Russia Cuts Gas Flows as Europe Races to Stock Up for Winter

The routine summer practice of filling Europe’s natural gas tanks has become a battle after Russia cut deliveries by more than half.

#economic-conditions-and-trends, #europe, #gazprom, #germany, #natural-gas, #netherlands, #nord-stream-ag, #pipelines, #russian-invasion-of-ukraine-2022

Poland Shows the Risks for Women When Abortion Is Banned

Poland’s abortion ban has had many unintended consequences. One is that doctors are sometimes afraid to remove fetuses or administer cancer treatment to save women’s lives.

#abortion, #abortion-drugs, #birth-control-and-family-planning, #czech-republic, #germany, #law-and-justice-poland, #law-and-legislation, #netherlands, #poland, #pregnancy-and-childbirth, #roe-v-wade-supreme-court-decision, #roman-catholic-church, #slovakia, #supreme-court-us, #united-states, #women-and-girls, #womens-rights

The Michigan Mink Mystery: How Did an Interspecies Outbreak Unfold?

The puzzling coronavirus cases highlight ongoing surveillance challenges and blind spots.

#agriculture-and-farming, #agriculture-department, #animal-and-plant-health-inspection-service, #animals, #antibodies, #canada, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #deer, #dogs, #livestock, #livestock-diseases, #michigan, #minks-animals, #netherlands, #ontario-canada, #taxidermy, #wisconsin, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-health, #your-feed-science

Sanctions Shed Light on Putin’s Private Life

As Western nations place sanctions on people close to the Russian leader, including family members, the strict secrecy surrounding his private life is being punctured.

#alina-kabaeva, #berlusconi-silvio, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #lugano-switzerland, #maria-faassen, #maria-vladimirovna-vorontsova, #moscow-russia, #netherlands, #putin-vladimir-v, #russia, #russian-invasion-of-ukraine-2022

These Dancers Escaped the War. Their Journeys Are Just Beginning.

Hundreds of ballet dancers and students fled Ukraine after Russia’s invasion. With opportunities scarce, many will have to keep moving if they want to keep dancing.

#amsterdam-netherlands, #dancing, #dutch-national-ballet, #kate-myklukha, #lopez-lourdes, #miami-fla, #miami-city-ballet, #netherlands, #polina-loshchylina, #russia, #ukraine, #victoria-glazunova, #war-and-armed-conflicts

A Nazi Soldier Stole a Watch in 1942. It Turned Up 80 Years Later.

The watch, made as a gift in 1910, has been returned to the maker’s family in the Netherlands. It still works.

#belgium, #holocaust-and-the-nazi-era, #netherlands, #overstrijd-alfred, #robberies-and-thefts, #rotterdam-netherlands, #snijders-rob, #watches-and-clocks, #world-war-ii-1939-45

Russia’s Storied Ballet Is Among the Casualties of War

Ballet has long been a symbol of Russian culture. Now it is becoming a symbol of Russian isolation.

#amsterdam-netherlands, #bolshoi-theater, #dancing, #dutch-national-ballet, #maillot-jean-christophe, #mariinsky-ballet, #moscow-russia, #netherlands, #ratmansky-alexei, #raymonda-ballet, #russia, #russian-invasion-of-ukraine-2022, #smirnova-olga, #spartacus-ballet, #st-petersburg-russia, #ukraine, #urin-vladimir

Major Cheese Heist Puts Dutch Dairy Farmers on Alert

Thieves made off with thousands of pounds of cheese, worth about $23,000, from a Dutch dairy farm last week.

#agriculture-and-farming, #cheese, #dairy-products, #netherlands, #robberies-and-thefts

The Transfixing Beauty of Starling Murmurations

Each spring and autumn, the skies in southern Denmark come to life with the swirling displays of hundreds of thousands of starlings, an event known locally as “sort sol.”

#animal-behavior, #birds, #catalonia-spain, #denmark, #england, #friesland-netherlands, #germany, #ireland, #netherlands, #photography, #travel-and-vacations, #united-nations-educational-scientific-and-cultural-organization

Dutch Publisher of ‘The Betrayal of Anne Frank’ Halts Publication

The move came after five historians called into question the findings of the book, in which a “cold case” team sought to answer a long-running mystery.

#amsterdam-netherlands, #books-and-literature, #frank-anne, #harpercollins-publishers, #holocaust-and-the-nazi-era, #jews-and-judaism, #netherlands, #pankoke-vince, #sullivan-rosemary-1947, #van-twisk-pieter

Why Apple’s Fight in the Netherlands Matters

Apple is making a stink over a Dutch regulator’s effort to change its app store. Here’s why the tech giant cares.

#apple-inc, #computers-and-the-internet, #internal-sub-only-nl, #mobile-applications, #netherlands, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry

Looking Back on a Colonial Struggle, a Museum Stirs New Disputes

At the Netherlands’ national museum, describing the events in which Indonesia threw off Dutch colonial rule was never going to be easy.

#colonization, #dibbits-taco, #indonesia, #netherlands, #rijksmuseum, #sukarno-1901-70

Ireen Wüst, Speedskating Legend, Enters Her Fifth Straight Olympics

Ireen Wüst willed herself to become the world’s best speedskater. She arrives in Beijing chasing a gold medal in her fifth straight Olympics.

#kramer-sven, #netherlands, #olympic-games-2022, #speedskating, #wuest-ireen-1986

Natural Gas Shipments, Mostly From U.S., Ease Europe’s Energy Crunch

As Russia squeezes supplies, a parade of tankers carrying liquefied natural gas is coming to Europe’s rescue.

