2018 CIC Rotterdam Impact Report

For centuries, Rotterdam has been known as a hub. Dubbed “the Gateway to Europe” and “the Gateway to the World,” Rotterdam is home to Europe’s largest port. Today just over half of its population comes from outside of the Netherlands, making Rotterdam a truly global city.

CIC Rotterdam opened its doors in 2016 as CIC’s first European location. It acts as a hub within a hub, connecting ambitious innovators with resources and community that propel them along their entrepreneurial journeys in one of the world’s most connected regions.

Last year we shared our inaugural Impact Report documenting our first year in the Central Business District of Rotterdam. Since then, our thriving community has grown from approximately 130 companies to more than 220. We expect to soon house over 300 startups, investors, and corporate innovators.

Reflecting on this growth, we wanted to look at the deeper implications: how our clients, partners, and collective community are strengthening Rotterdam and the region of South Holland.

Our 2018 Impact Report demonstrates two key performance indicators: funding raised and jobs created.

“These two benchmarks are a part of the picture of a healthy, growing innovation ecosystem,” says Melissa Ablett, General Manager of CIC Rotterdam.

CIC Rotterdam companies reported that they collectively raised more than €260M in funding in 2018, compared to €3,3M in 2017.

Contributing significantly to this increase are investments in Dutch cancer treatment startup Harbor BioMed and Ireland-based AMCS, which is developing software for the recycling and waste management industries. Both companies opened spaces in CIC Rotterdam in 2018.

By euro amount, 72,5 percent of the funding raised in 2018 was reported as venture capital, followed by 23 percent in subsidy.

“We’re seeing better funded companies choose Rotterdam as a location for their teams but also an increase in the closing of investments amongst Rotterdam startups overall,” says Ablett.

With our sister nonprofit organization, Venture Café Rotterdam, CIC focuses on connecting investors and startups and hosting events to support startups’ investor-readiness.

Along with an increase in funding, CIC Rotterdam startups contributed to greater job creation this year. In 2018, our client companies reported 535 new jobs versus 104 new jobs in 2017.

“This is what excites us most and what we came here to do,” says Ablett. “It’s as much about the world-changing ideas that these entrepreneurs are working on as it is about creating new jobs that create a healthy economy. It’s fulfilling to see your mission and your growth reflected in data.”

As we prepare to open 2K new square meters of office space at the Groot Handelsgebouw in March 2019, bringing our total footprint to 10K square meters, we look towards the future with gratitude and excitement about all that is possible in the Gateway to the World.

Illustrations by Elzeline Kooy