Our Startup Booster program helps aspiring entrepreneurs who want to turn their business idea into impact-driven startups in the field of urban tech. With over 20 teams ‘boosted’ since our first edition, we look back at 3 successful runs. How are the alumni teams doing now?

Time to discover how Spore's biowaste bin sensors help municipalities identify biowaste contamination at the source while also improving collection efficiency.

(Bio)waste collection in cities

In Amsterdam, as in many cities worldwide, it is common practice for citizens and businesses to separate waste in order to utilize the growing array of recycling options and work towards greener environmental solutions. To illustrate, Amsterdam residents are required to sort household waste by type (e.g. glass, paper, plastic packaging and drinks cartons, textiles) and put it into the correct designated containers for municipal organizations to collect.

In addition, increasingly (government) organizations around the world are required by law to separate biowaste at the source - such as in Europe, Australia, Singapore, California, and New York. This also accounts for more and more parts of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area.

Hence, it's becoming common practice for residents to separate organic waste, such as food waste, and deposit this in a special bin. This may then be used by your municipality to create fresh compost. Alternatively, you can purchase your own compost bin.

These smart bins know their contents and reduce transportation costs by 40%

The bins developed by Spore include sensors that identify biowaste contamination and monitor capacity. This way, Cities can not only adhere to laws involved with separating biowaste at the source. These bins also allow municipalities to improve collection efficiency and reduce transportation costs by 40%. Furthermore, at the household level, Spore distributes composters to make composting at home easy.

“We provide smart biowaste bins that identify contamination and monitor capacity. At the household level, we distribute composters that make composting at home easy, with no smells or flies.”

Guy Vincent | CEO | Spore

“Our commercial customers can buy fleets of bins, and license our software to collect valuable data about contamination and capacity. We also have a direct-to-consumer model selling home composters via our webstore.”

Tian Daphne | Community & Events | Spore

How Spore got ‘boosted’

Spore's entrepreneurs joined the AMS Startup Booster to accelerate their journey to product market fit. Before taking part in the Booster, Spore was focusing solely on a consumer segment. The team wanted to find a way to scale up their composters to the metropolitan level. Also, they expected to learn about how municipalities adopt urban innovations that help them to achieve their environmental and social goals.

As a result of taking part in the incubation program, Spore focused more on municipal composting solutions. The entrepreneurs learned that Cities will be required by law to separate biowaste at the source. Contamination is one of their biggest problems as this prevents biowaste from being composted or upcycled into compost products. Now, Spore shifted the business focus to exploring biowaste bin sensors that gather useful data on contamination and capacity.

What challenges did the team experience during the program? One of the key takeaways from this team is not to get too attached to your initial idea. And their favorite part of the program? The weeks leading up to the final pitch. That is when all their hard work came together and breakthrough ideas came forth.

“It is very helpful to have a structured program like AMS Startup Booster take you through the research, interviewing, and validation steps needed to know if our product is desirable.”

Tian Daphne | Community & Events | Spore

“As we went through the program, we realised that our initial value proposition wasn’t very high, and we weren’t solving a painful problem. The AMS Startup Booster helped us to focus more on the pressures faced by municipalities, and uncover opportunities such as biowaste bin sensors.”

Guy Vincent | CEO | Spore

Boosting your business idea to the next level in only 4 months

For a period of 4 months, the AMS Startup Booster offered Spore access to the testing area of Marineterrein Amsterdam Living Lab, a Makerspace at AMS Institute, workshops and training, and connections with a large ecosystem of academics, city officials, private and public organizations.

With the help of the experts involved in the program, the entrepreneurs formulated a stronger value proposition and learned the importance of conducting small experiments and setting targets to reach overall company goals.

Now open: AMS Startup Booster edition #4 call for applications from August 1st till October 2nd. Ready to turn your idea into a business? Apply here to join the next run of the program.

“We got to connect with industry experts like Ties van Halperen, who focuses organic waste logistics at the City of Amsterdam. Also, AMS Institute's program developer focuses on circularity, Joppe van Driel was incredibly knowledgable about green public procurement and circular area developments. This expertise is extremely relevant for our solution.”

Tian Daphne | Community & Events | Spore

Real world testing in Amsterdam

What about Spore's next steps? This year the startup will launch the Spore webstore to sell home compost kits and fermentation cultures. Furthermore, the team is looking forward to start with the StartHub program by Wageningen University & Research. In this program, they will validate the concept of biowaste bin sensors that identify contamination and measure capacity.

And last, but surely not least, the entrepreneurs are planning to test their biowaste bins at Marineterrein Amsterdam Living Lab. Testing the products in the real-world will give municipalities confidence in their solution.

“I’m looking forward to getting feedback from the market and seeing where the direct-to-consumer model might lead us. Also, we are also seeking Internet of Things experts familiar with water or soil contamination sensors to advise us.”

Guy Vincent | CEO | Spore

Sign up for the AMS Startup Booster program 2022

Got inspired by Spore to boost your idea for a sustainable or tech business that impacts city life and solves urban challenges? We're looking for ambitious entrepreneurs to join our 2022 edition of the program!

With the AMS Startup Booster program, we help you to turn your innovative ideas into reality and bring your startup to the next level. During a period of 4 months, you receive guidance from a diverse group of experts, we help you eliminate uncertainties, do a thorough customer discovery, and form a strong team. Ultimately, our aim is for you to venture out with a solid pitch and minimal viable product.

Apply before September 30th to join the 2021 run of the 4-month program.

AMS Startup Booster - Apply now


AMS startup booster is an early-stage incubator for urban-tech business idea development.


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