If you’ve been following this site for a while you would have noticed that startups and scaleups from Amsterdam or the Netherlands raise funding all the time. However, only a small percentage of capital in the Netherlands goes to female entrepreneurs. However, these women are determined to change that and give female entrepreneurs a fair share in raising funds.
Amsterdam supports RISE – Female Hub
With the announcement of its financial support for the RISE – Female hub Amsterdam, the City of Amsterdam creates more equal opportunities for women and men in its startup ecosystem. The city invests €750k in the programme. This allows RISE to unite twenty Amsterdam-based organisations to create a three-year programme for ambitious women at different stages of their career.
Before the programme starts, we take a look at the game-changers – the women leading the way. As entrepreneurs, ecosystem builders and now the female VCs shaking up the world by striving for more diversity and equality. These are the VCs you must know about:
Eva de Mol – CapitalT & Fundright
‘We need to do better’, said Eva de Mol (pictured above) in an interview with Silicon Canals just over a month ago. She was talking about the fact that startups with a female founder receive barely any funding. In the first nine months of 2020, just 1 per cent of venture capital in the Netherlands went to startups led by women. De Mol: “Unacceptable and sad in the twentieth century.”
It’s strong language from a woman with a strong opinion on equality in the startup ecosystem. As a partner of Amsterdam-based CapitalT, which invests in early-stage startups, she’s aiming to change that. Notable examples are female-led businesses as WizeNoze and Blockparty. De Mol is also a member of the Fundright initiative, which is motivating VCs in the Netherlands to invest more and more often in female founders.
Constance Scholten – Slingshot Ventures
As an entrepreneur turned investor, Constance Scholten knows what it takes to make it as a woman in the male-dominated startup world. She started her journey in the ecosystem at Travelbird, after which she founded ‘worlds smallest social network’ Camarilla. Her creation was acquired by HR-platform Appical in 2017.
Her experience as an entrepreneur is now being put to good use as the Human Capital Director at Slingshot Ventures. The relatively new VC that has already backed well-known names such as VanMoof and Tiqets. Scholten’s name may also ring a bell from one of the many, many interviews she’s done as one of the most inspiring examples of female founders.
Willemijn Verloop – Rubio Impact Ventures
If you’re looking for women that make an impact, look no further than Willemijn Verloop. As the founder of War Child Netherlands, this entrepreneur has been actively making an impact for over a decade now. Looking for more positive change, she then moved on to found Social Enterprise, which supports companies that prioritise their positive impact on the world.
Naturally, when this entrepreneur turned into VC, she kept on looking for positive change. With Rubio Impact Ventures, formerly known as Social Impact Ventures, she’s investing in the future of social entrepreneurs. For instance, Rubio recently participated in the €16M Series B funding round of Mosa Meat, that creates lab-grown beef.
Marleen Evertsz – Nxchange
Leading the way in fintech, Marleen Evertsz is a force to be reckoned with in the financial business. She started her career at trading firm Optiver, where she worked her way up to managing director responsible for all US activities. She then proceeded to found GoldRepublic, an online marketplace for actual gold.
Her latest endeavour is Nxchange, which she co-founded. Nxchange is a decentralised stock exchange which connects investors with those looking for funds. The platform makes it possible to place and trade securities on a regulated platform without the intervention of a bank or broker being required and is set to revolutionise capital market transactions. No wonder Evertsz’s new venture won prestigious innovation prizes, all of which is proof that she’s one of the leaders in fintech innovation.
Janneke Niesen – CapitalT
A serial entrepreneur, an investor with multiple exits, a columnist for some of the most popular publications in the country, a mentor to startups, a novelist inspiring girls to pursue a career in tech – the list of Janneke Niessen’s accomplishments goes on and on. She was also recognised in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year, Deloitte Fast 50 or The Next Women 100.
Niessen co-founded CapitalT, where the above-mentioned Eva de Mol also works. She strives towards shifting the balance of VC money to female-founded startups. Niessen also co-initiated the Inspiring Fifty, the European programme that highlights the accomplishments of women in leadership positions within the tech industry.
