The debate on climate change and sustainability issues has picked up tremendously in the past few years. Many realised the importance of cleaning up the environment, and this has driven resourceful minds to create technological solutions to save our planet and lives at once. At present, several startups are doing their best to meet their environmental obligations.
Out of that, we have listed nine highly rated startups from Amsterdam that are taking great strides treading the sustainability route.
Founders: Bas van Abel, Miguel Ballester
Fairphone produces the most sustainable and fairest phones, which means the company makes sure that the raw materials in the smartphone do not come from conflict areas.
The company aims to make a positive impact across the value chain in mining, design, manufacturing, and life cycle while expanding the market for products that put ethical values first.
Founded in 2013 by Bas van Abel, Fairphone carries the credits of being the first electronics manufacturer to integrate Fairtrade gold into the supply chain.
According to the company, Fairphone recently became one of the first phone manufacturers to comply with the French Repairability Index that came into effect on 1st January 2021, achieving a score of 8.7/10. “The Index makes it a legal obligation for French resellers and operators to show a repairability score for each smartphone they sell. The score is obtained through answers inputted into a matrix based on criteria such as documentation and spare parts availability,” says the company.
Last year, in August, the Dutch sustainable smartphone brand launched Fairphone 3+, which is an upgraded version of the Fairphone 3, which uses 40% recycled plastics, equivalent to one 33cl plastic bottle. In comparison, this is a much higher percentage than Fairphone 3 (9 per cent).
Land Life Company
Founders: Eduard Zanen, Jurriaan Ruys
Land Life Company is a technology-driven reforestation company that is on a mission to help restore the 2 billion hectares of degraded land in the world. The Dutch company applies data and technology, such as drones, AI, and monitoring applications during the planting process. The company has offices in the USA and Europe with more than 30 professionals.
According to the Amsterdam-based company, it restored 1,713 hectares of degraded land in 2020, despite the pandemic. It will remove 368K tons of CO2 on behalf of its customers. Highlighting its achievements in 2020, the company mentions, “From restoring the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico to large-scale planting in Castilla y Leon in Spain. This year was our biggest planting achievement so far, and a logistic and operational masterpiece. Our operations team has been going full force to get our trees in the ground.”
Last year, in October, the Amsterdam-based scaleup raised €6M from the Achmea Innovation Fund, sustainable investment fund Meewind, DOEN Participates, and the Grantham Environmental Trust. This capital injection was intended to be used for the growth of the company and to increase the speed of technological developments.
Also, as of January 1, 2021, Ernst-Jan Stigter, general manager of Microsoft in the Netherlands, joined Land Life Company as the new CEO.
Founder: Paul Geurts van Kessel
GreenHome (formerly Bleeve) helps homeowners to make their homes more sustainable. The company’s platform connects people on the topic of saving and producing sustainable energy at home, enabling them to create a sufficient society and positive environmental impact.
Based out of Amsterdam, the company is on a mission to provide all homes with sustainable energy and to get rid of fossil fuels. At present, the company works with more than 300 partners in construction and installation companies.
Founder: Boudewijn Mos
Originated from the frustration with the conventional LCA (Life Cycle Assessments) method, Ecochain helps businesses to measure the environmental footprint of their value chain. “Life Cycle Assessments used to be tedious and take a lot of time and money. With our solutions and services, we help companies around the world to gain insights into their environmental footprint fast and without headaches,” mentions the company on its website.
The platform offers insights into the efficiency of energy and resource flows on the company, process, product, and material levels, allowing them to make the most effective measures. The Amsterdam startup allows you to make an environmental blueprint of your organisation.
Founders: Job Veltman, Folkert Roscam Abbing
Voltogo aims to make boating in Amsterdam sustainable. The startup offers Voltogo AppBattery, which is a portable battery charger that powers electric boats. The platform brings the world’s first boat rapid charging network in restaurants on the waterside, with already 100 per cent coverage in Amsterdam.
The electric battery is removable and can be charged at a nearby water cafe. Voltogo claims that boats using its battery render 50 per cent more engine power than those using existing motors.
Founder: Marius Smit
Plastic Whale is a web store that recycles plastic and uses it to manufacture furniture. The company based out of Amsterdam is on a mission to make the world’s waters plastic-free and create value from plastic waste. As per the company’s claims, a part of the proceeds will be invested in local initiatives across the world that tackle the plastic soup problem.
According to the company, the plastic it collects is recycled into furniture and more boats—the same kind of boats that are used by the company for fishing plastics. It currently has a fleet of six design boats made from Amsterdam Canal Plastic.
Founders: Aart van Veller, Matthijs Guichelaar, Remco Wilcke
The green-energy company from Amsterdam delivers green electricity and regular gas to individual and business customers. Unlike others, this Dutch company helps consumers to buy electricity directly from independent producers such as farmers with wind turbines in their fields without any intervention from the energy company. The company also allows customers to choose which producer they wish to be supplied by.
“Vandebron only offers energy that is genuinely sustainably generated on Dutch soil. We call it good energy! You choose your own wind, bio or solar energy source. This way, you know exactly where your energy comes from and where your money is going,” says the company on its website.
Vandebron was acquired by Dutch gas and power provider Essent in 2019. As per this deal, Vandebron will keep its own identity, brand and business model and will continue to operate as an independent company within Essent.
The Waste Transformers
Founders: Lara van Druten
The Waste Transformers has developed commercial garbage disposal systems to reduce the food wastage problem. The Amsterdam company has an on-site containerised anaerobic digester — Waste Transformer. It turns biodegradable waste such as kitchen and commercial waste into biogas or electricity and heat.
“Our Waste Transformers convert organic waste streams into energy, and it recovers the nutrients from your waste streams into a natural fertiliser. It all happens on your own site,” says the company.
Founder: Willem Sodderland
Seamore turns seaweed into everyday food. The company from Amsterdam presents seaweed as a tasty, healthy, and sustainable alternative to foods for Pasta, bacon, wraps, bread. The company aims to bring them to market in Europe and other countries.
In the startup-world, we love to talk about disruption and never has there been more disruption than in the year 2020. Needless to say, not all of it came from startups and not all of it was the good kind. So what about the next year? What does the year hold for the ecosystem, as predicted by the experts?
The Amsterdam startup-scene in 2021
Four people with deep knowledge and insights in the Amsterdam startup-ecosystem tell us about what they expect to happen in the coming year: Jan Andriessen, a partner at Amsterdam-based VC-fund HenQ; Bas Beekman, program director of StartupAmsterdam; Myrthe Hooijman, Director of Policy and Governmental Affairs at Techleap.nl and Kauan Von Novack, the Managing Director at Startupbootcamp.
Growth sectors in the Amsterdam startup-scene
I believe clean energy is going to be huge in the coming months”, says Startupbootcamp’s Von Novack. “The tide is turning politically and funding-wise, there’s mature technologies and experienced players by now, not to mention real impact in people’s lives.” He also predicts a strong recovery in ridesharing and massive growth in startups working on electric mobility solutions. “Last, but not least: I think there is a lot of space for micro-financing, micro-credit and any-time of fintech initiatives to support SMB’s and SME’s to recover from the COVID crisis.”
Fintech is also where Techleap’s Hooijman sees a lot of potential. And that means jobs, she says: “eCommerce, FinTech, and Food have already shown resilient growth during the first months of the Corona crisis. Overall, startups continue to be the number one job growth engine in the Netherlands. Startup jobs are growing faster than any individual sector. Even in 2020, there was a resilient growth despite Covid-19. “
StartupAmsterdam’s Beekman sees similar sectors grow rapidly in the coming year: “It will not be an easy year from an economic point of view, that’s for sure, but Amsterdam has a very diverse economy. If you zoom in on the tech sector, I think that companies in Healthtech, Biotech, Cleantech (climate economy), food, mobility and logistics have a chance to show growth in 2021.”
‘It’s usually a surprise’
For HenQs Andriessen, growth is not limited to a sector. It’s about the people: “One clear factor in Amsterdam is the maturity of several high growth companies such as Adyen and Thuisbezorgd, Backbase and Mollie. So I would look for people who played a role in building these companies and ran into problems or challenges that they think they can solve better when running their own company. Which sector that will be? That’s usually quite a surprise.”
For instance, Andriessen explains that smart employees in a disruptive B2C food company can run into problems with invoicing, which leads to a brand new B2B fintech. “But these people have been exposed to the right way of building a company and they are aware of what is state of the art in the tech industry. This combination has created many successful companies before.”
The year of a new cloud-generation
With those growing areas of the ecosystem in mind, how will Amsterdam’s ecosystem evolve in 2021?
