ScaleUpNation, FoodValley and Rabobank partner to boost food and agri scale-ups

ScaleUpNation, FoodValley and Rabobank partner to boost food and agri scale-ups

Amsterdam/Utrecht/Wageningen, The Netherlands: ScaleUpNation, Foodvalley NL and Rabobank announced today the launch of ScaleUpFood: a comprehensive support program dedicated to scaling entrepreneurial ventures in food and agriculture.

“Climate change, global population size and waste – are all opportunities for innovative, technology-driven enterprises throughout the value chain”, says Menno van Dijk, founder of ScaleUpNation. “Though many startups are launching and exist for some years, only those that scale will move the needle in terms of impact and economic value creation.”

Research by ScaleUpNation shows that less than 1% of early stage companies make it to $10 million annual revenues within 5 years. Scaling can be even more challenging in food and agriculture. The agrifood sector differs from other with respect to innovation speed and implementation due to growing seasons, long sales cycles, conservative customers and complicated regulation.

Though the Netherlands has historically been a center of food innovation, this future is far from guaranteed – investment in innovative early stage companies lags behind other countries and too few of our young, promising food and agri companies manage to scale.

“In food and agri the Netherlands has always been scale-up country, testimony our position of 2nd largest food exporter in the world. But many products have commoditized”, says Roger van Hoesel, Director FoodValley NL.  “This partnership will create a new wave of food and agri scale-ups focused on technology and sustainability.”

Jeroen Leffelaar, Managing Director, Rabobank Food and Agri Innovation, says that “current food production systems are simply unsustainable, even with today’s population. The need for true innovation in the food & agri value chain is bigger than ever before. Many leading food & ag corporates are realizing that fine tuning of their existing research and development may no longer be sufficient to keep up. If we wish to turn today’s new ideas and technologies into tomorrow’s game-changing solutions, we need to support the most promising early stage companies in scaling to disrupt a traditional and inefficient industry”.  Rogier Raaijmakers, Head of Rabobank Direct Investments, adds: “The Netherlands is a frontrunner in innovation, but clearly lagging in access to sufficient scale-up capital. With our networks, expertise and capital, we are fully committed to strengthen the global F&A innovation ecosystem, as well as the Dutch ecosystem around innovation and fast growing companies. The ScaleUpFood initiative clearly fits this ambition and we are determined to make it a success.”

ScaleUpFood will address venture scaling challenges first by carrying out ongoing fact-based research to uncover the success factors of global food and agri scale-up companies. Then, the invite-only support program starting in October addresses areas specific to food and agri scale-ups like strategic selling to large corporates, specialized finance, and data driven business model extensions. The program engages top Dutch corporates and innovative mid-caps for collaboration with the scale-ups. After the program, qualified ventures will be invited for longer term tailored support, collaboration opportunities and access to series-B level funding.

Anieke Wieringa, Director of ScaleUpFood, explains “Entrepreneurs who have made it to the scale-up stage in food and agri are the best of the best. But what got them here will not get them to the next level. We’re looking forward to unlocking significant growth opportunities with our first class this fall.”

About ScaleUpNation

ScaleUpNation supports young innovative companies to grow – specifically those that manage to combine a large social impact with attractive financial return. With the research lab, practice and investment focus, ScaleUpNation has supported over 100 Dutch impact scale-ups to date.

About Rabobank

Rabobank strongly believes that ground breaking startups and scale-ups in the food & ag value chain can help to nourish the world more sustainably. By offering pre-seed and venture capital through (captive) investment funds and the creation of platforms such as FoodBytes!, F&A Next and TERRA Accelerator and ScaleUpFood going forward, the bank leverages its global network and industry knowledge for thought leadership and strategic engagement with the best early stage companies, investors and innovative corporates.

About FoodValley

Foodvalley is the primary knowledge-intensive agrifood ecosystem in the Netherlands. Characterized by many world class innovative agrifood and food-related solutions and by the cooperation between companies, knowledge and educational institutions and governments with amongst others: Wageningen University and Research, FrieslandCampina Innovation Center, Unilever’s Global Foods Innovation Centre and many innovative food and agri companies. ScaleUpFood completes the support for startups and scaleups in the Foodvalley ecosystem:

  • StartLife helps startups and students with an innovative business idea grow into a successful startup through the incubation program, financing and coaching.
  • BOX (Blue Ocean XLerator) is an accelerator for startups in food, agri and life sciences focused on sustainable breakthrough technology.
  • Foodvalley Accelerator helps scaleups with a scalable product or service and a turnover of at least € 100,000 to grow to € 1 million turnover.
  • ScaleUpFood is a research, support and investment initiative for scaleups with a turnover of at least € 1 million turnover.

