From San Francisco to Amsterdam

There’s one question Lawrence Coburn, CEO of DoubleDutch, is frequently asked because of the company’s name. Did it have ties to the Netherlands before opening an office in the country’s capital? The answer is no, but according to Coburn, “picking Amsterdam as DoubleDutch’s European headquarters is really just a happy coincidence.” 

DoubleDutch has created a mobile conference application that’s used at global events, such as trade shows and conferences, and allows attendees to download event guides directly on their smartphones. Everything from speaker profiles, schedules, maps, descriptions and more can be found within the easily navigable, customisable app.

The company was incorporated in 2011 and shortly after, decided it was time to go international. By the end of 2013, it officially chose Amsterdam for its European HQ and opened an office. When searching for a location, company executives were interested in the Netherlands for several reasons, including the availability of direct flights from their American headquarters in San Francisco. “Amsterdam is like a sister city to San Francisco. Both are beautiful, walkable, creative, and filled with people of a similar mindset,” says Coburn.

All paths lead to the Netherlands

The Netherlands’ proximity to Germany was also a huge advantage for DoubleDutch, as the country is the second-largest events destination in the world after the US. These advantages, along with the country’s pro-business government, made the Netherlands the most attractive location for DoubleDutch to invest. “All paths seemed to lead [here],” according to Coburn.

Bringing DoubleDutch to Amsterdam was made simpler thanks to the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA), which worked closely with the company throughout the process. “The NFIA really made it easy for us. They picked us up at the airport, introduced us to lawyers that could get the company incorporated, showed us available office space and even introduced us to potential customers. We were so impressed [and] it just removed the friction for us,” says Coburn.

A city filled with international talent

Since setting up in Amsterdam, DoubleDutch has grown rapidly, and Coburn is impressed by the talent available in the city and surrounding area. “We have folks from about 10 different countries in the office. It’s just a really fun, interesting mix of people. And that’s helpful. As you line up accounts in different regions, it’s nice to have the local people that not only speak their language, but understand their culture.”

And yes, DoubleDutch plans on being here for the long term. Coburn says that, “DoubleDutch is committed to growing in Amsterdam. We love the environment we’re building there. We love the city. We love the people. We love the energy. It’s always rewarding when decisions you make work out so well.”

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