No single player or solution can forge the path to a sustainable future alone. First Dutch encourages collaboration with driven, committed, innovative partners to promote sustainable growth.
The energy transition
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges that our world faces today. Transforming our energy consumption to cleaner alternatives is more urgent than ever, as it has never been more vital to shift from traditional fuels to renewable energy sources to lower emission levels. While greenhouse gases and CO2 emissions are declining in some countries, our global emissions continue to rise and are currently not in line with the targets of the Paris Agreement.
For many sectors, it is relatively straightforward what needs to be done to make the transit to sustainable alternatives and contribute to a carbon neutral world by 2050.
But it is essential that we also accelerate the transition in the so-called hard-to-abate sectors. This includes sectors where the transition is more complex, such as the maritime industry. The maritime sector accounts for about 2% of our global greenhouse gas emissions. But it is also the engine of the economy, transporting 90% of the total volume of our global trade.
The industry relies heavily on assets with long-term lifespans and primarily relies on fossil fuels. It also has a strong international character with complex regulations and is a sector that cannot easily be electrified. Biofuels are one of the solutions that could help the sector decarbonise, but current production volumes of alternative fuels are rising too slowly. In 2021, for example, alternative fuel production provided only a fraction of the energy needs of the maritime industry (less than half of one per cent of its total energy requirements).
So, we need to move faster, especially as the demand for freight transport is expected to triple by 2050. If we continue the status quo, the CO2 footprint of maritime transport will increase by as much as 250% by mid-century. Therefore, we must act now if we want to handle this growth responsibly, reap the benefits of sustained growth, and at the same time, reduce our impact on the planet.
Partnering to scale impact
To achieve sustainable growth, investment in new, – and existing solutions and related infrastructure must increase substantially. No single player can bring about this scale of investment, scale-up and implementation of new, cleaner technologies. This requires all parties in the industry to come together and shoulder some of the transition costs to a cleaner world.
To accelerate the maritime sector’s energy transition, First Dutch is committed to working with its partners to support the development of novel solutions and to scaling sustainable, existing alternatives.
Rotterdam Port Fund
The Rotterdam Port Fund (RPF) aims to play a part in developing the port of the future. The fund is an initiative of the Port of Rotterdam, NIBC, InnovationQuarter, Royal Doeksen and entrepreneurs Peter Goedvolk and Luc Braams. They are investing in innovative ventures in the maritime sector and assisting them in realising their growth ambitions. The fund focuses on companies that can make a difference in the transition towards making the port area more sustainable. Its member companies operate in port areas such as transport, logistics, energy, refining, offshore and maritime.
RPF’s fund is led by a diverse team with financial expertise and in-depth knowledge of the harbour. With their long-standing experience, network, and expertise, they advise companies to jointly shape the port of the future.
Platform Zero is a hub focused on innovators in the energy and maritime sectors. The team is constantly looking for innovative ventures to solve the planet’s most significant challenges. They are paving the way to a carbon neutral world by supporting and increasing the development of climate technologies.
They are constantly looking for innovations that can enable the sustainable transformation of the maritime industry. These include energy production, storage, transport, and trade solutions, as well as innovations in hydrogen power, batteries, and methanol. The Platform Zero team identifies the biggest challenges of the energy transition. It aims to find start-ups and scale-ups that can answer these challenges with promising, scalable solutions. It is required that the ventures have a robust business model and that the solution can be implemented at scale.
In November 2021, First Dutch and Platform Zero launched a joint investment initiative. This initiative was established to invest 10 million euros over the next five years in ventures that can significantly impact the energy transition.
Technological developments in the maritime sector are moving faster than their adoption. In 2015, PortXL was founded in Rotterdam to gather changemakers, creative thinkers and problem solvers to disrupt the current status quo.
As a maritime B2B accelerator, PortXL is a global hub for start-ups and scale-ups in the logistics, maritime, green energy and process industry sectors. Its goal is to create a network linking every port and the organisations within the port cluster to ventures worldwide to enhance the opportunities of accelerated technology adoption collectively. Peter Goedvolk is an advisory board member of PortXL.
Scientist in Residence
In 2021, Dr. Jan Rotmans was appointed Scientist in Residence at First Dutch. Dr. Rotmans, Professor of Transition Sciences at Erasmus University Rotterdam, will provide solicited and unsolicited advice to First Dutch’s leadership on how they can initiate transformations in the company portfolio that support them in their path towards a sustainable future.
The future of healthcare
The world’s population is expected to grow to 8.5 billion by 2030. This growth comes with the challenge of providing access to quality health services for everyone as the pressure on our healthcare systems increase with an increasingly growing and ageing population.
To improve well-being, quality of life, and health, First Dutch is committed to boosting innovations in healthcare. NLC helps medical inventors turn their ideas into ventures. They are active in the earliest stages of medical start-ups, even matching inventors with experienced entrepreneurs. NLC was founded to improve access to and quality of healthcare. Because only 5% of medical novelties reach the market, 95% of these innovations never become accessible to patients. However, these could be solutions that can radically change and improve people’s lives.
The NLC team looks for promising medical inventions and technologies to build them into viable health-tech ventures.
NLC has established a strong network of medical, technical, and business specialists to assess these ventures’ innovations. They also work with entrepreneurs and advisers to assist these ventures during their most challenging growth phases. They then match the ventures with investors who are willing to take the risk of investing in early start-ups. This is how NLC helps bring medical innovations to market that could transform lives for the better.
In 2021, First Dutch partnered with NLC, agreeing that the First Dutch team would not only invest but also make a commitment to welcome early-stage start-ups into its family of companies. This commitment allows NLC to free up budget earlier to support new ventures and solutions.
Technological innovations have always been drivers of progress in society and have forever changed our world.
Founded in 2005, YesDelft! is one of the Netherlands’ first incubators. They have constructed an ecosystem that fosters various innovations in the fields of:
- Artificial Intelligence
- Complex Technology
YesDelft! helps tech start-ups introduce disruptive innovations to the market in the quickest and most efficient way possible. They offer customised start-up programmes and full-lifecycle services, such as recruitment and funding, market entry and funding. Furthermore, they have a broad network of experts, business partners and mentors to support entrepreneurs at all stages. First Dutch is affiliated with the investor network of YesDelft!
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