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Up!Rotterdam Podcast

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This is the Up!Rotterdam podcast. Showcasing the vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem of Rotterdam - and our journey to support the founders responsible. Hosted by Lars Crama.(Buma Stemra licence 10682974)
33 Episodes
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With a background in engineering and business, Peter Paul started his career at the acclaimed shipbuilder Damen Shipyards. In 2017, together with Daan Geldermans he founded Skoon on a mission to make clean energy accessible.Damen Shipyards became his first investor soon the Netherlands most prominent cleantech investor Kees Koolen followed. Today, Skoon is scaling up at an impressive rate, growing a whopping 800% in 2022.In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:How do you turn crisis into an opportunity?What is it like to raise capital in cleantech?…  are dutch founders dreaming big enough?Links mentioned:People: Peter Paul van Voorst tot Voorst, Daan Geldermans,  Kees Koolen, Sjoerd de Jager, Arash Aazami, André KuipersCompanies: Skoon, Damen Shipyards, Workspot, Maritime Sisters, PortXchange, ChatGPTOther: Peter Pauls photography album, Coldplay - Higher Power
Born and raised in Rotterdam, Jamal has been involved in a number of social initiatives: from RefugeeHero, Edubility foundation. Starters4Communities. In 2020 he founded Social Debt, on a mission to ensure that there is no more profit on debt collection. His work has not gone unnoticed: Jamal featured in various Dutch media, which even led to questions in the dutch parliament. Social Debt is one of the first two companies to receive funding by the NN Group Social Innovation fund.In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:Helping young people to get out of problematic debt;Funding an scaling a cooperative social enterprise;The risky path of entrepreneurship.Links mentioned:People: Jamal Oulel, Sarah Reitema, Hulya Kat, Patricio de Boom, Willem Los, Michael van Loenen, Jos Versteeg Companies: SocialDebt, RefugeeHero, Starters4Communities, CIC, CityLab010, Quan, Woonstad Rotterdam, Heilige Boontjes, LaatBloeien, YouBeDo Media: NPO Interview (In Dutch), MT/Sprout Other: NN Social Innovation Fund, Steward Ownership, Fugazi, Upstream Festival, Kempi - Stratiblues
Simon co founded NOWI Energy together with Omar Link, a fellow Strategic Product Design Master student at TU Delft.In 2016, they set out to design a chip that harvests energy - to replace batteries. They grew the company to forty employees, with sales teams in San Francisco and Shanghai. They raised a series A in november 2019 and in November 2022, the company was acquired by Nexperia. In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:Non technical founders solving a technical problemFinding the right advisors along your journey;And ofcourse… the acquisition by NexperiaLinks Mentioned:People: Simon van der Jagt, Omar Link, Jan Willem Klerkx, Ad Scheepbouwer, Ronald Prins, Menno van der Marel, Christiaan van Nispen, Merijn Zondag, Elisa van der Jagt - Zondervan, Ellen Elschot?Companies: Nowi Energy, Nexperia, YES!Delft,  Fox IT, PetBNB, Tiler Charge, NEXT Delft , ASMLOther: CES, blog: should startups invest in a large scale conference like CES, Vroegefasefinanciering RVO, Upstream Festival, Macklemore - Downtown
Clinton is the founder and CEO of Maxwell & Spark, manufacturer of renewable energy systems.Originally from South Africa, he has led highly innovative engineering teams, in the fields of materials engineering and renewable energy. From academics, solar car racing and the large hadron collider, to shipping lines and litigation in Africa and Europe. He is an Honourary academic at University of KwaZulu-Natal. His academic career started in Philosophy but led him to a PhD in Materials Engineering.In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:Accelerating the energy transition;Academia versus industry;Moving to the Netherlands…  from South Africa.Links mentionedPeople: Clinton Bemont, Richard Hardiman, David Evans, Cailin Greiner, Gerko ViséeCompanies: Maxwell & Spark, Spar, Rotterdam Partners, Fairtree & Elefant, RanMarine, YES!Delft, The Hague International Center Media: Solar teamOther: Mandoza - Nkalakatha