Andriessen believes, “that the cloud market is maturing. Most enterprises have made the switch from on-premise to cloud software. However, a lot of ‘first generation’ cloud software is high on functionality but was never really built for your employees who are the actual target user. We love companies that address this opportunity and are part of the second generation of cloud providers that do not just provide functionality on paper, but know how to build a great product that will be used.”
Hooijman is looking at the broader picture when it comes to startup trends in Amsterdam: “Startups and tech trends don’t limit themselves to a city. When we talk about technology that will change the future and impact the economy, we are talking about deep-tech, where technologies like AI, blockchain, and data science meet physical components, such as robotics and sensors, to provide solutions for the major problems we face. Whether that be climate change, healthcare or mobility, and transport. One of the biggest challenges is how to attract and retain the right talent, and organise a quantitative and qualitative talent pool that matches the needs of scaleups.
Digitisation and the return of tourism
Beekman focuses on the digitisation of businesses, to make sure they are future-proof: “Not so much a new trend, but very important in times like these: in recent months we have been working on setting up a major program to help SMEs with the necessary digitization they have to make, the so-called MKB Digitaliseringsoffensief (SME Digitization Offensive), which will start at the beginning of 2021. We are looking for startups that can help with that important task, whether it concerns remote working, or digital security, payment methods, use of AI and so on.”
At Startupbootcamp, Von Novack is pretty clear about what he considers the most important trend: “Sustainability, for sure. Building back but in a better way is key. I think governments, corporations, investors, SMEs, everybody will be very critical of consumption choices.” He also predicts another trend, that many Amsterdammers will probably not like. Tourism will come back, big time. “All that locked up energy will come in full force during summer or winter breaks. Startups building value props now for the Tourism 2.0, can reap the benefits.”
Diversity and inclusiveness in 2021: serious business
Part of the growing consciousness in the businessworld is an increased focus on diversity and inclusiveness. StartupAmsterdam is launching RISE Female Hub to take action, says Beekman: “The aim of this action program, which will start at the beginning of this year, is to stimulate more attention for female entrepreneurship and women in tech, in the city and ultimately to get more diversity, including more women with an ethnic background, into the start-ups.”
Von Novack says there is no other way, “And not only from the social angle of diversity and inclusion, but from the top-line angle as well. If Amsterdam companies want to grow exponentially in other markets and countries, they must include different points of view and cultures into their decision making, otherwise they run the risk of making cultural and market assumptions which are very dangerous.”
For Techleap, diversity and inclusion is a key focus area, partly proven by their work with Fundright, says Hooijman: “The technology sector is predominantly male, and that causes limitations in the innovative ability of the ecosystem. Research shows that a more diverse ecosystem is a more productive ecosystem, so we must work to promote balance, diversity, and inclusivity. As the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam can take a lead on some of the best practices.”
Andriessen would like to see these topics go beyond mere talk: “Rather than making this a mission statement item and sticking to words only, I hope diversity and inclusiveness will be put into action and be part of hiring and performance management of all VC’s and startups.”
Connection within the city and beyond
Besides making new years’ resolutions, the beginning of a new year is also a good moment to make a wish. What Hooijman would like to see change in Amsterdam is a more connected ecosystem in 2021: “It is essential to flourish. As Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, ànd a best practice example on building a vibrant startup ecosystem, it would be great if Amsterdam reaches out even more to other regions in the Netherlands and they act as one ecosystem together.”
Von Novack hopes for something similar too: “A broader and more united network of founders and support organizations. For a city of its size, Amsterdam is quite fragmented so you encounter founders in the same sub-industry that have never even heard of each other. Some level of coordination would help the players be more connected and competitive in the global market.”
Remember in-person meetings?
Meanwhile, Beekman hopes the city and its people come out of the crisis all right: “The current crisis will cause more and more people to lose their jobs in sectors that will be hit hard. I think that after retraining and upskilling, many of these people can work for the fast-growing tech companies in the city. We are busy setting up a talent ecosystem guide that will connect tech companies, knowledge institutions and start-up academies and make it easier for people without a job to get started in the start-up ecosystem.
Finally, Andriessen articulates what everyone in the pandemic-weary world is currently craving for: “Even though we do just as many deals remotely as in person, I miss the face-to-face meetings with portfolio and prospect investments. I hope we can meet again in person!”
The last year was a big game-changer for many companies. Food delivery startups witnessed commendable growth during the lockdown in 2020, and this is clearly indicated in Just Eat Takeaway.com’s Q4 2020 trading update. However, before we get to that, the company announced a big news that it no longer intends to delist its shares from Euronext Amsterdam “as soon as possible and it will remain listed at both the London Stock Exchange and Euronext Amsterdam until otherwise decided.”
Here’s the reason behind it.
Just Eat Takeaway will not be delisted from Euronext Amsterdam, for now
Back in August 2019, Just Eat Takeaway announced its intentions to get its shares delisted from Euronext Amsterdam. This was to be done as soon as possible under applicable Dutch law and the rules, regulations and announcements of Euronext Amsterdam. The delisting was expected to occur about 20 trading days after February 3, 2021, which would mark 12 months after the company’s listing and admission to trading of Just Eat Takeaway.com’s shares on the Premium Segment of the London Stock Exchange’s Main Market for listed securities.
However, back on June 10, 2020, the food delivery company announced its acquisition of Grubhub in an all-share transaction, which is set to complete in the first half of 2021. Since Grubhub Inc. is an American online food ordering and delivery platform, it falls under the rules of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Thus, Just Eat Takeaway is required to register and list in the U.S. the shares being offered to Grubhub shareholders.
Just Eat Takeaway has now announced its plans to delay any decision on the structure of its listing venues. This will result in its shares still being listed at both the London Stock Exchange and Euronext Amsterdam until stated otherwise.
Just Eat Takeaway’s Q4 2020 trading updates
Alongside the news of Just Eat Takeaway cancelling delisting of its shares, the company also announced its Q4 2020 trading updates. As per the media release, the company is investing in its most important countries to strengthen its position, which apparently led to accelerating growth both in Marketplace Orders as well as in its Delivery business, combined with notable financial performance.
“The fourth quarter of 2020 marks our third consecutive quarter of order growth acceleration. Our investment programme is very successful and has led to significant market share gains in most of our countries. The progress in the UK is particularly exciting; order growth of 58 per cent and we have increased our Delivery Orders nearly five-fold in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019,” says Jitse Groen, CEO of Just Eat Takeaway.com
“In 2021, we will continue to invest in price leadership, improving our service levels and expanding our offering to restaurants and consumers,” he adds.
The company increased its efforts in the Just Eat UK business by changing its marketing strategy and increasing marketing investments. Its UK sales force has also doubled over the previous year. Delivery Orders in the UK for the company surged a whopping 387 per cent in Q4 2020 compared with Q4 2019.
Just Eat Takeaway launched a new loyalty programme in Canada, which is expected to drive further growth. In Germany and the Netherlands, the company’s order growth is said to have grown exponentially as it witnessed over 12 million orders and ca. 4 million orders respectively in Q4 2020 compared with the same period last year. Orders in Rest of the World grew 47 per cent in Q4 2020 compared with the same period last year, with Australia (+166 per cent) in particular demonstrating outstanding performance.
For the full year 2020, the company’s management expects revenue growth of over 50 per cent with an adjusted EBITDA margin of approximately 10 per cent. The company will continue to invest heavily and prioritise market share over adjusted EBITDA. Just Eat Takeaway.com also invested €45M to implement measures to support restaurants, couriers, healthcare workers and charitable initiatives in 2020.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2021 has officially begun this week, and it’s digital this time! Even though it’s remote, CES aims to do what it does the best, showing off the latest innovations, discoveries, and ideas in the field of tech. To reiterate, CES is an annual trade show organised by the Consumer Technology Association in January at Las Vegas.
From the Netherlands, more than 90 of the brightest and most forward-thinkingstartups are participating in the CES 2021 to explore the power of technology and collaboration in solving societal challenges worldwide. Out of 90 Dutch startups, we have compiled a list of 9 startups from Amsterdam participating in this year.
Founder/s: Peter-Paul de Leeuw, Thomas Dieste and Timo Behrens
Founded year: 2017
Amberscript is an Amsterdam-based startup that created a specialised AI-enabled speech-to-text engine to ease the efforts of manual transcription. Its SaaS software enables users to automatically transcribe audio and video into text using speech recognition.
The company’s platform is used by journalists, scientists, students, doctors, lawyers, and many others all over the world. The company deploys its AI algorithms and its web text editor for enhanced accuracy.
Founder/s: Gerbert Kaandorp, Jasper Wognum, Peter Eijk
Founded year: 2016
BrainCreators, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) scaleup delivers digital inspectors for the construction, manufacturing, and infrastructure sectors that automate a repetitive task, enabling businesses to scale effectively and cost-efficiently.
