In the past six months, Dutch start-ups have raised just as much money as in all of 2019 and 2020 combined. This is apparent from a data analysis based on the currently known data* commissioned by the Dutch Startup Association and Techleap, among others. All in all, this amounts to 3.1 billion euros.
While at the beginning of last year – especially in March, April and May – there were a lot of concerns about the financing of start-ups. The outbreak of the corona crisis then temporarily jeopardized investments. The parties are now writing in a statement that that reluctance has already disappeared in 2020. We now speak of a “catch-up”.
Hundreds of millions
The record is the result of some very large investments. For example, transaction processor Mollie received a capital injection of 665 million euros and customer service platform MessageBird converted 678 million euros. The counter also quickly increases in the second half: in total 700 million euros in new investments have already been added.
Of all the money, the most went to the fintech sector: 1.2 billion euros. This is followed by business services with 1.1 billion euros. Health and transport also accounted for hundreds of millions (499 million and 349 million euros, respectively).
Investments in Dutch start-ups in recent years:
“This is unique”, responds Lucien Burm, chairman of the Dutch Startup Association. “It is due to a number of large investment rounds and that is really special for the Netherlands.” According to him, there are two explanations: the start-up landscape is maturing and there is more foreign money.
“The Dutch ecosystem does not have such funds that can make such large investments,” says Burm. “That is something that needs to be worked on. It is of course true that with success the money flows back abroad and then the question is whether you will ever see anything of it again.”
Janneke Niessen, partner at investment fund CapitalT, calls the record good news. “These major investments are no coincidence,” says Niessen. She also believes that the Dutch start-up world is maturing. “I really see it as something positive.” Niessen does have two caveats, however. “If you look at start-ups that are younger and therefore raise smaller amounts, the picture there is less rosy. Diversity among founders also lags behind; it remains a lot of white young men.”
‘Still a lot to gain’
Burm also sees that it is still difficult at the bottom of the investment market, in small start-ups. “In the corona year you had a kind of withholding for a while – in March, April and May. That recovered after that, mainly with large investments.” Niessen notes that the corona crisis also caused diversity among founders to decline. “So there is still a lot to gain.”
The market is really crazy at the moment.
The investment rounds also mean that the Netherlands will have more unicorns (unicorn) has gained: companies that are worth more than 1 billion on paper. Examples are Mollie and bunq, the digital bank.
“The market is really crazy at the moment,” Niessen says. According to her, it remains to be seen how sustainable all these values are in the long term. “Unicorns were called that because they were an exception. That’s a bit over.”