Michiel is a b2b e-commerce veteran. He joined ISM e-company - which was founded by Jan Kees de Jager and Karel van der Woude - during his Master at Erasmus University more than 20 years ago. Later, he became Managing Partner. Since 2011, he has been dedicated to building Sana Commerce. As their CEO, he helps companies worldwide achieve e-commerce success, with a team of more than 400 people all over the world.In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:Switching from a project business to a product business;Creating one culture with team members across multiple timezones;How the lessons from the 2008 crisis still apply today.Links mentioned:People: Michiel Schipperus, Jan Kees de Jager, Karel van der Woude, David Heinemeier Hansson Companies: Sana Commerce, ISM eCompany, Valantic, Pimm SolutionsMedia: Article: “The bubble has popped for unprofitable software companies” Other: Van Nelle Factory, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics ERP, Rotterdam companies founded since 2000 in the finder, Vacancies at Sana Commerce, Hackyourcareer.com, Black Eyed Peas - Pump It
Ellen joined Yuki right after they launched in Belgium, where she grew the business with more than 100% year on year. In 2020, Yuki was acquired by the Nordic Visma Group. And a year later, Ellen took over from CEO and Yuki founder, Lucas Brentjes. Today she is responsible for The Yuki Company, which includes Yuki in three countries as well as two other ventures.Ellen graduated with honors in Applied Economics at University of Antwerp, and now spends her time between Antwerp and Rotterdam.  In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:Taking over from a founder CEO;What happens after your company gets acquired;How to keep employees engaged as the company growsLinks mentioned:People: Ellen Sano, Ruud Hendriks, Arco van Nieuwland, Lucas Brentjens, Sebastian Toet, Marc Coppens, Rogier van den Heuvel, Harmen van Norel, Esther O’CallaghanCompanies: Yuki, Visma Group, DizzyData, Yaarwerk, Nexxworks, HundoOther: Queen - Don’t stop me now, Gauss Curve, Restaurant Stable, Restaurant InVINcible,    
Dervis studied Aerospace Engineering at Delft Technical University. Already in 2002 he invented an endoscopic simulator. In 2010 he became managing director of Epona medical until in 2015, he founded Medical-X, global market leader in simulation products for medical teaching and training. In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:Scaling a global med-tech business;Managing cashflow;Similarities between boxing and entrepreneurship.Links Mentioned:People: Dervis Demirtas, Samy Andary, Pavle Beslic, Davi Reinaldo, Companies: Medical-X, TU Delft, Gladiatoren aan de Maas, StaffYou, YES!Delft, Platform ZeroMedia: Daddy Yankee - Pon T LocaOther: Definition laparoscopy,  Upstream Festival, Dolls AdamX & NenaSim
Sander graduated Cum Laude in Biomedical Engineering at Delft University of Technology. Where he also did his PhD and a postdoc until he co-founded his first company Virtualock in 2009 together with Jasper Schuurmans. In 2014 this lead to their second venture Mapiq, market leader in software for optimizing office space and facilities.  Under his leadership, the company has grown tremendously over the past few years, now operating in more than 20 countries, with over 115 people on staff and with the founders of TomTom as his most recent investors.Somehow, Sander combines this with riding a motorcycle and making time for conversations like this one today.In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:Leaving academia for a risky path of entrepreneurship;Bootstrapping and getting the right investors on board;Gearing up for growth in uncertain economic conditions; Links mentioned:People: Sander Schutte, Jasper Schuurmans, Ferdinand Grapperhaus Companies: Mapiq, Virtualock, TomTom, InnovationQuarter, Rinkelberg Capital, Techleap Rise, Delft Technology Partners, Media: Mapiq - How to win the war for talent, Geoffrey Moore - Crossing the chasm, Robert M. Pirsig - Zen & The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance, Lars’ one-sentence summaryOther: The Prodigy - Firestarter, KTM 690 Adventure, Jobless Growth 
