The Netherlands is small, but powerful. In our recent report on the country’s tech ecosystem, we counted 11k startups based in the Netherlands. What’s more, funding for the Dutch startup ecosystem tripled and investments reached a record high of €5.3bn in 2021.
Using data from Dealroom, Sifted has put together a list of the country’s top funds for seed-stage and Series A companies. You can find Dealroom’s full methodology here, but the rankings are based on the following data points:
- Number of unicorns in portfolio
- Number of “future” unicorns in portfolio
- Number of rounds in the last 12 months
Dealroom has also weighted the rankings by a “dilution score”, with firms that invested early in companies that went on to become unicorns scoring more highly than those that joined at a later stage.
The rankings are divided into seed and Series A funds. However, do note that some listed funds are investing at both these stages.
So, which funds have made it into the list of top early-stage investors in the Netherlands?
Seed stage investors in the Netherlands
1. Maven 11 Capital
Latest fund: Maven 11 announced its latest blockchain fund of $120m in November 2021.
Focus: Based in Amsterdam, Maven 11 is “100% focused on blockchain ventures and projects”. At the moment, it’s mainly investing in decentralised finance and Web3 infrastructure startups across the world. Around 20% of its portfolio is based in Europe. Maven 11 mainly invests in seed and pre-seed companies, writing cheques between $250k and 10m. The firm occasionally invests in Series A companies, like the modular blockchain network, Celestia.
Investment team gender split: All the managing partners are men. In the wider team, the split is 80% men and 20% women.
- Merit Circle, a decentralised autonomous organisation focused on gaming and the metaverse.
- Odyssey, a Groningen-headquartered open innovation program, which uses blockchain and AI to connect governmental, corporate and nonprofit organisations.
- Dusk Network, an Amsterdam-based company that uses blockchain infrastructure to make financial transactions more secure.
Pitch to founders: Having worked with blockchain startups for the past six years, Maven 11 is deeply knowledgeable and involved in the development of blockchain projects, and well connected with other investors and advisors in the sector.
2. Revo Capital
Latest fund: In 2020, the VC firm announced its second fund, a vehicle of €90m.
Focus: Fintech, B2B cloud, big data, AI, marketplace, marketing tech and healthtech startups. The team invests in post-seed, Series A and Series B companies, with the initial ticket size varying between €1m and 5m. Revo Capital is looking for founders and R&D teams located in CEE, the Baltics and Turkey.
Dive into VC and meet the people holding the purse strings.
Deal count in Europe in 2021: Three deals, plus two follow-on investments.
Investment team gender split: One female managing partner and two male managing partners. VPs 50/50 gender split. Rest of the team: 60% women, 40% men.
- Fit Solutions, a software company headquartered in Eindhoven.
Pitch to founders: Revo has an in-house growth team, including a recruiter and digital marketing expert, and likes to get hands on with its portfolio companies. "We help with product building, international expansion, recruitment, team building, go to market, financial sustainability, fundraising and networking,” says Revo.
Latest fund: Its fourth fund, of €66m, was announced in 2019.
Focus: With offices in Amsterdam, Berlin and Stockholm, Peak invests in different industries across Europe, with a particular interest in companies based in the Nordic, DACH and Benelux regions. The team invests at the seed and pre-seed stages, with initial ticket sizes ranging from €250k to 2.5m.
Deal count in Europe in 2021: 12
Investment team gender split: The total team consists of two women and nine men, including one female partner and three male partners.
- Channable, a Utrecht-headquartered ecommerce solution.
- Trengo, a customer communications inbox platform, also based in Utrecht.
- StuDocu, a student note-sharing platformed headquartered in Amsterdam.
Pitch to founders: The Peak team’s entrepreneurial experience and mindset is what sets them apart, they say. “All of our funds are fully backed by seasoned entrepreneurs from a wide range of industries from accounting, manufacturing and logistics to tech unicorns, bringing with them true entrepreneurial mindset, market expertise and networks.”
4. BOM Brabant Ventures
Latest fund: BOM Brabant Ventures, the development agency of the Noord-Brabant province of the Netherlands, isn’t structured like your average VC fund and doesn’t raise funds. Instead BOM funds operate independently as private companies funded by the Dutch State and the Dutch Province of Noord-Brabant. The size of BOM's VC funds is approximately €350m.
Focus: BOM focuses on early-stage startups and scaleups that either originate from the province of Noord-Brabant or that it believes can have an impact there. It invests in deeptech, climate tech, life sciences and health companies.
Deal count in Europe in 2021: 40 in Europe, ranging from cheques of €200k to 5m.
Investment team gender split: BOM doesn’t have a partner structure, but around a third of the investment team are women and the rest are men.
- Sendcloud, a shipping software company headquartered in Eindhoven.
- Lightyear, an electronic car company headquartered in Helmond.
- LeydenJar Technologies, a battery company headquartered in Leiden.
Pitch to founders: “We are generally more flexible in how we go about our investments,” says BOM; the team isn’t held hostage to the fixed investment horizons most VC funds are.
“Also, and perhaps even more importantly, we are uniquely embedded and well connected in the Noord-Brabant economic ecosystem and in the broader Dutch (early) VC landscape and have proven to be able to realise effective funding consortia in sometimes unlikely cases,” BOM adds.
Latest fund: An €80m fund, announced in May 2020.
Focus: HenQ invests in B2B software companies across Europe at seed and Series A stages.
Deal count in Europe in 2021: Two: Leeway and Parkdepot, with the cheque size ranging from €500k to 5m.
