Last October, World Business Chicago, along with the Dutch Consulate in Chicago, and leading global accelerator 1871, entered into a partnership to support the soft landing and integration of promising Dutch startups into Chicago’s vibrant tech ecosystem.
In recent years, Dutch companies have made a decidedly strong mark on Chicago’s economy, putting the Netherlands in the Windy City’s top 10 sources for Foreign Direct Investment. In lieu of an existing formal partnership to date, the aforementioned organizations collaborated to strengthen further the current exchanges and ties between Chicago and the Netherlands.
“Orange on the Lake positions Chicago as an attractive destination for expanding Dutch startups looking to enter the US, given Chicago’s diverse client base, including the second-largest concentration of corporate headquarters on the market, industrial know-how, and shared sectoral synergies. Together with our invaluable partners at WBC and 1871, we look forward to landing more entrepreneurs in Chicago”, commented Consul General Bart Twaalfhoven.
Since the pandemic, Chicago has seen the expansion of multiple Dutch companies, most notably Adyen, a global payment provider, selected Chicago for its first US software engineering hub citing the city’s educated and diverse talent pool.
Following the official kick-off of Orange on the Lake in October, the program has already secured two exceptional startups – Sound Intelligence and us - SwipeGuide.
Our CEO and Co-founder Willemijn Schneyder: “The Orange on the Lake soft landing enables us to build and grow our network and presence throughout North America. Chicago as a location provides us with a great support network. It gives us the perfect mix: It’s a manufacturing hub, has a fertile ground of tech and innovative talent, and allows us to be in close proximity to our customers. With a presence in Minneapolis, Detroit, and now Chicago, we view the Midwest in particular as an excellent hub for growth”.
Sound Intelligence provides a patented sound classification software solution with applications across sectors, making monitoring systems proactive, enabling early detection of potential incidents, swift intervention, and in many cases, prevention of further escalation.
“We chose Chicago as our US base because of its central location, the large home market, and many companies in our key sectors, are headquartered in the greater Chicago area. We are super excited to be part of the Orange on the Lake soft landing program because it helps us, as a Dutch tech company, to think and act “the American way.” This is essential for any foreign company that wants to be successful in the US market,” said Derek van der Vorst, CEO of Sound Intelligence.
On March 8th, representatives from the three partnering organizations arranged for a small celebration in honor of the soft landing of the two startups at 1871. The program will run for a total of three years with a goal of soft landing 15 Dutch startups during that time.
Chicago is paving the way as an up-and-coming global innovation powerhouse. In 2021, Chicago minted 12 new unicorns, coming second only to San Francisco, and outperforming other international cities like London and Berlin. Additionally, Chicago reached an all-time high of VC funding at $7.2 billion, more than doubling its last record from 2020 at $2.8 billion, beating out Seattle for a position in the top five VC ecosystems in the US.
If interested in learning more about the Orange on the Lake Program, please contact Alexandra Oleksiuk, Business Development Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article written by World Business Chicago with slight modifications by SwipeGuide. All photos courtesy of Orange on the Lake program.