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How to start a company in the Netherlands remotely?
#startup
POSTED ON:
November 10, 2021
The previous post was all about struggling to choose the country for Draivn headquarters, and as you remember, we’ve settled on the Netherlands. Shortly after that, we started establishing the Draivn entity, and it was another fight we’ve won remotely.

We were sure about one thing – we want Draivn to be based in the Hague. For everything else, there was... Google. As you see, we preserved our MasterCards for more important things and started Googling. On the 12th page and after digging through a hundred tabs, the situation got even more uncertain.

The uncertainty left us no choice but to approach the specialists who help companies set up legal entities. Finding the best one demanded our good-old sales approach – setting up a pipeline and qualifying the leads.

After a few weeks and several calls, the picture got clearer, but we didn’t like it. The process appeared to take more time and money than we expected or experienced in Eastern Europe or the UK. On the other hand, we discovered some special programs and state initiatives for foreign start-ups willing to open business entities in the Netherlands.

It was high time for us to make some new friends.
TAGS:
Draivn, startup ,
entrepreneurship
open mobility, Netherlands
YES!Delft
We decided to play with the best and approached YES!Delft – one of the most famous start-up organisations in the Netherlands, holding all the cards:

✅Close to the Hague;
✅Supported by Delft University;
✅Well-established start-up program;
✅Relevant focus and a couple of VCs around.

Ironically, YES!Delft said “No,” as Draivn appeared to be too premature for the program at that moment.

Although YES!Delft didn’t accept Draivn, they introduced us to InnovationQuarter – an economic development agency for Hague-Rotterdam. It reveals the innovation potential of the region by supporting local companies to expand internationally and attracting foreign businesses to the region. Sounds like the second win.

Steff
“Bullseye!” we thought. But the real catch was Stef, who became our single point of contact, fully covering the entity establishment in the Hague. He gave us an overview of the region and its ecosystem, a proper framework for the incorporation. Moreover, he introduced us to layers, facilitators, and even early-stage VCs. This bright gentleman still supports us with his ideas, recent news, and network. Indeed, if Draivn needs something in the Hague – we just call Stef. Here are just a few issues he helped us resolve:

Legal and Taxation: taxation options, special conditions for expats, incorporation process.
Setting up a company: remote setup, start-up visas, expat programs, bank accounts.
Facilitators: the choice of facilitator, accelerator, and incubator companies.
Capital and funding: local grants, VCs, and economic development options.

Within a few days, we created a smooth roadmap for starting and scaling a local company. There, we considered all the possible benefits and life hacks.

1️⃣ Approaching lawyers to get support in remote company incorporation.
2️⃣ Preparing a document pack for the notary, which included translation, apostille, apostille translation, translation verification, verification translation. No jokes, just absurd and cruel bureaucracy.
3️⃣ Renting the office in the Hague
4️⃣ Company incorporation.
5️⃣ Remote bank account opening.

The office
Although we were planning to come to the Netherlands, a full-time rental office was not an option. Draivn team needed something remote, flexible, and convenient. We addressed this issue to Stef, who could do virtually everything – even a virtual office from the Hague tech.

We went on with this option, set it up remotely, and got the office in the physical and virtual form. Unlike all other things at this stage, renting a remote office was easier done than said.

As the remote setup of a company is a tricky task, the InnovationQuarter introduced us to several professional agents to take care of the whole process locally. Having a hard choice, we went ahead with the name of the agency and finally kicked off the process.
Eventually, after numerous trials and tribulations, we’ve collected and provided all the docs to the notary and sat down with fingers crossed.

On April 19, an email with the Draivn B.V. registration notice hit our mailbox.

Special thanks to Andreea Bota from Yes!Delft, the one and only Stef Prinsen, The Hague Tech center community, Martin from RVO, and many other bright and helpful people who made it all happen.

P.S.: After a few months since incorporation, we re-applied for the YES!Delft acceleration program and succeeded. See you all soon in the Hague.

Summary
Startuppers’ guide to establishing the entity in the Netherlands.

✅ Bureaucracy never dies, and it goes digital. Now lawyers and notaries can tire you to death on the Internet, so muster patience and prepare all documents in the world, just in case.
✅ Pipeline approach is equally efficient for finding clients, partners, and helpers. Always play a sales guy if you want to succeed.
✅ Found yourself in the middle of nowhere? Start asking questions. Don’t know who to ask? Ask Stef.
✅ If you Google the solution to your problem, stop at page 5. Beyond, you won’t find anything but despair.
✅ If a company has “YES” in their name, it doesn’t mean they can’t say “No.”
✅ Watching “The Office” is more fun than renting it.
✅ The world is big and opportunities are literally everywhere. Get off the couch and start doing something. At least jogging in the morning is enough.
✅ The Hague is not the capital of the Netherlands. Neither is London.
✅ Thank people who help you. At least by mentioning them on LinkedIn ;).
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