Agtech and Life Sciences Propel Amsterdam-StartupDelta’s Startup Scene

Our member spotlight on Amsterdam-StartupDelta shows off what is behind its thriving startup ecosystem.
Sofia Kousa
on July 30, 2019

Amsterdam-StartupDelta is known for its canals, colorful houses, laid-back culture, easy access to other countries in Europe, and talented graduates from universities such as University of Amsterdam. If that wasn’t enough, the Amsterdam-StartupDelta startup ecosystem is also welcoming to international talent. It gives highly skilled international graduates one year to find work or start a business after graduation, lets them qualify for a 30% tax ruling, and even provides entrepreneurship visas. 

On top of access to talent, Amsterdam-StartupDelta’s startups are well positioned to access large corporations in nearly every sub-sector, as almost 200 multinational corporations have their European headquarters stationed in Amsterdam including Salesforce and Tesla. It is no wonder that our 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report highlights Amsterdam-StartupDelta as #15 in the world among global startup ecosystems.

Specifically, Amsterdam-StartupDelta’s startup ecosystem is seeing success in Agtech/New Food and Life Sciences. Amsterdam-StartupDelta is the #4 global ecosystem for Agtech and New Food. The Vegetarian Butcher, a meat substitute startup, was acquired by Unilever in 2018. In 2017, Picnic, an online grocery platform, raised $109 million in a series B round. Picnic was the fastest growing company in the Netherlands between 2015 and 2018, according to researchers at Erasmus University’s centre for entrepreneurship.

When it comes to Life Sciences, Acerta Pharma is a startup to have on your radar. They focus on creating cancer therapies and were acquired for $4 billion in 2016. Also in recent news, The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is moving its headquarters to Amsterdam-StartupDelta. The EMA is an agency that is responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision, and safety monitoring of medicines in the European Union.


Some interesting data points from our 2019 assessment include:

  • Amsterdam-StartupDelta is a top 15 global ecosystem for Life Sciences
  • The ecosystem value for Amsterdam-StartupDelta is $16 billion, more than double the global average.
  • The Exit Growth Index for Amsterdam-StartupDelta is a 10 out of 10.

StartupDelta and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy are Startup Genome’s local members in Amsterdam-StartupDelta. StartupDelta is an independent public-private partnership that has the goal to merge the Dutch startup ecosystem into one large cohesive hub. They provide access to talent, capital, network, knowledge, and markets. 

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy promotes enterprises in the Netherlands and aims to build an excellent entrepreneurial business climate. They are helping the startup ecosystem succeed by providing room to innovate and encouraging cooperation between businesses and research institutes.

“Amsterdam is a very open city with the most nationalities in one place in Europe,” Nils Beers, Director at StartupDelta, said. “The combination of highly educated people and liveable wages results in an amazing work and life culture.”

Do you want to develop and promote Amsterdam-StartupDelta’s startup ecosystem? We’d love to chat. Please get in touch with us about becoming a startup ecosystem ambassador! 

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