Founder/s: Michael Musandu, Ugnius Rimsa
Founded year: 2019
Based out of Amsterdam, LALALand uses neural networks to generate images of artificial humans. It is disrupting e-commerce apparel webshops by letting shoppers turn their online shopping experience into a personalised and customised shopping spree.
Through its platform, LALALand offers brands, a vast library of age, size, and ethnic-inclusive models so that online shoppers can see themselves in the latest apparel as per their requirements.
Founder/s: Coen van Oostrom
Founded year: 2018
Edge Technologies, a company by OVG Real Estate, develops the most sustainable office buildings in the world. The company is on a mission to build a greener, smarter, and healthier ecosystem with a user-centered approach that intuitively learns from use.
Founder/s: Daan Assen, Willemijn Schneyder
Founded year: 2015
The Amsterdam startup Swipeguide aims to simplify work with digital instructions, getting rid of papers, and PDFs in the process. The company aims to eliminate useless instructions and delivers the most intuitive way to standardise work in the manufacturing industry.
Founder/s: Coen Janssen, Erik Wienk, Erik Wienk, Ernst Peter Hovinga, Ernst Peter Hovinga, Laurens Groenendijk, Maarten Engelen.
Founded year: 2016
Hiber, a space-based IoT startup from Amsterdam was founded by a team of satellite experts and tech entrepreneurs. The company is on a mission to launch and run a nano-satellite constellation in space.
The space startup aims to help with tackling climate change, growing crops efficiently, managing natural resources better, and protecting wild animals. Hiber had a successful 2018, as the company triumphantly launched 2 nanosatellites and also got named as Amazon Web Services Commercial Startup Launch of 2018.
Founder/s: Hedwig Heinsman
Founded year: 2017
Aectual develops industrial digital production technologies and software tools to create customisable and affordable building solutions. Meaning, the platform enables rapid, high-quality customised production of 3D printed architectural products at an industrial scale more affordably and sustainably.
Founder/s: Pieter Oranje, Anouk Visser, Camiel Verschoor, and Kitso Epema,
Founded year: 2016
Amsterdam-based Birds.ai develops a cutting-edge image analysis platform to locate objects and defects for visual inspections. The company provides a cloud-based service to generate digital actionable reports with the location and status of objects and defects.
Closing the loop
Founder/s: Joost de Kluijver
Founded year: 2012
Closing the Loop, the Amsterdam startup offers users, buyers, and sellers of devices an easy way to compensate for the waste of the product purchase and use. The company collects scrap phones (in developing countries, at the end of their useful lives) on behalf of customers, thereby compensating their IT devices.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to redefine the technology of the future such as self-driving cars and healthcare robots. Though the AI ecosystem is young, many future-proof connections are being built in the Dutch capital. It won’t be an exaggeration to see Amsterdam be a world leader in this industry in the coming years.
Already, the two major Amsterdam universities conduct a joint AI masters program. Besides this, the Amsterdam School of Data Science, which is a collaboration between four of the research and applied sciences universities in the city, offers over 250 data science-driven programmes.
Apparently, the city is one of the best places for fresh talent as well as prominent pioneers in the field of Artificial Intelligence. Therefore, Silicon Canals has listed notable AI leaders in Amsterdam to watch out for in 2021. These AI leaders have contributed immensely to the further progress of the city’s achievement in this field.
Sennay Ghebreab is a Professor of Socially-Intelligent AI, Program Director MSc Data Science & Information Systems, and Scientific Director of the Civic AI Lab (CAIL). The lab is a collaboration between the Ministry of Interior Affairs, City of Amsterdam, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and the University of Amsterdam. Civic AI lab develops Artificial Intelligence technology that will increase equal opportunity in various fields including education, welfare, environment, mobility and health.
Last year, on the 10th of December, the official launch event for CAIL happened internationally online.
Dennis Tan has been an entrepreneur since the age of 15. He has participated in the creation of more than 25 companies and serves as an international public speaker. Tan is the co-founder of multiple entrepreneurial groups, including Dutch Entrepreneurial Communities, and Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurs Student Association. Also, he is the founder of Dashmote, a Rotterdam-based startup.
“Happy and excited to be living in a time-period & world in which there are so many opportunities to make a positive impact on other people their lives. I hope to encourage as many people to use the low entry barriers in our time (thanks to tech and other innovations) to their advantage and to get the best out of themselves!” says Tan in his LinkedIn profile.
Jeanet Lin, the founder of Dutch startup Food for Gut, which won the ‘The Ultimate Game Changer’ award in Women in AI’s WaiACCELERATE pitch finals. The startup offers an AI-powered digital health app with a data-driven solution. Artificial Intelligence is utilised by the company for analytics and to provide personalised recommendations in real-time.
Theo Gevers is a professor of computer vision at the University of Amsterdam. He is director of the Computer Vision Lab and co-director of the Atlas Lab in Amsterdam. His research area is artificial intelligence with the focus on computer vision and deep learning, and in particular image processing, 3D (object) understanding and human-behaviour analysis with industrial and societal applications in fashion/retail, healthcare, real estate, smart cities, and automotive.
Gevers is also the co-founder of 3DUniversum Sightcorp and ScanM. He has published over 200+ papers and three books. He is an organiser, general chair, and program committee member of a various number of conferences, and an invited speaker at major conferences. He is actively involved in media and dissemination activities.
Amsterdam-based fintech startup Dyme combines financial data with the latest machine learning technologies to offer its users a state-of-the-art solution for subscription management. It lets users connect their bank accounts and provides a clear overview of their finances. The app automatically detects subscriptions and hidden fees and enables users to cancel or change any contract with a single click. This platform was founded by David Knap, David Schogt, Joran Iedema, Wouter Florijn in 2018.
Iedema presented Amsterdam-based Dyme in the NPO1 program in Dragons’ Den. And certainly not without success! After Shawn Harris, Pieter Schoen, Won Yip, Michel Perridon and Nikkie Plessen expressed their interest, Pieter Schoen and Michel Perridon proposed €750K for 50.01 per cent of the shares during the TV programme – Dragon’s Den.
Evgenia Logunova is a new-edge tech-inspired professional with over 15 years of experience in innovation, business strategy, marketing, and stakeholder engagement, among others. She claims to be a big fan of Artificial Intelligence, Data, Cloud, and Internet of Things and has worked at both startups and globally established organisations, including IBM, Ingenico ePayments (now Worldline), Alcatel-Lucent (now Nokia), Virtual Affairs, Linxdatacenter, Paazl, and other companies. She currently leads the Dutch chapter of Women in AI, a nonprofit global do-tank on a mission to bridge the gender gap in the industry for a gender-inclusive, responsible AI. Logunova is also the founder of Evenness, an Amsterdam-based consulting firm.
Jacco van Ossebrugge
Jacco van Ossenbruggen is leading the Human-Centered Data Analytics group at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam, and the User Centric Data Science research group at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He is also one of the Scientific Co-directors of Civic AI Lab (CAIL).
Ossenbruggen is involved in the assessment of data quality in large, heterogeneous research datasets in the digital humanities, large scale web data integration and linking in cultural heritage and other data rich domains. He completed his PhD in computer science from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2001.
Elvire Jaspers is the co-founder and CEO of WeAreBrain, a multinational technology company with headquarters in Amsterdam and Kiev. She was featured on the Netherlands Women to Watch list twice. She is one of the most influential leaders in the technology development of the Netherlands in 2020.
She has also been instrumental in creating a number of businesses including clevergig – a startup focused on staffing the up and coming Gig economy.
Sindi Shkodrani is the Machine Learning/ Computer Vision Engineer – Autonomous Driving R&D – for TomTom. She is the brains behind developing TomTom‘s tech for autonomous driving cars. She completed her M.Sc. in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Amsterdam in 2017. Furthermore, Shkodrani is a member of Women in AI Netherlands since late 2018.
Marion Mulder has been working in the field of digital technology for over two decades. Initially, she started with building websites, moved into intranet management and implemented digital workplaces, followed by building apps and actively learning about chatbots, virtual assistants, conversational user interfaces, artificial intelligence, augmented reality and ambient technology. Mulder is an ethical AI expert from digital and voice assistants to nonbinary people-inclusive algorithms. Mulder is also the owner of MuldiMedia, a Haarlem company.
Gabrielle Davelaar, an AI Technical Specialist at Microsoft, helps companies with their digital AI transformation suitable for scaling responsibly and transparently. She saved her son’s life with the power of Data Science by finding the right medicine by combining options. After discovery, Gabrielle Davelaar advises it to the parents of kids with a rare form of epilepsy.
All these months, there were layoffs and pay cuts due to the persistent COVID-19 pandemic. According to the national statistics office CBS, the Dutch official jobless rate rose to 4.5 per cent in July, as the number of unemployed went up to 419,000. In Amsterdam, around 29,000 people claimed unemployment benefits, a rise of 53 per cent on a year ago, says another report.
