The StartLife Board is pleased to announce that Bert-Jan Woertman has been appointed as its new Managing Director , with effect from 1 June 2024. Bert-Jan is a seasoned connector that brings a proven track-record in building innovation ecosystems at the High Tech Campus Eindhoven and Brainport region. His arrival coincides with StartLife entering a next phase. 

Bert-Jan will play an important role in the next phase of the organization. The organization has taken on the ambition to move into venture building, and is also commmited to an even stronger national alignment on startup and scaleup support programs in order to maximize the impact, as part of the Dutch Agrifood Venture Hub initiative. Additionally, StartLife aims to strengthen its position as Europe’s leading agrifoodtech accelerator, prioritizing expansion, innovation, and impact.

Bert-Jan will bring valuable experience and a co-creator style, as shown in his previous roles in HighTech Campus development, the first years and establishment of HighTechXL venture studio, co-founder of AlphaBeats and fostering the startup ecosystem at TU Eindhoven and the wider Brainport region.

With his expertise and passion for fostering innovation ecosystems, Bert-Jan will build upon the legacy of success at StartLife, continue its strong role in the international innovation ecosystem in agrifood, driving forward our mission with renewed energy and vision.

Gratitude for departing Managing Director, Laura Thissen

Laura Thissen, StartLife’s interim Managing Director, announced to embark on new adventures after the summer. The StartLife Board expresses deep gratitude to Laura for her significant contributions over the past five years. Laura has been pivotal in professionalizing StartLife, making it Europe’s leading accelerator for agrifood startups.

Laura excelled as both operational and managing director, passionately driving the transition to sustainable food systems with innovative startups. She grew and internationalized the StartLife team to what it is today. Her efforts have also led to a strong partnership network with leading corporates and investors.

Although we are sad to see Laura leave, her commitment is evident as she has chosen to stay a little bit longer to onboard the new Managing Director. We wish her the best and look forward to potential future collaborations.