Technology companies in Amsterdam are now worth a combined €73bn, a seven-fold increase on five years ago, in a sign of how the city’s tech ecosystem has taken off in recent years.
This figure is largely down to two companies — Adyen, the e-commerce site, and Takeaway.com — both of which are amongst the top five most valuable tech companies in Europe.
But, according to a new report from Dealroom, the city also has more startups per person than any other place in Europe. There are over 2,700 startups in Amsterdam — that’s 1.1 per 1,000 inhabitants.
For Joris Wilton from Takeaway.com, there are several factors that have helped make Amsterdam a startup hub. “Amsterdam has been entrepreneurial for centuries and this culture seems to be part of our DNA,” he says.
It’s also a well-connected city, with a high diversity of nationalities and backgrounds, which Wilton says is conducive to creativity. Plus, he says, “Dutch culture does not attach great value to hierarchy, which is a good environment for startups.”
Tom Peeters, the chief executive of Crisp, an Amsterdam based app that connects customers with local farmers, said the city’s success is also down to its infrastructure.
“It’s located centrally in Europe, everybody speaks English, there’s high internet penetration, flexible office space and a housing market that is becoming hot, but less difficult compared London or Paris," Peeters says.
The city’s success is shown in recent funding deals. One of the city’s biggest startups, Mollie, an online payment service, just received €90m in funding and is now worth over €1bn in total, making it the city’s latest unicorn.
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It is not all rosy for the city though.
According to Dealroom, the city has strong support from local investors, but struggles to attract international funding on the same level as other tech hubs like London, Tel Aviv and Stockholm.
“Venture capital investment is relatively low, especially in later stage rounds,” said Dealroom in their report. “This results in a lower pipeline of potential future unicorns.”
However, even with the pandemic, funding in Amsterdam has performed in line with previous years throughout 2020. Health and edtech startups from the city have done particularly well.
“The funding market is still way more mature in the US than in Europe,” says Crisp’s Peeters. “But we're catching up. If you have a good product and team, I'm convinced there is always funding available for good companies, through all stages.”
Amsterdam’s record funding year was 2019, largely down to a €250m round by Picnic, the supermarket app, at the end of the year.