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  • Foto van schrijverKristian Esser

Money tells a lot

In 2021 Amsterdam was declared as the tech city of Europe. The declaration was not made by a commission, or an authority in the market, but simply by the amount of euros invested in the various companies in the sector.

Reflections on where the money goes

To understand in which direction we are going, without wanting to be too bold on my predictions, I just looked at where the money goes and try to understand. In Amsterdam there has been a growth of 77,000 jobs and with a value of 187 billion online has become the strongest economy surpassing the Horeca and companies involved with the Port of the city. The source is an article in Parool, a Dutch newspaper based in Amsterdam. Thanks to Herman Stil.

3,765,300,000 euros invested

The prominent sectors are:

  • Fintech (1,387,900,000 euros)

  • Software (1,210,400,000 euros)

  • Products and Services (867,675,000 euros)

  • Meditech (237,300,000 euros)

  • Hightech (33,800,000 euros)

  • Deeptech (15,165,000 euros

  • Agrotech (13,060,000 euros)

The most important companies have been presented, and to better understand we have listed them and briefly explained what they do.


Mollie (665 mln)

If you have an online business and need a payment provider, Mollie does everything you need. A comparable example is another Dutch company called Ayden.

Mambu (235 mln)

As in all industries, specialists are needed who not only have knowledge of the right technology, but must understand the rules of the game. In 'fintech' the rules are very serious, and so many companies play on the same digital chessboard, which in this case is called Mambu.

Bunq (193 mln)

When a bank opens its doors, but only its digital ones.

Bux (67 mln)

And that's where crypto comes into play. Buy, invest, sell, speculate, like they where candies. And look at this... new businesses are already thinking in communities! Could this be the future? 😂

Ophen (30 mln)

I have to admit that they look very 'arty' for the industry, but maybe that's what it takes to introduce a whole new system to support banking. As they say, 'It's banking done better'.


Messagebird (662 mln)

If you need to organize your notifications, wherever they come from, you can rely on the solutions offered by Messagebird.

Otrium (120 mln)

When an e-commerce offers you to buy at the cheapest price, a webshop for outlets becomes a walhalla.

Studocu (43 mln)

Completely in line with current trends. Lifelong learning, distributed learning, microlearning and so on. It all starts with accessibility and sharing. Studocu.

Castor (38 mln)

Castor is a cloud-based clinical data management platform that allows researchers to easily capture and integrate data from doctors, patients, devices, wearables, and EHR systems.

Lepaya (35 mln)

Companies can no longer do without offering their employees an easy and accessible way to improve their skills. Online learning. They're not the only one... (32 mln)

When a world becomes decentralized the need to centralize arises. The world never changes :)

Quin (25 mln)

The whole process of medical consultation in an app. The doctor always at your fingertips.

Products & Services

Picnic (600 mln)

Open a supermarket that is nothing more than a department store with lots of little (electric) cars that carry around the shopping. And all strictly mobile.

Van Moof (108 mln)

When a product does everything it can to become a service. Digital. Electric. And beautiful, too.

Dott (70,6 mln)

When a service must become a product :)

Crisp (30 mln)

Shop online for fresh products (not all of them).

Felyx (24 mln)

Be mobile, anywhere, leave your scooter wherever you want, reserve what you need and electricity will get you to your destination.


Lumicks (78 mln)

Here, not being knowledgeable, I rely on the description on their site: LUMICKS is a next-generation life science tools company focused on enabling more efficient research, drug development, bioprocessing, bioproduction quality control, and patient treatment.

Northsea Therapeutics (71 mln)

Again, they elaborate: NorthSea is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of structurally engineered fatty acids, or SEFAs, for the treatment of metabolic diseases.

Leyden Labs (40 mln)

Again, their description: At Leyden Labs, we want to free humanity from the burden of respiratory viruses to let people live life to the fullest. We are moving fast and growing quickly. Are you interested in contributing?

Vectory (31 mln)

VectorY combines the therapeutic potential of antibodies and gene therapy to develop long-lasting therapeutic solutions for large disease areas with high unmet medical need.


Hyber (26 mln)

The internet of things (IOT) continues to grow. The more 'things' you have scattered around the world, the less you know how they're doing. Hyber helps you keep an eye on them.


Seenons (6 mln)

If you discard something, whether it's at home or in your business, someone else may need what you no longer need. To create a circular and sustainable world, it's not a bad idea to connect supply and demand. A Tinder for what you discard.


