Deep Tech Founders Unite to Sound Alarm on Dutch Innovation and Business Climate

28 juni 2024
Auteur: HSD Foundation

With technology increasingly determining the global balance of power and to maintain the Netherlands' current broad-based prosperity, technological innovation is crucial. The driving force behind this are deep-tech scale-ups. A group of 10 tech entrepreneurs is now sounding the alarm and uniting under the name 'Tech Champions'. In their eyes, The Netherlands lacks the innovation and business climate in which scale-ups have the opportunity to be successful. Compared to the US, deep-tech scale-ups in the Netherlands grow four times slower. As united scale-up CEOs they call on government, investors and companies to commit to deep-tech scale-ups to ensure the future prosperity of the Netherlands.


"New technology is disruptive, shifting power and influence. In the rapidly changing world due to developments in AI, scarce resources and climate change, it is essential for the Netherlands to remain among the frontrunners," the statement reads. "We as tech entrepreneurs in the Netherlands see that potential, but we the conditions to make it happen must be realised. In the National Technology Strategy (NTS) announced in early 2024, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate puts a strong focus on 10 key technologies and underlines that these are crucial for the future of a strong Netherlands. Effective implementation of this strategy requires consistent long-term policy and focus on deep-tech scale-ups."


Voice of innovation


The group consists of 10 CEOs and founders of leading Dutch scale-ups, each representing a technology sector from the NTS. They feel a responsibility and urgency to make the voice of the broader scale-up field heard and bring key technologies to maturity. By uniting they want to engage with the new cabinet to bring in the ideas and experiences of innovative tech entrepreneurs. In their eyes these are the perspectives that are needed to become one of the 5 most innovative countries in the world; the ambition from the outline agreement the coming cabinet has drafted.


As drivers of the technology agenda, this group advocates targeted policies for scale-ups, such as around the business environment, as they believe scale-ups need a different ecosystem to grow than existing industries. Therefore, this specific focus should not be missing from the upcoming coalition programme.


Consistent policy


The Tech Champions have developed a vision with concrete areas for improvement that contribute to an eco-system that aims to facilitate the growth and development of scale-ups. Consistent policy, risk appetite and speed are crucial elements in this. Technological innovations have long development cycles and consistent government policy is essential to create the stable and predictable environment necessary for tech entrepreneurs to invest and take risks, they state.


Taking risks together


"As deep-tech scale-ups, we are willing to invest and take big risks, the benefits of which society will only reap later. But we cannot bear this alone," the statement continues. "Technological innovations with social impact require social decisiveness, in which the government, banks, investors and companies have a role to play. Investors, dare to invest! Banks, dare to take risks! Government: facilitate and stimulate! Companies, implement! Every innovation needs a launching customer."


Mattijs Slee, CEO Battolyser Systems: "New technologies take decades to reach full maturity. With insufficient availability of capital and/or inconsistent government policies, scale-ups cannot take on risky, long-term investments. It is very important to keep this industry for the Netherlands and let it contribute to our prosperity."


"Technology takes place in an internationally competitive force field where speed is crucial. Bureaucracy and regulation hamper the progress of fast-scaling scale-ups. A government that promotes speed is vital for us to be successful," the statement concludes. 


United for Dutch prosperity


"We, the 10 Tech Champions below, have united to shape the future of the technology sectors from the NTS together," the closing paragraph opens. "Consistently implementing the NTS with a focus on scale-ups is crucial to create value in a healthy and sustainable way and preserve the level of prosperity in the Netherlands. This is far from self-evident. We call on investors, the government and companies to join us in the challenge for the successful implementation of the NTS. This is how we create an economically strong, independent Netherlands, with a sustainable, healthy and safe future."


The document is signed by these 10 entrepreneurs:

-  Johan Feenstra (SMART Photonics)
-  Mattijs Slee (Battolyser Systems)
-  Koenraad Wiedhaup (Leyden Labs)
-  Merel Boers (Nicolab)
-  Hamed Sadeghian (Nearfield Instruments )
-  Elise de Reus (Cradle)
-  Christian Rood (LeydenJar)
-  Fabrizio Del Maffeo (Axelera AI)
-  Joep Gommers (EclecticIQ)

-  Matthijs Rijlaarsdam (Quantware)


The initiative is supported by


Source: Tech Champions (in Dutch)

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