Leiden centre for
innovation and

 This is the second part of a ten-week series about the Venture Acadmy Participants. In these small stories, the participants tell us about their start-up and their team. Next up: Tensail.


Tensail is a structural engineering startup focused on 
redesigning tensile structures.

My co-founder and I met in high school at the British school in the Netherlands. We were in different age-groups and didn’t interact much until we came across each other through mutual friends and the videogames we played. We interacted a lot and became good friends. In 2017 Arthaud finished his masters at Cambridge and moved back to Holland where I was finishing my masters at the Erasmus. From our conversations over videogames we knew that we wanted to go into building our own company and building our own future.

To work on something that had an effect on the world and not become a cog in a bigger system was our goal. As cliché as it sounds, the corporate world doesn’t really connect well with what I loved in academia. You can get by without understanding what you’re doing and simply following procedures set in place. In start-ups however, every problem is unique and from the start YOU determine where you go. The company lives and dies by your actions and testing hypotheses as you go along connects much more with what I… we loved from academia.

In 2016 I (Floris) took part in the Gulliver competition in Leiden, in this project I consulted Arthaud for more hours than we spent playing games together and he was integral to me in finishing this project. This was the first time we got to communicate in a ‘professional’ setting. We loved the intellectual sparring we could do together and when Arthaud finished his masters and moved back to Holland it was inevitable that we would end up trying something together.

Arthaud Adriaenssens: Co-founder and Inventor

Floris van Rijn: Co-founder and Inventor

Tensail’s product and idea of a tensile strength structure came from a project Arthaud did for his masters. Much like I used him for problem solving, he’d send me documents to proofread before handing them in. One such document was a project regarding tensile strength structures. The idea he’d devised to solve the issue that current tensile strength structures had interested me so much that we never stopped talking about it.

Moving back to Holland we were looking for a way to start our own company/product and talking about ideas. Arthaud’s project came-up and we decided we’d start prototyping to see how feasible it was. From there we never really stopped. Once the first prototype was done we enrolled in the LEF competition, continued prototyping and before we knew it 8 months had gone by.

Now we’re on the verge of handing in our patent application and will be presenting in the finals of the LEF business competition November 27th . These milestones are also thanks to our business coach Ramses Braakman, who chose us from the LEF competition to guide us throughout the process. It’s been a uncertain road so far, but it’s been one we’ve set for ourselves, working on boundary-pushing technology.

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