The Royal Trade Mission to California
Looking Back and Looking Forward
About a month ago, September 5th – 9th, 2022, our CEO Sandy Rathod participated in the Royal Trade Mission in California, Addressing Societal Challenges Together. The trade mission, organized by the Dutch government, gave us a chance to connect with approximately 100 Dutch companies in healthtech and urban mobility and meet US-based thought leaders, potential partners, clients and investors. In this blog, Sandy reflects on her journey.
NeuroReality has always intended to expand beyond our home borders of the Netherlands, but after participating in the Globalizer program earlier this year and with the guidance of business guru Pieter Aarts, we were convinced that expanding to the United States is critical to our success. When the opportunity to take part in the Royal Trade Mission arose, we knew it was time to get even more serious about our plans to enter the US market with Koji’s Quest. Our objective is to take the US on by beginning on both coasts and work towards the middle. Through our collaboration with XRHealth, our strategic distribution partner currently focuses on the eastern part of the country, combined with our new connections on the west coast we are excited for the promise that the US market holds for NeuroReality.
More About the Trade Mission
The trade mission visited San Francisco, Los Angeles and Houston, Texas. During our time in San Francisco Her Majesty Maxima joined us. It was inspiring to see her working closely with Mayor London Breed and speaking eloquently about the challenges we are all facing, namely, overwhelmed healthcare systems and more environmentally friendly ways of getting people from one place to another.
California has the fifth largest economy in the world, 3.4 trillion USD. California also has close economic ties to the Netherlands ranking 2nd amongst all states exporting goods and services to the Dutchies. We visited a number of companies and institutions of higher education including Salesforce, Google, Facebook, University of California San Francisco(UCSF), Berkeley, Stanford University, Cedar Sinai, and BioScienceLA.
A Personal Perspective
What really stood out was the welcoming feeling that Americans offer. Seeing their excitement in sharing information about California’s healthcare scene in combination with their eagerness to learn from us, was a great way to exchange knowledge. The trip was filled with enthusiastic experts in the healthcare field in the US, while at the same time being surrounded by a group of incredibly motivating business minds and government officials working in the Dutch MedTech and Urban Mobility ecosystems.
In addition to traveling with such a wonderful group of business leaders, a big highlight for me was meeting Ernst Kuipers, the Minister of Health, Wellbeing and Sports, and of course, being accompanied by Her Majesty Maxima. During the seminar at Stanford, I was honored to speak with Minister Kuipers and share our story and ambitions with him. Like many others traveling with me, he was surprised by the fact that I was an American living and running a company in the middle of Amsterdam. The question came again and again “Why the Netherlands?” Which I replied to with: “It’s a great place to do business and live a balanced life!” This became a bit of an inside joke and by the end of the trip they all understood my love for the Netherlands, the country I choose to call home.
During the trip I was able to walk between the two worlds that I know best: the American culture, that is innately me, and the Dutch culture, an understanding which I have developed after living here for almost 17 years. I felt right at home with my Dutch colleagues and also had a unique bond with the Americans we met. I was also incredibly honored to represent the country of my choice (the NL) in the country of my birth (the USA).
The mission helped me realize that the Dutch MedTech ecosystem is vast. While we already have forged close relationships with a number of important communities like Smart Health Amsterdam (SHA), StartupAmsterdam, and ROM Utrecht, meeting so many other business leaders with similar interests gave me even better insight into additional communities we should be more involved with. Especially closer relationships with the RVO and how they support small and scaling companies.
This also is true for the US. There are so many opportunities for foreign companies to get support through accelerators, the SBI and other government agencies, local networks and private organizations and societies. So many opportunities that it can be overwhelming. They key is focus and the challenge is using those new connections to really make our foray into the US market a success.
If I had to describe the trade mission in one word – it would be Invigorating! I did not know what to expect since it was my first time attending such a trade mission, but it far exceeded my expectations… Not only was the program that the RVO, Embassies and Consulates put together insightful and inspiring, but the great people I met both from here, the Netherlands, and those that I met from the States made it even more special. I look forward to keeping in touch with my new found friends/colleagues and collaborating with many of these innovative business leaders. It was a true joy to spend a week learning and exploring the US market and I look forward to furthering our expansion there.
A View to a Bright Future
The USA has a fast-growing MedTech ecosystem supported by interested investors, supportive accelerators, expert researchers and innovative clinicians. Not to mention the RVO’s initiatives and the Dutch government’s regional innovation offices to help companies like NeuroReality expand. The future is bright!
Follow us to learn more about our expansion into the US market. We look forward to continuing the work we are currently doing and with the help of many I connected with on the trade mission further expanding our presence in the US MedTech ecosystem.