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The Netherlands is one of the most energy-efficient countries in the world. The country’s second-largest city – Rotterdam – has started to reduce energy consumption and to replace fossil-based energy use.

Rotterdam’s bold ambition: To become a green city with clean air, a robust economy, and no dependence on oil, gas, or coal. A city that will be climate neutral by 2050.

Each year, ten teams of ambitious entrepreneurs have the chance to roll up their sleeves and tackle relevant industry challenges while showcasing the use of European positioning technologies in IoT.

So, it comes as no surprise that Energy Transition has been a crucial topic for innovation in the Rotterdam Region in the last several years. It’s interesting to note that a large city like Rotterdam, combined with its huge industrial complex, generates not only challenges but also enormous opportunities for growth.

For this exact reason, Rotterdam’s regional partners have been focussing on this transition in the last several years. It allows the city authorities to successfully solve significant challenges while creating opportunities for innovation, new business, as well as both societal and economic impact.

Together with the City of Rotterdam and the Port of Rotterdam, Tech Tour has been instrumental in organising at least one event focussed on transition, sustainability, and energy efficiency.

As a result of participating in these events, regional and other start-ups have attracted considerable investments to develop their ideas in the upper-mentioned fields.

Main Players in the Local Ecosystem and Accelerator Programmes

The key research facilities for the growth of the start-up community in the region of Rotterdam include:

  • Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Hogeschool Rotterdam
  • TU Delft
  • TNO

Most start-ups with a technical background have come from these four universities. Access to technical knowledge is of utmost importance in the start-up phase.

The go-to accelerators, incubators, and VCs in the Rotterdam region include:

  • PortXL
  • BlueCity
  • InnovationQuarter (IQ)
  • The Rotterdam Port Fund
  • The Rotterdam Makers District (RDM)
  • The Cambridge Innovation Centre (CIC)
  • The Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship (ECE)

Role of the City of Rotterdam

The City of Rotterdam represents a regional partnership of facilitating organisations. It is the local ecosystem that does the actual heavy lifting. They have one main aim – providing access to resources that are critical for start-ups’ growth.

The organisation focusses not only on access to capital, customers, and international markets but also on talent and network. The Rotterdam Region supports an interactive ecosystem of players capable of helping each other and themselves.

The Tech Tour Events

The City of Rotterdam intends to provide the local start-up community with access to capital that the Tech Tour network can deliver. The organisation also intends to provide its corporate community with access to cutting-edge innovations and ground-breaking start-ups and scale-ups to collaborate with.

The region’s attractiveness, together with Tech Tour’s network, brings together 80+ leading investors each year. These include companies such as ETF Partners, Chrystalix, Evonic, BASF, SABIC Ventures, SET Ventures, Oil and Gas Climate Initiatives, Robert Bosh, and Breakthrough Energy Ventures.

Over the last seven years, Tech Tour and the City of Rotterdam have brought together 300 unique VCs and corporate investors.