The Ocean Cleanup’s Mega Expedition arrived in San Francisco

Boyan Slat presented The Ocean Cleanup at the Consulate General

Boyan Slat, the 21-year old entrepreneur and environmentalist visited the Consulate General of the Netherlands in San Francisco last Friday. He was here to talk about his massive project of cleaning up the ocean and the arrival of the ‘Mega Expedition’ in the harbor of San Francisco last Sunday.

At the age of 16, Boyan was diving in the waters of the Mediterranean and saw more plastic bags then fish, he explained during his presentation. That it when he started his quest for cleaning up the ocean. He approached more then 400 companies, asking them to sponsor his project. Only one company replied: with a rejection. When his TED talk went viral, only 1,5 years later, a crowdfunding campaign raised $2.2 million through some 38.000 donors.

Boyan Slat presenting The Ocean Cleanup at the Consulate-General of the Netherlands in San Francisco

Boyan Slat presenting The Ocean Cleanup at the Consulate-General of the Netherlands in San Francisco


The idea behind The Ocean Cleanup is to set up enormous floating barriers in a V shaped form, 30 miles in both directions, to use the ocean current to drive the debris to the center. But before building his Ocean Cleanup, exact measurements must show if the expectations about the plastic in the ocean were right. That is where the Mega Expedition was set up for. 30 vessels crossed the Great Pacific Garbage patch using a series of measurement techniques to sample the concentration of plastic. Lead Oceanographer at The Ocean Cleanup announced that they probably have to rethink the old estimate of 250,00 tons of plastic on the patch, based on the plastic they found at the Mega Expedition.

The Ocean Cleanup was able to conduct the Mega Expedition thanks to major financial contributions from entrepreneur-philantrhopists, including Salesforce chairman Marc Benioff. Due to the location of the Garbage Patch in the Great Pacific, we can expect to hear more from The Ocean Clean Up in the bay area in the coming years.

First they will start analyzing the data and testing the durability over time of the actual system of The Ocean Cleanup. The next phase is to test the Ocean Clean Up in the ocean, close to the shore of Tushima Island, Japan. Expectations are that in 2020 The Ocean Cleanup can be placed at it’s final location in the Great Pacific.

August 24th, 2015 by

San Francisco based startup Datafox raises $5 million

DataFox, a search engine and tracking algorithm for companies, has just raised 5 million dollars in a round led by Goldman Sachs and Green Visor Capital. Goldman Sachs has invested in the company several times now. DataFox was on the radar of the bank since a former employee of Goldman Sachs started working for the startup. In 2013 DataFox received 2 million dollars in another investment round.

Dutch startup Datafox raises $5 million

Bastiaan Janmaat, co0founder DataFox

Bastiaan Janmaat, a Dutchman and a regular a speaker at the Holland in the Valley Startup Bootcamps, is co-founder of DataFox. Bank and high-growth tech companies use Janmaat’s startup for predictive insights that help them to spot the next hot company. Those insights can range from investment opportunities to a growing number of customers, or they help sales and marketing teams to find the next client. Janmaat believes that his company can save lower-level analysts hours of their time, he tells StartupJuncture.

The money from Goldman Sachs will be used to quickly expand the team. Currently they have 14 people working at their new office and they are recruiting 10 more. Hiring is relatively easy for the company: DataFox can use it’s own software. The startup has hundreds of customers according to Janmaat, which pay an average of 10,000 dollar a year to use the search engine. Continuously developing the product and bringing it to more sectors are top priorities for DataFox.

July 22nd, 2015 by

Four 12 year old kids from Rio Linda came to CGSF and gave a pitch about the importance of electric driving

How exciting would it be to give a presentation at the 31st floor of a large office building in San Francisco? And, how exciting would it be if the critical audience were economic, science and diplomatic experts from the Dutch Consulate General’s Office? And how exciting would it be if you were just a 12 year old? Or even worse, when the subject is completely new to you? How would you feel and what would you do in order to win the “2015 e-Mobility Pitch”?

To find out, four Pitch finalists from the Preparatory Academy in Rio Linda, an underprivileged community near Sacramento, were given the opportunity to demonstrate their talents on Monday June 8. In order to somehow relax the 12 year old kids, the Consulate General and the Coast to Coast e-Mobility program (C2C) offered them to stay at a nice hotel on Sunday evening on Nobb Hill.

The children and the staff of the school in Rio Linda, on the right Peter van Deventer, director of C2C.

The children and the staff of the school in Rio Linda, on the right Peter van Deventer, director of C2C.

Furthermore, the kids, their parents and staff from Rio Linda were given the opportunity to enjoy San Francisco on a Monday morning while also making final preparations for their big moment in the afternoon. The event started with an introduction by Mrs. Djoeke Adimi, Dep. Consul General, who welcomed everyone and explained the role of the Consulate. Ms. Maria Sevilla, Principal of the Middle School gave a warm appreciation for the hospitality by the Consulate and the C2C program.

