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Amsterdam

In the past several years, the Amsterdam startup ecosystem has gone from practically nonexistent to a global destination for entrepreneurs. The small Dutch market makes it imperative that startups provide products that appeal to a greater global audience. Centrally located in Europe, Amsterdam provides a great opportunity for scaling companies, and the transition to the German and greater European markets is not difficult. The last few years have seen an increase in activity, as evidenced by the creation of accelerators Startupbootcamp and Rockstart, both of which provide an excellent launchpad for aspiring entrepreneurs. Both StartupDelta and Startup Amsterdam have been instrumental raising the profile of the Amsterdam ecosystem. However, the European market is fragmented and the regulatory environment for doing business is complicated. Additionally, the lack of a major exit means that the ecosystem is lacking in scaling expertise and capital that results from experienced founders.

In This Market

These businesses offer industry expertise and are a source of startup talent and potential customers. They help fuel the local startup community.

Opportunities

  • Salaries for talented developers is not as high as in London or in Silicon Valley, and the cost of housing is relatively affordable.
  • The Dutch speak excellent English, making it easier for expats to relocate to the city and providing an entry point for the greater European markets.
  • The angel community is just beginning emerge and is beginning to recognize the viable investment opportunities present before them.
  • Initiatives such as Startup Amsterdam and StartupDelta are at the forefront of putting Amsterdam on the map as a startup hub.
  • Major corporations, such as KPN, are moving into the space of startup investing and are beginning to pay more attention.
  • Verticals such as fintech and mobile are especially promising.

Risk Factors

  • There are a lot of inexperienced angel investors who will only invest in cash flow positive startups, which is an added burden for those who have yet to create revenue.
  • There is a gap in funding between seed and growth stage, and the venture capital firms almost exclusively invest in growth stage companies.
  • The European market in general is fragmented and the regulatory environment leaves much to be desired, in terms of ease of doing business.
  • The city lacks a multi-billion dollar exit, which would be beneficial to the ecosystem by providing more investment capital and by increasing the amount of expertise and knowhow when it comes to scaling companies.
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