State of Dutch Tech: What is holding back the Dutch Tech Ecosystem?

Our potential with regard to deep tech is insufficiently utilised and there has been a structural and increasing shortage of diverse talent for years. Furthermore, Dutch companies are too dependent on foreign investors, which is at the expense of our autonomy. The most important takeaways are included below for each theme followed by seven concrete calls to action. These are necessary to reach the government’s goal for the Netherlands to catch up with the most successful ecosystems globally.

Boosting the growth and impact of spin-offs

When it comes to spin-off value created by universities, the Netherlands is lagging far behind the UK, Switzerland, Germany and France*. analysis shows that, while having a high survival rate, spin-off companies from Dutch universities and university medical centres stay small, thus limiting their impact. 80% of all 745 Dutch spin-offs ever created are still active, but after 10 years, only 48% had more than 10 employees. When comparing Dutch deeptech companies with their foreign peers, the lack of funding is clear. This is holding back Dutch ambitions to become more technologically independent and to deliver big societal transitions.

From now on, all knowledge institutions in the Netherlands can use transparent principles for the transfer of intellectual property to academic spin-offs. Click the link below to download spin-off deal term principles.

* Dealroom & Lakestar, The European Deep Tech Report 2023 (2023)

State of

Smoothing the deeptech founder journey

Deeptech companies provide breakthrough technology to help solve these big societal and environmental challenges and transitions. Setting up and scaling a deeptech company is a tough and lengthy job. Understanding this journey enables us to provide the founders with the right support.

In addition to solving the funding gap, there is more we can do to smoothen the ride. We aim to achieve better spin-off conditions, improve access to talent and organize for high-quality support to help deeptech companies scale and create impact.

Check out the video to understand the journey and what it entails. Via the link below, you’ll find the visual of the Deeptech Founder Journey, to assess and discuss where you can help.

Bridging the Talent and Diversity Gap

The Dutch tech sector attracts more international talent than most other sectors. At the same time, the ecosystem lacks gender diversity, as only 10% of Dutch tech (co)founders are female, representing huge untapped potential. Female-only founder teams in the Netherlands account for only 5.2% of all VC deals and 0.7% of VC funding raised. In gender diversity the Netherlands underperforms compared to EU peers. To begin addressing this gap, more data collection by tech companies is needed and investors must implement effective diversity and inclusion policies. Increasing the overall talent pool is particularly urgent, as the percentage of hard-to-fill tech job openings in the Netherlands continues to rise: 59% compared to 57% in 2020 and 58% in 2021*. When it comes to countries where tech jobs are most difficult to fill, the Netherlands has been placed in the top 3 for several consecutive years.

The slides about Diversity & Inclusion are available for you to read via the link below.

* State of European Tech 2022

State of Dutch tech 2023
State of Dutch Tech (SoDT) Panel Discussion

A more resilient and internationally embedded VC-market

Impact investments are on the rise*, more than doubling since 2020 and over €1B raised in 2022. Overall funding is down compared to 2021, with the biggest decrease coming in the largest funding rounds. Nevertheless, early stage investment held its ground and most sectors are growing compared to 2020 levels, except in health. The mix in 2022 shows that investments by US investors have fallen considerably, increasing the importance of domestic funds. To ensure a more resilient and independent capital market and to prevent profits flowing out of our country to the US, Dutch VC funds need to grow (with funding from pension funds) and should co-invest more, as 35% of >€10m deals don’t include a Dutch investor and only 41% of these are co-investments with international funds.

* Based on the startup database

What’s next?

If the Netherlands wants to achieve its ambitions of strategic autonomy and meeting global challenges, it must accelerate and keep pace with more successful ecosystems outside of the EU and improve in the 7 following areas:

1. Realign strategic tech policy: Startup policy needs an integrated tech policy, with the needs of entrepreneurs front and centre.

2. Support deeptech: Improving efficiency of tech transfer, business support, and funding for deeptech ventures to deliver more impact at scale.

3. Increase capital: Providing access to more ‘smart’ capital while increasing co-investment and knowledge sharing among investors to accelerate growth.

State of Dutch Tech (SoDT) Stage 2023
State of dutch tech postillion rebekka mell

What’s next (part 2)

4. Develop and attract more talent: Growing and diversifying the talent pool from within and from outside the Netherlands to help our startups succeed and scale faster.

5. Grow the base: Increasing the number of startups in the Netherlands by stimulating more diversity in leadership and inclusion in the ecosystem.

6. Boost regional development: Connecting ecosystems, stimulating regional development, and supporting thematic specialisation by addressing legal and other structural barriers in high-potential domains like healthtech, biotech, fintech, energy, mobility, and others.

7. Connect the community: Growing and empowering a thriving community of entrepreneurs at the heart of a successful ecosystem.

Rewatch The State of Dutch Tech 2023

Did you miss the State of Dutch Tech 2023 or would you like to rewatch it? Good news, the event is now available to watch on YouTube.

Topics of discussion of the plenary session:

– Unlocking Dutch Deeptech potential
– Co-investments, why would I care?
– Diversity & Inclusion as Business Enablers

YouTube Live: Q&A State of Dutch Tech Report 2023

After the plenary session, we hosted a YouTube live to give everyone the opportunity to ask their questions about The State of Dutch Tech Report. We recorded the content and made it available for you to rewatch on YouTube.

Download the State of Dutch Tech 2023 report

If you prefer to receive a digital copy of the full report. Click on the link below.

© techleap All Rights Reserved