Foodvalley NL accelerates innovation, business development and growth by connecting companies to knowledge and educational institutes and government. Foodvalley NL works on speeding up the innovation performance of companies, both from the Netherlands and abroad.

ScaleUpNation’s Board program: Measuring its impact

“No board ever built anything great, but a bad board will kill a company every time.”

-Old Silicon Valley saying.

Some call it the chrysalis effect: the process of maturation for prosperous startups. It is nothing less than brutal to survive during this phase. And not seldom, during this transition, startups stop or are sold or taken over.

As scale-ups pursue high risk, innovative strategies, supervisory boards can make a significant and positive difference to help them navigate the challenges. We are keen to understand the impact our program is having on board members’ functioning.

So, how are we doing?



The five-day board program is the only program in the Netherlands for investment managers, board observers, entrepreneurs and (aspiring) board members. It has been running for two years, with 93 alumni.

The proprietary research-based insights provide an intimate understanding of the inner workings of a scale-up. The Board program is experiential, so not lecture-based, and creates opportunities to methodically gather perspectives about being a valuable scale-up board member.

Defining impact

As always: it’s rarely straightforward. Sentiment measurements on how much participants enjoyed a specific session don’t correlate well with long-term results. Besides, we don’t associate impact with particular types of business outcomes like ‘sales growth’ or ‘gross margin.’ After all, a board member doesn’t operate the business: the founder and the leadership team do that.

Proportionate to the program’s goals and duration, there are three levels of impact we expect to see from participating in our program:


What you should experience

How to measure it?

1st level
As a board member, you can describe what you (ought to) do and why it matters to the scale-up and its stakeholders at large.
Upon completion of the program, any board member should be able to do this themselves drawing upon regular talks with fellow board members and the leadership team.
2nd level
As a board member, you can coach, give timely advice, or plot a course of action that shows the material effect on the ones receiving your feedback.
At this level, you begin to show influence on the company’s development, but it may not prove direct causality. You may conclude this from the annual board effectiveness evaluation, and talks with fellow board members and the leadership team.
3rd level
As a board member, you will have a demonstrable effect on the company’s health and its stakeholder relations.
At this level, you need to benchmark your mode of operation. It is hard to measure and the reason why ScaleUpNation considers setting up research methods using accurate methods -like control groups that isolate the nature of the impact.

Evidence of impact

Based on ongoing talks and discussions with participants over the past two years, we have found that the program catapults personal effectiveness and strategic thinking.

Most participants have gained the competence of being able to operate at Level One. There is anecdotal evidence that a minority of participants has reached Level Two effectiveness. Level Three effectiveness has not yet been assessed.

Apart from that, below list captures some of the elements that participants value in the program:

  • Diversity of speakers
  • Mix of participants
  • Collective casework
  • Theory and practice well-mixed
  • Limited homework
  • Lots of room for peer to peer learning

Alas, participants criticized the comfort of our seats and they are right. On the other hand, we often learn most from sessions or settings that are uncomfortable and stretch us. Innovation doesn’t happen in an armchair.

We want to get better at measuring and explaining the value of our program and, where possible, demonstrating causality. Any feedback to help us reflect on the way we design the board program and assess its impact is welcome.

Also, if you have any other questions, do get in touch with Sander van der Blonk. (Email to

Selection process open: join us for our deep-dive into learning velocity

Are you an impact scale-up CEO or MT member and want to learn more about learning velocity… join us for our deep-dive starting July 1st. 

A deep-dive is a unique experience in which ScaleUpNation brings together academics, practitioners and impact scale-ups to reflect on scaling challenges. As a founder, you are searching for ways to improve your business on a daily basis. You benefit from having actionable insights applicable to your situation and organization. This is why we created Deep-Dives. 

Selection process now open: apply to join us in our learning velocity deep-dive starting July 1st

We are selecting a total of 4 ventures to join us in our learning velocity Deep-Dive. Are you:
  • A founder, CEO or MT member in an impact scale-up?
  • Interested in learning velocity?
  • Open to the perspectives of others?
Apply Now

Dive Deep with us

During a deep-dive, we bring together academics and impact scale-ups to share and reflect on relevant knowledge and experience Through dialogue, we help scale-up leadership teams to widen their perspective on what makes the business excel. As a group, we help each other to further understand the mechanisms behind scaling.

