He has been walking around in the world of startups and scale-ups for quite a while. It is the world in which Niek Huizenga feels at home, in which he is grounded. He recently became the new fund manager of G-Force Capital, the investment fund for early-stage digital startups. This makes Niek the successor to Marco de Jong, who left for NOM.
For the previous two years, Niek Huizenga served as program manager for Capital at Founded in Groningen. To help improve the startup climate in the region, he worked closely with numerous investors, including G-Force Capital. He regularly brought innovative companies from his network into contact with the fund, which invests in early-stage Groningen startups. 'I knew then-fund manager Marco de Jong, of course,' Niek says. 'Over the last six months we had increasingly regular contact. Interesting and especially inspiring conversations, especially about the needs of the ecosystem when it comes to funding and investments. The good feeling proved mutual, because when Marco got the chance to become Investment Manager at NOM he sounded out whether I was interested in succeeding him at G-Force Capital.'
I am very happy that Niek has become my successor. He is cut from the right cloth and excellently introduced to the startup ecosystem in Groningen. It's a pity that as Investment Manager at NOM I am not allowed to invest in G-Force Capital, because under his leadership I foresee a bright future for the fund.
Marco de Jong, former fund manager G-Force Capital
Much to be gained
Niek responded enthusiastically. With his experience and network, he knew, he could make a valuable contribution within G-Force Capital. 'I've had a number of startups myself, so as a founder I've sought funding several times in the early stages. In addition, in recent years I have frequently been active as a supervisor, mentor and confidant of startups with similar funding issues.
In short, I know all too well what is going on with founders on the way to such a first round of funding. Because the technology has not yet been proven, it is often too risky for the market to finance. As a result, there is very little venture capital available for startups in the early phase. So there is a lot to be gained in that area. As fund manager, I hope to make a nice contribution to that.
No, proposal rounds he hardly had to do. He already knew most of the companies, stakeholders and investors. However, Niek did conduct more than 100 interviews over the past period. 'To see what is happening in G-Force Capital's portfolio and with the leads,' he clarifies. 'And to study the contracts, of course. Personally, I like clear agreements, simple structures and key figures that everyone can understand. You shouldn't fill startups in the early stages with complexity. It is my goal to manage the fund in the same way. In any case, Marco has left behind a very promising portfolio, which I can really sink my teeth into in the coming period.
Groningen Investment Fund
The Province of Groningen established IFG in 2015 to invest in investment funds. The objective is to make more and smart capital available to Groningen companies in this way. IFG has now built a portfolio of 11 investment funds, including G-Force Capital.
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