Companies have been reduced their recruitment numbers, while some have implemented hiring freeze indefinitely. A report by Cedefop notes that there have been 35 per cent fewer jobs listed by European companies in online job portals this year.
However, startups in the Netherlands have proved to be the best job growth engine. According to the second edition of the Dutch startup employment study by Dealroom on Dutch startup jobs, in partnership with Techleap.nl and CBRE, reveals that startups are the number one job growth engine in the Netherlands. The study finds that startups created over 109,000 jobs for people in the Netherlands and 25,000 of those were created in the last three years.
Furthermore, even during the coronavirus pandemic, when most sectors shed people, startups showed the most resilience. According to the report, compared to any other sector, job openings were up by 4 per cent YoY in Q2 2020.
Amsterdam is home to many tech unicorns and most of them are currently hiring. Saying that, let’s take a look at those unicorns from Amsterdam who are hiring right now. Tell all your friends looking for jobs.
Founder/s: Pieter van der Does, Arnout Schuijff Founded year: 2006 Funding: €293M
Adyen, a fintech unicorn operating with the intention to simplify and accelerate global payments is hiring right now. All open positions can be looked at over here.
Adyen helps businesses grow and meet during the constantly changing requirements of global businesses with its payment platform that is built on contemporary infrastructure, which is connected to local payment methods and offers a unified experience to buyers and provides merchants with shopper data insights.
Founder/s: Geert-Jan Bruinsma Founded year: 1996 Funding: NA
Booking.com is now one of the world’s leading digital travel companies. Being a part of Booking Holdings Inc, Booking.com’s mission is to make it easier for everyone to experience the world. Booking.com is available in 43 languages and offers over 28 million accommodation listings including homes, apartments and other unique places to stay.
Founder/s: Shay Banon, Simon Willnauer, Steven Schuurman, Uri Boness Founded year: 2012 Funding: €147M
Amsterdam-based unicorn Elastic is now looking for fresh talent to take its business to the next level. If you are looking for a new job, then head on to the careers section of Elastic over here.
Elastic is a search company, which builds self-managed and SaaS offerings that make data usable in real-time and scalable for use cases such as site search, application search, logging, enterprise search, APM, security, metrics, business analytics, and more. Elastic is used by several global organisations including eBay, Cisco, Microsoft, etc. to power mission-critical systems.
Founder/s: Roger Hodenius, Jan van Kuijk Founded year: 2004 Funding: NA
Fintech unicorn in the Netherlands, Flow Traders is still hiring and has a slew of open positions. Apply for a job at Flow Traders by clicking on this link.
Flow Traders is a leading global tech-enabled liquidity provider, which is specialised in Exchange Traded Products. The fintech company focuses on providing liquidity in financial products both on- and off-exchange across the world. It designs strategies publicly using available information and non-controversial, simple, and transparent order types.
Founder/s: Jitse Groen Founded year: 2000 Funding: €86M
Takeaway.com is a leading online food delivery marketplace, which focuses on connecting consumers and restaurants via its platform. Its online marketplace matches both the supply and demand. Takeaway lets restaurant partners deliver food using its platform and applications. Furthermore, the food delivery marketplace also facilitates online payment process. Earlier this year, it merged with British food delivery service Just Eat, to form one of the largest food delivery groups in the world.
Founder/s: Corinne Vigreux, Peter Frans Pauwels Founded year: 1991 Funding: NA
The location intelligence company TomTom, which is one of the companies that played a key role during the pandemic crisis is now looking for fresh talent and you can apply for a position over here.
TomTom has grown into a leading global brand that attained the unicorn status after its IPO in 2005. Now, TomTom is synonymous with navigation cabinets in the car and it predominantly focuses on card and software development. It is one of the most extensive digital map databases and processes billions of data points on an everyday basis to maintain and scale numerous products and services.
Founder/s: Adriaan Mol, Robert Vis Founded year: 2011 Funding: €236M
The Dutch unicorn that serves over 15,000 global customers and resolves their communication challenges is hiring. Apply for open positions from here.
MessageBird one is a cloud communications service provider that offers voice, SMS, and chat solutions letting developers and enterprises to communicate with their customers across the world virtually. The cloud communication platform offers a suite of options that helps businesses stay on top of customer service. Earlier this year, in October, the company raised a notable €169.8M and has been valued at €2.5B.
Founder/s: Adriaan Mol Founded year: 2004 Total funding: €121M
Another leading fintech in Amsterdam, Mollie, the online payment service startup is hiring right now. You can find all their open positions over here.
Mollie’s cloud-based platform serves more than 80,000 businesses in Europe. The online payment platform aims to simplify payments by offering clever products combined with great design. The Dutch startup intends to accelerate growth and expand both its commercial team and operations, and scale its product and engineering teams. In September, this year, this Amsterdam-based payment services provider became the newest member of the fintech unicorn club, after raising a whopping €90M in its series B funding round. This took the total amount raised by the company till to €115M.
Founder/s: Valery Vavilov Founded year: 2011 Funding: €182M
Amsterdam-based Bitfury, a leading security and infrastructure provider for bitcoin and blockchain is hunting for fresh talent. You can apply for open positions from here.
The Dutch unicorn develops blockchain solutions for organisations, businesses, governments, and individuals. It provides solutions such as bitcoin mining, asset management, blockchain security, data centre cooling, and cryptocurrency compliance. Last year, Bitfury announced the launch of an AI division that will work with its portfolio of blockchain services.
The coronavirus pandemic impacted various aspects of the economy, and as a result, some sectors observed increased demands while others were negatively impacted. Multiple businesses faced losses, while the startups were afraid of fundings drying up. However, with lockdown relaxing in Amsterdam and most parts of the Netherlands, the country’s startup and scaleup scene seems to have gotten better.
According to a recent Dealroom/StartupAmsterdam report, the combined value of Amsterdam’s tech ecosystem has expanded to €73B, compared to €10B in 2015. This makes Amsterdam the third-ranked tech ecosystem in Europe, by the total value of tech companies founded since 2000. Another report ranks Amsterdam as the third best startup ecosystem in Europe, after London and Stockholm. Globally, the city stands in the 12th position.
The good news is, the stakeholders of the ecosystem are constantly striving to strengthen it and drive inclusiveness and collaboration. “We are always looking for companies that offer painkillers, not vitamins. Startups that offer a solution for a problem and solve people’s pain. Those companies are less affected than the nice-to-haves,” says Johan van Mil, partner at Amsterdam-based VC Peak Capital.
The city’s thriving startup ecosystem is a living, breathing entity that’s growing and maturing rapidly. It’s buzzing with an entrepreneurial spirit, innovative drive, and ambition of its stakeholders – the ecosystem’s lifeforce. The true entrepreneurial spirit that even a pandemic could extinguish.
Below mentioned are some of the Amsterdam-based startups that hit the headlines in 2020
From bootstrapped to unicorn: MessageBird raises €169.8M at €2.5B valuation
The cloud communication platform MessageBird offers a suite of options that helps businesses stay on top of customer service. The company raised €169.8M and valued at €2.5B. The latest Series C funding round for the company happened remotely due to the effects of the pandemic.
The round was led by Silicon Valley’s Spark Capital, with participation from Bonnier, Glynn Capital, LGT Lightstone, Longbow, Mousse Partners and New View Capital. Existing investors Accel, Atomico, and Y-Combinator also participated in this round.
Founded in 2011, MessageBird offers what it calls an ‘Omnichannel’ solution that is said to unify and track interactions across ‘every’ messaging channel. Instead of keeping tabs on different channels such as SMS, email, voice, messaging apps and more, an enterprise can simply use MessageBird’s service for consolidated information at one place.
Recently, Messagebird has acquired Pusher, a London-based software firm, in a deal worth $ 35M (approx €29M). It marks the next milestone for the Dutch unicorn, on its path to an IPO.
Digital gaming and adtech company Azerion raises €12.5M; announces IPO plans
Azerion, a digital gaming and adtech company, based out of Schiphol-Rijk, the Netherlands, raised €12.5M to accelerate the growth of its digital platform with a wider variety of quality games, entertainment, and monetisation features, both organically and through acquisitions.
Azerion says the acquisitions are initially focused on quality casual games and digital entertainment concepts, as well as digital advertising solutions.
Founded in 2014 by two Dutch entrepreneurs – Umut Akpinar and Atilla Aytekin – Azerion claims to have built an ecosystem that combines content, technology, and data for publishers, advertisers, and consumers.
Payaut raises €2.65M in seed funding
Fintech startup Payaut raised over $ 3M (€2.65M) in its seed round of funding. The round was led by its earlier lead investor UK-based LocalGlobe, and previous investor Finch Capital also participated again.
