Holland in the Valley Startup Bootcamp

unnamedThe Holland in the Valley Startup Bootcamp 2014 (#HitV14) came back in full force for it’s annual edition. Eleven startups from the Netherlands were handpicked to learn best best practices from Silicon Valley experts in a 4-day intensive program organized by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in San Francisco, together with DutchBasecamp and BootUP Ventures.

Our office turned into a busy hotspot for Dutch startups! The HitV14 Bootcamp was a big success. Read a full report of the Holland in the Valley bootcamp of 2014 here!

Every year a panel of experts, including serial entrepreneurs, venture capital investors, and Silicon Valley business leaders, selects a group of promising Dutch startups to participate each year. The startup bootcamp offers companies the tools they need to succeed in Silicon Valley and similar thriving business communities. Want to participate in the next bootcamp? Read all about the requirements for application here!

Here you can see the program of the Holland in the Valley Bootcamp of 2014:

Monday October 20th

  • HitV14 Kickoff at Consulate General of the Netherlands in San Francisco
  • Visit to a fast-growing US company
  • Peers panel with Dutch startup founders already in SV
  • Pitch Training
  • Optional: F50 conference

Tuesday October 21th

  • Meet Pascal Finette at Singularity University
  • Lunch meeting with Arthur van Hoff, ‘How to Pitch to VC’s’
  • ‘How to set up an office in the US’ at Bootup Ventures
  • Insights on website’s advertising business models
  • Dinner at Google Campus

Wednesday October 22th

  • BootstrapLabs
  • SEO-workshop by Head of Global SEO, Airbnb
  • “Your first US Customer” – Matchmaking
  • Startups Pitch Selection

Thursday October 23rd

  • Bastiaan Janmaat, founder Datafox
  • Jacco van der Kooij
  • Angels & VC Pitch Night: RSVP here!

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Participants of 2014

In October 2014, 11 of the Netherlands Hottest Startups came to Silicon Valley for the Holland in the Valley Startup Bootcamp. To learn more about these companies, read our participants page here!

Six reasons to participate in the HitV Bootcamp
Blog post by Johan Ong, August 5th 2014

Originally posted on marketingfacts.nl, translated by Suzanne Hartog


1. You will think bigger

When startups meet players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Silicon Valley, they get infected with the mindset that we are not used to in the Netherlands.

In Silicon Valley they won’t settle for less than world domination. And that has it’s influence on the startups. ‘The biggest influence on our company was that we started thinking bigger and started taking risks,’ says Wouter de Vries, founder of Antagonist.

Additionally, Dutch incubators and accelerators see the effects on the startups participating in earlier bootcamps that took place in Silicon Valley. According to Rockstart Accelerator all the costs of organizing such a bootcamp is being recovered by successful startups.

2. You learn from each other

The ten selected startups are all in a similar phase and are all in the same intensive program. The Consulate General of the Netherlands in San Francisco discovered the positive effects of such a collective learning experience five years ago. ‘We have learned a great deal of other participants. Besides the fact that the group has a benchmarking function, it also showed us how much we’ve learned so far and what we did good and what we did wrong. We gained insight in doing business in the United Stated and in the Netherlands’, says Bart Jacobsz Rosier, co-founder Dwillo.

3. It significantly lowers the barrier for businesses to expand to the United States

The purpose of the bootcamp is to learn Dutch startups how to successfully land in the United States. To achieve that goal, startups will be introduced to different players so that they can start builiding their network. Former participants stated that they learned how to deal with Americans in business spheres. For example, in response to the program they learned how to establish cooperations with partners and customers. Piotr Bakker, CEO CooCoolu, adds: ‘ We stayes for six months and by participating in the bootcamp, we instantly new what to do.’

4. You’re pitching on a toplevel in front of VCs

An important element of the kick-off events in the Netherlands and the bootcamp in Silicon Valley is the pitchcouching. Pitch coaches assist the startups in their preparation for the pitch nights where VC’s are part of the crowd that the startups have to convince: a highlight according to former participants! Americans dislike long stories. Therefore it is important to be able to tell your story in just one minute.

5. You find out when expanding is a bad idea

Startups are taught that every assumption needs to be tested by using de Lean Startup Methodology before they make a big investment to build a product. Just like that a bootcamp can be a way to test if expansion to the US is really a solid plan.

‘Entrepreneurship in the US is totally different from entrepreneurship in the Netherlands: there is more competition, more time pressure and getting funded has it’s own dynamics. A startup without traction is worthless.’ – Ewoud Goorts, founder of FlorAccess

After visiting Silicon Valley, Menno Kolkert van Plot had to build his product all over again because he learned that the product proposition would not work in Silicon Valley. From all the feedback he received he conclusded that expanding to the US was not yet an issue. One and a half years later he is expanding his business to the East Coast of the US with a product that is brought completely different into the market.

6. You have to at least been in SV once

There is no discussion about entrepreneurs from outside the US visiting Silicon Valley . The geographical area of 80 kilometers is the place where it all started: the breeding site of thousands of startups and the place with the most venture capital investors. Most technology is created en build using the world’s greatest talent coming from several universities, including world renowned Stanford University. In short, Silicon Valley is the Mecca of the tech industry attracting entrepreneurs from all over the world.


“An interesting look inside the world’s most turbulent epicenter of business development.” – Gerwin de Haan, Timescapers

“The only way to truly get an insight into the difference between the Dutch ecosystem and Silicon Valley is to get the hands-on experience that, for example, the Silicon Summit provides.” – Michel Boerrigter, Calendar42

“For me, the most important takeaway from this week was to think even bigger. Or actually: not to think, but to simply act. It’s essential to have the guts to take a risk.” – Wouter de Vries, Antagonist

“I expected to get a taste of the atmosphere of Silicon Valley and I hoped to take a bit of that magic back home. In that I definitely succeeded.” – Felienne Hermans, Infotron

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