN developed the coaxial pulse conditioner technology to generate extremely precise (nanosecond scale) electrical pulses at high voltage (more than 10.000 V) and high currents (up to 5.000 amperes).One of the key benefits of this technology lies in its ability to generate extremely repeatable pulses, down to only a few volts of accuracy for a pulse of more than 10.000 V.

It is currently being used to drive the damping ring magnet kickers of the Compact Linear Collider at CERN. High-power nanosecond-scale pulses have applications in numerous domains beyond linear accelerators. For instance, they can be used to provide better control of radiations in medical imaging and treatment, to generate clean energy efficiently or to provide clean air and water.

download one pager
watch video


Do you have questions?

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Powered by

How Does It Work?

Starting a new business can be quite chaotic. Our milestone approach will help you take  the necessary steps to take advanced technologies to market in nine months.

HighTechXL begins the venture-building process by sourcing technologies from research institutions such as CERN, TNO and Philips.

We research the technologies and identify potential application areas.

We hold a FasTrackathon – a reverse-hackathon – where technologies and potential application areas are up for grabs. We invite engineers, physicists, business development experts, finance managers and seasoned entrepreneurs to come for a half-day idea  session where teams build a business model canvas and pitch their business cases at the end of the day.

HighTechXL recruits additional team members interested in taking the technology to market and holds pre-program sessions to further strengthen the teams.

Teams go through a selection process, then begin the nine-month venture building program.

The nine-month program is broken down into three phases of three months.