Why is it so important to drive an electric car? The kids can explain it all
Then it was the big moment for Dillon Gerolamy, Viviana Negrete, Kyle Francis and Alicia Ledesma to convince the audience of the importance of zero emission transportation for their community, the state and the world. Their presentations were loaded with facts and intriguing questions which triggered response from the critical audience. No matter how difficult, answers were provided by the kids or else promised to further look into it. And, if you think that’s easy give us a call and we’ll set you up.

After all presentations were finished, a three-headed jury convened to pick the winner of the 2015 e-Mobility Pitch Contest. Given the absolute and relative excellence of the presentations, the jury found it extremely hard to come to a conclusion and decided that all four contestants we’re winners and that they would have their names on the big trophy. However, by the slightest margin possible Viviana Negrete won and will have the trophy in her possession before it goes back to the school and be made available for the next big contest organized by Coast to Coast e-Mobility in the Fall.

Finally, Ms. Sharon Glover, Math & Science teacher at Rio Linda made us all realize how important it is that these underprivileged kids get the opportunity to elevate themselves and to see that with hard work and dedication everything is possible. With her words of great appreciation for the Consulate and the C2C program she made us all want to back to school again and be inspired by devoted teachers like Sharon.

The winner: Viviana Negrete

The winner: Viviana Negrete

June 15th, 2015 by

Dutch investors and entrepreneurs got an introduction to the local business ecosystem at CGSF

‘Business & Bubbles’ visited the Bay Area looking for opportunities and inspiration

A visit to the Consulate General was part of a five day program of a Dutch group of entrepreneurs and investors that travelled to the Bay Area last week: Business & Bubbles. This is a network club, with around thirty members, and has existed for about seven year. The members are innovative, fast-learning and continuously searching for new opportunities. They are both investors and directors of Dutch companies in a variety of branches

During their trip in the Bay Area days they pass by a great number of companies that managed to reach tremendous growth in this area. One of the people who was been very much involved in this for many years is Jim Connor, who is now one of the 10 members of Sand Hill Angels, but also CEO of First Focus Learning Systems and Producer/Host of the talk show Game Changers Silicon Valley. He came to the Consulate General to speak about his current work, his entire career and about doing business in the Bay Area. He concluded his presentation with some tips for the Dutch visitors.

Jim Connor presenting at CGSF for 'Business & Bubbles'

Jim Connor presenting at CGSF for ‘Business & Bubbles’

‘We learn from our mistakes’
The Sand Hill Angels is a group of successful Silicon Valley technology professionals who provide early stage venture capital and mentorship to emerging technology companies. Connor explained how the Sand Hill Angels distinguishes itself: the group has an open approach, an investor-only membership, and the investments are made as a single legal entity.

Connor shared the journey he has had in Silicon Valley before he became CEO of a successful market leading organization, and member of Sand Hill Angels. He has had some dark years in which success seemed far away before he managed to turn his company in a market leading corporation. He learned from his mistakes and kept pushing, which is what he advises the network club to do. A very practical tip of his was that Dutch entrepreneurs need to start banging on the doors of corporates, asking for investments. It might not be something that regularly happens in the Netherlands yet, but it will be if you keep insisting, according to Connor.

June 15th, 2015 by

AMS-IX hosted an inspiring conference ‘MORE-IP US’ at CGSF

Many lessons on starting and expanding a company were shared

AMS-IX is the Amsterdam Internet Exchange, a neutral and independent Internet Exchange, originally based in Amsterdam, but rapidly expanding abroad. For that reason they hosted a very successful event at the Consulate General last Thursday.

AMS-IX It was founded in the early 1990s  as a non-profit and today, AMS-IX interconnects over 700 IP networks and its business traffic has a peak of over 3.5 Terabit per second, making it the largest Internet Exchange in the world. To learn more about the nature of their work, here’s a very useful video:

AMS-IX deploys three Internet Exchanges abroad – AMS-IX Hong Kong in the Asia Pacific region, AMS-IX Caribbean on Curacao and the AMS-IX East Africa Exchange Point in Mombasa, Kenya. AMS-IX’s subsidiary AMS-IX USA Inc. deploys AMS-IX New York, AMS-IX Bay Area and AMS-IX Chicago.

On Thursday the non-profit invited entrepreneurs, IX-specialists and other partners at the Consulate General for a unique event called MORE -IP US. The theme was ‘ Getting Started’, which is what AMS-IX has been doing in the US. As he opened the conference, AMS-IX CEO Job Witteman explained that the expansion is an exciting successful journey for the non-profit, which has a unique neutral, independent, non-profit IX-model. ‘We are a traveling circus’, Witteman explained:

“We are traveling around the US and we attend meetings, conferences and other events to find new partners. We see a great demand for our unique IX-model and we just hired our first US-employer, so we have every reason to be excited.”

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June 8th, 2015 by

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