Reflexive Dialogue

A reflexive dialogue is a unique experience in which all participants build on each other’s knowledge and collectively increase their understanding of what learning velocity is and how to best apply it in the context of an impact scale-up. All reflexive dialogues follow a fixed structure.

Facilitating ScaleUpNation faculty

Please reach out to Daan Bak ( if you have any further questions.

Welcome Samir Saberi!

We’re excited that Samir Saberi has joined ScaleUpNation as our Commercial Director, focused on sales, marketing and business development. In this role, Samir will be responsible for helping build and communicate the ScaleUpNation vision and mission to impact founders, their board members and the greater scale-up community.

A well-known figure in the Dutch start-up and scale-up ecosystem, previously Samir was a member of the founding team of StartupDelta under the leadership of former EU commissioner Neelie Kroes and an advisor on startup ecosystem development friendly policies in Europe. Before that, he had a stint as managing director of a fast-growing SME company, served as strategy and innovation consultant at Node1 and co-founded the premium Dutch startup blog StartupJuncture. He’s currently a board member of the Dutch Startup Association and as an advisor to Braventure he supports the growth of the Brabant startup ecosystem.

Samir on becoming a part of the ScaleUpNation Family: “ScaleUpNation believes that large social challenges are as much large entrepreneurial opportunities, but only enterprises that scale are able to move the needle in terms of impact. I couldn’t agree more! Over the years I have come to trust that the most effective way to drive impactful change is through fostering entrepreneurship. ScaleUpNation epitomizes the belief that entrepreneurs are indeed people that can change the world for the better. I am trilled, honored, humbled and inspired to, as member of the ScaleUpNation family, be able to contribute to the Dutch and ultimately global tech ecosystem in such a significant way. My message to founding teams is: entrepreneurship and especially scaling your company is hard, very hard. But you’re not alone. We are here to help!”

Please help us welcome Samir to the ScaleUpNation Family! You can reach him at and on LinkedIn.

About ScaleUpNation:

Only 0.4 of startups scale to a scale-up. Our mission at ScaleUpNation is to increase that number to drive considerable impact. Large social challenges are as much large entrepreneurial opportunities, but only enterprises that scale are able to move the needle in terms of impact.

Most new companies either fail or stall out, never making it beyond a small to medium enterprise. Going from a start-up to a scale-up is a true phase change, which requires a fundamental shift for the CEO and the entire organization. ScaleUpNation supports entrepreneurs to master the art of scaling, with an ambition to double the number of impact scale-ups.


Vacancy: Marketing Internship

About ScaleUpNation

Social challenges like climate change, urbanization, and population growth are major opportunities
for innovative enterprise. However, only those enterprises that scale will make a real difference.
Unfortunately, only 0.4% of all ventures founded do so.

We support innovative Dutch scale-ups in Health, Greentech, and Smart City/Mobility by means of
scaling programs, a peer community, research and growth financing. We select only on those
ventures that combine attractive financial returns with social and/or environmental impact.
ScaleUpLab is the research arm for ScaleUpNation. It is pivotal to our success as here we seek to
crack the code of scale-up success and translate this into tools for practitioners and investors. We
work with some of the most respected and interesting academics from the Netherlands and
around the world on topics such as complexity theory and systems dynamics, entrepreneurship, big
data and leadership.

About this Internship

From June to September (3 months), ScaleUpLab has an internship opportunity for a highly
motivated digital marketer/growth hacker who is excited about entrepreneurship, organizational
development, innovation, social impact and “what scales”. Your main project will be to increase
customer awareness, acquisition and activation for one of our products, by using different digital
marketing and growth hacking techniques.

This internship is a well-structured learning opportunity during which we will support you to work
on your professional development. You will have the chance to be part of our energetic, dynamic,
smart team and take-on responsibilities that will provide you with insight into the organization.

You will work from our office at Tripolis, Burgerweeshuispad 100, 1076 Amsterdam. This can be a 4
or 5 day a week role. We provide an intern stipend of 800 p/m based on full-time employment.

