The Dutch are well known for their innovative capabilities. In fact, the Netherlands was ranked the 4th most innovative country in the world and 2nd when measuring innovative output according to the Global Innovation Index1. That says a lot about a country that is ranked 65th by population worldwide.

One way that innovation truly expresses itself is through startups. Startups usually emerge and grow in so called ‘incubators’ or ‘innovation hubs’. Dutch startups are no exception to this phenomenon, where innovation hubs in Amsterdam, Eindhoven and Delft are responsible for a large number of successful startups (e.g., Picnic, Adyen, or The Ocean Cleanup).

Startups tend to be the result of large societal issues that need innovative solutions. Or, sometimes, they just make your life a whole lot easier. Whatever the reason, the journeys these young firms undertake are fascinating to read about, especially when their ideas are aligned with some of your own core values. For that reason, we made a shortlist of interesting Dutch incubated startups that are on their way to make a societal and environmental impact in the years to come:

1. Land Life Company

Land Life uses technologies such as drones and satelite imagery to build new forests on degraded lands due to desertification, drought, wildfires, and over-farming. By using these innovative technologies, they are able to plant new forests faster, more efficiently and at a larger scale. In addition, Land Life partners up with large firms to help them realize their sustainability strategies. For example, they support LeasePlan (one of the world’s leading car leasing campany) in their mission to obtain net zero emissions from its entire fleet by 2030 (for the case study, click here)

2. AliveShoes

Did you always think you could be the world’s best shoe designer? Well, this is your moment to shine. AliveShoes is a startup that allows you to easily design your own shoes and start selling them on their platform. You just need to undertake these three steps: 1. Apply as a designer (free of charge), 2. Design your own custom shoe line and 3. If your own designed shoe reaches seven pre-orders, the shoe will go into production. Simple as that.

3. Shleep

This startup offers a corporate solution to improve employees’ greatest productivity driver: sleep. According to their research, a Fortune500 company loses on average at least 80 million dollars a year due to sleep deprivation. Their solution is a sleep coaching platform for HR and team leaders to unlock the full potential of their teams by battling sleep deprivation.

4. Braingineers

This technological startup takes online customer experience to the next level. Through the use of EEG, they scan the brain activity of customers and use emotion detection algorithms to map analyze three important emotions whily browsing a company’s online environment: joy, attention, and frustration. Via this neurofeedback they are able to create a seemless online user experience and significantly improve online performance.

5. AlphaBeats

This startup’s mission is to reduce everyone’s daily stress just by listening to your favorite music. Using a likewise brain scanning technique (e.g., in future headphones) as the previous startup complemented by body respiratory and heartbeat information (e.g., provided via mobile phone or smartwatch) , this technology can unnotably manipulate your favorite music to bring you back into a relaxed state in under 10 minutes. Could be very useful to us while writing our thesis the next few months.

6. 3D Hubs

This amazingly efficient startup allows engineers to upload their designs and start the production of their custom parts in just a few clicks. Offering numerous production methods such as CNC Machining, 3D printing an injection molding, engineers can upload almost any technical drawing of their prototypes, receive an instant price, and start production customized to their own planning. In addition, the platform’s technology instantly recognizes complex design features on the uploaded model and optimizes them to reduce the manufacturing cost.

and many, many more..

The list above is just a very, very small grasp of amazing startups that exist these days. In the links below you can find more than 400 interesting startups from various capitals in Europe:


1 Dutta S., Lanvin B., Wunsch-Vincent S. (2019). Global Innovation Index. Genève: World Intellectual Property Organization

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