Entrepreneurs from all over the globe flew in to attend Get in The Ring, formerly known as Meet the Dragons. Get in The Ring is part of the global entrepreneurship week, a week where knowledge is shared amongst place for entrepreneurs, investors and others.
It was a splendid evening, the theatrical setting and atmosphere present at the Laurenskerk in Rotterdam was not the usual setting in which entrepreneurs are used to pitch. Nonetheless, 8 entrepreneurs made the final cut and presented their pitch in the ring to the jury and audience. We congratulate Barbara Labate and her team with risparmiosuper, an online platform comparing the prices of everyday groceries.
Be sure to view the fantastic video summary of this great event.
In het meest pittoreske stukje van Rotterdam, Delfshaven, vond in de aldaar gevestigde pelgrimbrouwerij op woensdag 29 augustus het eerste dealmakingdinner van de Rotterdamse club plaats na de zomervakantie plaats.
Bij de ontvangst op het terras benutte we optimaal de mooie locatie en het mooie weer. Hier werden de eerste drankjes, met name de op locatie gebrouwen speciaalbiertjes, genuttigd. Na een rondleiding door de stadsbrouwerij begon het onderdeel van de avond waar iedereen voor gekomen was, de Pitches.
De eerste Pitch was van Soprano clinics. Een ontharingskliniek in Utrecht die als enige in Nederland een volledig pijnloze laserbehandeling voor permanente ontharing aanbiedt. Na een goedlopende kliniek te zijn gestart in Utrecht is het hoog tijd om in andere steden ook zijn unieke diensten aan te bieden. Hiervoor zocht hij partners en financiering.
Verder presenteerde Olery zich. Dit bedrijf helpt met een doelgerichte app voor klanttevredenheid het hotelmanagement bij het invoeren van kwaliteitsverbetering. In drie minuten werd toegelicht wat hen uniek maakte. Het is reeds een goedlopend bedrijf met spraakmakende klanten. Omdat Nederland echter te klein is voor deze specifieke software, zoekt het bedrijf een investeerder om nu de wereld veroveren.
Het meest spraakmakende product van de avond was zonder twijfel Ladyshape. Dit bedrijf heeft een product op de markt gezet dat dames helpt bij het in goede vorm scheren van de schaamstreek. Hiervoor zijn allerlei vormpjes beschikbaar. Eerder werd de onderneemster al geinterviewd door Sprout, zie hier voor een link dat artikel.
Het laatste woord was aan Glashelder. Dit Rotterdamse bedrijf is een aanbieder van glasvezel dat een dienstenpakket met internet, televisie en telefonie aanbied. Glasvezel gaat Nederland veroveren en glashelder bood de investeerders een kans om hiervan te profiteren.
Weer een zeer geslaagde avond met ons investeerdersgilde in de prachtige Gildezaal van Brouwerij De Pelgrim. Dank iedereen voor weer een mooie Bourgondische avond.
Na een succesvolle eerste reeks gaat de Erasmus Collegereeks voor Ondernemers op 8 februari starten met een tweede reeks van vijf colleges. Ook deze tweede reeks vindt plaats op de Erasmus Universiteit en staat weer bol van inspirerende ondernemers en experts op vijf boeiende thema’s.
Ondernemers hebben dagelijks te maken met diverse uitdagingen. Methodes die vóór de recessie werkten, blijken nu minder effectief. Hoe gaat u zorgen voor groei in 2012? De Erasmus Universiteit zet zich in om ondernemers hierbij te ondersteunen.
Bij Erasmus Collegereeks voor Ondernemers geven vooraanstaande academici en succesvolle ondernemers hun visie op een specifiek thema dat van belang is voor de groei van uw onderneming, in een maandelijks college. Ook bieden de colleges u de gelegenheid om onder het genot van een drankje verder te praten met de sprekers en collega-ondernemers.
5 Thema’s met 15 experts!
- Maximizing exit value met o.a. dr. Jan Vis
- Innovatie met o.a. Jan Dul, Wilbert de Louw & Paul Beije
- Financiering van groei met o.a. Floris van Alkemade
- Leiderschap met o.a. Yolanda Eijgenstein
- Internationalisering met o.a. Jan Peter Balkenende
Een nieuwe investeerdersclub, 5 befaamde ‘dragons’ en 8 ondernemers uit evenzoveel landen op het podium. Meet the Dragons! Op 16 november jl vond dit topevent voor de tweede maal plaats in de Cruise Terminal in Rotterdam. Investeerders van onze club waren uitgenodigd om als VIP dit event bij te wonen, waaraan menigeen gehoor had gegeven.
