With its research, CWI strives for social and economic impact and makes the results of scientific research available to industry and society. Generating spin-off companies is one of our most effective ways to turn fundamental knowledge into practical applications for society while creating quality employment opportunities.

Research with impact

Since its establishment in 1946, CWI’s pioneering research in mathematics and computer science has continued until today, as well as our impact of knowledge transfer on society The growing number of CWI’s panel of successful spin-off companies is an effective way to realize knowledge exchange and innovation in the market.


Many of our key research projects have evolved into powerful independent companies - some achieved a worldwide impact. Our relationships with these visionary enterprises take several forms. Whilst we often hold a financial shareholding at the beginning, some companies move on to become major partners in high profile mergers and buy-outs. Other spin-offs consciously opt for long-term research relationships with us in their positioning. A number of them operate independently, happy to collaborate with CWI in various ways while strengthening their position in the market.

In 2000 the institute founded CWI Incubator BV to generate high tech spin-off companies. CWI Inc. is a dedicated in-house company with the aim of providing an ideal environment for researchers to measure their abilities in the business world with minimum early risk, and successful ventures to accelerate on a firm footing into the mainstream of world commerce. CWI Inc. offers a fertile ground on which sound new ideas can be prepared for a successful start in the rapidly advancing, but fiercely competive, high-tech market.

Meet some of our succesful spin-off companies

DuckDB Labs is a recent spin-off company, which was founded in 2021 in the successful Database Architecture group by CWI researchers Hannes Mühleisen and Mark Raasveldt. This spin-off offers solutions for fast and efficient database analytics and serves as a support platform for the open-source database management system DuckDB. DuckDB aims at analytical use cases where it is needed to look at lots of data at the same time, such as in business reporting or in statistical analysis. It is the first purpose built in-process Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)-database management system. DuckDB is currently downloaded about 100.000 times per week, mainly by data scientists and corporate users.

Incorporated in 2017, Swat.engineering is a spin-off company of CWI’s Software Analysis and Transformation (SWAT) research group. The SWAT group has a long track record in creating software inventions and solutions, and applying them to practical issues. In 2000 the group generated the successful spin-off company Software Improvement Group, which is internationally renowned. Swat.engineering offers software consultancy applying the best proven techniques for building, analysing, maintaining, and designing better (programming) languages. The award winning open-source meta-programming language Rascal and the Domain Specific Language (DSL) technologies that were developed at CWI are key components in the toolbox that SWAT.engineering offers to its customers. The company is specifically focused on the finance, health and embedded industry.

Stokhos is a well-known academic spin-off company. It started in 2011 as a scientific mathematical project named REPRO with the aim to reduce ambulance response times. The great results of the project and potential social impact motivated the foundation of Stokhos in 2016. The company is entirely focused on the ambulance sector and provides software solutions which enable the proactive relocation of emergency services based on predictions of future demand. Its offering consists of the ‘Seconds Application’ that calculates the coverage of a region in real-time and gives advice to maximize the probability that future incidents are reached within the set response time targets. Stokhos incubated at CWI until 2019. Currently, ambulance services all over the Netherlands make us of Stokhos’ services. The company is currently expanding to the German market.


For more information about working with CWI, please contact Rob van der Mei or Karin Blankers.