About you

  • University student or recent graduate at Bachelor or Master level, ideally in Marketing
  • Smart, a team player, and a self-starter
  • Working independently
  • 80 – 100 per cent availability for a 3-month internship from June 2019
  • Highly proficient in English

To apply, please send a cover letter and a recent CV to Afroditi Terzi (
by Friday 24th May. Interviews will be held between 29-31 May and the ideal start date is June 1st.

Event: Cracking the code of corporate – venture collaboration

Event: Cracking the code of corporate & venture collaboration

Increasingly, corporates are sourcing ideas and solutions from the tech start-up/scale-up community, but cooperation can be ad hoc and notorious for moving slowly with minimal return.

There must be a better way! Let’s find a way to work together and crack the code of corporate and start-up/scale-up collaboration by:

  • Learning from leaders who are doing it, not consulting or selling it
  • Discovering insights backed by both science and hands-on practice
  • Meeting corporate and start-up/scale-up leaders who are striving towards your same objectives

All at an event hosted by ScaleUpNation, Rockstart, and Scoutely on November 28 2018.

Cracking the code of corporate & venture collaboration event. November 28 at ScaleUpNation in Amsterdam.


14:30 – 15:00

Doors Open

15:00 – 15:15


  • Intro from Menno van Dijk/ScaleUpNation

15:15 – 15:40

The Next Wave of Innovation

  • Sander van der Blonk/Scoutely

15:40 – 17:45

Breakout Sessions

  • How to find our common purpose? (ScaleUpNation)
  • How to ascertain trust between people? (Rockstart)
  • How to organize the collaboration process? (Scoutely)

17:45 – 19:00

Reflection and Drinks

For whom:

For corporate leads in innovation, technology, business development, venture capitalist, or M&A acquisitions who currently or hope to collaborate with start-ups/scale-ups.

For venture founders of technology start-up/scale-up who either do business with corporate customers, have a corporate investor, or an ambition to be acquired by a corporate

Participation available by invite only. For consideration, please email your intention to join to Annie (


28 November, from 15:00 – 18:30. Doors open at 14:30 with coffee and refreshments.


ScaleUpNation, Burgerweeshuispad 201, 1076GR Amsterdam. Parking available via ParkMobile.

Hosted by


The growth platform for Dutch impact scale-ups.


Supporting start-ups with access to capital, markets, community, and expertise.


Matching corporates with start-ups as an independent 3rd party.

For more information

Check out Menno van Dijk and Sander van der Blonk’s article on Collaboration Principals for ventures and corporates.

To inquire about an invitation, please reach out to

Vacancy: Operations Intern

About this role/responsibilities

From September to December (4 months), our ScaleUpPractice team has an internship opportunity for an ambitious student that is excited about hospitality, operations and entrepreneurship!

You will have two main projects:

1. The Runway Program: The Runway program is a peer-based learning class where the founders of 15 ventures come together to learn how to scale their businesses. The Runway classes meet once a month for four months. ScaleUpNation will be running three Runway Classes in the fall: one for triple-bottom line ventures, one for science ventures out of universities, and one for corporate intrapreneurial ventures.

2. The Board Masterclass: This class is for people who are already board members of scale-ups and looking to increase their impact with their ventures. ScaleUpNation will be running two Board Masterclasses in the fall, each consisting of 5 full days of interactive workshops with 30 board members.

This person will be working with the Operations Lead to ensure that all five (three Runways and two Board Masterclasses) of these programs run smoothly. Responsibilities include ensuring participants and greeted and feel welcome, catering runs smoothly, class materials are always ready, facilitators are prepared, and whatever else needs to happen to make these programs a success.

This internship is a well-structured learning opportunity during which we will support you to work on your professional development. You will have the chance to be part of our international, dynamic, and smart team and take on responsibilities that will provide you with insight into our young organization. You will also get great exposure to our community of entrepreneurs.

You will work from our office at Tripolis, Burgerweeshuispad 100, 1076 Amsterdam. This can be a 4 or 5 day a week role. A compensation for the internship can be discussed.

Are you …

  • Service oriented (experience in hospitality is an advantage)?
  • A young and ambitious student in the fields of Hospitality, Communication, Organization,Event or Business management?
  • A great communicator, a team player, and a self-starter?
  • Flexible and reliable?
  • Fluent in English?
  • 80-100 percent available from August 2018 to mid- or the end of December 2018Apply now

To apply, please send a cover letter and a recent CV to Nina Kotterik, program manager ( by Friday August 17. Interviews will be held on 21/ 22 August. The ideal start date is the first week of September.

