On Friday January 20th, U-Violet won the grand prize at the Startup Tech Event 2017, hosted by the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. The startup is developing the U-Sun, a smart wristband that warns users whey they are in danger of getting sunburnt, effectively eliminating the dangerous risks of unprotected sunbathing. So you can sunbathe without worrying about getting skin cancer. With their idea, the startup unanimously convinced the jury of their business, scale-up and product potential.
The Startup Tech Event marks the end of a special minor program of the AUAS where students are challenged to develop their entrepreneurial qualities and bring to market a innovative technological product. Unfortunately, not all of the participating startups lived up to that promise, as we wrote earlier.
U-Violet’s pitch however was a nice surprise at an event were not all presentations lived up to expectations. The young startup brought up an important issue that needs attention. “All four of us are completely behind this idea,” says Tim Struik, who co-founded the company. “We noticed there was a lack of awareness about the risks of sunbathing. An alarmingly high number of (young) people are diagnosed with skin cancer nowadays. We were really excited when the judges commented that they never saw a product like ours before. After setting your skin type, our product warns the user when it’s time to put on sun lotion with the use of a small UV-detector. This prevents people from getting sunburnt and therefore lowering the risk of skin cancer.”
Collecting new data
“We have already spoken to several interested parties and organizations that are interested in working with us, such as the Dutch Cancer Society, The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment and the Netherlands Cancer Institute. During our talks with these organizations, we noticed that there was no data available on how much UV radiation people are exposed to during a regular day at the beach. If our wristband could for instance collect these data, our product would become very interesting to these organizations.”
“During our minor studies in Entrepreneurship we were triggered to think at a different level. At the start we were primarily thinking up ideas, but we quickly learned it’s also valuable and effective to focus on your possible target audience first. From those sessions a lot of good ideas were born that eventually led us to the growing health-tech industry. With our idea, the minor gave us a lot of freedom to further develop it while still offering support with coaching and mentorship”
Parents will be especially happy with the U-sun as it will protect their kids in multiple ways: “A integrated GPS function would be ideal for parents who take their children to the beach. They know when it’s time to put on sun lotion again, but they also have the possibility to track the exact location of their little ones. It’s an important function that we really want to add to the U-Sun in the future.” For the next few months, Struik says, the team will focus on further developing the U-Sun. “Our goal is to develop and launch a working prototype as quickly as possible. It’s unclear at this time when the U-Sun is ready to order, but we will announce this on social media and our website as soon as we’re ready.”