Dispatches’s business roundup: Europe’s largest virtual reality center coming to Eindhoven and much more

Apologies, Dispatches fans, but there’s so much going on in the tech world, we’ve not kept up our end of the biz/startup/tech part of the bargain of keeping readers informed. We really want – nay, need – techpats as part of our audience. Here’s our business roundup for September. Better late than never ….

So here goes …

The big news that will probably be the big story for years is the Battle of London as countries that remain in the European Union fight to attract the multinationals expected to leave before and after Brexit.

Every media outlet from the BBC to Variety has covered the story, which involves the Germans just opening an office in London near the “Silicon Roundabout,” with Berlin Sen. Conelia Yezr leading the charge.

And of course, there’s the Berlin Partner for Business and Technology website that offers assistance in making the move, including packages for finding financing, talent and even workspace under the motto “Berlin is the Place to Be.” BPB&T reports that dozens of UK firms – many from the fintech sector – have made requests for information on the city, with one due to open an office in October!

Our money is on Amsterdam, but as a Netherlands-based company (we just registered Dispatches with the Kamer Van Koophandel) our bias shows. Still, it’s undeniable that Amsterdam has a depth of managerial skill Berlin lacks, along with a far more strategic geographic location in Europe.


• Netflix leaves Paris for Amsterdam

IMG_0131To our point, every website from Variety to the Wall Street Journal is puzzling over why Netflix is closing its Paris office and consolidating at its European HQ in Amsterdam. Is it the lower corporate tax rate in the Netherlands … 20 percent in Amsterdam vs. 33.33 percent in France? Plus 20-percent VAT on its sales to France. Or is it the fact that two years after it started French operations, San Jose-based Netflix still has only created one French-language show? Or is it because French regulators make streaming video firms wait 36 months after theatrical releases to show them? We’re thinking, “All of the above.”

See the Motley Fool’s overview here.

The new Country Caller financial website also has a complete post here.


• Agnelli family moves holding company to Amsterdam

800px-sede_grupo_fiat_con_logos_de_exor_fiat_y_fiat_industrial-800x575Okay, one more. The Agnelli family is moving the headquarters of Exor – holding company for the Italian family’s stake in Fiat, Ferrari and the Juventus football team – from Turin to Amsterdam. Exor has a market value of 12 billion euros, with the Agnellis owning a majority 55 percent stake. Reuters has a detailed post explaining the reasoning behind the move. Mainly, the goal according to Reuters is to streamline Exor’s structure, making it easier to make acquisitions and to raise capital.

• Nested Real Estate

1451948037Okay, genug about Amsterdam. Business Insider has an intriguing post this morning about a new London-based “proptech” (first time we’ve heard that) startup that promises to sell your house within 90 days, or lend you a guaranteed amount of interest-free cash to buy your next property. This could turn the rather unimaginative residential real estate business on its head just as Airbnb upended the hotel business and Uber dinged taxis.

Nested Real Estate just raised 3 million pounds ($3.8 million) from a number of sources including:

  • London-based seed fund Passion Capital;
  • Tim Bunting, a partner at venture capital firm Balderton;
  • Tom Hulme, a partner at Google Ventures;
  • Paul Forster, founder of jobs website Indeed;
  • Germany’s billionaire Samwer brothers, founders of venture builder Rocket Internet.

From the BI post:

Nested lets people get an immediate offer on the value of their house, a fraction of the likely full price. If you like the offer, Nested will then take over the process of selling your house for you and if that is not done within 90 days, it will lend you the cash it guaranteed at the beginning, interest-free, to let you buy a new house.

Nested does not actually take ownership of the house, and when the house does sell you get 80% of any upside and Nested takes 20%. (It also charges a minimum 1.8% fee.)

• Europe techpats return:

lars_uber_balderton_thumb800One of the more interesting posts we saw recently was Financial Times’s post about European tech stars returning from Silicon Valley. The post is by one returnee, Swedish VC Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen, who worked at Uber and Dropbox … and who calls the introduction of the iPhone “the single most transformative moment in the history of mobile phones.”

Fjeldsoe-Nielsen writes that European talent is returning home, bringing their U.S. experience with them, after the quiet success of tech startups across Europe:

Today, we are living through a comparable growth spurt on the other side of the Atlantic. Technology stars such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Dropbox’s Drew Houston have inspired a generation of talent from Helsinki to Lisbon, and Tallinn to Tel Aviv. Successful founders across Europe have become local heroes, building companies such as Spotify in Stockholm, Unity Technologies in Copenhagen, and DeepMind and Deliveroo in London.

• Europe’s largest virtual reality experience center coming to Eindhoven

eindhoven-18-september-pleinemmasingelEurope’s largest virtual reality experience center is scheduled to open in the Strijp-S section of Eindhoven in October. The Enversed center will be 3,000 meters square, or 32,000 square feet – three-quarters of an acre. It will be a gaming center, team-building destination and a training facility, according to media reports. If you go to the website, you can sign up for their newsletter and pre-book time there.

From the news release, which we forgot to post:

Enversed is working on the computer hardware for its centers in partnership with MSI, a world leader in ultra-fast gaming computers. The two companies are pioneers in the field of VR innovation.


Capital Tour XXL in Amsterdam, 27 September

 Join us on Capital Tour XXL Amsterdam on 27 September 2016 to meet the investors and the finance methods behind successful businesses such as Peerby, Catawiki and Bloomon. Connect with Amsterdam’s Capital Ecosystem, from VCs to Business Angels to Corporate Ventures at their HQs. Get answers to all your questions about funding and find out which is right for you.

Hands.On TV Startup Tour

(Editor’s note: We have no idea what this is, but the website states the startup tour was created by “amazing entrepreneur Rodrigo Barros.”

Barcelona, 30 September

This year the HandsOn Startup Tour will have the honeur to close the Barcelona Startup Week. Rodrigo Barros and his team are extremely excited to visit for the 3rd year this booming entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Paris, 4 October

The French capital is increasingly supporting the development of its startup scene and today Paris has become a major entrepreneurial hub in Europe. The HandsOn Startup Tour will be in the city of light this October 4 to gather together the local community and identify its 2 most promising startups before our European Finals.

London, 10 November

Cascais, Portugal, 15 November

Stockholm, 17 November

Paris Finals, 24 November

WIRED2016, 13 and 14 October, London

This sounds cool …

Prepare to abandon your comfort zone, discover some of the world’s most disruptive minds and explore the trends of tomorrow – WIRED’s annual two-day conference is back. Moving to new dates on November 3-4, the WIRED world will come to life at London’s Tobacco Dock, as we gather our favourite thinkers, makers and doers. Expect more than 50 fascinating speakers, experience the latest technology in the WIRED Test Lab with Telefónica Open Future, and enjoy exceptional networking with more than 700 like-minded individuals.

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