Founded in 2019 by Ernst van Niekerk and Gillis Haasnoot, Payaut offers an automated payment solution for online marketplaces. It ensures that money flowing through these marketplaces ends up with the right sellers or companies with SplitPayments. The company claims to offer an all-in-one payment solution for online marketplaces that takes care of everything regarding payments towards the platform and the vendors it hosts.
Catawiki scoops up €150M
Catawiki, an online auction platform for buying and selling special items and collectables, raised €150M in a fresh round of funding led by Permira through its Growth Opportunities Fund. Existing investor Accel also participated in this round. The current round of funding will help Catawiki to grow its user base by investing in technology, marketing, and hiring more experts across Europe.
Catawiki was founded by Rene Schoenmakers (a Dutch comic collector), and Marco Jansen (a Dutch developer). It went online on 10th September 2008 as a wiki-based compendium of collector’s catalogues. The company claims to be the most-visited curated marketplace in Europe in categories such as collectables, art, design, jewellery, watches, classic cars, among others.
Cybersecurity scaleup EclecticIQ raised €20M
EclecticIQ raised €20M in its Series C round of funding led by Ace Management, a cyber growth investor. The round also saw participation from Capricorn Digital Growth Fund and Quest for Growth, Invest-NL, Arches Capital. Besides, existing investors, including INKEF Capital, KEEN Venture Partners, and KPN Ventures, also participated in the round.
Founded in 2014 by Joep Gommers and Raymon van der Velde, EclecticIQ is a global threat intelligence, hunting, and response technology provider. Its clients are some of the most targeted organisations, globally, claims the company.
Fast-charging startup Fastned raises €17M
With a goal to open 1000 fast-charging stations for electric vehicles to charge with renewable energy from the sun and wind, fast-charging network for electric vehicles company, Fastned, has raised €17M in a fresh round of funding with the issue of bonds.
Founded in 2012 by Michiel Langezaal and Bart Lubbers, Fastned is a Dutch company with an aim to accelerate the transition to electric mobility by giving freedom to electric drivers.
Investor henQ opens new fund: €100M
Venture capital fund HENQ from Amsterdam received €100M to invest in business software companies in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe. 80% of the money went to SaaS companies while the 20% was already invested in companies including Zivver, Order Champ, Cloud and Townsend Mews.
Prior to that, henQ hit a new milestone with its fourth fund, henQ 4, with the first close of €70M. henQ takes pride in being a fully remote VC. There are no offices and the team works from different locations and it is also closing deals remotely.
Ever since starting their first fund in 2005, henQ has been focused on investing from pre-seed up to Series A in B2B software companies. One of the first investments the company made with its first fund was in Mendix, which was eventually acquired by Lightspeed for over $ 700M (approx €573M).
In henQ 2, they invested in SEOshop and saw early success as it was acquired by Lightspeed. Fast forward to henQ 3, the firm invested in 19 companies that showcased a 70% graduation rate, which means they raised a follow-on round with external investors after a seed round from henQ. Some of the notable companies from henQ 3 include ZIVVER, SendCloud, Mews Systems, Impraise, Aidence, among others.
CodeSandbox to make coding more collaborative & less complex; raises €10.83M
The Amsterdam-based company raised $ 12.7M (nearly €10.83M) in its Series A round of funding led by EQT Ventures. The round saw participation from existing investors including Kleiner Perkins, Arches Capital, and Vercel founder Guillermo Rauch accompanied by new angels Andreas Blixt and Daniel Gebler.
CodeSandbox is an online code editor that allows users to create a new web application in a single click. The platform handles the setting up of the development environment, the tooling, and the provisioning for the users. This way, they can focus on creating the application instead of all the tooling.
Zivver raised €14.4M
Zivver, a platform that offers solutions to securely exchange email, chat, or transfer files to prevent data leaks of sensitive information, raised $ 17M (approx €14.4M) in a fresh round of funding led by international tech investor DN Capital, with participation from new investor SmartFin.
Founded in 2015 by Rick Goud, Zivver provides a secure document sharing and email communication solution for enterprises. It offers a secure mobile communication platform for encrypted emails and sharing large documents. The company uses two-factor authentication (2FA) so that only the recipient can open the message.
The raised capital was used to accelerate Zivver’s international expansion into the UK and other markets. In addition, it also helped in the expansion of Zivver’s platform from email data protection and secure file transfer to adjacent use cases like digital signatures, secure forms, and secure video.
Adyen alumni raise €2.6M funding for Silverflow, a cloud-native card payments platform
Silverflow raised a seed fund of €2.6M to roll out its first cloud-native card payments platform. In an exclusive conversation with SC, Silverflow’s co-founders, Anne Willem de Vries and Robert Kraal shared more about the company, the initial challenges it faced and more.
The Silverflow platform has been in development for about two years now, and is slated to launch in early 2021. The platform is said to be the first cloud-native card payments platform that directly connects with card networks.
This accelerator is all set to boost energy startups in Europe with a new €21M fund
To help startups dealing with energy production, accelerator – Rockstart, raised €21M in fresh funding. Rockstart is using the funds to create an Energy Fund to be utilised investing in energy startups based out of the Netherlands and Europe. This new fund will be used to help early-stage startups until they scale-up.
The new Energy Fund launched with the Dutch pension fund ABP, and family office De Hoge Dennen Capital as cornerstone investors, along with some prominent private-wealth and industry investors. It is also supported by the seed capital scheme from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).
Previously, Rockstart’s first AgriFood Demo Day, which was hosted in Copenhagen on the 30th January 2020, the company had closed an investment in their AgriFood fund taking the total capital under management to over €18M.
E-bike firm VanMoof raised funds as its sales accelerate
VanMoof secured €33.7M in Series B funding from Norwest Venture Partners, Felix Capital and Balderton Capital. The company said it will utilise the funds to fuel further global expansion and bolster its manufacturing process.
The raised capital was to help VanMoof to meet the increased demand for its e-bikes and shortening delivery time. The company will drive its expansion plans further into key growth markets such as the US and Germany, where new brand stores and pop-up shops will be opened.
The company has recently raised €12.5M from one of Europe’s leading venture capital firms Balderton Capital and assembly partner SINBON Electronics. These funds will support the company’s international expansion plans as it aims to scale up for keeping up with the increased e-bike demands.
Software company Blockdata that deals with blockchain-centric market intelligence has been acquired by CB Insights.
With social distancing and working from home being the new normal, this acquisition happened virtually. CB Insights notes that pulling off the deal completely online wasn’t too difficult as they managed to do so in less than three months. As per the company, the deal moved quickly since blockchain tech has become popular with CB Insights’ customers.
Factris helps SMEs with invoice financing; secures €50M
Fintech startup Factris, that provides an online invoice factoring platform for European SMEs, raised €50M. The round for Factris was based upon a secured financing agreement with asset manager NN Investment Partners (NN IP). The company used the funds to provide easier financing to European SMEs. It did it by purchasing their trade-related invoices, which enables SMEs to better manage their liquidity position.
Founded in 2017 by Brice Laurent and Marcel Meijer, Factris specialises in the fields of SME financing, factoring, debt management, debtor insurance, and invoice finance. The company also specialises in working capital to businesses by buying their unpaid invoices.
The startup had earlier raised €5M in funding from AB ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of the Arab Bank. Existing investors including Speedinvest, Optima Investments, and other high net worth investors also participated in the Series-A equity funding round.
Prior to that, Factris received €1.4M in funding from the EU for the development of an automated risk-management system. Notably, this risk-management system will use Artificial Intelligence and will be aimed at solving a major problem affecting small businesses across Europe.
Mollie raises €90M in TCV-led funding
Payment services provider Mollie became the newest member of the fintech unicorn club, raised €90M in its series B funding round. The company raised a total of €115M, to date. Mollie will utilise these funds for accelerating its international expansion plans.
Founded in 2004 by Adriaan Mol, Mollie is a payments platform that offers an easy-to-implement process for integrating payments into a site or app. It is a technology-based company processing payments for more than 50,000 clients with local payment methods such as Mastercard, VISA, Amex, PayPal, iDEAL, Bancontact, Bitcoin, SEPA Direct Debit, Cartes Bancaires, ESP, Giropay, SOFORT Banking, and more.
Mollie aims to make online payment simple for merchants by taking away the complexity from payment methods and offering a simple, but powerful API.
AI-startup raises €10.13M to support COVID-19 research
Castor, that’s using AI to offer a cloud-based clinical data platform that simplifies the clinical trial process, raised €10.13M in its Series A round of funding. The round was led by Two Sigma Ventures while Hambrecht Ducera Growth Ventures and existing investor INKEF Capital participated as well.
