Informe sobre el ecosistema mundial de las startups 2023

The Historical Spirit of Amsterdam Lives on in Its Thriving Startup Scene

"Amsterdam was a natural fit for us to base our headquarters. With a thriving tech scene, there is a large amount of high quality talent living here.”

Maxim Romain undefined
Co-Founder and COO, Dott

Amsterdam has always marched to the sound of its own drum. For hundreds of years, this historical trading city has been both a hub for business leaders and a refuge for those who see things a little differently. The city’s startup scene has embraced this duality, combining both entrepreneurial drive and a freewheeling spirit. 

The Amsterdam region is home to approximately 4,000 startups that employ 196,000 people, and the last few years have seen a deluge of funding pouring into the ecosystem. For example, H1 2022 saw VCs invest €2.8 billion into startups based in the city. This sky-high figure came back down to earth in H2 2022, but with €698 million invested, H1 2022 was still the second highest amount of funding the region has ever received in a half-year period. In short, Amsterdam-based startups are a magnet for VC funding.

Amsterdam’s Changing Startup Landscape

Over the past several years, Fintech has been the driving force behind the Dutch capital’s startup ecosystem, but things are changing. While the sector is still the top dog, attracting €189 million in funding from January to June 2022, other industries are catching up.

During the same period, startups in the health sector raised €161 million, transportation €129 million, and education €28 million. Other industries are also showing strong growth, with security and food being thriving areas of research, innovation, and investment.

Amsterdam also punches far above its weight on the international scene. Despite a population of around one million people, Amsterdam startups were worth €227 billion in June 2022. That placed the region second only to London in Europe at the time, more valuable than the startups based in Paris or Berlin, and therefore the E.U. leader in terms of startup value.

What Makes Amsterdam a Leading Startup Ecosystem?

There are several reasons why Amsterdam has been so successful in creating a startup scene. First and foremost is its access to incredible talent and, perhaps more vitally, it has the tools to nurture it. The Dutch are known for being multilingual, with around 94% of the populace speaking a second language. This makes the Netherlands incredibly welcoming to individuals from around the world looking to work, which in turn increases the available talent pool.

In addition, there are seven universities in Amsterdam, which collectively produce a wide range of talent. The University of Amsterdam is a world-renowned institution that is regularly ranked in the top 50 in the world. The Dutch capital is also a short journey away from several other top-class universities throughout the Netherlands, meaning students from Leiden, Utrecht, Rotterdam, and beyond are often drawn to Amsterdam’s thriving scene or choose to bring their talents here after graduation. With many of the country’s cities less than an hour from Amsterdam, the nation’s compact size is a huge advantage for creating a thriving startup scene.

Dedicated Startup Support

Amsterdam’s network of coding, data science, and entrepreneur academies — including Code Institute, The Analytics Academy, and Young Capital — is a top-class feeder for startups. These programs help turn skilled but inexperienced students into polished entrepreneurs and experts.

Startup accelerators also abound in Amsterdam, with the VC-accelerator Rockstart and Startupbootcamp just two examples of agencies offering various programs throughout the year. No matter what industry a startup is operating in, there are plenty of options for support.

There is also a gamut of startup-focused work spaces that serve as hubs, with TNW Spaces leading the way with its two locations, in the city center and Amsterdam-West. The small size of the city and well-established cycling culture makes travelling between spaces a breeze, allowing individuals to integrate themselves across the scene as a whole, rather than being siloed to a specific area, which can happen in larger cities.

Then, there are the events. TNW Conference is one of Europe’s leading tech gatherings. At this annual Amsterdam event, attendees can attend workshops, keynotes, and panel sessions, as well as connect with international tech experts, VCs, and other major players from the local ecosystem and further afield.

A Supportive Community

An established startup scene in a compact city means that newcomers and fledgling entrepreneurs have access to an experienced network of professionals with talent and connections to share. Amsterdam is home to a tight-knit startup ecosystem in which founders and professionals are in close proximity to coworking spaces, incubators, and events throughout the Dutch capital, making an ideal breeding ground for knowledge transfer and networking.

Dott is just one of Amsterdam’s many success stories. The micromobility startup currently operates 40,000 e-scooters and 10,000 e-bikes in cities in eight countries. It raised over €140 million in Series B funding alone and saw the number of riders grow by 94% in 2022 compared to the year before.

“Amsterdam was a natural fit for us to base our headquarters,” shares Maxim Romain, co-founder and COO. “With a thriving tech scene, there is a large amount of high quality talent living here.”

Other Amsterdam-founded success stories include MessageBird, a cloud communication platform that has raised over €1 billion, and SignRequest, a digital-signature company that was acquired by Box for €51.32 million. VanMoof, Mollie, Crisp, and many other players are also making a name here.

Amsterdam as a Gateway to The World

Historically, Amsterdam was a center for trade, but it was also the birthplace of modern business — this former fishing village grew to become one of the largest ports in Europe, and was the birthplace of the modern stock market. Alongside this, the city spearheaded cultural revolutions, creating a relaxed, tolerant, and creative society. These elements continue today in a region that combines the best of both a major city and a closely connected small town.

Amsterdam startups have the benefit of these dualities, many combining both creativity and business nous. They have access to impressive levels of investment, high-quality programs, and a talent pool filled with inventive and skilled workers. With true innovation flourishing and a supportive community to accelerate ideas, the Dutch capital is a startup ecosystem that truly feels like one.