The city is using a unique interactive map to chart its entrepreneurial density—which is good for companies and investors.
Amsterdam is a city known for business with an edge. The Financial Times has called it "A haven for troublemakers, philosophers and dreamers since the 16th century." It had the marijuana-tourism market cornered for decades. The sex-work market is legal and regulated. No business model is out of the realm of possibility in Amsterdam. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that the Dutch capital is now emerging as a powerhouse for startup activity.
With a population of roughly 800,000, Amsterdam was named by Inc.com as a startup hub to watch in 2014. It's unlikely to dethrone the largest tech capitals in the world—Silicon Valley, Beijing, and New York. But as Liza Jansen at Quartz highlighted on Tuesday, the cost of running a startup in Amsterdam is noticeably cheaper than in those cities: An Amsterdam startup is looking at average expenses of $3,121 per month, compared to $4,854 in NYC and $5,332 in San Francisco. It's easy for entrepreneurs to find English-fluent coders and programmers there, too, says Jansen.
What's equally interesting is how the city is mapping its growing startup culture. Startup Amsterdam, a website launched by a public-private economic board, has released a topographical guide to the startups that call downtown Amsterdam home.
Most striking is the visible density of startup activity. Within a four-mile radius of the District Center, between Marnixstraat and Oosterdok, there are at least 200 functioning startup companies. That doesn't even include the dozens of startups operating in neighborhoods further west and south of the waterfront. This functionality offers a number of benefits to prospective entrepreneurs—something we haven't seen from similar style maps of other hubs.
Above is an interactive map from Business Insider of NYC's startup firms.
And here's startup-book.com's map of tech companies located in Silicon Valley.
While interesting, these maps have limited utility. Sure, if someone has a business meeting scheduled with Yelp in New York, for example, they can use the map above to scope out the neighborhood around Yelp's office for good nearby restaurants, or locate the nearest subway station. But these are things anyone, tech entrepreneur or not, can find with a quick Google search. The Amsterdam Startup map, on the other hand, has features that allow users to look inside the offices that house the city's startup community.
An entrepreneur debating whether to locate a business in Amsterdam can get a complete outline of who potential collaborators—or competition—may be. The benefits of this feature are two-fold:
First, a tech firm launching a health app, for example, could cozy up next to other startups operating in the health industry; it's an easy way to network with like-minded individuals that have relationships with investors. Secondly, the map better directs investors to startup entrepreneurs—right to their doors.
Idea-driven collaboration and investment is the lifeblood of startup growth. And relating pertinent, specialized information in this way is likely to generate even more of it in Amsterdam.