Dutch startup funding in 2017: digging deeper into the data

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Just before the end of 2017, StartupJuncture published a nice overview of all startup funding deals in the Netherlands last year. Although we applaud the effort and insights of StartupJuncture, we felt we were still left with some questions that weren't answered by the article and that we were curious about, for example:

  • How much money was actually raised last year, having a closer look?
  • What were the hot topics of 2017?
  • What are average seed, series A, series B and series C deal sizes?
  • Are these deal sizes similar for companies in software, medtech, cleantech and high-tech?
  • Who were the most active venture capital investors in 2017?
  • Where are the funded startups located?
  • What university or knowledge institute ‘created’ the most funded spinoffs?

Enriching the data

We keep track of all Dutch VCs and get alerts for new funding deals. Therefore we decided to enhance and extend the dataset in order to find the answers to these questions. Here's what we did (differently):

  • We added some deals that were in a 'pre-list' that we helped to fill but didn't appear in the final list (unsure why), such as TalkJS, Friss, North Sea Therapeutics, Wonderkind and Mellon Medical;
  • We removed some deals that were in the final list but weren't in the pre-list because we don't see them as startups (anymore), like Takeaway.com (we see an IPO as an exit rather than an investment, and not qualified as 'startup' anymore [edit: StartupJuncture also removed Takeaway]);
  • We tried to uphold the criteria that StartupJuncture used in previous funding overviews (acquisitions and pre-order crowdfunding projects excluded, equity crowdfunding and convertibles included). However, we only included startups with an office in the Netherlands (that's what makes them Dutch in our opinion) so excluded e.g. Gitlab;
  • Our definition of 'series A' is that it is the first round with institutional investors (venture capital fund). Series B is then the second institutional round etc. (so equity crowdfunding and angels are regarded as 'seed'). We changed some ‘seed’ deals to ‘series A’ because it involved a VC fund, including Synple (with Newion Investments and Mainport Innovation Fund on board), BitSensor (with Volta Ventures) and United Wardrobe (with Peak Capital);
  • We tried to give a better indication of investment amounts that were not disclosed, by looking at the 'sweet spot' and track record of the investor and make an educated guess.

Our entire list of startup deals including size, series, categories and Dutch investors involved can be viewed at the bottom of this post.

How much money was actually raised last year, having a closer look?

Our dataset includes 122 deals, with a total funding amount of €646 million. This is €204 million more than what StartupJuncture calculated. On average, each deal was €5,3 million. Most companies mention they will use the freshly raised capital for international expansion (even though successful Dutch scale-ups wait several years before they grow internationally).

The companies that raised the most capital in 2017 are: Picnic (€100M), Messagebird (€52M) and Xeltis (€45M). (Protix also raised €45M but we're not sure what part of that is equity investment).

What were the hot topics of 2017?

We categorized each startup using (more or less) the same list of categories that Crunchbase uses. Startups can have multiple 'tags'. In terms of the number of startups that raised capital in 2017 (so not the total amount raised), 'software', 'e-commerce' and 'travel' were the top categories.

All categories are displayed in the picture below (size of words depict the number of startups):

You might have expected hot topics like artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain and VR/ AR in this list, and they are, but apparently not in the top list. Two explanations here: 1) the dataset with categories (based on Crunchbase) might be incomplete (e.g. only mentioning 'software' and not (also) 'artificial intelligence') and 2) probably it takes time before startups in hot markets scale enough to raise venture capital funding.

What are average seed, series A, series B and series C deal sizes?

The average dealsize in 2017 was €5.3 million, but that doesn't really say much. We categorized all deals into seed, series A (first VC on board), series B and series C. We captured 46 seed deals and 52 series A deals, so we probably missed some seed deals (although we see that many startups skip seed and go directly to a series A). There were only four series C deals: Xeltis, Luxexcell, BUX and iWelcome.

As expected, subsequent rounds are higher in size: the average dealsize grows from €730k (seed) to €4.7M (series A) to €14.8M (series B) to €18.8M (series C).

Are these dealsizes similar for companies in software, medtech, cleantech and high-tech?

We also categorized all companies into four groups: Software, Hightech (incl. hardware and agtech), Medtech (incl. pharma & biotech) and Cleantech. Software had most deals (72) and the highest total amount invested (€360M).

The average dealsize per group are displayed below (we excluded series C rounds here because the 0, 1 or 2 deals per group would give a distorted image).

The seed round is fairly similar across all groups, although hightech startups have the highest seed amount on average (€1.1M). Medtech startups have raised the highest series A (€7.3M), while software startups have raised the highest average series B (€16M). This includes the €100M mega series B round of Picnic. Without this deal the average software B round would be €7.7M.

If we're considering median values (to control the effect of large rounds), we can have a closer at software and hardware deals (other groups have too little series A or B deals for a median):

The rounds are quite similar, except that the median value for the series A is much larger for hightech companies.

Who were the most active venture capital investors in 2017?

We studied the Dutch investors that were involved in the deals. The later rounds involved plenty of foreign investors (including Fortino in Bloomon and Holtzbrinck Ventures in BUX), but we didn't analyze them in further depth. The most active Dutch investors are UNIIQ and InnovationQuarter, two semi-public seed funds in the province of Zuid-Holland. When not considering seed investors, these are the most active VCs:

Some VCs also invested in foreign startups, like Volta Ventures. These deals are not included in this overview.

Value Creation Capital also includes the Security of Things fund and the TechNano fund (managed by Value Creation Capital).

Where are the funded startups located?


Roughly one third of the startup deals was with a Amsterdam-based startup. Amsterdam is, again, the capital of venture capital.

What university or knowledge institute ‘created’ the most funded spinoffs?

Not so easy to find out, but we looked at the companies that were explicitly mentioned as spinoffs of a university or knowledge institute. TU Delft created the most funded spinoffs, all of them in seed round (many of them funded by UNIIQ and/ or InnovationQuarter).

The University of Twente is a good runner-up with 5 funded startups, but interestingly these startups have raised later rounds (1x seed, 1x series A and 3x series B), perhaps indicating a good ‘flow’ of capital as spinoffs grow bigger.

I'm pretty sure we missed some deals and miscategorized some startups. Nevertheless we think that this analysis gives some additional insights to the Dutch funding ecosystem. At least it did to us. If your (portfolio) company is not in this list, please keep us updated with future deals!

If you liked this analysis then please 'clap' so others can find it too. Thank you! ❤

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The dataset

This is the dataset we used, combining the hard word of StartupJuncture, StartupDelta and The Ministerie of Economische Zaken:

[edit: in a previous version I screwed up the 'based in' column. Hope everything is where it's supposed to be now]

* indicates our educated guess

Deals we added later to this dataset, but are not included in the analysis above (thanks to (among other people) Frans van Beveren, Casper Knieriem and Jeffrey Williams):

  • Sjoprz (€1.1M seed)
  • Studyportals (€5M series A)
  • Bidroom (€2,1M seed)
  • Revue (€285k seed)
  • Nimbles (€400k seed)
  • Health Value Creation (€2M series A)
  • Kriya Materials (€3M series A)
  • TripleMed (€2M series A)
  • Mito Medical Products (unknown seed amount)

This makes the total amount not €646M but over €662M!