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Are these the future unicorns of Amsterdam?

Leah Hodgson

The Benelux venture capital ecosystem has been ticking along at a steady rate since its boom in 2015. So far this year, just over €1.1 billion (around $1.2 billion) has been invested in startups across the region—comprising Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands—per the PitchBook Platform. With four months left to go, 2019 may eclipse the record €1.3 billion funneled into Benelux startups in 2015.

The bulk of the deals taking place in the region this year come from startups based in the Netherlands, with most of the capital being poured into Amsterdam. Companies hailing from the city raised more than €240 million in the first eight months of the year across 49 deals, per PitchBook data. As the epicenter of the Dutch startup ecosystem, Amsterdam has spawned several high-profile VC-backed companies, providing investors with profitable exits.

One such example is payments processor Adyen, which has received capital from investors including General Atlantic and Iconiq Capital and was reportedly valued at $2.3 billion in 2015 before going public in June last year. The company's shares took off when it listed on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange, valuing it at more than €13 billion. Food delivery giant Takeaway.com also got its start in the capital city. After raising modest amounts of capital from VCs, the business floated at €23 per share in 2016, reportedly achieving an initial market cap of around €993 million. That figure has since topped €5 billion as it looks to create one of the world's largest online food delivery platforms.

Despite receiving relatively small amounts of funding, Amsterdam-based businesses have demonstrated their potential to grow exponentially and represent attractive targets for VCs. So, who might the future unicorns be? We looked at a few of the city's most valuable startups. Mollie (Valuation: €150 million) Perhaps a future Adyen, online payments processor Mollie has grown to serve more than 65,000 businesses in Europe and process in excess of €5 billion a year. Its platform includes features such as one-click and multicurrency payments, fraud monitoring and accounting services. In July, Mollie received €25 million in its first-ever fundraise to fuel its international expansion. WeTransfer (Valuation: €132.2 million*) Founded in 2009, WeTransfer is best known for its file transfer product, which has more than 50 million users who send over a billion files a month. The company expanded to include new tools such as an editorial platform, mobile app, slide-making and sketching tools. In 2015, WeTransfer raised a $25 million Series A from Highland Europe and last month, it announced a €35 million secondary funding round led by HPE Growth. Ohpen (Valuation: €100 million*) The second fintech business on the list, Ohpen operates a cloud-based core banking engine, administering savings and investment accounts for clients such as Aegon, Nationale-Nederlanden and Volksbank. Ohpen's most recent fundraise was its Series C, which closed on €25 million led by private equity firm Amerborgh in February 2018. In April, the latter sold part of its stake to NPM Capital, which now has a 35% holding. Bux (Valuation: €53.8 million*)Bux aims to disrupt the trading experience by introducing first-time investors to the financial markets via a mobile app that launched in 2014. The fintech startup counts more than 2 million users throughout Europe and billions of euros in transaction volume. Velocity Capital and HV Holtzbrinck Ventures co-led a $12.5 million investment in June, bringing its total VC funding to $35 million. Bux used the funding to support the acquisition of its back-end provider, Ayondo Markets Limited, for its trading app. Etergo (Valuation: €28.5 million*) Amsterdam is a beacon for the micromobility movement with its concentrated urban spaces and eco-friendly mindset. Taking advantage of this ideal environment, Etergo offers smart e-scooters. The company's main product, AppScooter, has a range of up to 240 kilometers and includes features such as Bluetooth, music streaming and control navigation. Etergo has raised multiple rounds of financing including a reported €10 million investment in December.

*These valuations are estimated.

Featured image via Yasonya/iStock/Getty Images Plus
 

For more information about the Benelux region, download our Venture Ecosystem FactBook: Benelux