Sander Arts worked for or with a variety of European and US tech companies. Currently, he’s an independent investor and consultant.


What Brainport can learn from Silicon Valley

Leestijd: 3 minuten

More and more capital is finding its way to European and Dutch startups and scale-ups. That’s excellent news, says a Dutchman who has worked in Silicon Valley for 12 years, but it’s not enough.

This morning, I took the exit at Menlo Park’s Sand Hill Road to go meet up with a client. The Californian sun was shining and things looked quiet and peaceful. It was almost like Sand Hill Road – home to several high-profile venture capital companies – was trying to mask the intensity and the dynamics that make Silicon Valley what it is. At the surface, things seemed calm, but this area remains unique, highly competitive and incredibly fast moving. I, once more, felt blessed to be able to live and work in this amazing place; it’s very addictive.

People all over the globe, but mostly from Europe and my native country, the Netherlands, ask me what I think the big differences are between ‘here’ and ‘there.’ For a long time, my answer has been: access to capital. In the US, it’s quite common to raise tens of millions of dollars with a solid business idea, some customer signal, but without a lot of revenue. In the Netherlands, I was getting calls from companies that raised 750,000 euros, when in fact, they should be scaling because they already had revenue – or were even making a profit.

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