A look at the startup boom in Groningen

Groningen is doing quite well in the Dutch startup scene. The city has the largest number of successful startups after Amsterdam. We take a look at some of the most interesting ones.

Groningen, city of talent

Groningen’s long standing city slogan is ‘Nothing tops Groningen’. Recently the city has adopted a second slogan: ‘Groningen, city of talent’, in light of its success as a startup city.
But wait, doesn’t every city in The Netherlands wants to be the next happening place, nowadays? Indeed, especially since StartupDelta saw the light of day, a staggering number of startup portals, creative environments and entrepreneur-friendly office spaces popped up in every sizable city in the country. Every city has its specialty and is eager to showcase it.

Groningen’s specialties, according to StartupDelta, are data services, energy and healthy ageing. Of course, in reality there is much more happening in Groningen. And maybe, this northern city has the rights to brag about its status as a happening startup hub.
Every year Deloitte publishes the Technology Fast50-ranking, a list of the fifty fastest growing Dutch technology companies. Seven companies from Groningen are present on the 2015 edition of list. To put this in perspective: Twelve companies on the list are from Amsterdam, four from Eindhoven and three each from Rotterdam, Utrecht and Enschede. Groningen is the only city with a consistently growing number of listed companies over the last four years.

Fast growing tech startups

As the Fast50 list includes all fast growing companies, not all of them should be considered startups. Still, there are some impressive Groningen startups and scale-ups on the list.

VoIPGRID, a provider of corporate communication solutions was founded in 2010. VoIPGRID is a spin-off of scale-up Voys (founded in 2006), which is also on the list. Both startups were founded by entrepreneur Mark Vletter, who also founded coding startup Devhouse Spindle.

Looking for Booking is a corporate travel site and was founded in 2005, so is not really a startup anymore. As a fast growing internet company, it could be considered a scale-up.

The same is true for Experty, which was founded in 2008, but is still growing fast. Experty is a provider of niche market web shops in seven European countries.

Diagnoptics, founded in 2003, is a MedTech company which started as a spin-off of the Groningen University Medical Centre. This scale-up fits firmly in the ‘healthy ageing’ category, one of Groningen’s specialties. Diagnoptics develops advanced non-invasive diagnostic tools such as the Age Reader, a device that measures Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs) to provide a risk prediction for chronic diseases.

More startups from Groningen

Groningen produced many other startups and scale-ups, which might not be on the Deloitte Fast50 list, but are worth mentioning as well.

The poster child of the Groningen startup scene is HackerOne. The security startup lets companies hire (friendly) hackers to discover software vulnerabilities before they can be exploited. Hackers are paid bounties if bugs or breaches are found. Customers include over a hundred companies, including Adobe, Airbnb, Twitter and Yahoo. Last year, HackerOne was the youngest company to feature in the top five of the biggest startup deals of 2015. The company operates from its headquarters in San Francisco, but has recenlty announced it will also expand its activities in Groningen.

Social media engagement platform Crowdynews was founded in 2010. Recently they received 3.7 million euro in additional funding, just one year after a previous 2.5 million euro investment.

Simplicate, which produces a SaaS-based accountancy solution for SME’s, was founded in 2012. Recently, Simplicate received a 1 million euro investment.

File transfer and storage startupAttachingIT, which was selected for the Microsoft Ventures accelerator in 2014.

Chordify, founded in 2012, is a music startup which lets its users turn any music into chords. Chordify pitched during Web Summit 2015 in Dublin.