Flame Away’s Journey
Flame Away is a VU Startup that worked extensively with stakeholders to ensure Flame Away is the life-saving tool we envisioned. Here is the ongoing story about Flame Away, how it came to be and with whom we made it happen.
Do you have a fire extinguisher at home? And if the answer is yes, do you have it close by if there is a fire or have you stached it away, out of sight and out of mind? That is the question that has driven us to develop the Flame Away – Max Nijman
Flame Away started in 2019 during the minor Entrepreneurship at the UvA. During this minor four students, Thymen van Meenen, Tommaso Alboni, Samanta Vaivade and Max Nijman conceptualised the idea of Flame Away. The team worked tirelessly on Flame Away with the UvA and several fire departments. As a result, Flame Away got admitted to the Demonstrator Lab in November 2019.
The Demonstrator Lab is an incubator centre where promising startups can develop their idea and most importantly their product, whilst learning from other like-minded individuals. The Demonstrator Lab, located at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, offered us their facilities for office and lab space, which we utilise to perfect the product of Flame Away. Using the extensive knowledge of the people at the Demonstrator Lab, we have learned a lot about the subjects related to entrepreneurship, from being the most effective supply chain to producing a reliable product in the most effective way. Furthermore, the facilities at the VU allow us to test our product in a safe situation of fires under different conditions, allowing us to ensure the effectiveness of our product. After all, Flame Away stands for a reliable product, which people can trust with their lives.
We also worked closely together with certain fire departments to ensure the Flame Away is safe to use and effective. They have guided, assisted and advised us through all the years in the lab, all so we can save lives with our product.
On the 30th of January 2020, Flame Away was selected as a finalist from a selection of over 25 startups of the minor Entrepreneurship. There we pitched Flame Away to a group of investors and other interested people.
Furthermore, Flame Away participated in the Fire Safety challenge and got awarded the innovation price and an additional 2500 euros to help us develop and perfect our product. This award set the collaboration of Flame Away with Woonzorg, Habion and Wooncompagnie in stone. Flame Away uses its extensive network to ensure that our product is easily usable by people of all ranges of vitality.
In the summer of 2020 Tommaso, Samanta and Thymen decided to focus on their studies and leave Flame Away. Of course, Max Nijman continued with an unbreakable spirit to prevent lives from being lost due to fires by perfecting the throwable fire-extinguishing tool of Flame Away.
In March of 2021 Flame Away joined the We make change community, which strives to connect high-value volunteers to social enterprises. Since Flame Away strives to improve the world by giving people a fighting chance against fires, this was only a natural collaboration. Together with the great volunteers of Wemakechange Flame Away shall continue to make the world a safer place!
To make sure the Flame Away can be used by people from all ranges of vitality, Flame Away hosted a testing day at SWZ Wassenaar. Here we had an amazing afternoon hearing the stories of residents, testing their intuition for the best colours and shapes and testing their throwing capabilities.
Flame Away was incubated as a scientific project by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam at the Demonstrator Lab and in collaboration with the Universiteit van Amsterdam. Since we were working with two universities, we were surrounded by an academic environment full of innovation and expertise. For this reason, we have had access to scientific lab spaces and a great number of testing facilities. We used the expertise of various professors, which have backed up our project continuously. We were settled in the Demonstrator Lab by the Vrije Universiteit and they provide us with financial resources for the possible manufacturing of our product.
In July of 2022 we left this amazing academic environment after being incorporated at the Chamber of Commerce on the 6th of July. We started production the same day to make sure we could launch before the holiday season later that year. We successfully launched the product on the 21st of October 2022, making the Flame Away purchasable on our website and in a range of stores.
2023 started great for us: we won the first prize in the Philips Innovation Awards One pager competition and we were selected as one of the semi-finalists for the Innovator Award. Due to his work on Flame Away, Max Nijman got nominated on the list of 50 under 35 by the FD, naming him as one of the Netherlands’ most innovative people under 35 as well as by MT Sprout as one of the most successful young entrepreneurs in the 25 under 25 list by MT/Sprout. We also got interviewed by multiple news outlets such as Unity and BNR Zakendoen, where we were able to present Flame Away and tell people how it could save their life. Furthermore, we got selected as one of the best designs and design product of the Netherlands by the James Dyson Awards, we were selected as one of the most innovative companies by the KVK Innovatie Top 100.
Flame Away has also visited multiple trade fairs: We were present at Maison et Object and Trade Mart, and later this year we will be present at Trendz and Showup. This allows us to connect and forge valuable relations with our network.
In May we expanded our operations to France, with the help of our interns, Clémence, Lucie and Anaëlle. This allows us to sell the Flame Away in France and help improve fire safety in a bigger area.
I’m Max and I’m working full time on Flame Away and doing a masters degree on Life Science and Technology in Delft on the side. I work on Flame Away because every year too many people die of fires. Flame Away hopes to increase people’s fire awareness and give them a quick tool. Together we can save lives and this is what drives me to get up in the morning and work to bring Flame Away to people.
My name is Hibelice and I am a fourth-year communications student. Last academic year, I completed an internship in internal communications and completed my minor in entrepreneurship. I am now ready for my next challenge: increasing fire safety among households. As a communications advisor at Flame Away, my responsibilities include social media,
trade shows and setting up the communication strategy.
Intern International Trade
My name is Clémence Terle, I am 18. I am originally from France and I am currently studying international business in Toulouse where cultural relations and marketing are at the heart of my studies.
I will be working for 2 months at Flame Away as an intern, during which time I will be translating documents into French and contacting potential clients/distributors to initiate conversations and negotiations.
Intern International Trade
I am a French student in international trade. I have the opportunity for a period of 2 months to do an internship at Flame Away which will allow me to develop my knowledge in the field of trade and the sale of innovative products.
It is important for me to do my internship at a company which aims to raise awareness of fire accidents.
I like to push my boundaries with sports and clear my mind by drawing and reading.
In the future, my main goal is to enter a business school and play a part in humanitarian projects.
Intern International Trade
My name is Lucie and I am a French student in international trade, I will do an internship for 2 months in Flame Away to find potential clients.
I chose Flame Away because I think the concept and design are unique and I want to help export the product to French-speaking countries like mine.
Maria Inês Rodrigues de Sousa Varajão
My name is Maria de Sousa Varajão. I am from Portugal and had the opportunity to live and study in the United Kingdom for three years. I am currently finishing my master’s in international law and international relations while working at the Embassy in Namibia. I am very passionate about international law and humanitarian causes and hope to find more projects like Flame Away to contribute to.
A Qualified Indian lawyer with an Advanced Master’s in Intellectual Property and Knowledge Management from Maastricht University. She is passionate about IP, fond of trying new cuisines and believes in helping to foster a better and safer environment.
Andreea-Nicoleta Alistar (Floroiu)
Social media responsible
With the experience of over 10 years in sales and retail and a degree in marketing, I am in the process of changing careers to become a digital marketer. I am excited to work with Flame Away to raise awareness online on the importance of domestic fire prevention. A unique, innovative, and easy-to-use product like Flame Away can assist us and give us the confidence to handle fire incidents at the right time and place.
Dayana da Barca
I am a Commercial Law graduate currently living in Lisbon, Portugal. I am most passionate about exploring topics related to contracts, labour law and dispute resolution.
It thrills me to look for creative and strategic solutions for clients whilst challenging my critical thinking skills. I strive to find endeavours rooted in values that I live by and that create a positive impact in communities.
When I am not busy with work, you can find me reading about politics, and fashion or presenting a cooking show in my kitchen.