The Netherlands could miss Artificial Intelligence revolution

The Netherlands could miss the international revolution in Artifical Intelligence (AI). AI start-ups do grow in the Netherlands, but compared to other countries their growth is not fast enough. This is the conclusion of data research by StartupDelta. For the director of StartupDelta, Nils Beers, the figures indicate that it is high time for a national AI-strategy. “If we don’t invest quickly now, we’ll miss the boat.”

StartupDelta’s data research shows that a total of 102 million euros was invested in Artificial Intelligence startups in the Netherlands in 2018. In addition, the Netherlands lags behind other European countries such as the United Kingdom (1.2 billion euros), France (348 million euros) and Germany (243 million euros).

Compared to the US and Asia, the Netherlands also doesn’t play a prominent role in terms of investments. With 309 AI start-ups, the Netherlands has three percent of the total number of AI startups worldwide, but the Netherlands invests only 1% of the worldwide total in Artifical Intelligence. By way of comparison: China invests 48% percent of the global total, while the country produces 36 percent of all AI startups worldwide.

Employment lags behind

Also, Dutch AI startups still provide little employment compared to other countries. Currently about 8500 people in the Netherlands work at AI-startups, of which 340 specialists with PhD’s, and in the last year only 287 jobs have been created at new AI-startups. In other countries, such as the United States, the number of jobs for AI specialists alone is 9,000.

According to Nils Beers the Netherlands will have to continue investing in order to close the gap with the US, China and other European countries. “Compared to these countries, we are still an insignificant player. Billion-funds are set up in some of these countries to ensure the development of Artificial Intelligence in the future. We also need such a national AI strategy here.“ He also argues for better arrangements to keep talent here. “Even now, Dutch AI talents are being hijacked by foreign companies, while at the same time there are student stops on courses such as Artificial Intelligence here. Knowing that this is one of the most important topics today, that is a more than worrying development.”

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