H2 2021: another record-breaking half-year for Dutch ventures

H2 2021: another record-breaking half-year for Dutch ventures

The amount of venture capital invested in Dutch disruptors has reached a record high again. The second half of 2021 yielded €3.67 billion for our startups and scaleups, clearly higher than the previous record of €2.98 billion noted after 2021’s first half. Wow!

That’s one of the main outcomes of an analysis of investment data sourced from business intelligence platforms Oracle Datafox, Dealroom.co, LinkedIn’s company pages and company blogs. Another important outcome is that in their nascent stage, the mentioned scaleups and startups together already provide society with close to 10,000+ jobs in the Netherlands and an additional 4,000+ jobs elsewhere (source: LinkedIn).

How we created the list

To be precise, 317 companies were meeting the requirements we have set to be part of our list.

  • Firstly, a company’s headquarter needs to be in the Netherlands.
  • Secondly, a significant part of the founding team and employees needs to work for the company from The Netherlands.
  • Thirdly, investors believe the chosen companies have long-term growth potential because of their innovative and/or market challenging character.

Consequently, we left out some large deals that are considered Dutch by others. For example, below’s deals are included in blogs that also reconsider 2021 for Dutch ventures:

Deal sizeCompanyMonthStaff countNL-based staff count
€151,450,000Accel ClubNovember401 employee
€80,000,000Zola ElectricSeptember59017 employees
€53,000,000​Medal TVDecember582 employees
€31,000,000BorzoAugust1721 employee
€20,330,000Moove AfricaAugust1352 employees

The five mentioned deals represent a significant sum of €335,78 million, but we haven’t included the companies because almost all their employees as well as their founders do not work from the Netherlands. What’s left, are only their Dutch headquarters and tax payments.

On the other hand, we did include a €235 million investment for Mambu, a fintech scaleup that was previously based in Germany. Since last year, it is headquartered in Amsterdam, and more than half of the C-level execs live in The Netherlands, as well as 160 of their 790 employees. They substantially transformed into a company with Dutch DNA.


Most importantly, we added the dazzling $1 billion investment in Dutch tech-savvy hotel chain CitizenM. Started in the same decade and just as IoT-smart as bike builder VanMoof, another Dutch star on our list, we praise CitizenM and its founder and CEO Rattan Chaddha for disrupting its market with a so-called micro-hotel style.

Here, you enjoy hotel luxury and the high-end convenience of (online) services, yet the rooms are smaller and it encourages you to utilize its large public spaces. This kind of concept seems out of place in a pandemic where social distancing is the main mitigation, while CitizenM has not yet been profitable. But the company sees it as an opportunity and the board was able to convince the more wealthy investors to support them. Lots of respect!

Early-stage investments

Next to those stars, also the early stage (pre-seed, seed and Series A) investments have our special attention. Having guided The Next Closet during their €3 million investment round the past year, we know well that this maturity stage truly defines the essence of startup life, with the blood, sweat and tears needed to find the right product-market fit. The Next Closet is one of the companies featured on our list, and we have helped them to manage and smarten their finance since 2019.

Analyst Thomas Mensink from startup consultancy company Golden Egg Check raised concerns (in Dutch) last month about the number of early-stage investments, which would not increase as fast as the growth of late-stage deals for Dutch tech disruptors.

Yet very fortunately, our results show that over 100 companies received an early-stage investment in 2021’s second half. Based on his coverage of the first half of last year (which we didn’t analyse), a clear record number of early-stage investments over 2021 is established: 160+ deals.

One likely reason that early-stage deals are harder to discover is that business media tend to report less quickly about smaller deals than previously. Ten years ago all major business media outlets, including ‘het Financieele Dagblad’, wrote about a small seed investment from Sanoma Ventures in peer-to-peer sharing platform Peerby. Now fast-forward to 2020 and it appears that most business media did not consider a new €500k investment into Peerby newsworthy enough.

Do you like to navigate through our data yourself? No problem. Check our master spreadsheet. Our online spreadsheet also consists of all undisclosed investments in the second half of 2021, resulting in the mentioned total of 317 companies.

We wish you a great and prosperous 2022!

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