May 22, 2024
ScaleNL Team
This month, 13 of the brightest deep tech startups from Dutch universities and research institutions embarked on an unforgettable journey – a week-long immersion program in Seattle and San Francisco. Find out what they got up to during the jam-packed schedule, designed to fast-track these innovators' entry into the lucrative US market.

About the Academic Startup 2024 Program

This unique program, co-developed with Techleap, equips Academic Startups to fast-track their entry into the US market by providing inspirations, connections and knowledge they need to bring their product to the US. Among the program participants are 11 winners of Academic Startup Competition 2023/2024 as well as 2 winners of Most Innovative Student title of 2022 and 2023. These startups typically emerge as academic spin-offs or boast robust partnerships with renowned Dutch research institutes. These are academic spin-offs or startups with deep ties to Dutch research institutions, boasting a minimum of two founders, initial funding, and a passion for disrupting the status quo. Whether tackling technical challenges or leveraging social sciences to revolutionize industries, these ventures are changing the future. 

Take a look back at the Academic Startup 2024 Program: click on the photo to enlarge it.


Program Highlights


➡️ Seattle: Immersion & Inspiration

The program kicked off in Seattle, where the founders gained invaluable insights from seasoned entrepreneurs who shared their fundraising, partnership, and go-to-market strategies. A matchmaking session with US-based mentors at Creative Destruction Lab provided personalized guidance on navigating the American market. Further inspiration came from a visit to Microsoft Research Lab, offering a glimpse into the future of AI technology and sparking innovative thinking.

➡️ San Francisco: Deep Dives

In San Francisco, the program delved deeper into practical tools and knowledge. Growth experts shared actionable tips on scaling businesses in the US market, while local investors provided valuable feedback on pitches. A leading AI specialist hosted an insightful AMA session, and experts led sessions on data-driven business models and venture capital provided a well-rounded understanding of key trends. The actionable learnings rounded off with a Stanford tour and a practical workshop on Lean Startup principles at UC Berkeley, equipping founders with tools to prioritize customer discovery and validate their ideas. As a cherry on top, the group also visited the awe-inspiring NASA Ames Research Center, where we explored current trends and developments in the space industry.

➡️ Building a Network for the Future

Throughout the week, networking was a constant theme. From Seattle to San Francisco, founders connected with industry experts, fellow founders, and potential investors. Founders networked with a vibrant ecosystem of fellow entrepreneurs, operators, and investors from leading Dutch universities. Through various networking events, they built relationships that can fuel future collaborations and growth.


💡 Conclusions

The Academic Startup Program shows how collaboration and mentorship can propel groundbreaking ideas forward. By connecting the participating founders with industry experts and experienced entrepreneurs, equipping them with valuable tools, and offering a glimpse into the heart of US innovation, the program has set these promising Dutch deep tech startups on a path to success in the global marketplace.


About ScaleNL 

ScaleNL is the first public-private organization that helps Dutch Tech scale to the US with access to a dedicated network of founders and mentors, a US market entry academy of courses, tailored events and programs, and access to funding. ScaleNL is co-funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

About Techleap

Techleap is a non-profit organization, funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, helping to quantify and accelerate the tech-ecosystem of the Netherlands.

Program Partners 

The program would not have been possible without the help of the program partners: Rabobank, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Silicon Valley Bank, citizenM, and the community of our corporate partners: Erasmus Enterprise, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek and Microsoft.



Would you like to get more insights like this? Sign up to our newsletter and follow us on LinkedIn and other social media channels for a dose of knowledge and inspiration.



Share this article

You might also like