The new funding will help the startup to strengthen its support for patient-centric, remote trials. It will also enable the company’s customers to maximise value from existing and newly generated data throughout the clinical trial process.
Founded back in 2012 by Derk Arts, Castor offers an Electronic Data Capture (EDC) system for medical researchers to help them easily capture and integrate high-quality data from any source on one compliant platform. It helps set up data capture forms, collaborate with colleagues, invite patients through questionnaires, import, export and analyse their data in a secure, compliant cloud environment, all without elaborate training or technical skills.
Kinder raised €500K amid pandemic, looking to raise €3M
Amsterdam-based Kinder is a tech-for-good startup that thoroughly vets the performance of charitable organisations and allows donors to act instantly when confronted with the world’s problems. In this case, ‘vet’ means examining or checking. In other words, gathering information on an organisation to determine its soundness.
In August, this year, we reported that Kinder raised almost €500K in funding. The very next month, the startup raised an additional €525K in a funding round led by a group of angel investors. In fact, Mathys van Abbe, founder of Kinder, also joined the round. With this funding, Kinder has, so far, raised €2.1M to date
The company intended to use the funding to expand its global network as well as accelerate product development for innovative fundraising features including Kinder Appeals and Kinder Fundraiser platforms. These platforms would allow users to donate towards effectively solving society’s most urgent problems and organise fundraisers to maximise their support.
WordProof wins €1M in a competition by European Commission
WordProof finished first in the ‘Blockchains for social good’ competition hosted by the European Commission. As a result, the company won €1M. With this contest, Europe aims to stimulate the use of blockchain technology to solve social problems.
Founded in 2019 by Sebastiaan van der Lans and Frank van Dalen as an angel investor and partner, the Dutch startup is on a mission to restore trust in the internet. According to the Global CIGI-Ipsos research, the confidence on the Internet is declining due to fraud, fake news, and privacy issues, among other things.
Fastned is solving Europe’s EV charging problems, scores €13M
Fast-charging company Fastned, which builds a nationwide network of fast-charging stations in the Netherlands, raised over €13M with the issue of bonds. In addition, investors extended €2.7M worth of bonds from earlier issues. All newly issued bonds will mature in July 2025.
Founded in 2012 by Michiel Langezaal and Bart Lubbers, Fastned aims to accelerate the transition to electric mobility by giving freedom to electric drivers. The company owns and operates a network of EV charging stations in the Netherlands, Germany, and the UK – the majority of its stations are located at Dutch highway rest areas. So far, it has built 129 fast-charging stations in the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Belgium.
Siilo: The Dutch WhatsApp for healthcare professionals raises €9.5M
Medtech startup Siilo raised €9.5M in Series A round of funding. The company claims to have built Europe’s largest medical network with more than 250,000 healthcare professionals. Through that funds, Siilo intended to continue the expansion of its product offerings to better support case-based collaboration and knowledge-sharing on its platform. Additionally, it plans to expand its network across Europe, specifically across the UK and Ireland as well as, DACH, BENELUX.
Siilo was founded back in 2016 by former surgery resident Joost Bruggeman (CEO) and Arvind Rao (CFO). Realising that the methods of communication in the field are dated, the duo came up with a secure, easy-to-use messaging app designed specifically for healthcare professionals. Siilo’s mission is to create a dedicated platform where healthcare professionals can be connected while adhering to various healthcare compliance regulations.
Studytube raised €10M to become one of the top three online learning platforms in Europe
Online learning platform Studytube raised €10M from Verdane, the Norwegian investment company that helps successful tech companies to grow further.
Studytube provides companies and governments with an all-in-one learning platform. The technology enables organisations to create and distribute bespoke training content, and the accompanying proprietary online academy offers employees guided and inspirational access to a vast catalogue of third party training and educational programs (both offline and online).
Build-in management tools smartly monitor employee development: what are relevant training courses for which employees; are they attending them, and have they obtained compulsory training certificates yet? The Studytube platform shares these insights instantly.
Roamler raised €20M to create a smarter workforce
A rapidly growing pan-European crowdsourcing platform, Roamler, raised €20M in funding. Endeit Capital, SmartFin, and Achmea Innovation Fund participated in Roamler’s latest funding round. The company will utilise the newly raised funds to accelerate its growth across Europe. Furthermore, the company will expand its service internationally, commencing with the UK and Germany, in the field of on-demand professional installations, maintenance, and repair activities.
Roamler was founded in 2011 by the COO and co-founder Martijn Nijhuis. The company operates three brands, which consist of Roamler Retail, Roamler Tech, and Roamler Care. In the retail sector, the company is the European leader in crowd-supported field-marketing activities. Roamler performs tasks for the biggest FMCG manufacturers, consumer brands, PCGs, and retail chains. It is also one of the first companies to apply crowdsourcing to B2B in tech.
Belgian media company Mediahuis invested €5M in edtech scaleup Lepaya
Lepaya, a provider of soft skills training courses raised €5M from media group Mediahuis. The funding will enable the startup to accelerate the implementation of its projected growth plans. At the same time, this investment will allow Lepaya to further develop its range of training courses and the underlying technology.
Lepaya was established at the start of 2018 by René Janssen and Peter Kuperus, who, based on their experiences both in the corporate world and the scale-up scene, saw that there is a need for training courses that sustainably change behaviour. The startup mainly operates in the Netherlands, but services its customer base worldwide, including in the USA, Germany, and Spain.
ING-backed fintech Cobase raised €10M from Nordic and French banks
Fintech startup Cobase, that started out with offering a muti-banking solution for corporates, bagged €10M from ING Ventures. Nordic and French banks, who invested in the round joined the main shareholder ING as its shareholders.
Cobase offers a one stop, end-to-end solution for corporate customers who manage multiple bank accounts at various banks. The company’s offering provides access to all the various bank accounts via a unified single platform, making it extremely easy to manage them. Cobase’s users also have an option to directly integrate their ERP system into the Cobase platform, which eliminates the need for a separate integration with each bank.
Alongside the main accounts integration feature, the company’s platform also includes a central Payment Hub, and various Cash and Treasury Management modules.
Otrium got an early Alibaba investor on board; raised €24
Fashion-tech startup Otrium raised €24M in a Series B funding round. The round was led by global fund Eight Roads, early investor in e-commerce mogul Alibaba.
Otrium is an online fashion-outlet, founded in 2016 by Milan Daniëls and Max Klijnstra. They created a platform where brands have an opportunity to connect with fashionlovers to sell last seasons’ collections. The goal is to extend the life cycle of fashion, by preventing large quantities of perfectly fine, unsold clothing from gathering dust in warehouses. Fashionlovers can sign up for Otrium and bag some bargains, while fashion brands not only have the opportunity to sell their previous collection but also gather insights about their audience.
India’s Ola Electric acquires Etergo, the ‘Dutch Tesla of scooters’
Founded in 2014, Etergo has developed an all-electric state-of-the-art AppScooter, which has won multiple awards across the world for its innovative design and engineering at CES 2019 and Automotive Brand Contest, Germany amongst others. First revealed in 2018, the AppScooter uses swappable high energy density batteries to deliver a range up to 240km and class-leading acceleration.
With European design, strong engineering collaboration and Indian manufacturing and supply chain, Ola Electric aims to transform the 100-million+ global two-wheeler market, including the 20-million+ Indian two-wheeler market, into a clean energy, digital future.
Pyramid Analytics raised €22.6M to deepen strategic alliances with partners
Next-generation business intelligence platform, Pyramid Analytics, raised $ 25M (approx €22.6M) growth equity funding led by Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Viola Growth, and Maor Investments. The funds were used to expand Pyramid Analytics’ global footprint, deepen strategic alliances with partners, and assume a leadership position in the market.
Founded in 2008 by Avi Perez, Herbert Ochtman, and Omri Kohl, Pyramid Analytics is a global BI&A leader offering an analytics platform that helps companies compete as world-class data-driven organisations. Last year, the company had signed hundreds of new customers and announced strategic relationships with leading partners.
Mobile trading startup BUX acquires social crypto exchange platform Blockport
BUX acquired Blockport, a European social cryptocurrency investment platform. With this acquisition, Blockport was rebranded as BUX Crypto and was fully integrated under the BUX brand. The rebranded platform got tested with a pool of clients and was launched in Q1 of 2020.
This acquisition helped expand BUX’s service offerings and drove the company’s mission to become the single destination for young investors in Europe.
The founders and core team members of Blockport joined BUX and took ownership of the cryptocurrency offering. BUX Crypto was available to users across all 9 European countries where BUX was active. Users were able to access a variety of financial assets and markets, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP.
