This afternoon Secretary of State Fred Teeven presents the first Dutch startup visa to Finn Hansen from New Zealand, founder of Med Canvas.
StartupJuncture first reported on the new Dutch startup visa in December 2014. Over the following weeks, the article attracted quite a lot of attention. If visitor numbers are any indication, visa law is indeed a hot topic!
Dutch minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs said this about the startup visa: “With this startup visa, the Netherlands will be more attractive for foreign startups and growing businesses. This is important because these startups can contribute to a high quality, innovative and challenging investment climate in the Netherlands,”
The startup visa allows innovative startups from outside the European Union to stay in The Netherlands for one year, so they can develop the startup. Startups need to be backed by a facilitator, for example one of the established accelerators or incubators such as Rockstart, Startupbootcamp, Utrecht INC, YES!Delft or ACE Venture Lab. After a maximum of one year, the ‘normal’ procedures may be followed to apply for a regular immigrant entrepreneur visa.
When asked In December, the Dutch government expected to receive dozens of applications for the startup visa within the first year. Hansen will be the first to receive a visa today. The entrepreneur is also former operational director of Rockstart, so it comes as no surprise that Med Canvas will be backed by Rockstart during the first year.
Med Canvas develops software for Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems. EMR systems, used by doctors and GP’s to keep track of patient data, are considered pretty user-unfriendly at the moment, oftentimes resembling some sort of 80’s style DOS interface. Med Canvas aims to develop a user-friendly dashboard for EMR systems. Hansen: “A core feature of our product is the visualisation of patient data. We’re designing algorithms to graphically generate data mappings and timelines to assist doctors in identifying patterns in a patient’s medical history.”
In the current stage, Med Canvas wants to further improve the software as well as to initiate tests in hospitals. If everything goes to plan, the first edition of the software will be released in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Hansen applied for the visa in the final days of 2014 and less than five weeks later he heard his visa was to be granted. In a blog post, Hansen tells about his experiences in applying for the startup visa. He has some tips for future applicants, such as:
– Hiring a lawyer is expensive and you may not need one. When asked, Hansen elaborated on this: “I already got the lawyer involved before the checklist of requirements for the application was published on the IND website. So they reached out to IND to investigate. Right now all the criteria are clearly listed on the IND website and the Expatcenter website.”
– Keep the business plan concise and focused. Reference supporting information such as reports, research, your investigative findings and problem validations.
The first startup visa will be presented in the Expatcenter Amsterdam by Secretary of State Fred Teeven, today between 15:30- 17:00. The Expatcenter Amsterdam is one of the participating partners in the development of the legislation concerning the startup visa. Other partners are the Ministry of Economic Affairs, RVO and IND.
Frontpage photo by Pieter van Marion (creative commons via Flickr)
Other photo: Expatcenter Amsterdam