The world may be going crazy, but the Netherlands continues to keep doing what it does best … business on a global scale. Which we believe is a yuuuge inducement for successful expats and techpats looking for a place to make money and ride out the madness, if you follow our subtle references.
From the north Netherland’s push to land the new Tesla gigafactory to a record year for foreign investment, the little powerhouse just keeps innovating.
We always say we could write a post every day just on our headquarters city of Eindhoven. Every city in the Netherlands is bustling with new economic activity.
Of course, Dispatches is focused on all of Europe. So we can’t go crazy.
But at the first of the year, there’s more going on than usual.
• We’ve been watching the progress of this unique building. Monday, Osaka-based outdoor gear company Shimano has opened its European headquarters on the High Tech Campus Eindhoven,
The new energy-efficient building will house about 180 employees, according to a news release. The total workforce there could grow to more than 200. Construction began in 2015.
The opening got a lot of press on biking websites, though it was largely ignored outside of recreation-industry outlets. Which is kind of weird considering this is a major investment by a global industry leader in a country where bicycles are the dominant mode of transportation.
The new European HQ houses Shimano Europe’s product coordination, sales, marketing, quality control, finance, legal, IT and HR teams for cycling, fishing and rowing, as well as the product development team for cycle accessory brand PRO, according to the news release.
Moreover, the 4-story building – which we’re guessing cost someone in the neighborhood of 10 million euros to build – has the latest Green tech.
The new facility has been built with environmentally-friendly features, including rooftop solar panels and a smart water recycling system to reduce consumption. Vertical metal wall slats protect the building from excessive heating by the sun and reflect light to the inside, further reducing the need for artificial light.
The building received the top rating by the BRE Environmental Assessment Method, which is roughly equivalent to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED certification.
In addition to bikes and components, Shimano makes fishing reels and rowing equipment. But its introducing high-tech to shifting, braking and wheel technology have revolutionized biking over the years.
If you’re wondering why Shimano chose Eindhoven instead of London or Berlin, think about this: Eindhoven just made INSEAD’s list of Top 10 Talent Competitive Cities at No. 8, just ahead of Los Angeles and behind Paris.
You’ve heard of LA and Paris, right?
HTC Eindhoven is now home to about 150 companies.
• While the Shimano HQ opening is great, there’s a lot more going on at HTC Eindhoven, including the arrival of smaller but potentially world-changing businesses. For example, Luxexcel just opened a 20-person operation there.
Luxexcel uses 3D printing to make ophthalmic lenses for eye glasses. The value proposition is, Luxexcel can make high-quality lenses in just one hour, customized for the user without the usual polishing and grinding. Think of the potential of shortening the supply chain for fast-turnaround fashion eyewear companies such as New York City-based Warby Parker.
• The Netherlands had a record year for direct investment by foreign companies in 2016, with – no surprise here – American companies leading the way.
The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency and the Invest in Holland network scored 350 foreign investment projects in 2016 totaling $1.86 billion in capital injected into the economy, as well as about 11,400 new jobs, according to a news release.
The U.S. maintains its rank as the top source of investments at more than $75 billion.
Notable projects included Minneapolis-based Medtronic’s 355,200-square-foot distribution facility in Heerlen, next to the company’s existing Center of Excellence, and Redwood, Calif-based Oracle’s sales center expansion in Amsterdam, according to the release.
• Eindhoven is a hotspot for high-tech hardware, no question. But with a major football team, PSV Eindhoven, this is also a major sports hub. And more and more, we see tech intersecting with sports here.
To that end, Eindhoven-based Sport eXperience is hosting “Entrepreneurs Determine the Future of Sports” on Friday, 3 February.
From the event website:
The entire sports market will be disrupted by innovations and therefore entrepreneurs determine the future of sports. What are the trends and the predictions on trends in the future? And how does it affect the way we exercise, perform and experience sports?
Speakers including Arno Herman, founder of Sport eXperience, Europe’s first sports accelerator, founded in 2015. It supports startups and scaleups with international growth ambitions. Also on the bill is Thijs van der Wal, senior product manager at TomTom Sports and Merida Miller, designer, apparel advanced concepts at Under Armour.
Tickets start at 30 euros for students, and you can get tickets here.
CU there …..
• Eventbrite has acquired Amsterdam-based Ticketscript, one of Europe’s largest self-service ticketing providers. Eventbrite, founded in San Francisco in 2006, has moved quickly into Europe. The platform was operating in 2011 in London, and now with the Ticketscript acquisition, about 25 percent of Eventbrite’s global employees work in Europe!
To illustrate how these things generally work out, Ticketscript was founded the same year as Eventbrite.
Finally, despite our better judgement, we can’t resist sharing “Netherlands Welcomes Trump,” the “official” video that introduces the Netherlands to the new American president in a style he can relate to and understand.
Really, this is a public service because the vid comes with a plug for the pony park at Slagharen, which is a national treasure we hope President Trump will experience for himself, caressing those tiny ponies with his tiny hands.
The video currently has more than 8.5 million views on Youtube because like us, the rest of the world just can’t stop watching it ….
And remember … America first, but the Netherlands second.