An entrepreneur’s information to Amsterdam’s tech ecosystem

The Dutch capital Amsterdam has lengthy been rated amongst probably the most visited cities in Europe, attracting upwards of 19 million vacationers in 2018. Nonetheless, the powers that be in Amsterdam need to scale back the circulation of vacationers, and shift worldwide focus from sure points of its nationwide life from which the nation is usually related, equivalent to its leisure drug tradition.

As a substitute, native authorities are placing their assets behind selling the town as a rising tech hub, and giving the inexperienced mild to entrepreneurial development by way of initiatives equivalent to StartupAmsterdam and Iamsterdam. And it appears to be working.

Amsterdam was voted because the fourth most lively startup hub in Europe in 2018, regardless of solely being residence to round 800,000 residents. 

My colleague Craig Corbett lately had the prospect to go to Amsterdam, and we determined to place collectively a information for entrepreneurs seeking to arrange a base within the metropolis.

Assist organizations

For newcomers, it’s most likely finest to keep away from ‘espresso outlets’. These could not present the most efficient setting to work from. Luckily, there are numerous choices for reasonably priced co-working areas, which supply the chance to attach with the native startup group. 

WeWork has 4 completely different areas in Amsterdam, and Areas attracts tons of of creatives and techies throughout its three areas, boasting a formidable rooftop at its Vijzelstraat heart, simply 10 minutes from the central station. Different notable hubs embrace Startdock, Workspace6, A lab, The ThinkingHut, A – Lab, Primalbase and MerkSpace, all of which have lively communities and maintain occasions.

There are additionally various massive scale hubs equivalent to Epicenter, and the sprawling 40’000 sq. meter B- Amsterdam advanced, which is residence to tons of of startups, co-working, and occasions areas. The hub can also be residence to The Expertise Institute and Innoleaps, a corporation that has been lively since 2010 and now has greater than 800 startups in its portfolio. Each applications work carefully with StartupBootCamp, which runs three-month industry-focused accelerator applications with the overarching goal of driving extra corporate-startup engagement within the area. 

TQ, based by The Subsequent Internet, provides reasonably priced shared workspaces and places of work throughout two massive hubs, and is residence to various the quickest scaling scaleups within the area together with Stripe, Ring, Lime, and Subsequent Door.

Sebastian Toupy, Head of Startup Relations at TNW, talked about that various native success tales equivalent to Flexport, Dott, STREAM, Deskbookers, and Scribbr, all began off their journeys at TQ too, and are nonetheless very related to the local people. 

For startups searching for help taking their tasks to the following degree, there are a selection of accelerators within the metropolis. Rockstart runs applications on verticals equivalent to vitality, AgriFood, and rising know-how, and lately closed a company inexperienced vitality program in partnership with Shell, and Sure! Delft.

Techstars Acadis Program and Plug & Play each function applications associated to future cities, ACE runs a program for science-based startups, and Well being Inc runs a program for med-tech innovators. 

Affect Hub is the primary help channel for sustainability and clean-tech tasks within the metropolis. The group, backed by the Dutch authorities, accelerates greater than 150 enterprises every year by numerous applications and hosts 250+ occasions every year. The Kitchen Republic and Meals for Affect as different helpful organizations for startups seeking to disrupt the meals . 

StartupAmsterdam, initiated by the Amsterdam Metropolis Council in 2015, is a key ecosystem builder which provides various assets designed to assist startups join by way of occasions, applications, and remedy key challenges equivalent to hiring expertise. The group backs the Startup in Residence Program in partnership with the CTO workplace of the Amsterdam Metropolis Council, which helps startups aiming to resolve city points equivalent to mobility, inexperienced vitality, water use discount, and waste administration.


With so many accelerators and startups hubs dotted across the metropolis, there are many occasions to select from. For a birds-eye view of what’s going on, take a look at StartupDelta,, or

Notable meetups embrace Startup Founders 101, a free meetup that brings collectively early-stage founders with a community of skilled mentors for workshops and Q&A classes, StartupBoot and The Startup Orgy. There are a variety of lively blockchain and developer meetups, and StartupWeekend powered by Techstars runs common occasions within the metropolis. For clean-tech and sustainability startups, Kinder Earth Tech held in August is a must-visit and it’s value signing as much as the mailing lists of Style earlier than you waste and the Acutely aware Membership

For bigger conferences, TNW Convention attracts tens of hundreds of innovators and entrepreneurs to the town in June. Between September and October the Worldwide Broadcasting convention gathers over 50,000 consultants and startups from the leisure and media industries, Amsterdam Capital Home brings collectively startups with potential angel traders and VC corporations, World AI week unveils its third occasion regionally, the CES unveiled roadshow brings collectively innovators creating rising tech options, and this 12 months world-famous digital dance occasion ADE will characteristic tech showcases and even a hackathon. 

In November, the Ladies in Tech Regatta and European Ladies in Tech Convention will convey collectively feminine thought-leaders from a spread of industries collectively to advertise inclusion and variety in tech, VR Days will deal with Digital, Augmented and Blended Actuality content material innovation and Strike Two Summit will convey collectively startups within the agri-tech house. 


Whereas Amsterdam will not be residence to as many universities as bigger European cities equivalent to London and Paris, The College of Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Amsterdam College of Utilized Sciences are extremely ranked.