Voor meer informatie en (foto)indrukken van de dag zie ook de website van Meet the Dragons.
When you think of the Investors Club, a Royal Palace is not the first thing that comes to mind. Stately elegance, strict protocol and liberal amounts of deference are not our strengths. Yet, somehow, we managed to fit right in, both above and below the stairs at Queen Emma’s Palace on the Haagse Voorhout.
After a welcome cocktail in the private garden, Marcel, the edifice’s modern chatelaine, guided us through the palaces staterooms and their modern treasure-trove – Escher, in abundance, a testament to his talent and growth.
On entering the ballroom, the pitches could begin. As our members leaned against the gold-leafed panels and set down their glasses on the fine marble of the chimneypieces, the pitching started. Perhaps not the eloquence of past dignitaries, but stimulating all the same:
- The first entrepreneur pitched a new model of legal assistance; one that lowered the cost as well as pre-financing access. Aimed at less developed countries, it was a scheme to widen access to justice.
- The second guy pitched participation in taking over and refurbishing a private hospital in Germany that focused on exploiting the latest innovations in health care such as tissue regeneration. His knowledge, network and position in the field, combined with collaboration with top researchers, created an opportunity designed to exploit the changing market demographics and practitioners willingness to sub-rent.
- The third team pitched a Photo Album concept, with a most interesting business model, combining years of supply chain management through Philips in the storage field and new developed technology that is able to create photo albums out of thousands of pictures without the help of a person selecting. The business model also involves a sponsoring deal where albums are free for users with the addition of brand marketing throughout the album
After more questions than the entrepreneurs were expecting, and the waiting staff, Champagne was served! A toast to our first exit! When time was called to descend the staircase to the old kitchens – Mutiny! Our guests were rather comfortable in the ballroom, we too, networking abounded, the entrepreneurs were courted. Only the tempting aromas of dinner entice us into the garden. Each entrepreneur had an entourage, and they deserved it!
The Rise of the SIM-only
Indeed, it was in the fine city of industry and arbour that he attended courses and met like minded individuals. What’s more he came up with an idea that broke open the closed, secretive world of telecommunications.
Ever heard of SIM only subscriptions? Well before Sander introduced them in the Netherlands, they were almost unheard of! Yup, Sander changed peoples lives. Still does.
Let’s revisit 1998, when it all happened.
The Vengaboys were going Boom Boom Boom Boom. Celine Dion was torturing us with that awful song from Titanic; and most of you were probably enjoying Babe: Pig in the City at the cinema. At 23, Sander was watching other movies.
He started to build his empire: Reclavisie. Christian Visser, one of Sander’s first (freelance) employees: “I was a student at the college of design in Rotterdam in desperate need of cash and experience when I found Reclavisie in the Yellow pages. I called Sander. Before I knew it I was designing flyers, folders and posters, making campaigns and build up a big portfolio. The office of Reclavisie was chaotic, small, crowded and warm but most of all a lot of fun! “
It was a staffing agency, a consultancy bureau and even a marketing agency. All this from his rather large attic space in Rotterdam West.
After chatting with a friend of a housemate, Albert, Sander was introduced to the telecoms world. They had an idea that was to break the market open. Give clients back the premium paid by a telecom provider to a reseller, used to cover the giving of a mobile with the subscription. It was a golden market. Untapped. Paydirt.
One webshop after another, growing his user base. A stand in the central hall at the university followed; 100 subscriptions in the first week, 500 the month after. Building in turnover and confidence, Sander wanted to push ahead. Albert was not as convinced. ¦ 1,000 bought the rights to the concept and the customers.
New phone lines installed in his student room, hiring in students to call and get even more customers and service the needs of those already signed up.
Eventually there was no space in the attic for another hire. No space for any more people to process all the paperwork. So he did what any student with a proto-company would do: sign a five year lease.
At the beginning of the year he had been a child.
His investment and lease forced his growth. Staff too.
It was fun, and as fun normally is, it was messy. And therein is our next chapter! Success was on the horizon! But something darker too.