Plantlab (? mln)

Vertical farming, or the reproduction of nature in the laboratory. A solution to provide cities with minimal transportation needs.


We added #hashtags to each company (except for a few) to understand what forces are driving investments in the tech world. But mind you, we didn't do a deep analysis of their business models but tried to understand them from how they present themselves on their sites. Another thing we didn't do is analyze them by sector accepting the risk to skip some interesting nuances.

This article has not have the ambitions to represent the entire world and all cultures, but it still gives us food for thought.

We counted the #hashtags and put them in order. For each #hashtag these are our reflections:

Make services accessible to customers, when and where they want them. This need arises from the huge transition of products into services. Services have become the product's lifeblood that is bought or used at the right time depending on the conditions. In addition, there are also the services needed for the use or maintenance of the product itself.

All these services are offered to the customer through digital channels. Businesses that are able to create digital relationships with their customers are the ones that will make sense in the hybrid world.

Technology has become a 'commodity'. It means that those who strive to make my digital life easy will win my attention. Our lives are made up of physical actions but also digital ones. Eventually, we want our digital actions to become as natural as our physical ones.

It's not news, but believe me, if a company doesn't sell products or services online, they still think that the smartphone mainly has the function of a phone. There are so many new businesses that choose not to have a site and prefer to win with their app.

As our lives are filling up with both physical and digital actions, and technology has become a 'commodity', it is necessary that the aesthetic component gets back into the game. Design tells you exactly whether an application matches your personality or not. Besides the fact that Design and Usability are great expressions of the respect a company has for its customers.

We don't create the new world on our own, we do it together. The same principle applies to the digital world, but in an exponential way. Everything communicates with everything, and we need businesses to make it all work. Preferably not one business for everything, but many that collaborate. A fine-meshed, distributed, resilient, and trusted network.

Cybersecurity is certainly one of the hot topics. The more you digitize the world, the more there are access points where you can sneak in. Business models that leverage people's security have always worked. If you don't defend yourself, you're screwed. But there's another point to make: we need to educate people. Get them to know what they are doing online and prevent them from leaving their doors open, or welcoming any passerby into their digital space.

Remember when people had doubts about e-commerce? They said it was impossible to replace physical stores with digital ones. For example, 'how do you do it without in-store staff, without expert advice, without being able to try out a dress...'? I don't need to recount what has happened in the last 15 years. But in our opinion, we are again at a major turning point. As we are learning to create digital relationships, at a distance, e-commerce stores will also be populated again with people, who at a distance will offer what we so lack: the personal touch.

We need to take the path of sustainability, of the circular economy. It means that it's not just people looking for each other online (see Tinder for example), but it will be billions of materials, products, services that will be looking for one another.

Diversity always offers added value. They remove bias, they remove 'tunnel vision', they remove bubbles. But sometimes you need uniformity to support complex models. There are industry-dedicated platforms that facilitate the creation of standardized protocols. But let's be careful not to put absolute power in the hands of the organizers.

Again, as in the previous point and in #makeitwork we see that one of the needs is to connect all the platforms that help us give services in our digital space. Eventually, we want to at least access our information when we use a cocktail of applications that facilitate our work, or leisure time.

Oddly enough, this #hashtag only has one 'vote'. The use of artificial intelligence would seem to be a 'no-brainer'. In reality, it is already used a lot but in situations where we don't notice it. The creation of algorithms is an example. But slowly we see AI services surfacing and offering themselves to the market easy to use. It fits into the discourse where technology becomes more and more a medium we have to personally adjust to our needs.

Tailored technology, made for me and only me. Technology that only works when it knows a lot about me, and only works if I use it. It goes very much with the #makeitsmart idea and needs a high level of security.

The world is full of connected objects. But where are they? Some of these objects are also mobile, so how do we find them? Big developments in the world of logistics, but also in the world of security. A stolen bicycle can now be found digitally. In fact, more than that! Someone else finds it for you since it's a service you pay for when you buy your electric bike.


The connection between our physical and digital worlds has become substantial, technology is becoming more and more user-friendly, it's siphoning easily between the two worlds, and it's changing meaning in our life. It's no longer technology that does things, but technology that helps people better express themselves in the two worlds. This leads us to develop applications that give more and more space to the person. Where technology has invaded our world, we are now the ones invading technology.

Quite a challenge :)


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