These scale-ups succeed in Rotterdam

Companies attract international employees, advantageous for Riva

The Top 250 Scale-ups in the Netherlands is once again presented by Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurs. 22 companies are from around Rotterdam and attract international professionals. Riva can provide the expats housing.

The Top 250 Scale-ups

Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurs, Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) and Erasmus University monitor growing companies in the Netherlands. Every year the results of the research is presented in the ScaleUp Dashboard, which is made of different data sources, own research and already existing data bases. This results in a ranking of the fastest growing companies in the Netherlands: The Top 250 Scale-ups. A scale-up is considered a company that has already validated its product within the marketplace and has proven that the unit economics are sustainable. 22 of such companies are located in and around Rotterdam. 

Both startups and scale-ups are important innovators of the economy and a crucial part of the Dutch economy in terms of new business activities and job creation. The Top 250 companies have grown together with more than 30,000 FTEs. These companies attract a lot international professionals. We as Riva rent out apartments to those expats, interns and students from abroad in Rotterdam. We find it important to meet as many needs as possible. This is why we offer long and short stay apartments, apartments and family houses, in the city center but also in suburbs. 

Our rental agents are knowledgeable, energetic and highly committed. We know the rental market inside out and we work with the best landlords in Rotterdam. This in order to make sure the expats working at local companies will find the best apartment in Rotterdam.

Coolblue, HelloPrint and The Ocean Cleanup

So which companies operate from Rotterdam? The best known and highest ranked company is CoolBlue. It's on number seven. After, Picnic, Rituals, Dept Agency, YoungCapital and Workrate. But before Newcold, Adyen and Mediamonks. The Top 10 Scale-ups have been ranked twice: once in the number of jobs created in FTE in the period 2016-2019 and once in the average annual growth in FTE. The average of these two placements then determines the final score. With an equal ranking, the ratio of growth of the scale-ups to the two criteria was examined. The largest grower ends up higher.

Coolblue started as an idea by three students in 1999. Nowadays Coolblue is an online enterprise that’s made up of 11 physical stores in the Netherlands and Belgium, with one important goal: to make customers happy. Last year they had a record turnover of almost 1.5 billion euros.

The other companies located in Rotterdam are HelloPrint, Pimm Solutions, VONQ, in10, Beequip, Youwe, Housing Anywhere, All Port, Sana Commerce, Daan, TimeSeries, Solar Plaza, Vertigo, LeQuest, OpenProvider, CruiseReizen, Milgro and Wiba. Around Rotterdam you'll also find DWG, Kamera Express and 


VONQ - Photo by Joost de Zwart

VONQ - Photo by Joost de Zwart


The majority of the fast-growing companies are active within the Information and communication sector. The following are the Specialist Business Services (23%) and Wholesale and Retail sectors (19%).

Breathing entrepreneurship

Another remarkable fact is that more than 30 companies from the list have at least one founder with a background at Erasmus University Rotterdam. The top consist of Picnic, Rituals, Workrate, Coolblue and Sana Commerce. Martin Luxemburg, director of Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship: “As part of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, we are committed to promoting entrepreneurship. It is nice to see that as a university founded by entrepreneurs over 100 years ago, we are still breathing entrepreneurship and training successful entrepreneurs that we now see reappear in the list.” 


Serial entepreneur Michiel Muller founded Picnic. He studied economy at Erasmus University.

Picnic was founded by serial entepreneur Michiel Muller. He studied economy at the Erasmus University.


Because of the reputation of the Erasmus University the number of international students increases again and again. In 2019 there were 5885 registrations from abroad. In 2018 there were 5692 students and 5352 the year before. Ten years ago, in 2010, there were only 3394 international students. Most international EUR students come from Germany, Italy, Greece, China and France.

Riva also rents out to international students. Their budget is usually between 600 and 700 euros per room per month and they like to share a home. So if there is room for two or more residents, that can already offer a nice benefit. Homeowners who want to rent to students have a chance of gross returns above 8%. That is sometimes more than renting out to expats. The demand is larger than the supply, which means that prices per room have risen enormously.




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