#europe, #international-trade-and-world-market, #natural-gas, #netherlands, #russia, #ships-and-shipping, #uniper-se, #united-states

The Algorithm That Picks the Dutch Speedskating Team

The Netherlands will almost certainly leave the Beijing Olympics with the most speedskating medals. But just being fast doesn’t guarantee a place on its team.

#kramer-sven, #netherlands, #nuis-kjeld-1989, #olympic-games-2022, #speedskating, #wust-ireen

#MeToo Scandal at a Dutch TV Show Spurs a Sexual Assault Reckoning

The allegations against four men appearing on the Dutch version of “The Voice” talent show have helped to prompt a surge in reports of sexual assaults, victims’ groups say.

#metoo-movement, #ethics-and-official-misconduct, #netherlands, #sex-education, #sexual-harassment

A ‘High Priestess of Satanic Art’? This Organist Can Only Laugh.

For more than a decade, Anna von Hausswolff has been bringing the sound of pipe organs to rock fans. But Roman Catholic extremists have tried to stop her playing shows in churches.

#belgium, #churches-buildings, #france, #music, #nantes-france, #netherlands, #organs-musical, #sweden, #von-hausswolff-anna

In Sewage, Clues to Omicron’s Surge

Tracking the virus in wastewater is helping some cities and hospitals respond to the most recent wave of the coronavirus, but a more coordinated national effort is needed, experts say.

#boston-childrens-hospital, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-delta-variant, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #houston-tex, #missouri, #netherlands, #new-york-city, #sewers-and-sewage, #united-states, #waste-materials-and-disposal, #your-feed-health, #your-feed-science

Dutch Royals to Retire Golden Coach With Echoes of Colonialism

The horse-drawn coach, a gift from the city of Amsterdam to Queen Wilhelmina in 1898, has long been the target of critics.

#carriages, #colonization, #museums, #netherlands, #royal-families, #wilhelmina-queen-of-holland, #willem-alexander-king-of-the-netherlands

Facebook’s data center plans rile residents in the Netherlands

Facebook’s data center plans rile residents in the Netherlands

Enlarge (credit: Robin Utrecht | Abaca Press | Alamy)

When Susan Schaap, 61, travels from her Dutch hometown of Zeewolde to the nearest city of Leylystad, the 30-minute drive takes her through vast tulip fields, interrupted only by wind turbines and sometimes sheep. But if Facebook parent company Meta’s plans are approved, her view would be replaced by the Netherlands’ largest ever data center.

Meta’s data center is “too big for a small town like Zeewolde,” says Schaap, who has become one of the project’s most vocal opponents. “There are 200 data centers in the Netherlands already,” she argues, and the move would give huge swathes of farmland to just one company, “which is not fair.”

Read 22 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#big-tech, #data-centers, #eu, #facebook, #meta, #netherlands, #policy

After Chaotic Evacuation, Afghans in the Netherlands Struggle to Find Stability

Many Afghans evacuated to the Netherlands have been living in tents for months, as they prepare to resettle in a Europe that is wrangling with a heated debate about immigration.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #european-union, #evacuations-and-evacuees, #immigration-and-emigration, #netherlands, #nijmegen-netherlands, #taliban

We’re in Omicron Lockdown in the Netherlands. It Shouldn’t Have Happened.

The failure to vaccinate more people, start a booster campaign earlier and spin up free testing capacity quickly have created a crisis.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #europe, #netherlands, #politics-and-government, #vaccination-and-immunization

After Months, a ‘New’ Dutch Coalition With the Same Leader and Parties

Mark Rutte, who has weathered a scandal and criticism for overstaying his welcome, will be prime minister for a fourth term.

#elections, #european-union, #merkel-angela, #netherlands, #orban-viktor, #politics-and-government, #rutte-mark

How Conflicting Guidance on Travel During the Pandemic Shows Little Progress

The Omicron variant turned my trip home from South Africa into a nightmare episode of conflicting public health orders that often seemed to have little connection to science.

#africa, #airlines-and-airplanes, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #medicine-and-health, #netherlands, #quarantines, #south-africa, #your-feed-healthcare

Belgian Port City Grapples With a Flood of Cocaine

Antwerp has become the main port of entry into Europe for the drug, which is being blamed for a surge of violence that has prompted some Belgian officials to call for a war on drugs.

#amsterdam-netherlands, #antwerp-belgium, #belgium, #cocaine-and-crack-cocaine, #colombia, #drug-abuse-and-traffic, #europol, #gangs, #netherlands, #ships-and-shipping, #smuggling

After Hurricane Sandy, a Park in Lower Manhattan at the Center of a Fight

Nine years after Hurricane Sandy, residents of Lower Manhattan are still vulnerable to rising seas. The fight over a plan to protect them reveals why progress on our most critical challenges is so hard.

#area-planning-and-renewal, #audio-neutral-immersive, #audio-neutral-informative, #audio-positive-escape, #big-bjarke-ingels-group, #city-council-nyc, #coastal-areas, #east-river-nyc, #floods, #franklin-d-roosevelt-drive-manhattan-ny, #global-warming, #housing-authority-nyc, #hurricane-sandy-2012, #infrastructure-public-works, #internal-open-access, #lower-east-side-manhattan-ny, #netherlands, #rivers

How 2 Flights to Europe May Have Spurred Spread of New Variant

A confounding array of Covid rules and lax enforcement of mask wearing may have sent on infected passengers on two KLM flights from South Africa to “who knows where.”

