New ventures awards TU Delft startup

Devin Malone, former TU Delft industrial ecology master’s student still doesn’t have a key fob for the business incubator’s lobby. Malone and his business partner, Joshua Klappe, will gain regular building entrance privileges in September, when they become full YesDelft members.

Until then, they will need to settle for the building’s common space.

Their facility issues notwithstanding, Malone and Klappe have already made waves with seed funders in the EU and the Netherlands for their idea of commercializing a biodegradable two-person tent that users can leave behind on festival grounds. Their company, called One Night’s Tent, won funding from the Dutch startup-coaching program called New Venture on June 27, along with two other finalists, from a pool of 400 contestants. Ton Willemsen, the New Venture jury spokesman said the winners “have the potential to make a big impact, not only in the Netherlands but also abroad.”

One Night’s Tent had also previously received funding under a Stage 1 grant from Climate-KIC, an EU Horizon 2020 initiative.

The new funds will make it possible for Malone and Klappe to turn their startup into fulltime jobs this fall. Until then, Malone, a native of Alaska, will continue to work at DSM, the Dutch chemicals giant, where he manages the supply chain of sustainable projects. Meanwhile, Klappe is finishing his master’s thesis with Bruno Ninaber, who designed the back of the Netherlands’ version of the Euro piece. Klappe will defend his thesis this September.

Conveniently enough, Klappe has been designing the tent under Ninaber’s tutelage this past year for his thesis project. Throughout the process, Klappe learned to appreciate the importance of choosing the right material. “Every material will produce a different tent,” Klappe said. The team eventually settled on a commercially available bio-plastic for the tent’s structure.

The idea for One Night’s Tent came out of a late-night discussion over the use of bio-plastics for consumer products. “We saw that a lot of these products were small, like forks and knives, made out of bio-plastic,” Klappe said and added that they wanted to push in a different direction for One Night’s Tent.

Rather than focusing on sustainability, the concept focuses on convenience for both festival-organizers and concertgoers alike. With the new tent, organizers can avoid wasting their efforts on clean-up patrol. “The organizers don’t want to feel like the police; they just want to create a fun party,” said Klappe. As for the campers, Klappe and Malone see a need for a tent that can compete with tents that are already sold on-site, with a cheaper price point.

Malone was next headed off to a meeting regarding One Night’s Tent legal standing as a besloten vennootschap, or a private limited liability company. These new American-Dutch business owners hope to bring their product to market next summer and have already started talks with Dutch and international festival organizers. 

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