Successful startup-mentor collaborations

Throughout Startupbootcamp’s three-month accelerator programme, 10 of the predominantly Dutch-based startups collaborated with over 150 mentors, partners and investors – all in a bid to develop into industry-leading businesses. The programme ended with the Demo Day, which had the startups presenting their innovations to over 400 stakeholders at Rabobank’s Utrecht headquarters.

Participating startups included:

  • clevergig: an IT startup whose software allows companies to easily manage their flexible workforce.
  • Cymbra: a developer of apps, smart software and sensors for retail store management.
  • Feli: a developer of an app that helps consumers find and buy products online.
  • immidi: an Amsterdam-based IT startup that develops digital-engagement apps.
  • OnTrack: an IT startup that develops algorithms to help managers identify specific in-company influencers.
  • PickThisUp: a Dutch logistics company that aids consumers and online stores with difficult deliveries.
  • Salestack: an IT startup that is focused on making sales fun via data-driven sales acceleration.
  • SchedJoules: enables users to discover local events through everyday apps.
  • Shelf Sailor: develops a marketplace for self-storage in urban areas, connecting people who have storage space with people who need storage space.
  • WeSwitch (Dutch link): a developer of an online marketplace that allows users to trade with people in their local communities.

An unforgettable experience

The payoff of the startups’ hard work made it an unforgettable day for the companies. Startupbootcamp E-commerce’s managing director, Marc Wesselink, implies that the event’s success was unsurprising, praising Dutch and Amsterdam-based e-commerce: “Amsterdam is the ideal place for e-commerce startups. The Dutch market is perfect to test innovations, because of the culture and infrastructure available. The Dutch are very open to technological innovations and very direct with feedback. Next to that, we have high connectivity, easy access to capital and a favourable legal and fiscal climate. All characteristics that benefit entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship.”

The success of female-led startups

What is particularly interesting about these companies is that 50% of them are female-led startups (clevergig, Feli, OnTrack, immidi and Shelf Sailor). Co-founder of Startupbootcamp, Patrick de Zeeuw, said, “every year we keep statistics of how many women are on the applications we get for our programmes. When we started in 2010, less than 5% had a woman named as one of the founders of the startup, and now it’s over 12%. Although not very high, it’s definitely growing.” This supports the latest worldwide numbers from the Female Entrepreneurship Index, which found that there has been an increase in the number of female entrepreneurs. 

However, the index also concluded that the number of females active in the IT sector has actually decreased. According to Feli CEO Marja Silvertant, e-commerce might just be the way to address this decline: “It’s an industry where business and creativity collide. E-commerce is not just about the conversion and hard data but about being able to create user experiences that accelerate this data and make a difference in people’s lives. Women are usually quite emphatic and tend to think about users’ issues.”