#airlines-and-airplanes, #amsterdam-netherlands, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-omicron-variant, #klm-royal-dutch-airlines, #netherlands, #schiphol-airport, #south-africa, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization

Cities Are Not Only Tackling Covid, But Its Pollution, Too

All around the world the remnants of a global pandemic are testing the resolve of governments and private firms to rid the planet of its waste.

#amsterdam-netherlands, #california, #cape-town-south-africa, #chile, #citiesfortomorrow, #coquimbo-chile, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #environment, #gloves, #hong-kong, #houston-tex, #johannesburg-south-africa, #la-jolla-calif, #london-england, #naturalis-biodiversity-center-leiden-netherlands, #netherlands, #protective-clothing-and-gear, #recycling-of-waste-materials, #river-thames-england, #rivers, #sewers-and-sewage, #waste-materials-and-disposal, #water-pollution

Shell Plans Shift to Britain, and Dropping ‘Royal Dutch’

The restructuring is meant to make the company more appealing to investors and make it easier to sell assets, the oil giant said.

#energy-and-power, #great-britain, #loeb-daniel-s, #netherlands, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #relocation-of-business, #royal-dutch-shell-plc, #van-beurden-ben

Mark Rutte, Dutch Prime Minister, Gets Extra Security

Signs of concern for the country’s leader have rattled many in the Netherlands, but experts are split on whether criminal organizations there would really risk targeting politicians.

#assassinations-and-attempted-assassinations, #cocaine-and-crack-cocaine, #de-vries-peter-r, #drug-abuse-and-traffic, #gangs, #netherlands, #organized-crime, #politics-and-government, #rotterdam-netherlands, #rutte-mark

Man Convicted in Thefts of a van Gogh and a Hals From Dutch Museums

DNA evidence found at the two museums after the burglaries led investigators to the suspect, who has now been sentenced to eight years in prison by a Dutch court.

#art, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #hals-frans, #museum-hofje-van-mevrouw-van-aerden-leerdam-netherlands, #museums, #netherlands, #robberies-and-thefts, #singer-laren, #van-gogh-vincent

A Broken Frame, and DNA Traces, Led to Arrest in van Gogh Theft

Dutch prosecutors said that DNA evidence tied a man to the thefts of a van Gogh and a Frans Hals painting; he denies the charges.

#art, #dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #groninger-museum, #museum-hofje-van-mevrouw-van-aerden-leerdam-netherlands, #museums, #netherlands, #robberies-and-thefts, #singer-laren

A Car Racing Fan From Liverpool Is Mistaken for a Mafia Boss

The British man was arrested by armed Dutch police at the request of the Italian authorities, who believed him to be a fugitive Sicilian mobster.

#cosa-nostra, #fugitives, #italy, #messina-denaro-matteo, #netherlands, #organized-crime

Dutch court finds Uber drivers are employees

Uber has lost another legal challenge in Europe over the employment status of drivers: The Court of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, has ruled that drivers for Uber are employed, rather than self employed contractors.

The court also found drivers are covered by an existing collective labor agreement in the country — which pertains to taxi drivers — meaning Uber faces increased costs to comply with the agreement which sets pay requirements and covers benefits like sick pay. (And it may be liable for paying driver back pay in some cases.)

The court also ordered Uber to pay €50,000 in costs.

The ride hailing giant has some 4,000 drivers working on its platform in the Dutch capital.

The Amsterdam court rejected Uber’s customary defence that it’s just a technology platform that connects passengers with taxi service providers — finding instead that drivers are only self employed ‘on paper’.

The judges highlighted the nature of the service being provided by drivers and the fact Uber exerts controls over how they can work and earn through its app and algorithms.

Europe’s top court already ruled back in 2017 that Uber is a transport provider and must comply with local transport laws — so you’d be forgiven for deja vu.

The Dutch lawsuit was filed by the national trade union center, FNV, last year — with the hearing kicking off at the end of June.

In a statement today, the FNV’s VP, Zakaria Boufangacha, said: “This statement shows what we have been saying for years: Uber is an employer and the drivers are employees, so Uber must adhere to the collective labor agreement for Taxi Transport. It is also a signal to The Hague that these types of constructions are illegal and that the law must therefore be enforced.”

Uber has been contacted for a response to the ruling.

At the time of writing the company had not responded — but, per Reuters, Uber said it intends to appeal and “has no plans to employ drivers in the Netherlands”.

In the UK, Uber lost a string of tribunal rulings over its employment classification over a number of years — going on to lose in front of the UK supreme court this February.

Following that Uber said it would treat drivers in the UK as workers, although disputes remain (such as over its definition of working time). In May, Uber also said it would recognize a UK trade union for the first time.

Elsewhere in Europe, however, the company continues to fight employment lawsuits — and to lobby European Union lawmakers to deregulate platform work…

The EU has said it wants to find a way to improve platform work. However it’s not yet clear what any pan-EU ‘reform’ may look like. 

The Commission has been contacted with questions on its platform work initiative.

“Digital labour platforms are clearly worried, evident through investing heavily on their lobbying power and throwing more resources on the EU level. These companies — including Uber of course — have also recently come together to create a new funding lobby group that specifically targeting to influence policies on platform work,” said Jill Toh, a PhD researcher in data rights at the University of Amsterdam, talking to TechCrunch after the Amsterdam ruling.

“We saw how Uber wielded and amended laws in their Prop 22 campaign in California, and together with other companies in Europe, they’re attempting to do so again. It’s disheartening to see that the Commission in its two consultations on platform worker regulation has only been talking to tech companies and has held no meetings with trade unions or other platform work representatives.”

