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Tim Brinkman

Tim Brinkman

Tim Brinkman

Tim Brinkman, a graduating EIT Digital Master School student, is on a mission. He wants to make the building industry more sustainable by taking it into the digital age. He had been mulling over the idea for years, and now he and his cofounders have launched a startup that has already been a finalist in a contest for entrepreneurs, securing them their first real customers. " can become the Amazon of the building sector."

Let's rewind a bit on how it all started. Tim Brinkman sent in an idea for the annual EIT Digital Kick-off in Paris. The kick-off is the official launch of the academic year for the dual degree EIT Digital Master School, a European network of top tech universities. Students from all the Masters programmes gather together to work in international teams on a business challenge.

Brinkman's idea for making the building sector more sustainable was accepted and the team he was leading won the challenge. "The construction industry is emitting the most CO2 of all sectors. At the same time, it is the least digitalised industry. I believe in digitalisation and I believe we can do more for the climate and be efficient at the same time."

Brinkman's idea was born a summer before, during an EIT Climate summer school, where he met two like-minded EIT students. The winning of the kick-off motivated the three idea holders to further develop the idea. During the first year of his dual-degree programme Data Science, the team received coaching via the pre-incubator EIT Climate Greenhouse challenge and started to shape the contours of a business model.

Then, while taking his specialisation year at EIT Digital's partner university KTH in Stockholm, Brinkman attracted EIT Digital Master School student Haseeb Asif to the sustainable building sector project. This resulted in the startup, "We want to shake up the building sector. Everybody is talking about sustainability. We want to heed this societal call for sustainable products."

Platform is both a consultancy as and a selling platform for sustainable building materials. Brinkman says the aim is that algorithms consult architects and engineers. "Did you know that architects are spending about 60 hours each time trying to find accurate building materials? Imagine what it would take if they wanted to find sustainable building materials. With our smart tool, they can easily find and compare sustainable-labelled building materials. Our platform could expand like an Amazon platform for building materials."

Suppliers who want to be on the platform have to be sustainable. To guarantee this, the suppliers go through a selection process. "If they want their product on our platform, they need to fill in forms and show us certificates. Then we can label the products on sustainability criteria like if it is bio-based, recyclable, produced with renewable energy, and also the product origin."

The consultancy part is automated. "We can automate the consultancy due to my Data Science background. This means that if an architect needs certain building materials, (s)he fills in a form and directly retrieves a PDF with the products to use. These can be bought on our platform. We negotiate a price with them based on the size of the order."

In September 2019, the CLC-manager of the EIT Digital Node in Stockholm suggested Brinkman to apply to the KTH incubator, where Brinkman was studying at that time. "This is the added value of EIT Digital: the network. Being part of the EIT Digital Master School gives you a network. I also recruited our new partner and EIT Digital Master School student Haseeb thanks to this network."

KTH accepted the proposal for and provides the startup with coaching. "Until then we were playing, exploring the market and the business. Now it is for real."

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