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Starting a business in sustainability

In the fast-paced and innovative world of startup businesses, few things are as important as an idea that is both creative and sustainable. Udaya Vasepalli, the founder and CEO of LoopTas, has found success in just such an idea. He noticed a problem in the excess production and waste of reusable plastic bags and set out to find a solution. Based in Enschede, the Netherlands, his startup LoopTas provides software and hardware that stimulates reuse. It engages consumers in custom loyalty programs, enriching Dutch sustainability. In this interview, Udaya shares his insights on the challenges and opportunities of the startup ecosystem in the Netherlands and India, his experience with visa regulations, and why he chose to set up his business in the Netherlands.

Udaya Vasepalli ©Lizet Beek

LoopTas: A Venture in Dutch Sustainability

I arrived in the Netherlands for my Master's in 2018 and lived here for three years. This is the primary reason I set up my business in the Netherlands. During this time, I came across a couple of startup programs called Boot Camps or Start Programs from an organisation called Novel-T which helps startups take the first steps in their early stages, especially student startups. Besides this, my startup's product is also aimed at sustainability, which fits perfectly into what the consumers and the market want here.

LoopTas is still an early-stage startup that primarily focuses on sustainability in the retail sector. Every one of us is very well aware of the new regulations around single-use items, which leads to businesses and retailers pushing more reusables to replace single-use items. On the other hand, if consumers are not reusing these reusables several times, they create more problems than single-use items. This is why our software and hardware system aims to stimulate consumers to reuse more.

Currently, my startup is headquartered in Enschede. This was my first choice because I knew the atmosphere of the market here and the city itself. The regional support we receive from the Overijssel province has been helpful.


Udaya Vasepalli ©Lizet Beek

The Dutch Retail Market and Startup Ecosystems

The current ecosystem has been extremely challenging due to COVID-19 and logistical issues arising from the Ukraine war. Businesses and organisations prioritise their economic stability over launching new innovative products, including sustainability-related products. So it has been quite challenging overall; it's taken longer than anticipated when we started.

“The current ecosystem has been extremely challenging due to COVID-19 and logistical issues arising from the Ukraine war.”

Nevertheless, when we compare the ecosystem with India, the Dutch ecosystem has been growing quite steadily in the past few years. In India, it's tough to tap into the startup ecosystem due to the population, among other aspects. Here also, it's not so easy, but there are multiple opportunities and open ends to tap into and establish ourselves.

“Nevertheless [...] the Dutch ecosystem has been growing quite steadily in the past few years.”

Although the Dutch market is relatively small, it is an excellent economy for building your startup, especially considering the population or the market cap for specific products. Additionally, the audience in the Netherlands is significant for my startup since they think of sustainability and innovation. The Netherlands is the best place for my kind of startup, as we work towards innovative sustainability and similar goals. Overall, the Netherlands is the best place to have your startup.

Despite the challenges of COVID-19 and logistical issues from the Ukraine war, Udaya's startup is growing steadily in the Dutch ecosystem. Udaya's experience with startup programs and regional support in Enschede has helped LoopTas get off the ground. With a firm commitment to sustainability and the Dutch ecosystem's support, Udaya and LoopTas are well-positioned to succeed. The Netherlands' powerful combination of a supportive startup ecosystem and a focus on sustainability make it an ideal location for sustainability-based startups like LoopTas to thrive.


Explore your options in the Netherlands

Learn more about Twente region, the sustainability sector and the startup & tech ecosystem in the Netherlands.