“All of this is incredibly problematic and concerning especially if the EC consultations result in a directive on platform work. Overall, the wins in the courts are important for workers, but there remains the issue of corporate power and influence in Brussels, as well as the lack of public enforcement to these court decisions,” she added.

#amsterdam, #ec, #europe, #european-union, #gig-economy, #labor, #netherlands, #platform-worker-rights, #tc, #transportation, #uber

How the Netherlands is Avoiding River Flooding

Extreme rainfall is causing deadly and destructive floods globally. The Netherlands averted disaster this summer by creating flood plains.

#floods, #germany, #global-warming, #manhattan-nyc, #netherlands

Colonial-Era Royal Carriage Stirs Up Modern Backlash in Netherlands

The “Golden Coach,” built for Queen Wilhelmina of Holland in 1896, is emerging as a new focus of debate over slavery, colonialist oppression and history.

#amsterdam-netherlands, #monuments-and-memorials-structures, #museums, #netherlands, #royal-families, #simons-sylvana, #wilders-geert, #willem-alexander-king-of-the-netherlands

‘We’re Like Athletes Here’: The Maestro With a Gym Habit

Lorenzo Viotti’s sporty social media posts don’t fit the image of an opera conductor. But they help classical music reach a new audience, he says.

#classical-music, #content-type-personal-profile, #dutch-national-opera, #netherlands, #netherlands-philharmonic, #opera, #social-media, #viotti-lorenzo-1990

Where Home Blends With Community

How co-housing in four places in the Netherlands and Belgium is helping people cope with rising costs, keep loneliness at bay and live more sustainably.

#architecture, #belgium, #cohousing-communities, #elderly, #historic-buildings-and-sites, #netherlands, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #restoration-and-renovation

How 2 Jewish Sisters Built a Cultural Oasis During World War II

In “The Sisters of Auschwitz,” a best seller in the Netherlands for more than two years, Roxane van Iperen writes about the way Janny and Lien Brilleslijper staged their own form of resistance.

#books-and-literature, #brilleslijper-janny, #brilleslijper-lien, #content-type-personal-profile, #holocaust-and-the-nazi-era, #jews-and-judaism, #netherlands, #the-sisters-of-auschwitz-book, #van-iperen-roxane, #war-crimes-genocide-and-crimes-against-humanity, #world-war-ii-1939-45

Climate Change Contributed to Europe’s Deadly Floods, Scientists Find

Warming increased the likelihood of the record downpours last month in Germany and Belgium and also made them wetter, according to a study.

#belgium, #europe, #floods, #germany, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #netherlands, #rain, #research, #rivers, #world-weather-attribution

Spotify expands its radio DJ-like format, Music + Talk, to global creators

Last fall, Spotify introduced a new format that combined spoken word commentary with music, allowing creators to reproduce the  radio-like experience of listening to a DJ or music journalist who shared their perspective on the tracks they would then play. Today, the company is making the format, which it calls “Music + Talk,” available to global creators through its podcasting software Anchor.

Creators who want to offer this sort of blended audio experience can now do so by using the new “Music” tool in Anchor, which provides access to Spotify’s full catalog of 70 million tracks that they can insert into their spoken-word audio programs. Spotify has said this new type of show will continue to compensate the artist when the track is streamed, the same as it would elsewhere on Spotify’s platform. In addition, users can also interact with the music content within the shows as they would otherwise — by liking the song, viewing more information about the track, saving the song, or sharing it, for example.

The shows themselves, meanwhile, will be available to both free and Premium Spotify listeners. Paying subscribers will hear the full tracks when listening to these shows, but free users will only hear a 30-second preview of the songs, due to licensing rights.

The format is somewhat reminiscent of Pandora’s Stories, which was also a combination of music and podcasting, introduced in 2019. However, in Pandora’s case, the focus had been on allowing artists to add their own commentary to music — like talking about the inspiration for a song — while Spotify is making it possible for anyone to annotate their favorite playlists with audio commentary.

Since launching last year, the product has been tweaked somewhat in response to user feedback, Spotify says. The shows now offer clearer visual distinction between the music and talk segments during an episode, and they include music previews on episode pages.

The ability to create Music + Talk shows was previously available in select markets ahead of this global rollout, including in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.

With the expansion, creators in a number of other major markets are now gaining access, including Japan, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Colombia. Alongside the expansion, Spotify’s catalog of Music + Talk original programs will also grow today, as new shows from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, India, Japan, and the Philippines will be added.

Spotify will also begin to more heavily market the feature with the launch of its own Spotify Original called “Music + Talk: Unlocked,” which will offer tips and ideas for creators interested in trying out the format.

#argentina, #artist, #australia, #brazil, #canada, #chile, #colombia, #france, #germany, #india, #indonesia, #ireland, #italy, #japan, #media, #mexico, #microsoft-windows, #netherlands, #new-zealand, #operating-systems, #pandora, #philippines, #podcast, #software, #spain, #spotify, #sweden, #united-kingdom, #united-states

FreshBooks reaches $1B+ valuation with $130.75M for its SMB-focused accounting platform

FreshBooks, a Toronto-based cloud accounting software company focused on SMBs, announced today it has secured $80.75 million in a Series E round of funding, as well as $50 million in debt financing.

Existing backer Accomplice led the equity financing, which the company described as “an inside round” that propelled FreshBooks to unicorn status with a valuation of “over $1 billion.” 