HealthTech Leadership Breakfast Series

HealthTech Leadership Breakfast Series

Introducing the ScaleUpNation HealthTech Leadership breakfast series: a monthly forum for founders and management teams of HealthTech ventures to work together on challenging leadership topics. Each of the 4 (2 hour) breakfast sessions will be dedicated to a relevant topic for health-tech scale-ups.

Addressing the HealthTech Challenges

  • What kind of leadership can disrupt a conservative, highly regulated ecosystem?
  • How to attract highly sought after talent whilst competing with big industry and big health institutions?
  • And more. Questions will be co-generated together with attendees – you’re invited to send in the topics that are top of mind and in need of an expert discussion.

Tailored format

An intimate gathering of founders/management leaders from 10 scale-up companies in the HealthTech field.
These sessions follow Chatham House Rules to create an atmosphere of privacy and anonymity but allow leaders to leverage their learnings for personal and company growth.

Led by Hayat Chedid

As the trusted leadership partner for many of the ventures in the Flight Program, Hayat has an inside view into the challenges facing HealthTech leaders and is looking forward to facilitating a master forum with these inspiring management teams.

4 Engaging Sessions

The breakfasts will take place from 8:00 to 10:00 on:
September 28, 2018
November 28, 2018
January 30, 2019
March 28, 2019

Fee: €900 for the series, per person, ex. VAT

Location TBD in Amsterdam

Interested in joining? Please get in touch:

The ScaleUpNation HealthTech Focus

The ScaleUpNation team is dedicated to empowering HealthTech venture leaders as part of our mission to enable triple bottom line (people, planet, profit) ventures and founders.

We are proud to have worked with many innovative HealthTech scale-ups, including: Stockhos, Siilo, Mellon Medical, Minddistrict, Quantib, Forcare, Happitech, Incision, SocialMedwork, NLC, tinybots, Nemo Healthcare, Usono, Robot Care Systems, BioDetection Systems, Sensara, and INCISION.

Vacancy: Venture Analyst

About this role/responsibilities

The mission for this position is to help select the best scale-ups in the Netherlands into our Runway and Flight Programs and track their growth. You will be involved in:

  • Venture Sourcing – You will systematically review Dutch start-ups and scale-ups, assess industry/technology trends, with the aim of creating a number of market maps and inform our venture selection. You will also interview scale-ups, investors and experts in the field to identify top scale-ups.
  • Venture Tracking – You will work as part of our Venture Tracking Team to conduct interviews with our scale-up founders about their scaling plans, progress and growing pains. You will also be responsible for subsequent data analysis, synthesis and venture benchmarking.
  • Venture Selection – Work with our Analyst and Program Director on Flight Program selection. This includes preparing Flight Selection meetings, and conducting scaling audits (due diligence process), and shape the support we offer.You will work as part of our Practice team, which includes another Venture Analyst, Customer Champion, Program Director, our Program Managers, our awesome Content Development Team, Community Director and Founder/CEO. You will also work closely with our Venture Partners and Leadership Coaches, and spend a lot of face-to-face time with our scale-ups.


  • Proactive, self-starter.
  • Strong analytical mind, intellectual curiosity.
  • Good with numbers and analytics.
  • Excellent communicator. Good with people.
  • Street smart. You know how to talk to entrepreneurs and get to the truth of the matter.
  • You manage projects in a timely manner and deliver on agreed milestones.
  • Fluent in English.
  • Positive can-do mentality.
  • Good teammate. Fast learner.

About you

  • University degree in Finance, Economics, BA or related.
  • 1 to 5 years working experience in finance, VC, management consulting or equivalent (a big plus).
  • You love technology, enterprise scaling and innovation.
  • You are available 4 to 5 days a week.

What we offer

  • Lots of responsibilities and a fast learning curve.
  • A driven and international team of really great people.
  • Full access to our scaling programs.
  • Access to our founder’s community, representing awesome Dutch scale-ups with solutions thatbenefit the Circular Economy, Health and SmartCities.
  • Shared offices in our ScaleUpDistrict, with great people, scale-ups and coffee.
  • Competitive salary.

To apply, please send a cover note and a recent resume to Laurie Kemp, our Venture Analyst at by June 22nd. Interviews will be held on June 28th and 29th and the ideal start date is ASAP.