[Tour du monde] Amsterdam pushes start-ups to be on top
Do you Amsterdam?
At Startup Orgy
I spent the weekend in Amsterdam with a good friend. The city is beautiful and we had a good laugh on the way out.
Hélène joined me this morning to “hunt” in Amsterdam with me this week.
You could only start with one place, B-Amsterdam, the largest incubation space in Europe. It’s a candy store but with start-ups.
The first that we went to see in B are StartupBootcamp. We’ve loved them everywhere we’ve been so far, and we want to continue meeting them wherever we go. They are focused on start-ups wanting to make cities more smart, but in the coming months, they will be opening two new programs, including one for FinTech. This will make them the only SBC to have three programs, demonstrating at the same time the attractiveness of the city.
We just had to change floors to meet other people. We stopped at Team Academy. Basically, it’s a university for entrepreneurs. And that’s fucking awesome. We met a few of their students who explained what they were doing and even introduced us to new people. It’s easy, we love it. We stay in touch, and we work together ok?
We do not know the breaks in the Startup Hunt. We had to run to our next meeting, with Startup Amsterdam. It is a government-backed initiative to support and promote start-ups in the Netherlands. I had been introduced by a friend from NYC who worked for them.
They are THE number one person to know if you want to be an entrepreneur in the Netherlands. During our meeting, Yeni Joseph, from Startup Amsterdam, invited Anouk Bikkel, director of Amsterdam Capital Week, to join us. It is the biggest start-up event in Amsterdam, bringing together investors and start-ups. We were even invited. Unfortunately, it’s next week, so I’m not sure we can go. But it is certain that we will work on things to do together.
Yeni recommended a lot of things to do and people to meet while we were here.
So we went to The Startup Orgy coworking space. To be honest we had no idea what to expect. Surprise, surprise, once again the people were wonderful. We met the creator of the number 1 crowd equity platform in the Netherlands, LeapFunder. He gave us lots of advice and lots of recommendations. Thanks Tienko.
That’s all for today, Hélène wants a beer, and I never refuse a beer.
The thing about writing every freaking day
More than keeping you up to date with what’s going on during this trip (something you can do on Snapchat if you don’t already…), this logbook is a real challenge for me. I try to write as much as I can, but most of the time I procrastinate… There are several things that keep me from posting more. I’m not sure about the quality of my essay, the lack of time, nothing to say (which is often the version of too much to say but I have no idea how to say it in a smart and effective way), and many other reasons. However, writing every day is a great exercise to help structure your thoughts. I realize that I get better every day when I write consistently. The problem is, if you stop for just a day you rust and lose track …
Anyway, let’s talk about Amsterdam.
Too cool for School
We value long-standing relationships, and we are eager to help entrepreneurs as early as possible in their entrepreneurial life. So what’s better than a visit to the University of Amsterdam’s incubator, Ace Ventures Lab? Not much… I say this often enough, but it’s just that we only visit exceptional places, and Ace Ventures Lab is no exception. We have adored. And to keep our “good” habits, we showed up there hoping that everything would go well. The people made us feel very welcome and we had the right to a guided tour to learn more. They build some great stuff there and are very research-oriented. And yes, they work with a lot of PhDs from the University.
One of the coolest things about visiting school incubators is that the entrepreneurs you meet are 100% dedicated to achieving their vision. They work like crazy to build life changing products while finishing their studies. They will start to care about a business model viable only after graduating. It’s not great for making great boxes, but it’s awesome for making amazing things!
We returned to the center of Amsterdam to try to meet Rockstart before our big meeting with The Next Web at TQ. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find anyone to talk to at Rockstart because there was a big event going on at the same time… Too bad, we continue, I really want to talk to The Next Web.
Here we are at TQ. TQ is a new coworking space in Amsterdam. We learned that they were a member of the Google Campus program. It only gets better. We thought we would meet The Next Web, which in itself is already very cool (at least for us), but we had the right to the total.
We met Wout from TQ. He takes care of the community. It is the link between TQ, The Next Web, and Google programs. We share the same vision about start-ups and the European ecosystem. TQ was in the middle of a renovation and what he’s building is pretty cool. We can’t wait to go back when it’s all over.
Before enjoying Amsterdam, we went to meet Janneke Niessen, one of the most iconic entrepreneurs in the Netherlands, and perhaps in Europe. It is always exciting to hear stories from people like her. As a bonus, she introduced us to two start-ups of which she is a mentor. We got to meet Diane who has built a more reliable internet for children, and we were introduced to Cristian, who we will meet tomorrow morning.
Once again it was a great day. It’s time for a little break!
Traveling in a world of opportunity
It’s already Wednesday, and our last meeting day in Amsterdam. Hélène is leaving for Barcelona this evening, and I am going back to Paris tomorrow morning.
We met Cristian this morning and he told us more about how he helps teachers who don’t know how to code teach code to children in every school. It’s a great tool, and I wish my teachers had this in my school when I was a kid.
When you take the time to listen to people and let go, usually good things happen to you. The first day, when we met Tienko, we talked about “Hackers & Founders” and said that we would have liked to meet them but that he did not have a physical location. He told us they had one but it was hard to find. Well our meeting with Cristian took place in the same building as “Hackers & Founders”. Goodies # 2: We told him about our failed visit to Rockstart, and he happens to have an alumni. An intro later and we were going to meet them this afternoon.
Before that, we went to meet Minouche from Startup in Residence. This is another government initiative to support start-ups. This country is definitely pushing these start-ups to the top.
We had a few free hours before our afternoon meetings, so we decided to go visit Growth Tribe. This is the first Growth Hacking school in Europe and it happened to be created by two French people. We didn’t have time to see a lot of them, but being a growth hacker myself, it was very interesting to meet them.
We finally met Rockstart. Their program is very cool, and they get bigger quickly. As a bonus, we got a very warm welcome from Mariska, Director of Investor Relations, and she even made us a list of recommendations for cool places to see in Amsterdam.
Before Hélène boarded her plane for Barcelona, we returned to B-Amsterdam. This time, we had an appointment with their event and community manager. They have so much going on there, and they’re about to open two new buildings, one across the street, and one in New York City in the navy yard from Brooklyn. We would love to organize events with them.
We had one last thing to do in B to end Amsterdam. We met Startup Delta. Their objective is to connect the various start-up ecosystems in the Netherlands, a bit like what we want to do but on a European scale. Startup Delta is not just another initiative, it comes directly from the royal family. Let’s say that their impact is pretty good!
That’s it for Amsterdam. We fell in love with this city. Everything went really well. They have a thriving start-up ecosystem, the city is great, and the people are great.
Hélène took her flight to Barcelona, and I discovered local parties thanks to a French entrepreneur studying at Team Academy, whom we had met on the first day.
Next stop: Munich
Antoine Delanglade is an Entrepreneur in Residence for OneRagtime. Passionate about extreme sports and a full-time traveler, he helps brands create new experiences for millennials, capitalizing on the power of technology and communities. For OneRagtime, he participates in the animation of the OneRagtime community, mainly in circles of young entrepreneurs and influencers, around the world. Always up to date with the latest tech news and innovations, he helps identify the best investment opportunities for OneRagtime.