J.P. Morgan, Gaingels, BMO Technology & Innovation Banking Group and Manulife also participated in the equity investment, along with platform partner and new backer Barclays. With the new capital injection, FreshBooks has now raised a total of more than $200 million in funding over its lifetime.

FreshBooks has built a cloud-based accounting software platform designed to make things like invoicing, expenses, payments, payroll and financial reporting easier for small business owners and self-employed people (and their clients). The company, which says it has served more than 30 million people in over 160 countries, was bootstrapped for the first decade of its life.

As in the case of many startups, FreshBooks was started to solve a pain point for one of its founders. In 2003, FreshBooks’ co-founder Mike McDerment was running a small design agency. When it came to billing clients, he found Word and Excel frustrating to use and felt like they weren’t built to create professional-looking invoices. So he coded his own solution that became the foundation of what is now FreshBooks. The company was self-funded until 2014, when McDerment decided to bring on outside investors and raised $30 million from Oak Investment Partners, Accomplice and Georgian Partners.

In 2019, Don Epperson joined FreshBooks as executive director before transitioning to the role of CEO this year. McDerment, who previously held the position, remains as executive chair of the company.

FreshBooks has 500 employees in Canada, Croatia, Mexico, the Netherlands and the United States — hiring over 100 people in the past year. Also in the last year, the company entered the LatAm market after acquiring Mexico-based e-invoicing company Facturama in September 2020 in an effort to expand its audience in Spanish-speaking markets.

FreshBooks plans to use its new capital toward sales and marketing, research and development and additional strategic acquisitions. 

The company will also use its new funding toward investing in markets that are becoming more regulated and helping owners manage their finances through “simplistic workflows,” according to Epperson.

For example, he said, more business owners are working to become digitally enabled to meet local tax and invoice compliance systems. 

“The need for owners to manage their business digitally has accelerated, and this has changed how small business owners work with bookkeepers and accountants,” Epperson told TechCrunch. “The funding comes as an injection of confidence in our mission to digitally enable small businesses.”

Image Credits: FreshBooks

When it comes to growth metrics like year-over-year revenue percentage growth, the exec was tight-lipped, saying only that FreshBooks has “seen significant growth” in the number of new customers since last year, in part fueled by a pandemic-driven increase in new small businesses.

The pandemic also uncovered the need for us to understand how seismic events affect our customers, Epperson said. 

“After analyzing FreshBooks’ own proprietary data, we learned that businesses owned by women were taking three times longer to recover in the U.S. versus businesses owned by men,” Epperson said. “This stat laid the foundation for conducting more research into how the pandemic was affecting businesses across multiple industries and entering into data-sharing partnerships with local governments to help policymakers enact change in the support available to small business owners.”

Jeff Fagnan, founder and managing partner at Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Accomplice, is clearly bullish on FreshBooks’ potential, saying of his firm’s continued investments in the Canadian company over the past seven years: “With more people choosing self-employment, the FreshBooks team fundamentally believes in the growth of small businesses, and the importance of helping these businesses scale. As insiders, we have better context for how the company is scaling and how the market is growing, and this is why FreshBooks is our largest investment to date.”

FreshBooks is the latest in a growing number of Toronto-based unicorns. Late last month, 1Password raised $100 million in a Series B round of funding that doubled the company’s valuation to $2 billion. 1Password first became a unicorn in 2019.

#accomplice, #accounting-software, #barclays, #canada, #cloud, #finance, #freshbooks, #funding, #fundings-exits, #gaingels, #georgian-partners, #jeff-fagnan, #mike-mcderment, #netherlands, #oak-investment-partners, #payments, #recent-funding, #small-business, #startups, #toronto, #venture-capital

Dutch startup hub Utrecht emerges from Amsterdam’s shadow

While Amsterdam garners the lion’s share of attention in the Netherlands tech ecosystem, the not-so-far-away region around Utrecht has its fair share of tech startups and investors, as is evidenced by our latest survey of locals, below.

Area ecosystem wranglers such as StartupUtrecht, UtrechtInc, Holland Startup, Utrecht Community and others bring startups, scaleups, corporates, angels, VCs, local government, banks and universities together to build the local startup ecosystem. They also benefit from the formidable Netherlands tech advocate initiative StartupDelta and The Netherlands Enterprise Agency, which promote the Netherlands more widely.

Utrecht is the fourth-largest city in the Netherlands, with 350,000 inhabitants. Its offices and co-working spaces include Dotslash Utrecht, De Stadstuin, MindSpace and Tribes; as well as accelerator programs like Startupbootcamp and Techleap.

Notable startups from the region include Distimo (acquired by AppAnnie), unicorn GitLab, MoneyMonk and StuComm. Plus there are newer ones such as SnappCar, Blendle, Merus, Nibblr, United Wardrobe, Näpp, Lalaland, 2DAYSMOOD and Remind2Change.

Our survey respondents think the ecosystem is strong in sustainable energy, medtech, food tech, life sciences, marketplaces, deep tech, gaming and media. However, they seem to think it’s weaker in design, hardware, fintech, robotics and agritech.

Notable startups named by our respondents include Channable, Pepscope, Goin’ Connect, Fundsup, Tover, Faqta, Sensorfact, SODAQ, Picnic, Neurolytics, De Clique, Solease, BikeFlip, Packaly, DiManEx, Trunkrs, DialogueTrainer, EatMyRide, CART-Tech, Prolira, among many, many others. It just goes to show the region has a strong and growing ecosystem.

