In the last 12 months, two Amsterdam-based companies – Adyen, valued at $23 billion (£19 billion), and Elastic, valued at $6 billion – navigated successful IPOs (initial public offerings). That success hasn’t gone unnoticed: on June 1 2019 the Dutch government announced a national programme, TechLeap.NL, to keep the pipeline of billion-dollar startups flowing.
“The biggest challenge to achieve this, not only in Amsterdam but nationally, is to further improve access to talent, capital and markets for startups”, says Nils Beers, director of StartupDelta, a Dutch startup lobby group.
Co-founder Jeroen van Duffelen has been a freelance developer since the age of 14. He spent time working for US startups before returning to Amsterdam and starting Aidence with Mark-Jan Harte in November 2015. The company develops AI systems that analyse medical scans, such as X-rays, to identify underlying health issues. For instance, they have raised €12.5 million (£11.1 million) of funding to tackle lung cancer. In the early days, both Van Duffelen and Harte had to Google medical terms while on calls with doctors, but Aidence now analyses thousands of scans on a weekly basis in hospitals across Europe. “We are acquiring FDA [Food & Drud Administration] approval to enter the US by the end of this year,” says Van Duffelen. aidence.com
Amsterdam is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world, but Swapfiets offers something different. Set up in 2015 by three students at Delft University – Martijn Obers, Richard Burger and Steven Uitentuis – who worried about the number of broken bikes on their way to and from classes, Swapfiets is a subscription service for cycling. For €15 a month, users have access to a working bike. If anything breaks, the company will fix or replace it within a day. The company, which employs 1,300 people, operates in 43 cities across the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Belgium, and its fleet of bikes have been used by 125,000 customers. swapfiets.nl
Charly van der Straten set up a babysitting service called Pas Op 10 years ago as part of a university assignment. In 2015, with co-founder Xander Koenen, she founded Charly Cares, a marketplace for parents looking to hire qualified, babysitters with credentials – interviewed in person by Charly Cares and given the title of “angels”. Parents can check through reviews of babysitters, communicate with them and book them all through a single app. The company has crowdfunded €600,000 of investment, allowing it to expand its services, which cover eight cities across the Netherlands. charlycares.com
This next-generation stock exchange, founded in 2016 by Marleen Evertsz, enables people to directly trade securities. The long-term goal is that users can visit a company’s website and directly invest in its future. NxChange is licensed to operate as a regulated market by the Dutch finance ministry. nxchange.com
Bicycles and e-scooters can co-exist on the streets of Amsterdam and elsewhere – that’s the aim of French entrepreneurs Maxim Romain and Henri Moissinac, who set up the company in 2018, and closed out a €20 million investment round by the end of the year – before a single scooter hit the road. Dott’s proprietary scooters have wider decks and bigger wheels than most, and were piloted at Paris’s Station F startup hub in early 2019. ridedott.com
Founded by Casper Knieriem and Michael Ros, the membership-based hotel-booking platform offers steep discounts on more than 120,000 hotels across 120 countries, all without charging commissions on bookings. In November 2018 the firm announced €15 million in funding, allowing it to expand internationally and overhaul its platform. bidroom.com
A startup guide to Amsterdam
- Where to visit
- [b]B.Amsterdam, Johan Huizingalaan 763a 1066 VH
One of the biggest startup hubs in Amsterdam, it brings together established businesses and up-and-coming companies across 40,000 square metres. Nab a desk and get networking. b-buildingbusiness.com
- Where to drink
- CT Coffee & Coconuts, Ceintuurbaan 282-284, 1072 GK
Not your typical Amsterdam coffee shop, this is a full-blown café based in a former cinema with top-drawer coffee. Coffeeandcoconuts.com
- Where to eat
- Romano restaurant, Derech Yafo 9. This restaurant-bar-lounge in a historic building in south Tel Aviv is the place, many locals say, that best captures the Tel Aviv atmosphere.
- Where to eat
- Foodhallen, Bellamyplein 51, 1053 AT
Hipster-baiting food courts are ten a penny nowadays, but Foodhallen, just west of the Nine Streets district, is a cut above the rest, offering a variety of different cuisines. foodhallen.nl
Online grocery-shopping startup Crisp is thriving in the Dutch market. In part that success has been achieved by eschewing the idea of a bricks-and-mortar store, instead showcasing products from more than 200 suppliers in its app – with next-day delivery across the Netherlands six days a week. Co-founders Eric Klaassen, René Bink and Tom Peeters raised €3 million in November 2018. crisp.nl
Founded by ex-Facebook employees Koen Bok and Jorn van Dijk in 2014, the AI-powered design company Framer has raised $33 million, including $24 million in November 2018. It allows users to quickly formulate protoype app designs, with teams within Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox and Snap utilising its tools. It’s the second successful design startup from the duo, who joined Facebook after selling their first firm, Sofa, to the Silicon Valley giant. framer.com
Robot Care Systems
Launched by Maja Rudinac and Aswin Chandarr in 2014, Robot Care Systems develops robotic systems to care for older people. Its headline product, a robotic walking frame named Lea, monitors a user’s posture while walking to prevent them falling over – a common cause of injuries among elderly people – while sensing obstacles in the near distance and applying brakes before hitting them. The built-in screen allows users to keep in contact with close relatives via video call. robotcaresystems.com
Hugo Feenstra, Niels Arntz and Paul Eggink launched Temper in 2016, aiming to standardise freelance hiring in the hospitality, retail and charity sectors – connecting experienced workers with employers needing to hire people on-demand. It already has 70,000 workers signed up, working more than a million hours. The firm recently secured €4 million in funding, which Eggink says could be used to expand into Germany. temper.works
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