What would happen if one would use the Twitter data of almost 600 Dutch startups to map their interaction into one large network? Look through the eyes of Dutch startups to the local ecosystem, and see which parties are important for their growth.
Guest blog by Jeroen de Vos
Sometimes called a startup scene or startup ecosystem, many facts and figures try to give an overview of everyone of importance to startups. However, a startup scene is a messy assemblage of people, institutions and organisations all contributing their share to the Dutch entrepreneurial climate.
As a result, many infographics are dressed up listing of incubators, research institutes, working spaces, venture capitalists and network organisations. But how do these participants all fit together in one image? I made an extensive network analysis to see what are the most important contributors and how do they relate based on the Twitter behaviour of almost 600 Dutch startups.
The result is a colourful map of the Dutch startup ecosystem based on everyone they have ever mentioned in one of their tweets. 474.613 Tweets have been scraped are predominantly from the last 5 years to get a more stabilized overview. A total of 119.000 other Twitter accounts are mentioned over time and the graphs includes the 365 most mentioned parties.
To shortly explain what you are seeing: the dots are individual Twitter accounts and the larger the dot the more they have been mentioned in this network. The dots are connected by links, which are created when the one mentions the other in a Tweet, the more mentions the stronger the traction between the nodes. The colours express different statistical communities that are present in the network.
Now, what can we learn from such an overview? Besides the joy of endless scrolling through this network it can be used to trace down particular set of users to see where they are positioned, whether they form a group and how they tap into the dominant network.
This map can be used for strategical questions considering positioning of a group or individual Don't underestimate the importance of being together and geographic clusters: relations are crafted on events or in physical collaborative spaces.
This blog is focussed on social startups with a scalable business model and strong growth potential, being: Snappcar, Konnektid, Part-up, Bundles, Waka-Waka, Heppee, vandebron, Fairphone and Yournalism. Simply encircling them on the map shows this is not one group, instead they are spread over the network. In addition to this network analysis half of these startups are questioned considering their social and professional network, their Twitter usage and positioning in the results. To quickly leapfrog to some of the preliminary findings:
- Although densely connected, the Dutch startup scene is still a clustered field;
- The Dutch social startups are tap into the dominant network on different levels;
- They cannot be represented as one group, since both their products and their network greatly differ;
- Their dominant mode of organisation is around the social / sustainable business which does form a cluster by itself;
- Parties of particular interest linking them to the main cluster are: Pakhuis de Zwijger, BNR, ImpactHub Amsterdam and Sprout;
- Social startups bridging the social / sustainable business cluster and other clusters are mostly Waka-Waka (also operating international) and Bundles;
- General national news media like NOS, Blendle, Volkskrant etcetera are closer to social startups than to any other group in the field.
Also, @StartupJuncture is in the top 10 of mentioned parties, making it one of the biggest authorities for Dutch startups.
This is a work in progress. Jeroen de Vos is currently looking for other organisations interested in strategic questioning the startup ecosystem to help facilitate future cross-cluster networking. For more information on the research, see www.startupecosystem.nl or drop a line at [email protected].