The investment scene is described variously as focusing on software, clean tech, life sciences, biotech, organoids, 3D bioprinting, AI and VR/AR. One says: “In Amsterdam it’s ok. Utrecht is a bit lagging.” Another said, “The investor scene focuses on early-stage, scalable tech in healthcare, sustainability and education. [There are] many local informal investors and nationally operating VCs.”

With the shift to remote working, many respondents think people will “preferably move out of the city center toward the villages nearby” as there is “a lot of nature/space around.” That said, Utrecht is “a growing hub” and many will “stay in the city. But fewer people will move in, and remote working is there to stay.” It’s also easy to work remotely in the Netherlands given its proximity to other big European cities, so it may attract new digital nomads, “thanks to the central position of Utrecht in the middle of the country and the attractiveness of the ecosystem.”

We surveyed:


Jorg Kop, investment manager, ROM Utrecht Region

What industry sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What is it weak in?
Digital, gaming, e-health, edtech, sustainability.

Which are the most interesting startups in your city?
Channable, Pandora Intelligence, Sensorfact, SnappCar, Faqta, StuComm, DiManEx, Prolira, CART-Tech.

What are the tech investors like? What is the investment scene like in your city? What’s their focus?
Many local informal investors and national operating VCs.

With the shift to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, will people stay in your city, move out, or will others move in?
Others will be moving in, thanks to the central position of Utrecht in the middle of the country and the attractiveness of the ecosystem.

Who are the key startup people in your city (e.g., investors, founders, lawyers, designers, etc.)? 
Sjoerd Mol (Benvalor), Erik Stam (Utrecht University), Robbert-Jan Hanse (Holland Startup), Heerd Jan Hoogeveen (Startup Utrecht), Jorg Kop (UtrechtInc and ROM), Edgard Creemers (ROM).

Where do you see your city’s tech scene in five years’ time?
Part of the greater Amsterdam region from an international brand perspective, closely working together with all other key startup regions in NL.

Stefan Braam, incubation lead, UtrechtInc

What industry sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What is it weak in?
Strong: AI, health, sustainability and learning. Weak: robotics, engineering, ag.

Which are the most interesting startups in your city?
Solease, SnappCar, BikeFlip, Packaly, Sensorfact, DiManEx, Näpp, Trunkrs, StuComm, Faqta, DialogueTrainer, EatMyRide, CART-Tech, Prolira, MRIguidance, Redgrasp, SyncVR, DigiDok, Learned.io, 2DAYSMOOD, Hooray and Goin’ Connect.

What are the tech investors like? What is the investment scene like in your city? What’s their focus?
Good access to funding. Investor scene focuses on early-stage, scalable tech in healthcare, sustainability and education.

With the shift to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, will people stay in your city, move out, or will others move in?
We see an increase in startups coming to the city, due to livability in the lovely city and the facilities for flex working.

Who are the key startup people in your city (e.g., investors, founders, lawyers, designers, etc.)? 
Jorg Kop (director of UtrechtInc startup incubator), Heerd Jan Hoogeveen (director of StartupUtrecht), Arjan Van Den Born (director, ROM Utrecht).

Where do you see your city’s tech scene in five years’ time?
Growing fast, in top five in Europe in five years.

Irene Van de Poll, investment manager, ROM Utrecht Region

What industry sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What is it weak in?
The Utrecht region is strong in life sciences, medtech, software (smart services), gaming and media.

Which are the most interesting startups in your city?
Channable, Faqta, Sensorfact, SODAQ, Picnic, Neurolytics, De Clique.

What are the tech investors like? What is the investment scene like in your city? What’s their focus?
A lot of focus is on life sciences, biotech, as there is a lot of research at the Utrecht science park and also spin-offs. At the science park, organoids, 3D bioprinting, organ on a chip, medtech are areas of interest. Also a number of the VCs in the area are health focused. IT/software/data/AI and VR/AR are also important focus areas for investors.

With the shift to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, will people stay in your city, move out, or will others move in?
I think they will stay as Utrecht is very centrally located in the Netherlands and Europe. It’s easy to work remotely in the Netherlands, internet speed is no problem.

Who are the key startup people in your city (e.g., investors, founders, lawyers, designers, etc.)? 
Jorg Kop, director of UtrechtInc; Bas van Abel, founder De Clique and Fairphone; Michiel Muller, CEO Picnic; Robbert Jan Hanse, founder Holland Startup; and Heerd Jan Hoogeveen, director StartupUtrecht.

Where do you see your city’s tech scene in five years’ time?
More startups that have evolved into successful scaleups. More money invested in general in innovative new companies. International talent sees Utrecht as the place to be beside Amsterdam. At the forefront of green and sustainable solutions.

Arthur Tolsma, co-founder and CEO, Codean

What industry sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What is it weak in?
Strong: tech development in general, specifically software, clean tech, marketplace, deep tech. Less in large scale commercialization.

Which are the most interesting startups in your city?
Channable, Tover.

What are the tech investors like? What is the investment scene like in your city? What’s their focus?
Focus on software and clean tech.

With the shift to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, will people stay in your city, move out, or will others move in?
Stay in the city. But less people will move in, and remote working is there to stay.

Who are the key startup people in your city (e.g., investors, founders, lawyers, designers, etc.)? 
UtrechtInc.

Where do you see your city’s tech scene in five years’ time?
Improving step by step.

Paul Mignot, founder and CEO, Withthegrid

What industry sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What is it weak in?
Clean tech.

Which are the most interesting startups in your city?
iwell.

