Shaping the future of Amsterdam’s startup scene

Angel Island, billed as an event for ‘the brave and the daring – the ones that have the perseverance, the talent and the ambition to shape the future,’ is a community-driven festival that brings together information-enabling startup founders and investors. The organisers will hand-pick 400 guests to host a party for startup founders, virgin and angel investors and EU community leaders on a tiny island near Amsterdam. Working with community leaders from across the Netherlands, they have set out to create an unusual event that aims to level the playing field for startups and investors.

Connecting startups and angels

Ton van ’t Noordende, partner at Keadyn and initiator of Angel Island, explains the motivation for the new event. “The number-one question I get asked by startup founders is how to find the right angel. Crazily enough, angels ask the exact same question about startups.”

The Netherlands has a rapidly evolving startup ecosystem. While unicorns used to grow in London, Berlin, Stockholm or Tallinn, Amsterdam is now on the rise as a startup city, being home to ventures such as Booking.com, Adyen, Catawiki and JustEat. According to the European Digital Forum’s 2016 Startup Nation Scoreboard, the Netherlands is Europe’s number-one testbed and launchpad for startups and scale-ups.

Breaking tradition

The country’s latest strategy is to connect all the individual Dutch startup hubs to a joint brain pool. Now is the time to activate the huge potential of an angel community. According to the festival organisers, while there are a lot of traditional family-owned businesses that want to diversify and invest in equity at an early stage, they often lack the experience on how to valuate and assess really early-stage companies, which don’t yet have a proven product-market fit or business model. However, there is a strong belief that the youngest generation of family-owned businesses have the potential to break free of the focus to invest for the long term and start to shift towards becoming angel investors in early-stage startups.

Hand-picked participants

Angel Island breaks with traditional pitching and investor meetings, while having the ambition to connect 250 startup founders to 150 angel and virgin angel investors. In order to ensure the highest-quality event for all participants, founders and angels are selected to join and participation is by invitation only. Those interested in joining can request an invitation.

Amsterdam Capital Week

Numerous different initiatives have helped Amsterdam reach its status of startup hub. One of them is Amsterdam Capital Week, which is an initiative by StartupAmsterdam and behind Angel Island. “Amsterdam Capital Week is all about connecting startups and scale-ups to investors. We are very excited that Angel Island is one of our flagship events,” says Anouk Bikkel, programme director of Amsterdam Capital Week. In its second edition this year, Amsterdam Capital Week takes place in the week of 26 to 30 September and is designed to connect startups with various types of capital. The five-day event turns Amsterdam and its surrounding region into a vibrant area for startups and capital to jointly pitch, meet and learn from each other. By doing so, it enforces and enriches the capital ecosystem in the Netherlands and Europe.