Jacqueline van den Ende – Peak Capital
When Rocket Internet asked her to start up an online real estate platform in the Philipines, Jacqueline van den Ende took up the challenge. As founder and CEO, she built up the company to an organisation with over 100 employees.
That entrepreneurial spirit and experience eventually brought her back to her home country of The Netherlands, where she became a partner of Peak Capital. As one of the leading Dutch investors in SaaS and online marketplaces, it has some notable exits like Catawiki, CheapCargo and IENS. As a partner, Van den Ende paves the way to the top for other women.
Laura Waldenström – INKEF
Laura Waldenström first made waves as an entrepreneur in the lively Swedish startup scene. She co-founded market intelligence firm Previro. With Waldenström as COO, it didn’t take long for the startup to attract multiple large clients from different countries.
After gaining experience as an entrepreneur, Waldenström landed in Amsterdam where she is now a senior associate at INKEF Capital. She led the recent Series A funding round for the workplace communication solution of Happeo. The originally Finish startup has an office in Amsterdam as well and is ready for some rapid growth with Waldenström on board.
Anieke Lamers – VC coach
Also looking for impact wherever she goes is Anieke Lamers. As an investment manager at Social Impact Ventures, now known as Rubio, she was involved in sourcing and making deals with startups in the area of eHealth, cleantech/circularity and eLearning. She is also the founder of the Next Generation Impact Investor network, which connects impact funds from all over Europe to share knowledge and experiences.
Late last year, Lamers moved on from being an investor and decided to use her experience to mentor and guide founders and VCs in their quest to make a positive impact on this world. From the start of her career, Lamers has also been a strong voice for more female representation in the business world. She even established an ‘old girls network‘, which connected female professionals to help each other reach the top in a male-dominated world.
Therese Liechtenstein – M Ventures
An impressive career in the financial and healthcare business and with a PhD in Immuno-Oncology from University College London, an MSc in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Amsterdam, and a BA in Biology and Business studies from New York University. These qualifications are clear indications that Therese Liechtenstein is not relying on her royal blood to get ahead. Because yeah, she is also a princess of the actual country Liechtenstein.
But more so, Therese Liechtenstein is an accomplished principal of Amsterdam-based M Ventures. She manages the healthcare fund with companies like Forx and Plexium in the portfolio. Thanks to her background, she is also a sought-after speaker for numerous biotech and healthcare conferences.
Simone Brummelhuis – Borski Fund
Being a lawyer for prestigious firms, publishing her restaurant guides, owning and selling IENS – the largest online restaurant platform in the Netherlands – to Tripadvisor, and working her way to the top of organisations like Schiphol and Rabobank. Simone Brummelhuis has had a career one can only marvel at. And she’s not even close to being done. She also founded TheNextWomen, which inspires, connects, and advises female entrepreneurs since 2009.
Her latest adventure is called Borski Fund, named after 19th-century investor Johanna Borski. Brummelhuis is its director and partner. It’s a VC fund with a twist that suits her well: it has a strong focus on growth capital for female founders and managers. By actively investing in startups and scaleups with female (co-)founders, Brummelhuis takes new steps in restoring a gender balance and increasing diversity.
Laura Rooseboom – StartGreen Capital
With a planet in distress, we need people like Laura Rooseboom. She is managing partner of StartGreen Capital, the largest fund manager in the field of sustainability in the Netherlands. Rooseboom has been striving for a positive impact all her career. As the director of Doen Ventures, she was one of the first VCs focused on sustainable companies. She is also the co-founder of OnePlanetCrowd: the crowdfunding platform with a focus on solutions with a positive impact.
Besides having an impact on the planet, Laura also has an impact on the diversity within the startup ecosystem. The above mentioned Borski Fund is an initiative of StartGreen Capital. As a partner in the fund, Rooseboom actively aims to fund more female entrepreneurs or female-led startups.