Dutch startups raised €1.5B in 2019: What about the future unicorns of the Netherlands – Silicon Canals


The Netherlands is one of the largest startup ecosystems in Europe, thanks to the ample innovation and unprecedented digital infrastructure in the country. It is expected that the Netherlands would deliver a couple of billion-dollar worth companies in the coming years.

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This seems to be possible as the Dutch startups have raised a whopping sum of €1.5 billion in 2019, which is a two-fold increase than the year before, claims a report by NRC citing Dealroom. Furthermore, the report adds the Dutch tech companies have not witnessed such investments ever before.

When it comes to the source of these investments, a majority of the sum comes from Amsterdam-based investors such as Inkef Capital and Peak Capital. And, some promising Dutch startups have received major investments that take them close to becoming unicorns. Already, TomTom, the navigation service provider, Takeaway, the meal delivery service, Booking.com, the holiday booking site, and a few others have already become successful unicorns and then big tech players in the Dutch land. Apart from these, here we have listed some others which have the potential to reach unicorn status soon.

Picture credits: Mollie

Mollie (Amsterdam)

Founder: Adriaan Mol
Total funding: €25 million
Founded year: 2004

Why its hot: The Dutch online payment service startup Mollie offers an affordable, reliable and simple online payments for companies of any size. Its cloud-based platform serves more than 65,000 businesses in Europe. It processes over €5 billion payment volume on an annual basis and the number is growing at a rapid pace. Mollie handles many fintech services from overdraft fees to payment processes that are still stressful and confusing.

The company raised €25 million from a group of payment and technology entrepreneurs back in July 2019. Mollie intends to use this investment to accelerate growth and expand its team as well as operations, and scale its R&D teams as it works on next-generation, complex-to-build financial solutions.

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Picture credits: BUX

BUX (Amsterdam)

Founder: Nick Bortot
Total funding: €27.3 million
Founded year: 2013

Why its hot: BUX makes it easy and affordable for Europeans to do more with their money through its platforms that offer commission-free investing and leveraged trading powered by a vibrant community.

In 2019, BUX secured nearly €12 million funding in a round led Velocity Capital and Holtzbrinck Ventures. The funding round also included debt financing from Kreos Capital. The company will use this investment to support the acquisition of online broker Ayondo Markets Limited (AML), which is its back-end provider for its current trading app.

Picture credits: Etergo

Etergo (Amsterdam)

Founders: Bart Jacobsz Rosier, Marijn Flipse
Total funding: €22.6 million
Founded year: 2014

Why its hot: Amsterdam-based Bolt Mobility rebranded themselves Etergo and showcased the final variant of the AppScooter, their electric scooter. The AppScooter is the world’s first electric scooter to run Android apps. Furthermore, it comes with inbuilt GPS, access to 4G connectivity and electrically controlled locks.

The company teamed up with a German automotive specialist in 2019 and raised nearly €10 million for the mass production of these electric scooters. Etergo teamed up with a German automotive specialist so that its scooters hit the German and Dutch roads.

Picture credits: Ohpen

Ohpen (Amsterdam)

Founder: Chris Zadeh
Founded year: 2009

Why its hot: Ohpen is a wildly successful Dutch fintech company and is known as the ‘new Adyen’ in the startup ecosystem in Amsterdam. Ohpen is a SaaS, cloud-native core banking platform that administers savings accounts and retail investment for medium-sized Dutch banks and other financial institutions. The Dutch fintech startup intends to start offerings its services to larger banks and step into the pension market. In April, the Dutch private equity firm NPM Capital acquired a 35% stake in Ohpen for an undisclosed amount.

Picture credits: WeTransfer

Wetransfer (Amsterdam)

Founders: Bas Beerens, Rinke Visser, Ronald Hans
Total funding: €57.7 million
Founded year: 2009

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Why its hot: WeTransfer was launched as a result of the frustration of one of its founders to find an easy way to share large files easily. The company works with huge brands like Google, Samsung, Netflix and Squarespace and delivers full-screen advertisements on its billboard. The WeTransfer platform helps nearly 40 million users each month to send over one billion files. The platform lets sharing files up to 2GB freely and up to 20GB on subscribing to the paid service.

In August 2019, WeTransfer is a file-sharing platform secured €35 million series B funding led by European growth equity firm HPE Growth along with participation from existing investors such as Highland Europe.

Picture credits: Picnic

Picnic (Amsterdam)

Founders: Frederik Nieuwenhuys, Joris Beckers, Michiel Muller
Total funding: €350 million
Founded year: 2015

Why its hot: Picnic is a new online supermarket that delivers groceries for the lowest price to people’s home sans delivery costs. It is the most sustainable supermarket with 100% electrical delivery vans and no food waste. Picnic offers delivery services in Amersfoort, Almere, Leusden, Soest, Utrecht, Maarssen, Delft, Rijswijk, Voorschoten, Leidschendam, Veenendaal and Ede.

The fast-growing Amsterdam-based grocery delivery service secured €250 million in a Series C financing round in late 2019. The company aims to use this fund to fuel its growth and build a state-of-the-art robotised fulfilment centre for online groceries in the Netherlands.

Picture credits: Tiqets

Tiqets (Amsterdam)

Founders: Christiaan Solcer, Luuc Elzinga, Maarten Raaijmakers, Marijn Speelman, Robert Westers
Total funding: €95.9 million
Founded year: 2013

Why its hot: The Amsterdam-based Tiqets is an innovative ticketing platform that’s revolutionised the way visitors find, buy and use tickets for museums and attractions. The company has connected millions of people to thousands of venues in over 60 countries all over the world. With Tiqets, you can book in seconds and show the tickets on your smartphone sans any printing, waiting or hassle.

In October last year, Tiqets raised nearly €54 million in Series C funding round. This investment round was led by Airbnb with continued support from prior lead investors HPE Growth Capital and Investion. The ticket-booking platform is in plans to invest the same in initiatives that will accelerate its growth, create better tools for venue partners, and build richer experiences for customers.

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Picture credits: AM-Pharma

AM-Pharma (Bunnik)

CEO: Erik van den Berg
Total funding: €170 million
Founded year: 2002

Why its hot: AM-Pharma is a leader in the development of a treatment for Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) that could be life-saving. Utilising a concept-to-clinic approach, the company has designed and developed an innovative recombinant human Alkaline Phosphatase (AP) therapeutic (recAP) from scientific research to successful Phase II clinical trials in patients with sepsis-associated AKI.

Back in July last year, AM-Pharma raised €116 million from a European syndicate of both new and existing investors. The clinical stage biopharmaceutical company will use the investment to carry out a multinational pivotal Phase III trial of recAP in patients with sepsis-associated AKI.

Picture credits: MessageBird

Messagebird (Amsterdam)

Founders: Adriaan Mol, Robert Vis
Total funding: €54.7 million
Founded year: 2011

Why its hot: Amsterdam-based cloud communications provider MessageBird offers voice, SMS and chat solutions enabling developers and enterprises to communicate virtually with customers anywhere in the world. This company services over 15,000 customers from fast-growing startups including Uber and enterprises including SAP and Lufthansa Airlines. Previously, MessageBird raised €54 million in a round led by Accel along with participation from Atomico and Y Combinator. This is touted to be one of the biggest investments in the software industry.

Main image picture credits: MessageBird

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