It is essential for the Dutch economy to attract foreign talent. This is what Prince Constantin van Oranje, Special Envoy of Techleap.nl, said in a conversation with BNR. “We have companies that want to grow quickly. If they can’t, they will go elsewhere.
The government actually wants to rein in foreign students. Van Oranje believes this could have dire consequences for the Dutch tech sector. Without foreign talents, it will be very difficult for the university and companies like ASML. We desperately need foreign students. Otherwise, companies will go abroad.
BNR spoke extensively with Prince in response to a State of Dutch Technology report produced by Techleap.nl, a non-profit organization focused on accelerating the tech ecosystem in the Netherlands.
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The report was submitted to Prime Minister Rutte today. Van Oranje believes that the government can play a major role in the Dutch technology sector. Not only through employee retention, but also through attractive tax rules. “You’ve seen it in the UK, Israel and for some time now in Silicon Valley.”
The report also shows that Dutch startups and technology companies “raise significantly less money” than competitors from abroad. Constantin van Oranje believes several factors lie behind this. There are fewer companies here, but above all the funds in the Netherlands are smaller than in neighboring countries. As a result, investments are also getting smaller. Therefore, investors should cooperate more, both nationally and internationally. With cooperation, the investment can be greater because the money comes from multiple sources. Foreign investors are given access to other markets.
Eva de Mol, co-founder of investment fund CapitalT, also sees a cultural problem. on both sides. Dutch investors take less risk and are more hesitant. And Dutch entrepreneurs simply ask for less money.
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It would be good for the Dutch tech sector if pension funds invested more in companies. This rarely happens now. “Very unfortunate,” says Van Oranje. If they invest half a percent of their total assets in venture capital, the Netherlands will be one of the largest venture capital markets in Europe.
Pension funds often find companies or their returns to be too small. In addition, there is a lack of knowledge within pension funds, says Van Oranje. A separate investment arm within pension funds, targeting particularly Dutch tech companies, would be a good idea. “This will really make a difference,” says Eva de Mol. Pension funds are now investing heavily in sustainability. The easiest way to do this is to invest in companies that are active, for example, in the field of energy transition. They’re working on it, but it just takes time.
The Dutch State of Tech report also shows that very little is invested in startups led by women. That share is hanging at an “embarrassing 0.7 percent,” the report wrote. “I find it really painful. Also because we’ve been working on this for a long time,” says de Mol.
According to Van Orange, this is also a question prophecy. All great companies are led by men. Large companies can raise more money. If those companies are successful, more money will go to those companies. That’s why Prince calls for more variety. According to Van Oranje, De Mol showed with his Capital T that it was possible. Women entrepreneurs is that this is a fund that understands them. They have a much healthier pipeline than other investors.
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