The unicorns
made me

do this!

By Marleen Evertsz,
Published on June 8, 2021

The Netherlands is a fantastic country for technological innovation. There are four big tech universities and an amazing development landscape, driven by large multinational corporations like Phillips and ASML. As a result, there is lots of activity and innovative technology all around. Startups abound.

But that’s also where it stops. Even though we have an established financial sector, only a few of those ventures are picked up, get funded and grow. Perhaps a couple can sell their technology to foreign investors. All the others? They die silently.

Marleen Evertsz, CEO and Co-founder of tokenized securities and digital asset trading platforms Nxchange and GoldRepublic

The valley of death

After validating business models, early and later stage startups with revenue between EUR 0 - 1 mln fall into a critical phase, a valley of death where there is little or no funding available. In order to ensure that ventures get access to investors and funds, some challenges need to be addressed. The investment deal sizes are too small for institutional investors compared to the relatively high administrative costs. There is a mismatch of venture risk profiles and the risk appetite of institutional investors. Furthermore, the deal flow is unpredictable and uncertain and there’s a potential lack of available investment opportunities. Due to different (restrictive) investment terms, it’s hard to co-invest or make future investments in ventures. And the pool of private investors is relatively unorganized, with little or no availability of venture debt for scale-up ventures.

From an infrastructural point of view, what is lacking is a self-sustaining transparent, online, regulated marketplace where ventures and investors can seamlessly connect to investors. Topping off all these challenges, there is no fiscal stimulation to invest in early stage high risk ventures, and public and private funding possibilities are fragmented over many parties.

Lead or learn

How is Silicon Valley doing this? And the Nordic countries, with their thriving startup cultures and groundbreaking companies? How can we put the extremely good infrastructure of universities and subsidies that we have to better use? Where can we lead by example and what should we learn from others?

Please let's not waste so many promising ideas for sustainable innovation!

If the Netherlands wants to compete with other countries in the tech arena and if the need to transition to a more sustainable global economy remains pressing, the stakes for innovation are high. A more sustainable economy requires enormous investments. The financial sector, as an intersection for capital allocation, is to play a major role in sustainability and sustainable management. If, on top of that, we are serious about wanting to become a unicorn nation, we need to organise a decent basis for startups to access funding.

Do or die

An innovative public, private and institutional funding structure is needed. Here lies an opportunity to integrate existing private and public funding possibilities with standardized documentation, pre-defined milestones, stage gate financing and structured reporting. Early stage financing should become transparent, simple, predictable, fair and frictionless. The same basic terms should apply to all pre-series A investors.

Despite the fact that everyone says that the Netherlands does not have an equity investing climate, and despite the fact that there have been countless attempts to do something about this, I don't want to stand on the sidelines and watch. Something has to be done here, and we at Nxchange cannot do this alone. Only by joining forces can we bring about the change that's needed. Someone has to take the first step, and I've decided not to wait anymore. I'm going in, and I can only hope that many will join me.

One is boring and un feasible let's do thirty

In recent weeks we have financed the sustainability program of startup accelerator StartupBootcamp via Nxchange. I am super proud that we helped launch the program in which startups can take place and improve their chances in becoming the stars of the startup world. However, my eyes are on the next step. In order to maximize our chances, we need to create scale, diversification, standardization and flexibility. Together with HighTechXL, the Venture Builder from Philips and ASML, we will IPO 30 deeptech ventures at once. Ambition level? Stratospheric. A hell of a job, if only for assuring all regulatory approvals. Behind the scenes, we've been working like mad to make it happen. Now it's up to you to decide if you are ready to join us and take this next step together. We hope you like it.

For more information, follow us on Nxchange.

Thank you for reading, Marleen

Marleen Evertsz

CEO and Co-Founder Marleen Evertsz has a proven track record in leading innovative fintech companies. Being at the forefront of digitizing and trading physical assets with GoldRepublic since 2010, Marleen is now dedicated to building fully regulated, trading platforms for issuing and listing tokenized securities and digitized assets on Nxchange and GoldRepublic in close collaboration with European regulators, ABN Amro Clearing bank and the Rabobank.

About GoldRepublic & Nxchange

Tokenized securities and digitized assets are our thing at GoldRepublic and Nxchange. We have been dealing with trading these assets and allowing institutional and retail investors taking positions in these assets for over 10 years now.

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