Micky is on a mission to turn today's brightest students into tomorrow's workforce. Her first successful venture was a Harry Potter platform she built and monetized at age 7. She worked at Salesforce and IBM prior to founding Minite together with her sister Linky, in 2020.Their story has been featured across all major media, from Quote to RTLZ and has been on stage many, including MT/Sprout best performing SaaS companies, EU startup summit most promising Early stage Startup, and Most inspiring women in tech & innovation.Next to Minite, Micky finds the time to provide guest lectures at Rotterdam School of Management.In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:Finding the ideal student job;Saying no to investors;And… about TikTok Links mentioned:People: Micky Chen, Linky Chen, Timo Groos, Zaakir Patel, Dave de Held, Marta Stachowiak-de Wit,    Companies: Minite, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam , TikTok, SalesForce, ACE, Erasmus Enterprise, VU, Toptal, Media: Quote articleOther: Eureka Week, Careers at Minite, BTS - Butter
Early 2020 Niels wrote an angry post on linkedin: About large platform companies who were asking for government support while generating billions in dividends. That message went viral - and led to a 2M crowdfunding round to create a more social alternative to hotel booking platforms. In May 2020, moonback was founded in Rotterdam.Today, Niels is the co-founder and CEO of Moonback. The HONEST booking site, which won the Dutch Interactive Disrupter Award and NIels was voted most inspiring entrepreneur of the Netherlands. In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:A more social platform economyThe steward ownership modelThe dos and donts in crowdfundingLinks mentioned:People:  Niels Meijssen, Gijsbert Koren, Bas van Abel, Dave Geensen, Mart Evers, Jelske Hondema Companies:Moonback, Booking.com, Triodos, Odin, Carslberg, Purpose, We Are Stewards, de Clique, Fello, Dela, ClearmusicMedia: Moonback’s Crowdfunding Campaign, The LinkedIn Post that started it all, Tegenlicht meetup - De ontgroeiers, Upstream Talks 2021 - Digital TransitionOther: The initial post on LinkedIn, Niels Blog (in dutch), Book a hotel in Rotterdam via Moonback, Explanation on steward ownership, Statuten > “Articles of Association”, Moonback Legal Documentation, Meditation app Headspace, Meditation app Calm, Biergarten Rotterdam, Goldband - Ik Haat Je
Ferdinand is the CEO of PHYSEE Technologies, which he founded together with Willem Kesteloo in 2014 in a physics lab at Technical University Delft. PHYSEE is on a mission to make the build environment energy neutral in an aesthetic way. With success: in 2019 PHYSEE was recognized as the most innovative SME of The Netherlands, and in december 2021, the European Innovation Council recognized PHYSEEas one of the 50 best European Scaleups in Deeptech.He made it to Forbes 30 under 30, but more importantly, he has built a strong patent portfolio, international  projects and strategic partnerships.In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:The impact you can achieve with deeptech;Selling sustainability to a traditional industry;The spiritual journey of entrepreneurshipLinks mentioned:People:  Ferdinand Grapperhaus, Willem Kesteloo, Daan van der Vorm , Boudewijn Poelmann, Sir Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Job Dura, Michael Jackson, Sam Anders jr, Sander Schutte, Lisette van der KnaapCompanies: Physee, TU Delft, Par+, Cottonwood, MapiqMedia: EIC Scaling up Other: Burning Man, Upstream Festival, Freebird - LYNRD SKYNRDBooks: How to change your mind - Michael Pollan 
Esther is the founder of hundo careers - dedicated to upskilling the next generation in web3 and metaverse. Esther is a Global Tech Advocate, a digital nomad and a triathlete.Her 20+ years of experience span government, CSR, ESG, arts, culture and music. It’s impossible to summarize her achievements. Just to name a few: she is an award winning DJ/producer, Freeman of the City of London, International Woman in staffing Top 50 and part of the first all-female Decentralized Finance delegation to the European Parliament.In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:Ending youth unemployment through web3Failing forward as an entrepreneurAll you need to know about hiring Gen ZLinks mentionedPeople:  Esther O’Callaghan, Maurice Bakker, Ohad Gilad , Ekim Sincer, Nadiyah Rajabally, André DamianCompanies: Hundo.Careers, Global Tech Advocates, TNLAOther: CareerCon, Upstream Festival, Web3, Metaverse, OBE, Ready PlayerSongs: Orbital - Belfast (Anna techno remix) 
