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My experience as a startup founder in NL

Betsy Lindsey is originally from Seattle, Washington. She is the co-founder and CFO of her startup, Aircision, which makes laser-based telecommunications systems. She came to the Netherlands with her Dutch husband. They decided to come to the Netherlands to be close to family and to benefit from the great work-life balance.

Betsy had to rethink her career when she moved to Eindhoven. She was, nevertheless, able to build her own startup by seeking out support from other expats and established expat organisations and startup accelerators. Betsy’s journey as she describes it below shows how seeking out the right networks can give you the support needed to go as far as launching your own innovative startup.

Betsy Lindsey
Betsy Lindsey

How did you find your first job in the Netherlands?

I used to be an international banker in Hong Kong and the U.S. When I moved to Eindhoven, I kind of had a restart to my career, because the banking community here is not very international. I actually found an organization called Expat Spouses Initiative, which is a great organization for people trailing spouses that helps them get connected into the business community. They helped me find my first job, and they were able to help me get connected with what's now called HighTechXL here in Eindhoven. HighTechXL is a venture builder, and that's how I developed my first startup. 




I really feel lucky that I was able to find that organization through the international community. However,  I do understand that a lot of people will try to work the normal route. If you live in Eindhoven, jobs are in short supply. If you have a technical background, it's not hard to find a new job there, but if you have tertiary skills in legal or finance, you either have to be in Amsterdam or Utrecht.


What are some differences between the Seattle and Eindhoven ecosystems?

I would say Seattle is very corporate-oriented. It's all very seasoned corporate, strategic people, and I think here it's really about makers, it's about hardware, engineering, deep tech, and people very focused in that area. Whereas I think Seattle has a lot of different things going on. 





How did you find information about resident permits?

Coming to the Netherlands, I knew I needed a visa. So I had to seek it out myself, but my partner was still very helpful, of course.  I had to go through the whole process of ‘inburgeringscursus’ and the Dutch exams and so forth, but I was able to learn things that many Dutch people don't know about the Netherlands, which is quite funny, but it's a good experience.

What would be one recommendation you give to them?

Of course, spend time here. Read up on what things are like here. There are a lot of websites, like IamExpat, or DispatchesEurope, which are more about life and culture. Other than that, look on Facebook, join groups and ask questions of people. In general, just spend time here. Come here on a few vacations before you jump in. It's not always easy living here, just like anywhere, but if it's right for you, then it can be a very beautiful place.

Through the versatile dutch ecosystem and with the support of an international network, Betsy was able to apply her past experience in banking in an environment focused on deep tech and engineering. Moving to a new country doesn’t have to mean you lose your entire network. In fact, as an international, you do have access to a wide range of organisations and networks specifically aimed at helping you connect with other people in your situation as well as with locals. Betsy highlighted the importance of finding the right kind of support when moving to the Netherlands and showcased the possibilities available if you do take that leap of faith and move to the Netherlands. 


Explore your options in the Netherlands

Learn more about living in Eindhoven region and what the Hig-tech systems sector in the Netherlands is like.