What are the tech investors like? What is the investment scene like in your city? What’s their focus?
Clean tech focus. Growing in momentum.

With the shift to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, will people stay in your city, move out, or will others move in?
Move in.

Where do you see your city’s tech scene in five years’ time?
Grown significantly. Amsterdam is pricing itself out and becoming too expensive to live in.

Marcel Merkx, founder and CEO, CargoSnap

What industry sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What is it weak in?
Strong universities in the marketing and medical space. We could do with a bit stronger IT education (developers!).

Which are the most interesting startups in your city?
SnappCar.

With the shift to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, will people stay in your city, move out, or will others move in?
Stay and move in. Utrecht is a growing hub.

Who are the key startup people in your city (e.g., investors, founders, lawyers, designers, etc.)? 
StartupUtrecht — the team.

Where do you see your city’s tech scene in five years’ time?
Well … still lagging Amsterdam, but leveraging the central place in the Netherlands (easy to get to), it will be a good runner-up in terms of attracting talent interested in joining this scene.

Jasper Voorendonk, marketer/founder, AgnostiPay

What industry sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What is it weak in?
Health tech/edtech — most exited: the DLT/blockchain/fintech/open-source space in Utrecht.  Weak: Hardware-based startups (better in Delft/Eindhoven).

Which are the most interesting startups in your city?
GitLab, Channable, Pepscope, Goin’ Connect, Fundsup.

What are the tech investors like? What is the investment scene like in your city? What’s their focus?
Focus on health tech.

With the shift to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, will people stay in your city, move out, or will others move in?
Stay: a lot of nature/space around.

Who are the key startup people in your city (e.g., investors, founders, lawyers, designers, etc.)? 
Jorg Kop, Stefan Braam, Jasper Voorendonk.

Where do you see your city’s tech scene in five years’ time?
Utrecht, as the Dutch vibrant hub for early-stage, highly scalable tech startups.

Menno Vergeer, co-founder and CEO, Redgrasp

What industry sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What is it weak in?
Strong in life sciences.

Which are the most interesting startups in your city?
Channable, Redgrasp, Trunkrs.

With the shift to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, will people stay in your city, move out, or will others move in?
People will preferably move out of the city center toward the villages nearby (all within a range of 10-20 km).

Where do you see your city’s tech scene in five years’ time?
It will grow at a rate similar to the global tech scene.

Roelof Reineman, entrepreneur

What industry sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What is it weak in?
Strong: IT, digital, sustainable energy, medical, food. Weaker: design, hardware, fintech.

Which are the most interesting startups in your city?
KokeRoo.

What are the tech investors like? What is the investment scene like in your city? What’s their focus?
A focus on building a better world and a profit, not just the profit.

With the shift to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, will people stay in your city, move out, or will others move in?
Stay. Tt is a lush, green city with plenty of room to live and breathe.

Who are the key startup people in your city (e.g., investors, founders, lawyers, designers, etc.)? 
Utrecht Inc (Jasper Voorendonk). Dotslash (Jelle Drijver). StartupUtrecht (Heerd Jan Hoogeveen).

Where do you see your city’s tech scene in five years’ time?
Thriving and still growing.

Luuk Post, partner, De Contentkalender

What industry sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What is it weak in?

We’re strong in public affairs. We’re weak in the for-profit sector.

Which are the most interesting startups in your city?
Moveshelf.

With the shift to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, will people stay in your city, move out, or will others move in?
The city of Utrecht is ever-expanding; people will always move in.

Leon Brunenberg, managing partner, Arches Capital

What industry sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What is it weak in?
SAAS, software, B2B.

What are the tech investors like? What is the investment scene like in your city? What’s their focus?
In Amsterdam it’s ok. Utrecht is a bit lagging.

With the shift to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, will people stay in your city, move out, or will others move in?
Stay.

Where do you see your city’s tech scene in five years’ time?
In Holland, second after Amsterdam.

Erik Stam, co-founder, Stichting Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Observatory

What industry sectors is your tech ecosystem strong in? What are you most excited by? What is it weak in?
Strong: health, edtech, IT.

Which are the most interesting startups in your city?
Channable, Tover, De Clique, Bittiq, Neurolytics.

What are the tech investors like? What is the investment scene like in your city? What’s their focus?
IT, health, edtech, travel.

With the shift to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic, will people stay in your city, move out, or will others move in?
Stay.

Who are the key startup people in your city (e.g., investors, founders, lawyers, designers, etc.)? 
Jorg Kop, Heerd Jan Hoogeveen, Robbert Jan Hanse.

Where do you see your city’s tech scene in five years’ time?
Expanding.

#agnostipay, #amsterdam, #arches-capital, #arthur-tolsma, #cargosnap, #codean, #de-contentkalender, #ec-investor-survey, #erik-stam, #europe, #irene-van-de-poll, #jasper-voorendonk, #jorg-kop, #leon-brunenberg, #luuk-post, #marcel-merkx, #menno-vergeer, #netherlands, #paul-mignot, #redgrasp, #roelof-reineman, #rom-utrecht-region, #startups, #stefan-braam, #stichting-entrepreneurial-ecosystem-observatory, #tc, #utrecht, #utrechtinc, #withthegrid

Independent retailer platform Creoate raises $5M Seed led by Fuel Ventures

Creoate is a startup, which lets independent retailers buy sustainable products from brands and wholesalers, has raised a $5m Seed round led by Fuel Ventures with participation from Vinted founder, Justas Janauskas. 