In 2006, together with Tycho van Paassen and Remy Verhoeven Wouter built VONQ - which turned out the household name for recruitment marketing - used every day by over 1000 leading companies - including over 25 Global Fortune 500s. In 2019 Capital D acquired a majority stake of the company, and in 2021 wouter handed over the realm to the new CEO, Arno Schafer. Now he divides his time between family, running marathons, investing in startups and… starting new ventures.In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:Building, scaling and exiting VONQFinding out what kind of CEO you want to beInvesting in startups ánd in limoncello.Links mentioned:People:  Wouter Goedhart, Arno Schafer, Tycho van Paassen, Remy Verhoeven, Michiel Muller, Ralph Brasker, Ilonka Jankovic, Quintin Schevernels, Lotte Welten, Paul Citroen Companies: VONQ, Capital D, Oneteam, Arches Capital, Selection Lab, Qandidate, Randstad Innovation Fund, Microlab, Jordy’s Bakery, Selection Lab, SpringcastMedia: Loes Luca promo, Article: German Sex Tech innovator Einhorn raises 0,0 led by nobody.Other: HackYourCareerBooks: The hard thing about hard thingsSong: Ugly Kid Joe - Cats in the Cradle
Tim Houter is the co-founder of Hardt Hyperloop. Founded in 2016, the team at Hardt is working tirelessly to disrupt the transport industry with an innovative and sustainable mode of transport. With a recent 15 Million euro grant from the European Union, they are building a new test facility in the European Hyperloop Center in Groningen. Tim has a background in mechanical engineering at TU Delft, where he has been on a winning streak when it comes to fast modes of transport. He spent 2 years engineering prize winning lightweight electric cars with the Universities Racing team. And in 2017, Tim and his co-founders won first prize in the international SpaceX Hyperloop competition, organized by Elon Musk. In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:The future of transport;Finding funding;Creating European Standards for Hyperloop;Links mentioned:People:  Tim Houter, Elon Musk, Kees Koolen, Jacob Ruiter, Bas van Kooperen,  Companies: Hardt Hyperloop, European Hyperloop Center, Groningen, SpaceX, BAM, National Railways, Royal IHC, Tata Steel, Innovation Quarter, Delft Enterprises, UNIIQ, EIT InnoEnergy, Buccaneer DelftMedia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fW1fg6OPkd8&t=1s, The Pneumatic Tube, Hack Your Career, Demonstration Hardt HyperloopOther: Crystal Palace Pneumatic Railway, Beach Pneumatic Transit, Magnetic Levitation Train
Born in SriLanka, raised in Australia and moved to the Netherlands. Arosha spent her career in Management Consulting with PwC and with companies like DSM and TNT. After a few years of consulting organizations on employee well-being, she started Quan Wellbeing together with Lucy  Howie. Arosha is the co-founder and CEO of the first ever female-led Dutch to be accepted into Y Combinator, raising a million euros in pre-seed capital.In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:The importance of employee well being for business success;What it’s like inside y-combinator, the world's leading startup acceleratorTraveling… with children.Links mentioned:People:  Arosha Brouwer, Lucy Howie, Julian Jagtenberg, Menno Gravemaker, Yoeri DassenCompanies: Quan Wellbeing, Y Combinator, PWC, TNT, DSM, Somnox, Airbnb, Doordash, Dropbox, Coinbase, 4Impact,  VENGEAN Media: Quan from Jerry McGuire , Harvard Business Review - The Great Resignation Other: Scale NL Accelerator into US, The Power MBA: tam-sam-som, song: Coldplay - Sky full of Stars
