The focus on the long-term development of the technology ecosystem and digitalization as a driver behind major social transformations is lacking in the Netherlands, as are the resources and ideas to give innovative companies the opportunity to play a role in this. This says Konstantin Van Orange, Techleap.nl ambassador. This explains the annual Dutch state of technology report to be published on Thursday.
From our editors
February 10, 2022
Startups and large corporations are the innovative driver of the Netherlands: indispensable for gaining competitive edge and position. Its social significance will only increase in the coming years. They provide a technology sector that is three times more productive, growing four times faster and job growth three times more than other sectors. In addition, they come up with new solutions to major social transformations in climate, healthcare, and the circular economy.
Our country is known for being innovative and has many technology companies that have come up with new solutions to these major transformations. And while everyone knows a number of big Dutch tech companies, such as Adyen, Mollie and Philips, unlike in other countries, the long-term development of the Dutch tech ecosystem is not a priority, both in social and government policy.
This puts us at risk of falling further and further behind in several critical areas, despite investing 5.6 billion in venture capital, three times more than in 2020. This was emphasized in today’s launch Dutch state of the art report of sifting (part of financial times) commissioned by Techleap.nl†
Read also: Techleap.nl: “The Dutch businessman is not ambitious enough”
The growth of startups at scale is critical to job growth and economic growth
There are about 11,000 start-ups, the total value of the technology sector is now more than 300 billion euros. But many startups seem stuck, in part due to the availability of talent and access to early stage capital. But also because entrepreneurs often lack ambition and focus more on setting up a business and achieving autonomy than on letting it grow successfully.
The report shows that only 21 per cent of Dutch startups are progressing towards expansion, which is critical for job growth and long-term economic growth. Other countries do much better. Even the conversion rate in the United States is 60 percent. In order to increase this conversion rate and to ensure that Dutch tech companies continue to grow, prerequisites and appropriate investments, especially in the early stage, are essential.
“Where the government provides tens of billions to solve the problems surrounding transitions, the role of the innovative business community in solving these problems is missing.”
Developments in the technology sector in Germany and France are moving faster
There is a lot of interest in the Netherlands for the major transformations that we will face in the coming years. An example of revolutionary technologies that can provide solutions to this, but have not yet been fully exploited, is deeptech. As a country, we are well positioned to lead in this area with companies like ASML, but Dutch investors in particular seem to be shying away from companies that could lead this in a promising early stage, when they could have a vital impact on growth. innovation in our country.
In the current coalition agreement, shifts in climate, healthcare, and the circular economy are highlighted and significant resources received. But where the government provides tens of billions to solve the problems surrounding the transitions, the role of the innovative business community in solving these problems is lacking, as are the resources and ideas to allow companies from the new innovative economy to lead this. It is clear that countries such as Germany and France are prioritizing this (such as a tax credit for investors), which makes developments in the technology sector go faster there.
Also read: Prince Constantijn (TechLeap): ‘More startups should be able to take a step higher’
“There is a shortage of early stage capital in the Netherlands”
Konstantin van Oranje, Special Envoy for Techleap.nl: The ambitions in the coalition agreement on “Future Earning” and social transformations will not be realized without effective digitization and innovative startups. They are the engine of the new economy. Each sector gets a Tesla, Beyond Meat, Amazon, Adyen or Moderna. The Dutch earning capacity will depend on our ability to facilitate the growth of these types of companies.”
According to Constantijn, there is currently a shortage of early stage capital, IT talent, ambitious entrepreneurs and an effective valuation practice (effectively converting knowledge into products, processes and services) to make it happen. “This is where the main common challenges for government, universities, investors and entrepreneurs lie.”
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