The board of the Twente University Fond has awarded this year’s Van den Kroonenberg Prize to Emile Nijssen and Stefan Witkamp of Athom B.V. in Enschede. During the Entrepreneurial Day on the University of Twente campus, the young entrepreneurs received the prize from the chair of the Twente University Fond, Wilma van Ingen.
In the second half of 2016, Athom launched their product Homey in retail. Homey connects with all smart and wireless devices at home, and acts as a remote control for everything, from the coffee machine to heating, lighting, music and your TV. Users can control these devices from their smartphone, or automate them using Homey Flows. For consumers in the Netherlands, Homey is available from outlets such as MediaMarkt, Bol.com and the company’s own webshop. The product was rolled out to Sweden and other Scandinavian countries in 2017, and is also available at Amazon UK. Athom B.V. currently has twelve employees. In addition to a development team, there is also a marketing and communication team.
The young entrepreneurs Emile, 26, and Stefan, 25, met each other at the University of Twente. They both completed their Bachelor’s degrees in Creative Technology in 2014. Emile is the creative genius; he likes to ‘connect everything’. Even as a student, he created certain solutions that other people wanted. Stefan runs the commercial side of the company. As part of their Bachelor’s graduation, they made a joint pitch video and started a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for Homey. The current company is built from that campaign.
Van den Kroonenberg Prize
The Van den Kroonenberg Prize for young entrepreneurship is awarded to entrepreneurs who have a clear connection with the University of Twente and who have proven themselves through good entrepreneurship. The prize is a tribute to former Rector Magnificus Harry van den Kroonenberg, who played a part in fostering the University of Twente’s entrepreneurial character. This will be the 35th occasion on which the prize has been awarded on behalf of the University of Twente Fund. It consists of a sum of money (€4,500), a certificate and an artwork, created by Mohana van den Kroonenberg. A total of 23 individuals were nominated for the prize this year.