The Netherlands has goals in it. It is a country with problems, as well. We should be a savvvy economy. We need to make a transition to energy. The population is growing older and the cost of health care is increasing.
All of these are serious challenges. And yet we can’t cope with anything.
Innovation Origins announced the Piek Awards on Thursday evening, the awards for the most important contributions to high tech innovation in the Brainport area. In the run-up to that, I felt slightly sad to read that it was reported in 2019 that Dens, a company that is creating generators operating on a green fuel (formic acid) received an investment of half a million euros. In 2019 Lightyear raised € 30 million. It looks like a lot of money.
Dutch alderman Stijn Steenbakkers also suggested that we give serious consideration to the challenges we face. Our ambitions do not fit into what is actually done.
Monetary money isn’t a guarantee of success.
As already mentioned, the € 30 million for Lightyear sounds like an enormous amount. Just like the € 1.7bn Invest-NL offered. But the Rivian Electric Trucks American manufacturer received € 2.5 billion in 2019. This was for a company whose goods may be pre-ordered, even though there have been no deliveries so far. One AI start-up in China, AInnovation, raised US$ 57 million in its second round. In total, China is investing billions in AI. Even the € 100 million invested by TU / e in AI Institute EAISI is not that impressive compared to this amount.
“Money isn’t a guarantee of success” or “it’s not about money” are often parroted catchphrases spoken by consultants who want to help start-ups become “investor-ready” but don’t have their own money. You should be extremely wary of the kind of consultants. Because everything relates to capital. No, money doesn’t ensure success. A lack of money will, however, guarantee failure. A talented team that works primarily on grant applications, sending out business plans, cutting back on developers or software is not a success-bound team.
When we truly believe in The Netherlands ‘ innovation potential, then we also have to be serious about making investments. We may maintain our history of Calvinism too. Provided in all sorts of areas we don’t whine about being dependent on foreign companies.