10 amazing start-ups from Amsterdam to watch

1 Jun 2018

Image: kavalenkava/Shutterstock

Amsterdam is one of Europe’s traditional business centres but is also a thriving hub for innovative tech start-ups.

A mercantile city, Amsterdam has been a haven for entrepreneurs and empire-builders since the 16th century and boasts one of the oldest stock exchanges in the world. The 17th century is considered the city’s golden age when it became one of the wealthiest cities in the world, presiding over a global trade empire.

It is still a vibrant trading and financial hub and dotted along its myriad of canals and winding streets are promising young start-ups and impressive start-up accelerators such as Rockstart, which I visited last year. Startup Amsterdam provides a useful service for discovering all the meet-ups, bootcamps and investor events in the city, while a handy resource for discovering all about living, working and investing in Amsterdam is I Amsterdam.

The Dutch city is one of my favourite go-to places to get a sense of what European start-ups are up to, having attended a number of Irishman Paul O’Connell’s Uprise festivals in recent years.

Unfortunately, for various reasons, I was unable to attend the latest incarnation of O’Connell’s conferences, ZeroIn in April, or The Next Web Conference 2018 in May, so here is my olive branch: 10 amazing start-ups to watch in Amsterdam in 2018.

Bolt Mobility

Bolt Mobility, or the “Dutch Tesla on two wheels” as it describes itself, makes internet-enabled clean energy scooters. The company’s AppScooter is an electric scooter that runs on Android apps. It can go from zero to 45kph in 3.3 seconds. It has a range of up to 400km on a single charge and, because there is no petrol engine, its under-seat compartment can fit a full beer crate, or 65 litres of beer, which is always useful to know. Bolt Mobility was started in Delft in southern Holland by Bart Jacobsz Rosier and Marijn Flipse and moved to Amsterdam in 2017. Last October, it raised €3m through equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs, bringing total funding so far to €6.1m.


Financial trading app BUX is a community-based platform aimed at helping people with no experience of market trading figure out how stocks work before starting trading for real. It operates in eight European countries and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. It recently raised €10.6m in a Series C round in October followed by €1.3m in a crowdfunding campaign in November.


EclecticIQ provides organisations with cyber-threat intelligence through its Fusion Center platform. The company services financial and government organisations. Founded by Joep Gommers and Raymon van der Velde, EclecticIQ has raised €20.5m to date, including most recently €14m in a Series B funding round from Keen Venture Partners and existing investors.


Fairphone claims to have made the world’s first fairly designed and produced modular smartphone using ethically sourced materials built in fair working conditions. Founded by Bas van Abel and Miguel Ballester, Fairphone has raised $17.9m to date, including €6.5m in a round led by Pymwymic and The DOEN Foundation. Prior to that, it raised €9m through crowdfunding.


MessageBird provides a platform for companies to communicate with their customers via VoIP, SMS, voice messaging and chat through its cloud-based APIs. More than 15,000 enterprises around the world are connected to its platform. MessageBird was founded by Adriaan Mol and CEO Robert Vis and last October raised $60m in a Series A round led by Accel in Silicon Valley with significant participation from Atomico in London. It had previously raised €120,000 from Y Combinator after being bootstrapped and profitable for its first six years of business.


MyTomorrows has developed a platform to help physicians and patients excluded from clinical trials to access drugs that are in development. Founded by Ronald Brus, Erdem Yavuz and Govert Schouten, MyTomorrows last year raised €10m in a round led by EQT Ventures with participation from Balterdon Capital and Sofinnova Partners, bringing total funding to date to $22.2m (€18.9m).


A SaaS-based core banking engine, Ohpen develops software tools for financial services firms to digitise their services in the cloud. Effectively, it enables banks to release the shackles of legacy systems and embrace newer agile technologies. It was founded by Bas Wouwenaar, Chris Zadeh (CEO), Erik Drijkoningen and Ilco van Bolhuis. In February, the company raised €25m in a Series C round led by private equity firm Amerborgh, bringing total funding to date to €40m.


ParkBee has created smart technology that opens up private carparks to the public. It currently serves more than 60 locations in the Netherlands and more than 20 in the UK. Founded by Jian Jiang and Tom Buchmann (CEO), ParkBee recently raised €5m in a funding round led by Statkraft Ventures


Founded in Amsterdam but also with offices in Boulder, Colorado, Stream.io has developed an API for personalised news feeds for app creators to build, integrate and scale feeds into their apps. Stream, which has an audience of more than 200m end users, last year raised $3m from investors that include Arthur Ventures, Techstars, Galvanize, Social Starts, V1VC and Tahoma Ventures.


Virtuagym is a fitness platform and mobile app that allows gyms and fitness spaces to manage their business, including coaching, invoicing and membership. Founded by Hugo and Paul Braam, it has just raised €6m in a Series B round from Endeit Capital.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years