Hotel software startup Oaky raised €8.7M
Oaky is an automated upselling platform that helps hoteliers drive revenue by offering guests what they want. This Dutch startup announced that it closed a $ 9.5M (approx €8.7M) in its Series A round of funding.
The funding round was led by PeakSpan Capital, a growth-stage investment firm focused on the B2B software arena with offices in New York and Silicon Valley. With this fund, Oaky will invest in product development, continued geographic expansion, and team growth across all functional groups.
Oaky’s mission, since its founding, has been to help hoteliers capture incremental revenue and enable a superior guest experience by offering travelers relevant services in a personalized manner based on their specific preferences and needs.
Data and research platform Dealroom rakes in €2.75M
Founded in 2013, Dealroom is a data and software platform, providing worldwide intelligence about startups, innovation, and venture capital investment to governments, VCs, and individuals. This company raised €2.75M in a Series A round co-led by Shoe Investments and Knight Venture Capital.
Dealroom used the funding to expand in Europe and beyond, including making key hires in these markets.
This platform delivers insights to publish influential reports based on research and data about startups, investment, funding, M&A deals, and socio-economic impact. Furthermore, the company works with a combination of technology, data science, government, and manual data sources to build its expertise across different languages, local hubs, and ecosystems, and the fast-developing venture capital landscape.
Sustainable smartphone launched; uses 40% recycled plastics and upgraded camera modules
Fairphone makes mobile phones that are designed to last as long as possible. The company new Fairphone 3+, which is an upgraded version of the Fairphone 3, uses 40% recycled plastics, equivalent to one 33cl plastic bottle.
The Fairphone 3+ and the new camera modules are now available in the Netherlands/Benelux on Fairphone’s website and via partners for a suggested retail price of €469.
The rest of the phone specifications are the same as the Fairphone 3. The new handset still runs on the Qualcomm 632 processor, which is paired with 64GB memory and 4GB RAM. It is equipped with a 5.65 inch Full-HD display that is protected by Gorilla Glass 5 and the handset is backed by a 3000mAh removable battery that supports Qualcomm QuickCharge.
Edtech startup Squla to dominate personalised education space
During the coronavirus pandemic, parents, teachers, and students are all struggling to cope with homeschooling, as the industry is not equipped with the necessary digital infrastructure and the curriculum was not digital-ready. This is where edtech startups such as Squla can come into play; its parent company Futurewhiz acquired its German counterpart Scoyo.
Squla is an online learning platform that offers interactive educational tools for primary school pupils in the Netherlands and Poland. It is a subsidiary of online education company Futurewhiz, which is also the parent company of WRTS.
With the acquisition of Scoyo, Squla claims it will have access to 7 million primary and secondary school students in Germany. According to the company, Scoyo will continue to operate under its existing name and will add local educational content to the Squla platform for mobile devices and the web, for use at home and school.
Founded in 2010 by André Haardt, Squla offers an app and a web environment along with an overview of learning efficiency for parents and teachers, with the latter having access to a dedicated online platform. Scoyo – just like Squla in the Netherlands – is free to use in the classroom. For home use, parents pay a fixed amount per month for their school-aged children. The insights and feedback are shared with the parents and teachers via a dashboard/report.
The Dutch startup ecosystem has been flourishing with Brexit having helped the ecosystem grow further. This is because the English and Dutch laws are similar, and the UK tech founders are welcomed to start their businesses in the Netherlands. Taking the growth further, the venture capital investors are also investing in Dutch startups despite the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
As per a study by KPMG and NL Times, Dutch startups bagged $ 591.2M (nearly €488M) in Q3 2020, which is over twice of the amount raised in the previous quarter of the year – $ 252.4M (nearly €208M). While the investments have grown in the third quarter, the overall investments this year have dropped as compared to the previous year.
Especially, industries such as healthcare, SaaS and a few others are continuing to grow. According to Dealroom, 10 SaaS-based startups in the Netherlands raised over €10M in 2020. Notably, 9 of them are from Amsterdam.
Founder/s: Joep Gommers, Raymon van der Velde Founded year: 2014 Total funding: €40.5M
Recently, Amsterdam-based EclecticIQ raised €20M in its Series C round of funding led by Ace Management, a cyber growth investor. The round also saw participation from Capricorn Digital Growth Fund and Quest for Growth, Invest-NL, Arches Capital. Besides, existing investors, including INKEF Capital, KEEN Venture Partners, and KPN Ventures, also participated in the round.
This capital will help the company to further drive its innovation with new use cases, enables governments, large enterprises, and service providers to effectively manage threat intelligence, create situational awareness, and adopt an intelligence-led cybersecurity approach. Founded in 2014 by Joep Gommers and Raymon van der Velde, EclecticIQ is a global threat intelligence, hunting, and response technology provider. Its clients are some of the most targeted organisations, globally, claims the company.
Founder/s: Bas Buursma, Ives van Hoorne Founded year: 2017 Total funding: €13.7M
In October, Amsterdam-based CodeSandBox raised a new round of $ 12.7M (nearly €10.83M) Series A funding led by EQT Ventures, bringing its total funding raised to $ 15M (approx €12.8M). Also, existing investors Kleiner Perkins, Arches Capital, and Vercel founder Guillermo Rauch accompanied by new angels Andreas Blixt and Daniel Gebler took part in the funding round.
This new investment will allow CodeSandBox to continue building the community, providing the tools and support to take it to new heights, including features like opinionated support for larger projects that will unlock new use cases and further existing ones.
Founder/s: Rick Goud Founded year: 2015 Total funding: €28.3M
In October, Amsterdam-based ZIVVER bagged $ 17M (nearly €14.4M) in a fresh round of funding led by international tech investor DN Capital along with participation from new investor SmartFin. This brings its total funding to date to over $ 30M (nearly €28.3M). The funding round was supported by Zivver’s other existing investors including henQ, a venture capital provider for European B2B software startups, Dawn Capital, an early-stage B2B software investor, and supplemented by an innovation credit from ABN AMRO Bank.
The fresh investment will be used to accelerate ZIVVER’s international expansion into the UK and other markets. Also, it will help in the expansion of its platform from email data protection and secure file transfer to adjacent use cases like digital signatures, secure forms, and secure video.
Founder/s: Adriaan Mol, Robert Vis, Rene Feiner Founded year: 2011 Total funding: €236M
In October, the Dutch cloud communication platform MessageBird pocketed a €169.8M Series C funding round that takes its valuation to €2.5B. The funding round was led by Silicon Valley’s Spark Capital with participation from Bonnier, Glynn Capital, LGT Lightstone, Longbow, Mousse Partners and New View Capital. This investment also enables Spark Capital General Partner, Will Reed to join MessageBird’s board. Existing investors Accel, Atomico, and Y-Combinator also participated in this round.
The investment funds will be used to add new team members to MessageBird’s global team. Also, the company will expand into its core markets in Europe, Asia and Latin America and launch the Work Anywhere policy.
Founder/s: Adriaan Mol Founded year: 2004 Total funding: €121M
In September, Amsterdam-based Mollie, a payments-services provider attained the unicorn status by securing €90M in a Series B funding round led by TCV, a prominent growth equity investor focused on technology. Mollie will utilise these funds to accelerate its international expansion plans. Also, it plans to invest in its product and engineering division to realise its vision of becoming the most-loved payment service provider (PSP) in Europe.
Founder/s: Derk Arts Founded year: 2012 Total funding: €17.3M
In August, Castor EDC that uses AI to offer a cloud-based clinical data platform that simplifies the clinical trial process raised €10.13M in a Series A to support COVID-19 research. The round was led by Two Sigma Ventures along with Hambrecht Ducera Growth Ventures and existing investor INKEF Capital. The new funding will be utilised by the startup to strengthen its support for patient-centric, remote trials. It will also enable the company’s customers to maximise value from existing and newly generated data throughout the clinical trial process.
Founder/s: Martijn Nijhuis, Wiggert de Haan Founded year: 2011 Total funding: €26.2M
Roamler, an Amsterdam-based on-demand workforce platform secured €20M from Endeit Capital, Achmea Innovation Fund, and SmartFin. The fresh investment will help expand the new installation service across the world with the UK and Germany being the first ones.
Founder/s: Jorge Schafraad Founded year: 2017 Total funding: €17.6M
In June, Dutch startup Cobase bagged €10M in Series A round from Nordic bank Nordea and the French Crédit Agricole CIB, who will now join the main shareholder ING as its shareholders. This fresh investment will be utilised by the company for further development of its offerings and expansion of its network and connected banks.
Cobase offers a one stop, end-to-end solution for corporate customers who manage multiple bank accounts at various banks. The company’s offering provides access to all the various bank accounts via a unified single platform, making it extremely easy to manage them.
