How Amsterdam's Rockstart supports startups, the 'rock bands of the industry' (video + photos) recently sat down with Oscar Kneppers, the serial entrepreneur who fired up Rockstart in Amsterdam a few years ago and is trying to turn it into the best place for startups to start and grow.

My first question to Oscar Kneppers, the charismatic serial Dutch entrepreneur, was to explain what Rockstart is. "The greatest startup machine, that's what we're building," was his response.

Based in Amsterdam and started more than five years ago, Rockstart is a lot of things: a family of accelerators but also a place where startups (and others) can rent physical office and event spaces, a community catalyst and a supporter of startups in emerging regions.

While Rockstart already offers in Amsterdam what Oscar refers to as "the whole sandwich", the idea is for the company to also expand into operations in places like Singapore, South America and Africa.

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One thing from the interview that stood out for me is when we discuss the accelerator model and whether or not it is a viable one (in Rockstart's case or any other startup accelerator really).

Kneppers: "You don't get into acceleration to make money fast. So you need an horizon of at least 5 to 7 years, which is sort of the same as VC funds but without the advantage of being able to charge fees as the startups mature."

Rockstart, he added, has its accelerator programs at the heart of what they do, but it's still only one piece of the puzzle. The idea is to build a business by offering more services apart from acceleration.


One of the things Rockstart is currently considering, Kneppers acknowledged, is setting up a fund that will allow it to double down on the portfolio companies it predicts to be the most successful. That way, Rockstart wants to help startups with the most potential of scaling globally to bridge the financing gap by co-investing with new backers.

"That makes a lot of sense," Kneppers states. "We just need to get more money in."

Kneppers also talks about the increasing media attention being given to startups these days (a relevant topic, given his background in the media industry) and the evolution of the Amsterdam technology startup ecosystem as a whole. You can watch the full video above.

Also read:

Inside global startup accelerator Startupbootcamp’s offices in B.Amsterdam

European startup accelerators: current state and future trends

Friendly advice to startup founders evaluating accelerators: look beyond the funding

Cisco, Deutsche Telekom and Intel kickstart an IoT startup accelerator in the EMEA region

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