Investment team gender split: All the partners are male, with the rest of the team having 20% women and 80% men.
- Sendcloud, a shipping software company headquartered in Eindhoven.
- Freeday, a digital recruitment company headquartered in Rotterdam.
- Studytube, an edtech company headquartered in Amsterdam.
Pitch to founders: “We are a deeply committed investor that aims for a 100% hit rate: no spray and pray with us, you will be one of the three companies we invest in each year. We are a shareholder that dares to say “I don’t know” and lets you run the business in the way you see fit. No pushing for influence or of bad ideas. When we do something, we do it well: [we offer] the best support in hiring, fundraising and target setting.”
6. Slingshot Ventures
Latest fund: Slingshot Ventures announced its first fund of €64m in 2017. It’s now working towards a final close of its second fund at about the same size and has already made six investments.
Focus: Consumer tech startups in western Europe, from seed to Series A. Slingshot writes cheques between €250k and 1m at seed and between €1m and 5m at Series A or higher.
Deal count in Europe in 2021: 10, including follow-on investments in existing portfolio companies.
Investment team gender split: Partners / deal leads: 33% female and 67% male. Wider investment team: 17% female and 83% male.
Notable investments: CHRONEXT, Boldking, NADUVI, Temper, Wundermart, Check, Wild, Casper.
Pitch to founders: “We are founded by serial entrepreneurs and solely backed by successful entrepreneurs meaning that our portfolio companies can benefit from the expertise and network of our diverse base of 80+ successful entrepreneurs,” says Slingshot, adding that the team’s focus on consumer startups also sets it apart.
The best of the rest
8. DOEN Participaties
Series A investors in the Netherlands
1. INKEF Capital
Latest fund: The firm raised a €500m fund in 2017, with a €50m top up in 2021. A new fund is coming soon.
Focus: INKEF has two teams — one specialising in healthcare, and the other tech. Between them they cover: therapeutics, digital health, the future of work, data, AI, fintech and deeptech. INKEF writes cheques between €500k and 15m, with significant reservations to follow-on investments. The team is focused on investing in European startups, with a sweet spot for companies at the seed and Series A stages (although it does sometimes do earlier or later stage deals).
Deal count in Europe in 2021: In 2021, the team invested in four new portfolio companies, had three IPOs and followed on in several of its portfolio companies.
Investment team gender split: The partners consist of seven men, but the wider investment team (excluding the partners) consists of seven women and two men.
- ChannelEngine, a market solution company headquartered in Leiden.
- Silverflow, a cloud-based processing platform headquartered in Amsterdam.
- Calypso Biotech, an Amsterdam-headquartered biotech company.
Pitch to founders: “We have a long-term, hands-on approach: we build companies, not valuations. We spend a lot of time with our portfolio to translate science and IP to marketable products and services, helping with pricing and packaging and overall go-to-market.”
2. BioGeneration Ventures (BGV)
Latest fund: BGV announced a €140m fund (its fourth) in 2020.
Focus: BGV focuses on investing in European life sciences and therapeutics companies at seed and Series A. Initial seed investments can be up to €2m, with around €5m to 15m invested per company over the long haul.
Deal count in Europe in 2021: Four publicly announced investments.
Investment team gender split: There are four partners, including three men and one woman. The total team consists of four men and three women.
- Scenic Biotech, an Amsterdam-headquartered company using genetic modifiers to overcome diseases.
- River BioMedics, a biotech company headquartered in Enschede.
- NorthSea Therapeutics, a biotech company headquartered in Amsterdam.
Pitch to founders: “We are a specialised professional early-stage life sciences fund with a very strong track record and access to a large network and additional capital.” Over the past 16 years, BGV has achieved 10 successful exits.
3. Thuja Capital
Thuja Capital took third place but didn't respond to Sifted's request for comment.
Newion took fourth place but didn't respond to Sifted's request for comment.
5. Prime Ventures
Latest fund: A €254m fund, its fifth, which closed in 2019.
Focus: Prime Ventures invests across Europe in a variety of sectors. The fund takes a “concentrated approach”, aiming to make 10 to 15 investments per fund. Prime Ventures invests around €10 to 20m in initial tickets in Series A to C rounds as a lead or co-lead, but occasionally invests up to €25m to 35m.
Deal count in Europe in 2021: Three: Orderchamp, Qover and VitessePSP.
Investment team gender split: All partners are men, but the overall investment team (two partners, two principals, one associate and one analyst) is split 50% men, 50% women.
- Recharge, an Amsterdam-headquartered online sales company.
- Orderchamp, an online B2B wholesale purchasing and selling company based in Amsterdam.
- TerraPay, a fintech company based in Amsterdam.
Pitch to founders: Prime Ventures’s USP is its focus: “We don’t place bets or scatter our capital widely.” It’s also been around for yonks (starting out in 1999) and has invested more than €750m since then. That means it has plenty of experience scaling up and successfully exiting companies across cycles.
6. ABN AMRO Ventures
Latest fund: A €150m vehicle raised in 2020.
Focus: ABN AMRO Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of the Dutch bank, invests in companies that offer valuable and relevant solutions for the financial sector. The team writes early-stage cheques between €50m and 100m.
Deal count in Europe in 2021: Seven
Investment team gender split: Two women and four men.
- Bux, an Amsterdam-headquartered stock trading platform.
- Ockto, a fintech company based in Amsterdam.
The best of the rest
7. Keen Venture Partners
8. ING Ventures
9. Airbridge Equity Partners
10. Endeit Capital