Founder/s: Gijs Geurts Founded year: 2011 Total funding: €60M
In May, Rotterdam-based Anywhere365 bagged €20M funding from existing investor Bregal Milestone. Anywhere365 will use the new capital to continue helping businesses around the world transition from legacy systems and achieve significant efficiencies in their contact centre operations. Besides this, the company appointed senior Microsoft executive Will Blench to the Board of Directors and hired Nasdaq-experienced Finance Director Frans Koch as CFO to accelerate global expansion.
Anywhere365 is an independent supplier of omnichannel dialogue management and contact centre platform. Their solution is recognised by Gartner as a powerful native integrated Contact Centre to Microsoft Teams. It allows global companies to manage customer dialogues throughout the whole enterprise, not just the contact centre. The Anywhere365 Dialogue Cloud UCaaS platform is taking the initiative towards the next generation of solutions for operational efficiency and business results.
Founder/s: Avi Perez, Herbert Ochtman, Omri Kohl Founded year: 2008 Funding: €60.5M
In March, Amsterdam-based provider of business intelligence platform closed $ 25M (nearly €20.6M) funding. This investment round was led by Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) along with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Viola Growth, and Maor Investments. Pyramid Analytics intends to use the investment to expand its global presence, achieve the leadership position in the market and deepen strategic alliances with partners.
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown our world into uncharted terrain. As everyone navigates through unprecedented times and transitions, HR’s role has proven itself to be critical for businesses’ success and fostering positive employee morale. In fact, they are at the front lines of any employers’ response to the COVID-19 crisis.
As a result, this pandemic has forced almost every business to develop and improve remote work policies and procedures immediately. This is where HR tech startup Hibob helps. It’s an Israeli startup that works to simplify people management, culture building, and employee engagement for remote and dispersed workforces.
Recently, the company raised $ 70 million (approx €58 million) in Series B funding led by investors SEEK and Israel Growth Partners (IGP). The latest funding round follows its Series A+ financing in 2019, backed by investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Battery Ventures, Eight Roads Ventures, Arbor Ventures, Presidio Ventures, Entrée Capital, Cerca Partners, and Perpetual Investors – all of whom have additionally contributed to the current capital raised.
This investment will allow Hibob to drive wider global expansion while contributing to further Hibob product development. To date, the company has raised $ 124 million (approx €102 million) since its inception in 2015.
“As we were developing the concept behind our platform, we looked at the world of work and recognised that it was changing. I’ve spent my career managing people in different kinds of organizations and came to the realisation that the vast majority of HR tech tools I used were not designed for the way people work today – globally, remotely, and collaboratively,” said Ronni Zehavi, CEO and Co-founder of Hibob. “We founded Hibob to create a modern HR platform built for the changing demands of the modern workplace.”
Triple-digit growth & new office in Amsterdam
In 2020, the company has achieved triple-digit year-over-year growth with strong traction from modern, mid-sized, multinational businesses. Moreover, Hibob has signed more than a thousand clients across the United States, Europe, and the Middle East, including fast-growing companies such as Monzo, Revolut, Cazoo, Happy Socks, Ironsource, Receipt Bank, Fiverr, Gong, VaynerMedia, and Dutch-based Wetransfer. Hibob also closely integrates with third parties such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Mercer.
The company has also opened a new office in Amsterdam. “Considering the magnitude of clients such as Wetransfer that we have in the Netherlands and how innovative the market is for HR Tech solutions like ours, we’re proud to announce our opening of a new office in Amsterdam,” says Zehavi.
Streamline HR processes
Founded by Israel David, and Ronni Zehavi, Hibob offers a cloud-based human resource and benefits platform that allows companies to streamline their HR processes. The platform provides the department with all the technology needed to manage their workforces right from, requesting documents, setting up accounts, and much more.
In the blog, the company says, “The platform allows HR leaders to manage modern organisations in their flow of work. Bob is easy to implement and adopt by teams, managers, and employees. HR can streamline core HR processes, talent, time management, and compensation management. Most importantly bob helps HR drive social engagement, and collaboration through a robust culture feature set and various integration capabilities, all in one platform suite.”
Notably, it also enables timesheet and attendance management, payroll reporting, surveys, time-off approvals, and company directory searches. The company has its roots in Israel but operates from London and New York.
Unlike other systems, Hibob’s implementation and use are intuitive, with no requirement for hard-coding or technical knowledge. Hibob says that Bob’s UI, automated processes, and integration with leading third-party tools ease administrative tasks across the organisation.
As an early-stage startup, it might be challenging to get your foot through the door at local governments. At the same time, governments might find it tricky to connect to innovators to test solutions. To streamline this process, the city of Amsterdam developed its Startup in Residence programme. Does your city need a similar initiative to boost innovative ideas? A new toolkit details exactly how to build your city’s own Startup in Residence programme.
Startup in Residence toolkit
The toolkit is released by the City of Amsterdam’s Startup in Residence programme. The initiative started in 2015 to connect early-stage startups with the local government in the Dutch capital. Selected startups enrol in a six-month programme in which they receive guidance and training by mentors and experts and can use the network of partners of the local government. The city meanwhile gets to test-drive new products or services to improve the quality of life in the city. If all goes well, the startup and government might engage in cooperation for the longer term.
The Startup in Residence programme offers multiple challenges the city can’t solve alone. After Amsterdam, several other cities, provinces and national governmental bodies followed suit with their own Startup in Residence. A recent success story is that of Local Heroes. The e-commerce platform for entrepreneurs secured €1 million in funding after being selected in Startup in Residence Amsterdam, earlier this year.
Sharing is caring. To expand the programme and encourage other cities or governments to start their Startup in Residence programme, Amsterdam shares its wisdom in an extensive manual. Here are the main steps to get your very own Startup in Residence up and running.
1. Shape: form a team, create a budget
Three criteria are essential to run a Startup in Residence programme. According to the toolkit, it starts with committing to three criteria. The first is following a European tender process, allowing startups to participate. Second, it aims for innovative solutions to social problems and, third, try to establish a long term collaboration between civil servants and startups.
To do so, one needs a team. The toolkit describes an ideal team consisting of a programme lead, lead mentor, intern and an optional legal expert. All roles can be done part-time, though the role of programme lead might be more taxing and require full-time attention. The base budget should cover expenses for salaries as well as running the programme, including marketing, events, training and compensation for mentors.
2. Get ready: define the challenges, write the tender
Once the general programme is taking shape, it’s time to get ready. Startup in Residence is based on several challenges, put forth by the government. Find people in the organisation who have a problem and are looking for startups to solve it. These become sponsors for the challenge. Work with these clients to shape the challenge into something startups can work on to solve.
Once the challenges are defined, it is time to write a tender. This should include the programme description, formal challenges, selection and evaluation criteria of startups and the process with all dates and communication. Make sure the tender is approved by the team and legal staff before submitting it. To make this step easier, Startup in Residence Amsterdam includes an example tender in the toolkit so you can hit the ground running.
Once the tender is submitted, it’s time to get loud and create awareness about the programme. Start your marketing machine and spread the word. This is also the time to recruit and onboard experienced entrepreneurs and innovators who will take the role of mentor and organise the training. Topics of training can include anything about sales, customer discovery and working with the governments. Don’t forget to set up training for clients as well to prepare them for working with startups.
3. Run: recruit, select and let them shine
Once you’re set-up, time to get to the exciting part. It’s time to recruit startups. Market your challenges so that you get as many top-quality applications as possible. Make sure to inform them about all details of the programme, so the tender is transparent and fair.
Out of all registrations, you can make a pre-selection to see which startups meet your requirements and which ideas seem viable. Then it’s onwards to the actual selection days, where startups get to pitch their ideas. The SiR toolkit provides a handy evaluation form to score ideas and startups. Besides being a thorough selection process, it’s also a great chance to build commitment and enthusiasm among all involved.
Finally, the programme can start. After matching mentors with startups, providing deep-dives and starting the training, the pilots can be launched. Startups create a plan of action with milestones and KPIs in agreement with their client. Once approved, startups can start to test their solution. This is their time to shine.
4. Continue: demo-day and onwards
The end of the programme is not the end of the road. After a successful pilot, it’s time to define the next steps in the collaboration between the government and the startup. The highlight of the process is demo-day, where startups share their accomplishments and the progress they made. A thorough evaluation allows sharing the accomplishments of the programme to be shared with the world as well.
Free toolkit for your own Startup in Residence
And after that? Well, rinse, repeat and get ready for an entirely new programme with new challenges and fresh innovation in the upcoming year. Setting up a Startup in Residence programme in a new city can easily take more than a year. But seeing several startups landing their first contract after a successful pilot will make it all worth it.
To read a detailed description of all the steps needed to start a programme, check out the SiR toolkit which will guide you to the whole process and provide plenty of background information. Download the toolkit here, for free, and start organising.