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A new €15M fund announced to back disruptive Dutch quantum tech startups in 2023

Quantum Delta NL

Despite having only 17 million people, The Netherlands is ranked third in scientific citations in quantum research and has the highest number of quantum-related startups per capita.

Consequently, Delft-based Quantum Delta NL, the public-private foundation has announced a new fund – QDNL Participations that will invest €15 million into early-stage Dutch quantum technology startups in the coming years.

The newly launched fund aims to bridge the gap between the grant-giving phase of research and the ‘patient capital’ phase of venture investment. QDNL Participations will support impactful businesses to transform potentially great technical ideas into obviously great investable companies.

The thriving ecosystem of Dutch quantum tech startups

Among the companies, it will invest in are those supplying components crucial to the growth of quantum technology, such as hardware, communications, and sensing technologies.

The fund will invest in quantum technology startups at the early-stage, usually leading the round with an initial investment of up to €1.5 million. In addition, it will assist research teams in launching startups based on their technology.

Furthermore, the fund will offer €50,000 to teams developing quantum technologies before they have even incorporated. When the startup is ready to move forward as a company, this funding will convert into equity investment via a SAFE note. 

“We want to get in very early and make sure that we protect and support founders by making sure the first check into the company is one of patience and support, because that’s actually where the problems typically originate already,” says QDNL Participations managing director, Ton van ‘t Noordende.

Most of the fund’s deal flow will come from research conducted at leading Dutch universities: TU Delft; Eindhoven University of Technology; Leiden University; and the University of Twente.

On-call support for emerging quantum technology founders

In addition to the fund, Quantum Delta NL has launched a new support program called Infinity, which aims to help Dutch university researchers raise their first funding round and navigate the university spin-off process. “Research-based founders are not business people,” explains van ‘t Noordende. “They receive slow, poor, even sometimes exploitative, advice that can limit or end their business progress, and grant-giving organizations do not foster commercial outcomes.”

Unlike many support programs, this is free, on-demand support that is available whenever needed. Infinity’s launch builds on support van ‘t Noordende has already provided to notable Dutch quantum technology startups like QuantWare and QphoX.

“Worldwide venture capital investment into quantum technology has increased significantly in recent years, and the Netherlands is a hotspot for research and startups in the field. With our new fund and support program, we aim to get more of the country’s world-leading research out of the lab and onto the market,” says van ‘t Noordende

“This program is about more than money. Quantum Delta NL cherishes young companies, and the Infinity team will provide them with the support they need to help the Dutch quantum technology sector achieve its enormous potential,” says Carlo Beenakker, chair of the supervisory board of Quantum Delta NL.

Freeke Heijman, co-founder and Director Ecosystem Development at Quantum Delta NL, said: “Infinity and QDNL Participations have only one goal: to allow quantum startups to grow sustainably in the Netherlands, so that they can participate in the growing global quantum market. There are no other interests – which is why we have chosen to give the program its own profile. Startups can rely on the team to put them first and to handle information with the utmost professionalism and discretion. The fund is badly needed because in the Netherlands, it is still difficult to find investors with a long time horizon and knowledge of the market. In combination with investments in shared facilities like cleanrooms and R&D programs, Quantum Delta NL is building the best climate for startups.”

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