It proved to be a necessary tool to keep the innovative business community in the corona crisis for the Netherlands: in 6 weeks, the Regional Development Companies (ROMs), together with Techleap.nl and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, rigged a structure to implement the Corona-OverbruggeningsLening (COL) for innovative startups, scale-ups and innovative SMEs. The ROMs reviewed 2,276 loan applications with a total requested capital of €840 million. Of these, 974 applications were approved worth nearly € 300 mln. Including co-financing from existing shareholders and third parties, a total of € 331 mln was invested in innovative businesses.
Most awards in Life Sciences, Cleantech and Hightech sectors
The COL mainly supported innovative businesses in the Netherlands: the Life Sciences (56%), Cleantech & Energy (54%) and Hightech (53%) sectors had the highest grant rates. These are pre-eminent sectors with a high risk profile and high capital needs. The COL represented an emergency loan for companies for whom other financial support measures were not appropriate.
Most frequently, companies applied for a loan between €50,000 and €250,000. 58% of applicants were start-ups, 22% were scale-ups.
High-risk sectors still struggling to attract funding
"We haven't started repaying our COL loan yet," said Erdem Ay, CEO of Fited. Fited uses smartphone photos to 3D print scoliosis braces. "We are now looking for additional funding so we can continue our clinical work." Rinke Zonneveld (Chairman ROM-Nederland & Director InnovationQuarter) and Maurice van Tilburg (Managing Director Techleap.nl) say they will continue to follow the companies closely. "Our work doesn't stop here. We are watching to see if the companies that received a COL are also successful in the follow-up phase. Much of the market is reopening, but high-risk sectors with high capital needs - important to our economy - are still having great difficulty attracting funding."
Companies in corona four times faster to run out of money
A technology that dramatically increases the performance of heat pumps (Blue Heart Energy), a highly innovative and affordable orthotic (T-soles) and safe bed tents for severely disabled children (CloudCuddle); just some of the companies that survived in the corona crisis thanks to the COL loan. The runway of investment became 4 times shorter for companies in corona time; thus, they ran out of money 4 times faster. For relatively young companies with little fat on their bones anyway, this poses an immediate problem. After research by Techleap.nl among hundreds of startups on the financial situation as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate pulled €300 million in several tranches from April 2020 to keep startups, scale-ups and innovative SMEs in the Dutch economy.
"Innovation is the backbone of our future earning power," said Economic Affairs and Climate Minister Stef Blok. "The corona outbreak, a pandemic of unprecedented proportions, was an acute threat to almost all entrepreneurs. We were able to help many of them with the various support schemes. For startups, scale-ups and innovative SMEs, the bridging loan provided relief. Almost 1,000 companies, all with great potential because they play or will play a role in, for example, energy transition, digitalization or sustainability, we were able to retain for the Netherlands thanks to the COL."
Most applications from North Holland, South Holland and North Brabant
Most applicants came from the North Holland, South Holland and North Brabant regions. Most frequently awarded were applications by the ROMs Impuls Zeeland and Horizon Flevoland. In all regions, less than half of the applications awarded were from portfolio companies of the ROMs, with LIOF and NOM awarding relatively the most portfolio companies a COL and Innovatiefonds Noord-Holland and InnovationQuarter the least.
In addition to relevant facts and figures about the COL loan, you will also find entrepreneurial stories in the final report. What did they use the COL for, how are they doing now and what did they miss in the scheme.
In this white paper you will learn:
- What you have to deal with when you start working with investors
- Differences and similarities between bank funding, subordinated loan and equity capital
- In what ways NOM as an investor can help you
Please note that this whitepaper is only available in Dutch at the moment. We are in the process of translating this whitepaper.