Serial Column written for HOPE by Keith Wallace, also to be read here.
After mutual greetings are exchanged, we figure out Sander knows the former owners of the cafe and I the new. One of those co-incidences that proves it truly is a small world, especially in the West of Holland.
But our happy crowded Randstad is not where Sander was born. He hearkens from those fine cultured, yet devious environs, below the rivers. A slightly soft ‘G’ and a mantel of bon-viveur give this away.
Today he has a multi-million Euro turn-over, a successful group of companies, employees enough and more on the way. How did this all start? As with most things it started with good intentions, noble intentions – those intentions that make one break into an altrustic smile.
Sander heard of a blind Polish guy who required money to get his eyesight restored. He jumped to organise a lawn sale that could help raise monies. Paper collections followed. All these efforts charitable. Local news. Indeed, Sander thought so, he even edited a paper about his charitable actions. This, he states proudly, was where his first subscription sales took place. Five Guilders annually. A bargain!
He got a taste for ‘organising things’ and became rather good at it. The familygarden providing the setting for many of these events. His father was supportive. His mother a little less so, but I guess she was the one serving coffee and orange squash for all the visitors. Sanders mom: “At that time we always confronted Sander with the question about the progress of his study – get that certificate; it was the main reason to leave for Rotterdam…ánd the way to get success much easier…we really were afraid he wouldn’t make it without a certificate and it would be a waste not to finish his study!”
After a bit of summer work at the age of 15 he decided to concentrate more on making a bit of money for himself. Business acumen kicked in. He became a car washer.
Armed with a fire hose, some soap and buckets he installed himself in the car park of the local arbeidsinspectie in Kerkrade. The employees bought into the service, as did passing clients. But the family holiday was going to eat into his profits. Nooo! He made his first executive decision, he brought on a business partner and his first employee to continue the service while he was away. MauSan Carwash was born. It never quite made it into the books of the chamber of commerce, but Sander smiles and proudly announces, it was my first real venture.
A career as an entrepreneur might seem inevitable. Not so it seems. This was rural Limburg; where one grows up to be a civil servant or work on the land. Mother Waterval, a civil servant, said, Study hard, get qualifications and find a good job. No succour there; but a common reaction of one trying to protect their brood.
Father Waterval, former director of a school, was warmer to a business future for his son. He had developed some creative learning systems in his spare time, but had never fully commercialised them. He saw this passion in his progeny.
Was there a business hero? Someone in the neighbourhood that he could follow in the footsteps of. He ponders slightly. Thinks aloud. And says no, he was inspired by Ciske the Rat.
Maybe it was this icon of the Randstad that drew Sander from libatious Limburg to the sobriety of South Holland’s Rotterdam. He again is direct in his answer. Erasmus was the best business school at the time; I made the right decision. Rotterdam made me – it was there I learned the tricks of the trade.
Serial Column written for HOPE by Keith Wallace, also to be read here.
A serial column for HOPE on entrepreneurship, investment and fun by Keith Wallace. An introduction.
Entrepreneurs, Business People – call them what you like.
Are they born or is there a special breed of man who is predestined to be take on this role?
It’s a big question: perhaps one of the greatest of the new milennium. Europe’s universities are pumping out business administration graduates like they are going out of fashion, but do they make a difference? Can they increase our economic activity to halt the decline of Europe’s trading position against our global rivals?
Further, can informal investment play a role in bolstering these plucky individuals?
Many questions. But do we have answers? The best I can offer is a subjective journey, a series of dialogues looks to entrepreneurship, education, success, failure and investment.
They centre round two people; and one company.
One, Sander Waterval, Rotterdammer, founder of MoCo, entrepreneur, investee. 22 employees, and moving to a new phase of his business life.
Two, Keith Wallace, Haagenaar, founder of De Investeerders Club, involved in Dutch Informal investment for over ten years.
Mobile Communications (MoCo) – a Rotterdam incorporated group of companies, housing three fast growth telecommunications companies. The organisation targets vertical markets, such as education, health and logistics. It currently has 22 people and is recognised by the ministry of economic affairs as ‘ High Growth’ leader – with ambitions to grow the turnover from roughly €4M to €20 million turnover.
We’re friends. Have done business together. And have an amount of mutual respect that allows for a frank exchange. I’m even a customer of MoCo. And he starts the tale!