- We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Prince Constantijn to CES. Welcome, your Royal Highness.

- Thank you, Gary.

- So I get to ask the first question, which is that you started coming to CES back in 2016, and that was right when you took the helm at StartupDelta, which is now called Techleap. What made you take that leap of being in charge of StartupDelta, now Techleap, and why did you choose on focusing on investing your time with startups versus bigger corporations?

- Oh, the last question is easy. Startups are much more exciting than big corporations. Corporations have all process, and startups are very close to their core still and they want to change things. And I love, you know, people that don't stick to the status quo. So working with startups has been really exciting. But the first question is really, I think all companies will become like startups. If you look at every sector is now being challenged by a startup. Be it, you know, it could be Netflix in media, in cars it's Neo and Tesla. And even in space, you know, you have SpaceX. So I think that's where the most dynamic activities are in terms of innovation, in terms of technology application and in terms of economic development.

- So Prince Constantijn, the pandemic has changed everything, you talked about that in November, how it's changed even how startups do business. What do you think the impact of the pandemic has been on the tech industry? And especially the Dutch technology industry and startups?

- Well obviously there's a shakeout and a number of companies won't make it, but that's actually remarkably low. I think many startups will have to set out and do something 10 times or more better than has already been done before, and typically will choose to be on a trend, so it's either the energy transition, or it's food transition, or it's the remote working, remote diagnostics, in all kinds of areas, applying technologies like AI in a way that larger corporation may not be doing yet. So in a way we're seeing a lot of acceleration of these trends, and we're seeing that the companies that are betting on these trends are actually doing pretty well. And we've also seen increases in venture capital funding, in Europe as a whole, but in the Netherlands specifically. And so in that sense, it's going, it's actually going quite good, quite well.

- So how will we sustain that growth after the pandemic?

- Well, I'd hope that the companies that have been demonstrating real added value will then get even more funding and will grow up to be a new tech leaders, you know, coming out of Europe and everywhere. I mean, I've seen incredible companies like Zoom, there's been, for them it's been a remarkable year, I imagine. But we also have a Russian Dutch company called Miro and they they do kind of, online brainstorming activities. Or the Odyssey Momentum hackathon, it's a blockchain hackathon, they created a full immersive environment to do hackathons and you can basically fly around and meet people, and you know, do projects together, all in this immersive virtual environment. And so those companies will, I think, emerge from this as very strong contenders to, you know, as next generation companies.

- So as I mentioned that you came with, to the 2016 CES, with the first delegation, and you know, I didn't say thank you for doing that, because what we've seen is tremendous growth from Dutch participation at CES. And it also led us to create CES Unveiled Amsterdam, which we were really sorry we didn't get to do in person this year, but we still held a great virtual event, and we're looking forward to coming back to the Netherlands to celebrate all the startups there. So can you tell me a little bit about some of the startups that you brought here to CES 2021? I know it's your biggest delegation, I think it's like a hundred companies, and we'd like to hear a little bit about some of those companies and some of the technologies.

- Yeah, so one actually it was there last year, is Pandora Intelligence, which brings a whole new way of looking at actually solving crimes, or doing predictive analytics and their initial area was crime actually, but they're now moving into financial predictions and others. It's quite a remarkable company, it will take too long to explain, but sometimes you have these companies that do something in a completely different way, and they're one of them. I think QBlock is interesting because it's on quantum computing. And as quantum computing is still very much in its early stages. They, well I wouldn't say they are quantum computing as a service, but at least they provide elements of quantum computing for the labs that are now developing quantum computing. They are servicing them in a very professional way. So I always like it when, you know, there are entrepreneurs that are right out there. In the technology that's really not mature yet, but already trying to make a business out of it, so that's a company I would look into, but that's obviously very specific for a specific set of interests. But maybe, I don't know, Microsoft, IBM, Amazon, you know, they might be interested to visit that company.

- Thank you.

- Well you certainly brought a very impressive delegation to CES and it seems to grow every year. But that's part of a vision you've had. In 2019 you said you wanted to see your country become a unicorn nation, a unicorn nation. How's that going? And what do you expect for the future?

- Well, it's going well. Like we are raising unicorns. We had I think three last year and counting. And so, but it's just a metaphor, I don't really think the unicorn is that important per se. What I really meant was you, I think nowadays, you like to have an economy or a climate for entrepreneurship where companies actually scale. And scale internationally and quite rapidly, because competition is very international. So if you don't have the ability to bring technologies to the market fast and actually grow them into, grow this into companies that service multiple markets, then it's very unlikely that you'll be competitive. So the unicorn nation is more of a metaphor towards kind of the, it's more about the stables than the unicorns themselves.

- And if you had a magic button that you could press and change one thing in your country, or in Europe, or even in the world that would help innovation and growth, what would it be?

- Well I would restrict it to my country, and then it would be instill a bit of your American, think big, dream big mentality. So we tend to hold people on the ground, say keep both your feet on the ground, you know, big ideas, yeah, that's fine, but now we get real. And real often means be, you know, think smaller. And if you're a 17 million market, you have to think big and you have to think global. And sometimes we are still restrained in doing that.

- So last January in Las Vegas, you and I met with leaders from Europe and the United States and the government and we talked about the things we share, the values of a Western democracy and our freedoms that we enjoy. Do you think that's a path we share and will continue to work on between our countries and our continents?

- Well I truly hope so, and I think as we've been seeing, many of the concerns we're having about, the concerns with technology and the impact on our democracies, but also concentrations of power, are pretty much the same in the U.S. as in Europe, and I think we have to work together to make technology work for us. And as technology is developing at such an incredible pace, we better work together than to try to find all of our own solutions, and then have to work out how we mitigate between solutions. So yes, I do think we have very many common challenges to fight and with a more assertive Europe in the tech field, because we can't just ignore that the big companies are American. And obviously then there's a discrepancy between, you know, the power that you have and influence. But now Europe is kind of growing its own tech companies that will eventually even out, and then I think we should be strong and equal partners to shape this world together.

- Well Karen said it, but I want to repeat it: we look forward to seeing you in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam, and we look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas a year from now. Thank you very much, Prince Constantijn.

- Thank you very much, and it's been a great pleasure to work with CTA and CES. And I really hope that we will see you in Las Vegas next year.


 

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