The Dutch tech startup ecosystem has grown steadily over the past five years and has established itself as one of Europe’s most vibrant hubs. However, there are still hurdles that the Netherlands must overcome in order to realize its full potential and compete successfully on a global scale.
Here are seven key points from the report that you should know:
The Netherlands is home to the most successful ecosystem in the EU
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The heart of technology comes to the heart of the Mediterranean
In 2022, the Amsterdam Delta region had surpassed the leading ecosystem in the EU, Paris and Berlin. It ranks 14th globally, behind cities in the US, Asia and the UK.
However, the combined valuations of Dutch startups stagnated by
the technology sector in the country drops from fourth to sixth position globally with €0.4 trillion in total public market capitalization. Thanks to tech giants ASML, Prosus and Adyen, the Netherlands is still the leader in the EU.
Fintech and healthcare were the dominant startup sectors in the country, with the former also spawning the largest number of scaleups. The Netherlands also welcomed one new unicorn in 2022, bringing the total to 1.4 unicorns per million inhabitants. This puts it above France (0.7) and Germany (0.5), but below Sweden (2.4) and the UK (1.7).
The tech sector is also growing outside the Amsterdam Delta
Although the North Holland region remains the largest startup center in the country, accounting for 38% of startup jobs, other local hubs are also growing thanks to regional specializations and mutual cooperation.
For example, North Brabant showed a year-on-year growth of 27% in deep tech jobs, Utrecht increased the number of startups by 900 and Gelderland has become a leader in food tech.
Job creation is increasing, but attracting talent remains a challenge
Jobs generated by startups will reach 135,000 in 2022, up from 109,000 in 2020 and 130,000 in 2021. However, attracting tech talent is proving to be a challenge for many startups.
In concrete terms, the percentage of technical jobs that are difficult to fill has risen to 59%. On average, these types of vacancies are open for more than 60 days.
This phenomenon also occurred in other ecosystems, including Sweden, Germany, France and the US.
Dutch startups have difficulty scaling up, mainly due to a lack of funding
The ratio of startups to scale-ups in the Netherlands (22%) is lower compared to other European hubs, such as Germany (37%), the UK (30%) and France (26%). This is mainly due to insufficient capital.
In 2022, total VC funding in the Netherlands was €2.6 billion, with an average funding of €0.26 million per startup. This was significantly lower than other major startup ecosystems in the EU. For reference, the Swedish average was €0.9 million per startup.
Despite the Netherlands’ prowess in scientific and academic research, deep tech is one of the underinvested sectors, with €0.7 billion in funding in 2022 and a startup-to-scaleup ratio of 23%.
On the positive side, investments in impact startups are rising with more than €1 billion raised in 2022. And investments across all sectors outperformed pre-pandemic.
The gender gap
The gender gap is still a problematic issue within the industry. Only 10% of Dutch tech startups are run by women and funding for female entrepreneurs is also insufficient. Only 0.7% of venture capital investments have been raised since 2019 by companies with female founders, trailing the UK (2%), Germany (1.5%) and France (1.2%).
The potential for further growth
According to the report, the Dutch tech ecosystem has enormous growth potential. In particular, it could add 250,000 jobs and €400 billion in value by 2030. This could be done by supporting the growth and impact of university spin-offs, bridging the talent and diversity gap and creating a more resilient and internationally anchored venture capital cultivate market.