Step into the inspiring narrative of Cinzia Silvestri, a tech entrepreneur who relocated to the Netherlands in 2012. Armed with a PhD in microelectronics, she co-founded Bi/ond Solutions, a groundbreaking biotech startup, alongside a team that shared her background. Bi/ond’s mission is to revolutionize healthcare by developing computer chips that mimic human body functionality, paving the way for inclusive and precise cures. Leveraging governmental programs, Bi/ond harnessed the founders’ academic expertise to kickstart their venture on the right footing.
Unlocking soft landing: why choose the Netherlands
The seeds of Bi/ond were sown during our time at the prestigious Delft University of Technology, where Cinzia and her fellow co-founders, Nikolas Gaio and William F.Q. Solano, pursued their PhDs. While initially drawn to the remarkable academic environment, they soon discovered that the Netherlands was a hotbed of innovation, with a strong emphasis on incentivizing and fostering groundbreaking ideas. The strategic geographical location, early government grants, and vibrant startup ecosystem propelled them to anchor their entrepreneurial journey in this dynamic country. Furthermore, the availability of top-notch talent, facilitated by the technical university and the 30% ruling, made the Netherlands an attractive option for expanding their team. Currently, Bi/ond boasts a diverse workforce of twelve team members hailing from six different countries—an achievement made possible by the enticing benefits offered by the Dutch ecosystem.
“The geographical location, access to early government grants, as well as the vibrant startup ecosystem pushed us to stay in the country.”
Navigating the ecosystem: Dutch advantages in Delft
The Netherlands’ bureaucratic landscape proved relatively straightforward for Cinzia and her team. The bilingual nature of processes, conducted in both English and Dutch, significantly eases the attraction of talent from outside the EU. Government agencies like RVO provide invaluable support from the early stages of establishing a business, acting as trusted guides through the complex landscape. Moreover, the Netherlands offers grants to small startups, serving as a stepping stone for fledgling ventures. In addition, Delft emerged as the natural choice to establish Bi/ond’s headquarters.
Therefore, with the availability of grants and the strategic advantages of Delft, Bi/ond found the perfect foundation to thrive in the Netherlands’ biotech realm. Renowned for its thriving deep tech startup scene, the city provided crucial access to university laboratories, a valuable asset for a hardware-focused company like Bi/ond. By leveraging existing university facilities, the need for significant investments in equipment was mitigated. Additionally, the founders’ strong local network and the ability to attract engineering talent through the university made Delft an ideal launchpad. Its proximity to major cities such as Rotterdam, Leiden, and Amsterdam further streamlined customer reach, making it an advantageous base for operations.
“The websites are in English, and the rules are quite clear which makes it possible even for less knowledgeable people to deal with the more bureaucratic side of the visa process.”
The Dutch biotech ecosystem: an open door to innovation
The biotech sector ecosystem in the Netherlands is highly remarkable. The presence of numerous biotech companies in Leiden, combined with the openness of academic hospitals across the country to adopt innovative tools like Bi/ond’s offerings, creates a fertile ground for collaboration and adoption. While forging deeper connections with other countries would be welcomed, the Netherlands provides an ideal environment for initial growth. As Bi/ond’s journey demonstrates, the country’s proactive initiatives to upgrade the healthcare system with cutting-edge technologies and its biomedical and healthcare sectors’ need for innovation make it an attractive landscape for biotech and MedTech startups.
Visa schemes: highly skilled migrants
While Cinzia and her co-founders hail from the European Union, negating the need for visa schemes, their third co-founder from Costa Rica utilized the entrepreneurial scheme. For all other employees, including highly skilled migrants, Bi/ond has tapped into the highly skilled migrant scheme, resulting in a seamless and positive experience.
*Copyright: Original article published by welcome-to-nl.nl