February Newsletter of the Consulate General of the Netherlands in San Francisco 
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Dear reader,
The Netherlands is proud to call itself an innovation nation that finds tech solutions for global challenges! But after six months on the job, I have to admit that this approach not only radiates confidence, it may also sound arrogant and it fosters complacency. As if the Netherlands tech ecosystem is finished and there’s nothing left to improve. Many people tell me that’s not true.

Yes, the Dutch tech ecosystem is growing stronger every day, but hasn’t matured yet:

  • The number of Unicorns from NL are below what you can expect from the 5th innovative country in the world. Israel, Sweden, Switzerland are all ahead of us.
  • Exits in Silicon Valley count for 46% of the total global value. The Netherlands for a mesmerizing 0.02 percent.
  • 10% of all global funding for new startups comes from Silicon Valley. The Netherlands counts for only 0,05 percent.
  • In 2020, Dutch startups raised 1.6 billion in VC investment. Their Swiss competitors 2.4 billion, Sweden 3.2 billion, and Israel, 4.9 billion
  • Diversity and inclusion are topics hardly discussed: 60% of the female employees at Dutch tech firms say their company doesn’t prioritize diversity.

This month, as we virtually welcome dozens of Dutch startups to CES 2021 and the Academic Startup Program, we are working hard to strengthen the ecosystem and help startups to adapt to Silicon Valley. And we’re doing this together with mentors from the Holland in the Valley network, who bring in many years of experience and success in Silicon Valley
When I meet these startups and see their products and ideas, I know they have the potential to change the world. They are all ambitious, creative, and eager to learn. It gives energy to connect them to people who can help them forward. As one of our mentors, investor Anke Huiskes, said: “It’s a lot of hustling.” And I’m so proud that we can help them with that.
All the best, Dirk Janssen
Consul General

All Virtual CES 2021
From virtual games for dementia patients to quantum technology for research institutions, more than 90 Dutch tech companies joined the first-ever digital edition of CES 2021. Showcasing their products in the virtual Netherlands Pavilion, they joined the world’s brightest and most forward-thinking innovators on the global innovation stage. The online opening ceremony was joined by His Royal Highness Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands and Mona Keijzer, State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.
Following the opening session, the Consulate General hosted an Investor's Roundtable and Pitch & Connect session to connect a group of selected participants to the Silicon Valley ecosystem. The roundtable was co-hosted by Silicon Valley Bank, a Holland in the Valley corporate partner, sharing insights on developing a successful capital strategy in Silicon Valley. The pitch session was a strong practice in selling your story to a critical US audience.
Recap of the opening day of CES 2021
Academic Startup Program goes West Coast

The 10 best academic startups of the Netherlands have started their virtual visit to the US West Coast. The mission was one of the prizes for winning the Academic Startup Competition 2020.
Specially selected mentors and Silicon Valley experts are helping the 10 winners prepare for the mission by, for example, organizing pitch training for them. During the mission, the winners will meet virtually with investors, entrepreneurs, and other experts who will give them advice and help them expand their network. 
The program was launched during a virtual talk show on January 26 with Special Envoy HRH Prince Constantijn van Oranje, investor Anke Huiskes, and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Lotte Vester. On March 3, State Secretary Mona Keijzer joins the closing ceremony, which will be livestreamed on social media.

VanBoven provides accurate 2-week harvest forecasts for fresh vegetables using a combination of AI and high-resolution drone imagery of the crops.
AgTech partnership between CA, WA and NL

The Netherlands, California, and Washington State are joining forces with researchers, fruit growers, and technology companies to solve major tree fruit challenges through orchard automation and robotics.
All large exporters of agricultural products, the parties agreed to work together to share experiences with on agricultural technology, specifically fruit orchard automation and robotization. The Fruit Orchard of the Future agreement was signed February 3 in an online ceremony with Washington State University, Washington Tree Fruit Research CommissionWashington State Department of Agriculture, Netherland’s Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food QualityWageningen University & Research, and other partners
“This is a good time to reinforce international cooperation and solidarity. To re-think our food systems. And to develop new infrastructures for sustainably produced healthy food,” said Dutch Ambassador André Haspels. “Together, we can build food systems that are smart, sustainable, and efficient.”

Toast on the West Coast
Alumni from all Dutch universities that live and work on the US West Coast, joined 'Toast on the West Coast, organized by the universities, the Consulate and Holland in the Valley. In this virtual alumni event, some 150 alumni connected and listed to the stories of Consul General Dirk Janssen and TU Delft alumnus Onna Faber, currently entrepreneur in San Francisco.
Changing cities after Covid

Cities all over the world are embracing cycling and pedestrian-friendly streets. The COVID-19 crisis has offered a unique window to rethink, redefine, and reallocate streetscapes and the way they are used.
Together with Dutch Cycling Embassy the consulate hosted a series of free digital workshops for mobility experts in California, Oregon, and Washington. The goal was to share Dutch knowledge and experience from decades of political processes, transportation planning, and infrastructure design. 
Experts from both the public and private sector in the Netherlands participated, including Goudappel CoffengTechnolutionBreda University of Applied ScienceStudio BereikbaarTechnical University of DelftProRailBikemindedMobycon, and CROW.

Climate Adaptation Summit

Climate change is real, but how can we adapt to its consequences? World leaders virtually came together to exchange global experiences at the Climate Adaptation Summit, organized by the Netherlands.
The consulate hosted a side event, together with the State of California, “Partners in Adaptation, Addressing Sea-Level rise in the Netherlands and California.” In this event, experts from both the Netherlands and California looked at two projects: the Dutch Afsluitdijk and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Speakers were.

  • Rewatch the webinar below.
Holland in the Valley
The Holland in the Valley community is growing! Dutch insurance company ASR joined Holland in the Valley as its seventh corporate partner. ASR and Silicon Valley are both motivated by innovation, entrepreneurship, and inspiration. In an online-signing ceremony Edwin van Tricht of ASR was introduced to some members of the HV community.

HV also launched a new YouTube series: The Startup Diplomat. In each episode - US Startup Liaison - Michael Dooijes (also known as “the Startup Diplomat”) will visit founders from high potential Dutch Startups and Scaleups that are on the verge of their breakthrough in the US.

In the first episode he visits Camile and Vincent of Productpine. An omnichannel (online & physical) commerce platform that is making direct-to-consumer sales & marketing up to 75% cheaper through technology. Watch the first episode below.

Productpine is an omnichannel (online & physical) commerce platform that is making direct-to-consumer sales & marketing up to 75% cheaper through technology

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