Its competitors include traditional wholesalers who’ve supplied independent retailers for decades, and other startups such as Faire (US, raised $696M) and Ankorstore (FR, raised €115M).


Founders Ashley Horn and Fahad Khan say the company aims at helping independent businesses and “reclaims the supply chain from global giants”. Khan says ‘Mom and Pop’ are “faced with poor information, discriminatory pricing and unpredictable cash flows.”

Creoate, which doesn’t own inventory, says it helps retailers forecast which products will sell well so that they can buy and manage inventory levels more easily. It says its cataloging software allows retailers to deal with fewer middlemen.

Launched in January 2020 the platform now claims 25,000 retailers across the UK, France, and Netherlands.

Creoate co-founder Horn said: “Sourcing brands as an independent retailer is close to impossible… We could see that this system was not sustainable and there had to be a better way”. 

Mark Pearson, founder and managing partner at Fuel Ventures said: “Unless you’re in the world of retail, it can be difficult to truly grasp just how broken the system is for the 2.5 million retailers and 30 million emerging brands that Creoate serves. We are captivated by Creoate’s technology which is inspired by the founding team’s real-world experience and empathy.”

#ankorstore, #co-founder, #europe, #france, #fuel-ventures, #inventory, #managing-partner, #mark-pearson, #netherlands, #supply-chain-management, #tc, #united-kingdom, #united-states, #vinted

Colvin raises €45M Series C led by Eurazeo to disrupt the cosy flowers industry

Something very interesting is going on with supply chains, and has been for a while. But it’s clear the pandemic has accelerated the trend. Tech startups are once again cutting out the middle man, but this time at the supply chain level. The opportunity is to replace supply chains with platforms – it’s the ‘platformization of supply chains’ if you will.

The latest example of this is Colvin, a platform for the ‘floriculture’ industry, which has now raised a €45M Series C led by Eurazeo, a private equity and venture capital firm out of France which has invested other marketplaces such as Farfetch, Glovo or ManoMano. Also participating was Capagro, and AgTech and FoodTech VC also out of France.

Launched as a direct-to-consumer brand (which is still maintained) Colvin has now created a B2B category aimed at professionals.

Sergi Bastardas, cofounder of Colvin said: “2020 has been a year of acceleration for Colvin, a turning point that will set the pace for our growth over the coming years… Our goal at Colvin is to lead the transformation of the industry at a global level”.

Chloé Giard, Investment Director at Eurazeo said: “Colvin’s trajectory in the flower delivery market has been outstanding. They have proved they could grow both fast and profitably, while expanding into new geographies. This is only a first step in their ambition to build the future of the flower industry: as more and more B2B categories are switching online (see the recent announcements of Ankorstore, Choco or Sennder), the timing is unique to bring a new standard to the flower wholesale market. Colvin is leveraging years of industry expertise, a scalable supply chain, and a global network of trusted growers to seize this $ billion market opportunity.”

Over a call, Bastardas told me: “The Netherlands has a monopoly on the flowers and plants market. Some 65% of all flowers and plants in the world have to pass, physically, through a huge auction that sits in the Netherlands, regardless of where they were cultivated. This is because the industry is not digitalized. So that’s the problem we were solving: connecting the stakeholders in a more direct way.”

He said they’d started by connecting growers with customers with a b2c platform: “We’ve now started to build out our b2b solution, where we connect our growers, as well as wholesalers directly with retailers, avoiding unnecessary intermediaries, with technology.”

I asked him if he will annoy the industry: “The intermediaries are going to be mad with us, yes.”

#agtech, #business, #cofounder, #colvin, #distribution, #e-commerce, #eurazeo, #europe, #farfetch, #france, #management, #netherlands, #supply-chain, #supply-chain-management, #tc, #venture-capital

What We Know About the Climate Connection to the European Floods

The storm that brought flooding and devastation to parts of Europe is the latest example of an extreme weather event. More are expected.

#belgium, #deaths-fatalities, #floods, #germany, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #intergovernmental-panel-on-climate-change, #netherlands, #rivers, #weather, #world-weather-attribution

Flooding in Europe, in Pictures

Sinkholes that swallowed up houses. Streets disemboweled, their utility lines exposed. Cars carried away and deposited upside down. Homes emptied out, their contents mixed with mud.

#belgium, #europe, #floods, #germany, #global-warming, #netherlands, #switzerland

German Floods Raise the Bar on Extreme Weather Events

Floods like these, which have left more than 100 dead, had not been seen in perhaps a 1,000 years. For many, the warnings came too late, raising questions about lapses in Germany’s flood alert system.

#belgium, #deaths-fatalities, #floods, #germany, #laschet-armin, #merkel-angela, #netherlands, #politics-and-government, #rain, #rivers, #weather

Prominent Dutch Crime Reporter Is Shot in Center of Amsterdam

Peter R. de Vries, famous for solving cold cases and hosting his own televised crime show, was shot in the head and fighting for his life Tuesday night. His reporting regularly drew death threats.

#amsterdam-netherlands, #de-vries-peter-r, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #netherlands, #news-and-news-media

The Tech Cold War’s ‘Most Complicated Machine’ That’s Out of China’s Reach

A $150 million chip-making tool from a Dutch company has become a lever in the U.S.-Chinese struggle. It also shows how entrenched the global supply chain is.

#asml-holding-nv, #computer-chips, #computers-and-the-internet, #factories-and-manufacturing, #innovation, #international-trade-and-world-market, #laser-light-amplification-by-stimulated-emission-of-radiation, #mirrors, #netherlands, #politics-and-government