The Netherlands is seeing a rise in startup activity, evident in the success of this co-working space platform
Amsterdam-based Deskbookers, a co-working space booking marketplace, has scored a €1.5 million seed funding round led by Berlin’s Point Nine Capital, the company announced on Tuesday. Angels who joined the round include former Booking.com CMO Arthur Kosten and former Emesa.nl CEO and Co-Founder Marcel Beemsterboer.
The site is currently available in Dutch, German, and English and includes over 7,000 mostly Netherlander bookings per month. With scaling in mind, they plan on using the new funds to go beyond their mostly Dutch and German-speaking base to the UK, France, Nordic states, and southern Europe in early 2016.
“Rather than being a pure marketplace, we offer integrated solutions for both businesses using Deskbookers, as well as venue hosts,” co-founder Jeroen Arts told Geektime. “Venue hosts easily earn money for their unused spaces. We have high repeat usage among customers and strong lock-in effects at both supply and demand sides.”
“In the European space, there are a number of companies that we consider as a competitor, although most of them have (at this point) different offerings. However, we also believe that Deskbookers has the strongest fundamentals to build the leading platform in Europe and the world alike.”
Off to a rocking start in Amsterdam
The company credits Rockstart’s accelerator program — which ran between March 1 and August 15 this year — with its success thus far. Besides the accelerator’s notoriety in the Netherlands, they were aware of its track record with other marketplaces for resource hubs valuable to technology SMEs and other startups.
“Rockstart Accelerator is a famous Dutch accelerator program and propelled marketplaces such as Peerby and 3D Hubs into leading startups in their space, [which are] respectively peer-to-peer lending of items and the largest connected global network for 3D printers,” he noted.
The accelerator actually runs three programs in the Netherlands: digital health, web and mobile, and smart energy. Giving €15,000 and taking an 8% stake in their companies, they’ve helped accelerate 58 startups who’ve collectively raised €24 million. Seventy percent of those companies have received follow-on funding, now including Deskbookers.
The city itself is booming. They were ranked 19th out of the top 20 ecosystems in the world this year by Startup Compass, with somewhere between 1,900 and 2,600 tech startups. However, they still fall short on seed funding (the average seed round hovers between $450,000 to $500,000) and early stage funding in general. Despite that, Rockstart is accompanied by international accelerator program Startupbootcamp as staples of the Dutch accelerator scene. The city also mimics the global market reach of places like Tel Aviv, whose companies tend to go global quickly because of a similarly small domestic market.
“Amsterdam has a great startup culture, with many entrepreneurial minds clustered in a small region. The downside is that there is quite [a lot of] competition finding and attracting talent, but we’ve managed that really well up until this point. The great thing about Amsterdam is that as it is super connected, everybody really feels they are adding straight to the community. There is a great sense of ‘pay it forward,'” Arts said.
The 2013 creation of Frank Derks and Jeroen Arts, Deskbookers reserves more than 7,000 venues a month and counts over 100,000 bookings total thus far. They employ 23 people out of their headquarters in Amsterdam and count corporate giants Uber and T-Mobile among its clientele.