From corona test center to safe events.

Innovation is a team effort here
Xander Schurink
Directeur Hestia
17 December 2020

Together with Hestia, Xander Schurink already realized the first corona test center in the Netherlands in March of 2020. And now they are working on a solution that will allow us next year to safely attend football matches, concerts and other events with tens of thousands of people. And that makes them serious frontrunners. But what’s the core strength of this innovative company from Twente?

“We’re very good at business development and know exactly which buttons to press to get a market in motion”, says CEO Xander Schurink, putting their greatest strength in a nutshell. “And we’re pragmatic, too. We’ll develop a concept within a few weeks, build the IT and start communications. We keep time-to-market short. Which is why we are often the first mover and not the smart follower.”

Innovating on a traditional playing field

Hestia combines IT with a knowledge of care and care processes. One key development is a system to simplify thrombosis care. “We’re always looking for improvements”, explains Xander. “How can we make care safer, more efficient and more patient-friendly, so that quality is improved and costs are reduced? That’s the challenge we are constantly facing on a fairly traditional playing field.”

Free publicity results in growth

At the beginning of this year, Xander passed matrix signs on the German highway that made him think. “The German authorities warned of corona and advised a fortnight’s quarantine. Austria was already in a panic, which only reached the Netherlands some two weeks later. We went into quarantine and started fleshing out the corona test center concept together with the Hestia team.” They were the first test center to open. This resulted in a lot of free publicity, which subsequently led to enormous growth. Thanks to that publicity, Martin Olde Weghuis of Novel-T was introduced to Hestia one Friday afternoon.

Innovation competition for events

“For Sportinnovator we mapped out innovative companies in the spring”, says Business Developer Martin Olde Weghuis. “We were looking for companies that could play a role in making sport safe and accessible again during this corona pandemic.” That resulted in a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) process, an innovation competition in which the government challenges entrepreneurs to develop innovative solutions to social issues. “Hestia was one of the companies that signed up for this and came up with a smart and safe solution. They now have the opportunity in phase two of the SBIR project to flesh out their idea and test it in field labs.”

Innovations offer perspective

We want to enjoy sports and other events together again, but safely. How do you ensure that everyone who joins in does not have corona? “Our Smart-Access concept is based on a negative corona test that must not be older than 48 hours”, explains Xander Schurink. The platform not only processes all kinds of data to generate a valid admission ticket, but also indicates to consumers what time they are expected and at which entrance. “We are looking at the safety aspect from all angles. We also ask, for example, about how safe people feel during the match.” The Hestia team will continue to build the platform in the coming weeks. For the communication element of SMART-Access, we sought cooperation with Close, as they have experience with this at De Graafschap and Ajax. “We expect to be able to do the first tests in stadiums in January and February. If these go well, we will also see plenty of opportunities for event venues, catering establishments, theaters, and other places where a lot of people gather.”

Innovation as a team effort

“Innovation starts with leadership and vision,” says Xander in response to the question of how they remain innovative. “I give direction and sketch the picture I want see emerging. Our team then comes up with any surprising elements that I had not thought of. Innovation really is a team effort for us.”

Novel-T: Business Developer Martin Olde Weghuis

“Xander Schurink is an enthusiastic entrepreneur who doesn’t just work for his salary, as he’s committed to society, too”, asserts Martin Olde Weghuis. “He’s offering a solution that’s helping to reopen our country. And even when this pandemic is over, it will continue to be relevant. They have really looked for a sustainable platform that fits in with their business strategy.” Novel-T is a sparring partner for all Twente entrepreneurs in the SBIR project.

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