December 12, 2023
ScaleNL Team
Last week marked a milestone for the founders of the ScaleNL Accelerator West Coast 2023 cohort as they ended their 12-week journey with the second edition of ScaleNL Accelerator West Coast program. The top 12 Dutch tech startup founders participated in a 5-day trip to sunny California, immersing themselves in the vibrant US business landscape to propel their companies to new heights.

In late August, we revealed the TOP12 Dutch tech startups that would join our accelerator program in the following weeks to scale their companies to the next level. After three months of meticulous preparations, including individual mentorship, expert sessions, local events, and an immersive trip to ‘American’ London, the founders set foot in the US, following their plans for US expansion.


Stop 1: Los Angeles 🌇

Our trip kicked off in Los Angeles, one of the top three startup hubs in the US. We started the week with an LA startup community breakfast at BioscienceLA, fostering valuable exchanges among founders who understand that the best learnings may come from other founders. 

Next, visiting the NBSO LA office provided insights from a panel of inspiring Dutch entrepreneurs, including Honorary Consul Reinout Oerlemans. The day culminated in pitch sessions in front of LA-based VCs from the Los Angeles Venture Association, followed by engaging 1-on-1 conversations where founders had one minute to convince investors of their potential.

Learning and celebrating successes continued with an inaugural dinner offering a delightful dining experience with a night view of the LA beach.


Stop 2: San Francisco 🌉

The next day, saying goodbyes to LA, we took off to San Francisco—the heart of tech innovation. Starting from expert sessions at the Netherlands Consulate General, we ended the evening with Founder Dinner at the University Club. The dinner was a unique opportunity to connect with the local community of founders, VCs and investors, as it brought together over 50 guests from the startup world.

The following day was full of pitching opportunities – from morning Pitch Sessions at Silicon Valley Bank to a Matchmaking Mixer in the evening, which culminated in a unique opportunity to pitch in front of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Micky Adriaansens, and Jaap Ruoff of Gradient Ventures—a night to remember.

As the trip neared its end, founders spent a full day in Palo Alto, gaining wisdom from successful Dutch entrepreneurs and other accelerator alums. A stop at German Entrepreneurship provided the founders with an inspiring pitch session, a scaling panel, and an engaging networking happy hour.

The final part of the program treated the founders to a relaxing Lands End hike, which we ended with a group photo in the background of the city’s symbol—the Golden Gate Bridge—a perfect way to wind down and reflect on the transformative journey.


Key Takeaways

Regardless of your startup or scale-up stage, here are three crucial insights from our trip that can help you define your expectations for expanding into the US market.

  1. Be present, be involved. 

In-person presence demonstrates commitment and seriousness to investors. By visiting the US often, or even moving there, you have higher chances of building strong relationships and getting firsthand experience of American business culture.

  1. Make your case relevant to the US market. 

Strategies are fine-tuned based on real-life experiences. The US trip is a great reality check for founders, helping them assess the viability of the US market. Success in the Dutch market doesn’t guarantee success in the diverse and distinct US landscape.

  1. Dream big.

In the US the mantra ‘go big or go home’ echoes loudly. Unlike the Dutch adage ‘doe normaal,’ which suggests modesty, the competitive American landscape demands ambition and risk-taking. Multiply your message by two—boldness captures attention.


The ScaleNL program is made possible thanks to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (MEZK), Ministry of Economic Affairs (BZ) and Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).

Thank you to the partners who have supported us this far, and who continue to support our mission going forward: Wilson Sonsini, Rabobank, Erasmus Enterprise, De Brauw, DELTA, citizenM, NBSO LA, Bioscience LA and many more from our ScaleNL ecosystem. 


After San Francisco and Los Angeles, there are 5 more key hubs in the US which ScaleNL is present in: New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, and Miami. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to join us and pre-apply to our future programs now.


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Dream big.
ScaleNL founders on the background of Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
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