Humans of Central District: Julian Jagtenberg (Somnox)

The name Somnox is a combination of the Latin words Somno and Nox. It stands for sleep and night, says Julian Jagtenberg, the very young – he is 24 years old – founder and CEO of Somnox with great enthusiasm. His company made it to the county-wide and international media with a sleeping robot that you put against your stomach and chest like a kind of a cuddly pillow. “I've been obsessed with science fiction from a very young age. I wanted to be like Willie Carrot, the inventor in Duckburg comics. I wanted to come up with inventions that are too good to stay in the garage. It is my mission to use robotics for positive social impact and better personal well-being. The catalyst was that my mother’s sleeping problem. That is how I came up with the idea of developing a robot for this. I believe that entrepreneurs should solve problems that feel close to them. Their passion is then streamlined in the right direction to develop a solution.”

His company Somnox has a partnership with Auping in the Netherlands, and more than five thousand robots have been sold worldwide. This start-up has been based at the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) in the Groot Handelsgebouw for a year. “We started as a start-up in Yes! Delft, but to really grow we decided to come to Rotterdam. The Rotterdam Central District (RCD) is a great place for that. A good transport connection is very important to get talent from Eindhoven and Amsterdam. The station is nearby. I myself walk here every day. What is also important is that Rotterdam is a real business city. Erasmus MC is nearby, and we can easily approach investors. What also makes RCD great is Biergarten and the meetings in the CIC. Accidental encounters happen within this ecosystem, which is greatly valuable. What is also the strength of Rotterdam is that it is hands-on. While many developments in service area are taking place in Amsterdam, for instance, we roll up our sleeves and build something, like our sleeping robot.

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