The scale of the Netherlands additionally makes it straightforward for native startups to interact college students from technical universities in different components of the nation, equivalent to Delft College of Expertise,  Leiden College, Utrecht College, Wageningen College, and Analysis Centre, Erasmus College Rotterdam, and the Eindhoven College of Expertise. 

To supply developer expertise, there are many coding Bootcamp organizations together with Le Wagon, Growthtribe academy, Ironhack, Ubiqum Code Academy, College Of IT, Information Science Dojo, React GraphQL Academy, Codaisseur and The App Academy NL. 

Public organizations like StartupAmsterdam bridge the hole between rising expertise and corporates and startups within the metropolis. The group is a companion in Coding For Amsterdam, an initiative with Development tribe academy which goals to enhance digital literacy and encourage curiosity in coding from a younger age with main school-age youngsters.

Startup College Amsterdam (BSSA) is a collaboration between Manpower, B. Amsterdam and StartupAmsterdam, launched in 2016 which teaches college students expertise wanted to kick-start their careers within the startup world. This system provides mentorship and applications across the themes of Javascript, UI/UX, digital innovation, blockchain, development hacking and digital-media run in partnership with coaching institutes, equivalent to Hyper Island, B9lab and The Expertise Institute.

To enhance the circulation of extra skilled senior expertise to the town, organizations equivalent to Venture Amsterdam supply prime candidates free journey and lodging, tickets to occasions, and likewise connections with key employers and companies within the metropolis. 

Authorities help

The Dutch authorities, Amsterdam Metropolis Council, and EU Fee are all placing their cash the place their mouths are in terms of boosting startup development within the Netherlands. 

Koen van der Burg from the incubator Crosspring B.V really helpful that overseas entrepreneurs contemplating the Netherlands take a look at the EU Softlanding Venture. As a part of this system, the EU Commision’s startup division brings teams of startups working inside sure verticals like Fintech to the Netherlands, and connects them along with native companions, traders and purchasers to spice up cross-border collaborations. Van der Burg additionally highlighted the Dutch authorities’s Startup Visa program, aimed toward attracting startup expertise from exterior the European Union. 

Excellent news for ‘greentech’ tasks is that there are a selection of grants accessible from The Netherlands Enterprise Company for agritech, mobility, and energy-tech tasks, in addition to subsidies for corporations ticking bins by way of sustainability. 

Brad Vanstone, CEO of Plant-based Cheese, informed us that in his expertise lobbying for subsidies for sustainable meals tasks, he had discovered Dutch politicians and native authorities to be receptive, and welcoming to discussions associated to startup and sustainability laws. He added that the comparatively small dimension of the nation, and proximity of The Hague to Amsterdam, meant that connecting with the best authorities officers was fairly easy. 

Final 12 months, a brand new €21M innovation fund for entrepreneurs and college innovators was launched with a particular deal with initiatives throughout the round economic system, sustainable mobility, vitality transition and healthcare. The Innovation Fund Noord-Holland is a collaborative initiative of the province of Noord-Holland and the College of Amsterdam (UvA), the Amsterdam Medical Heart (AMC) and the College of Utilized Sciences Amsterdam (HvA).

Nonetheless, whereas help is out there, it may be fairly troublesome for foreigners who don’t converse Dutch to get their heads round administrative processes. 

Eva Bandelj Head of Innovation Ecosystem at Startupbootcamp, talked about that authorities backed help company lately had its program prolonged to 2023, which is able to embrace a €43M finances for funding early stage tasks primarily based within the Netherland. 

Entry to funding

Bettering entry to funding is among the key missions of StartupAmsterdam and companions. The group provides an interactive funding map of the town by Dealroom, that includes VC corporations, accelerators, and well-known angel traders. Alexandra Belicova, Partnerships and Occasions lead at StartupAmsterdam, informed us that whereas the federal government can’t get entangled in personal offers, it hopes to supply as a lot data as doable, and that startups will take the initiative and make their very own connections. 

Alexander Van Os, a former VC and co-founder of Enterprise IQ, informed me that constructing belief with native traders will take time, particularly if you’re not from the area, and recommends founders construct relationships early on and permit skilled traders to get to know them with out essentially asking for cash instantly.

There isn’t a scarcity of choices accessible for native and worldwide VC corporations primarily based within the metropolis, and a large web of skilled Angel traders too. You will discover a nicely researched itemizing of notable traders from Tech.EU right hereFor funding exterior of enterprise capital, in keeping with Silicon Canals Amsterdam startups may also compete for $1M in prizes from Ingram Micro’s Comet Competitors.

Whereas there may be loads of cash floating round, it is necessary that early stage startups acknowledge that funding would possibly take some time, and as such, bootstrapping is widespread. 


There are many explanation why thousands and thousands of vacationers, and hundreds of entrepreneurs flock to Amsterdam every year. The charming metropolis is wealthy with historical past and character, and is residence to a welcoming, bi-lingual, and multicultural group. 

The identical could be very a lot true for the startup ecosystem, which is rising 12 months over 12 months, because of the work of lively group leaders from startups,  bigger organizations and authorities our bodies working collectively to convey the group collectively by way of occasions, partnerships and initiatives all year long. 

This text was Co-Authored by Craig Corbett

This put up is a part of our contributor sequence. The views expressed are the writer’s personal and never essentially shared by TNW.

Revealed October 23, 2019 — 17:17 UTC

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