Pieter is a well known Dutch serial entrepreneur and investor. After founding a publishing business and two IT companies, in 2005 he started NLE together with his business partner Harald Swinkels. NLE opened up the Dutch market for utilities and soon became the largest independent energy supplier in the Netherlands. In 2018, they were acquired by NUTS group, for an undisclosed amount, of around 200 million euros.In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:Disrupting markets;The thin line between bankruptcy and a dream exit;Investing in fast growing scale-ups;Links mentioned:People:  Pieter Schoen, Harald Swinkels, Constantijn van Oranje, Vincent Karremans, Podcast Episodes with Charlotte Melkert and Julian Jagtenberg. Companies: Dragons’ Den, Shoe Investments, NLE, Career Fever, Heineken, Unilever, Shell, VOCCP, Charlie Temple, Equalture, Somnox, InnovationQuarter, Tech Netherlands Advocates, Mega NetherlandsMedia: Gloria Gaynor - I Will Survive Other: Upstream Festival
She co-founded death tech company - yes you heard that right - Closure with Chantal van der Velde in 2017. They won the Philips Innovation Award and made it to top 3 in Sprout’s Dutch startup of the year.Graciella has a Master in Econometrics from Erasmus University Rotterdam, and she was awarded Rotterdam Business Woman of the year. In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:Death and tech;Funding your growth;The things Graciëlla does when she’s not working on Closure.   Links mentioned:People: Graciella van Vliet, Chantal van der Velde, Bart Verhaegh, Daniel Salimian, Janneke Niessen, Neelie Kroes, Elon Musk, Kees Jan Rietveld, Lex Geerdes, Hans Scheffer, Julian JagtenbergCompanies: Closure, EUR, DUO, Aon, Rabobank, Somnox, PHIAMedia: Techleap report "Thinking Bigger: how ambitious is the Dutch entrepreneur?", Cover Blof - Hier with vocals by Closure's CTO Bart Verhaegh Other: Delfshaven, Rotterdamse Zakenvrouw van het Jaar, Globaliser Program, Closure Vacancies
Fast company described him as  “A hybrid of the serial entrepreneur Sean Parker and Jason Kottke, the web designer and blogger". But we like his own twitter description better: “Father of two; a husband to one, founder and angel investor of some.” Nalden gained his online reputation through his blog, which he started at the age of 16. In 2009, he founded file-sharing service WeTransfer, which he exited in 2019. He is now building a new startup - Adelee - to foster connection for families & friends.In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:founding ánd leaving WeTransfer;surrounding yourself with the right people;and… keeping a beginner's mindset;Links mentioned:People:  Nalden, Mark Zuckerberg, Kevin Kalle, Sanne Koemeester, Edwin Hans, Erik AnspachCompanies: WeTransfer, Facebook, Adelee   Media: Nalden at The Wereld Draait Door, Nalden's personal websiteOther: download Adelee in the AppStore, Blog on why Lars Crama deleted WhatsappSong: James Blake - Say What You Will
In 2016, Hamed Sadeghian co-founded Nearfield Instruments together with Roland van Vliet as a spin out from TNO. Nearfield has since then become a leader in semiconductor metrology solutions, with offices in Eindhoven and Rotterdam, employing over a 100 people.Hamed received his PhD cum laude in 2010 from Delft University of Technology in nano-mechatronics systems design. He holds more than 60 patents, has authored over 100 papers and co-authored a number of books. Hamed also holds an MBA from Vlerick Business School in Leuven. In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:Scaling up in a highly capital intensive industry;Building a strong leadership team;Preparing the road to IPO;Links mentioned:People: Hamed Sadeghian, Roland van Vliet, Roelof Veldhuizen, Gillian Soeteman Companies: Nearfield Instruments, TNO, TU Delft,  Vlerick Business School, TSMC, Invest-NL Publications: Publications Hamed SadeghianMedia: ASML's Architects Other: Moore's Law 
Julian is the founder and CEO of Somnox, which he started with fellow students at the Technical University of Delft in 2015. Two years ago they introduced the world’s first sleep robot to the market. Somnox patented technology received various awards: Philips Innovation Award, Rabobank Sustainable Innovation Award and the #1 most innovative business of the Netherlands. But most importantly, the Somnox sleeprobot is used by tens of thousands people around the world to improve their sleep.Julian is also a brilliant speaker and presenter. In March this year, 1,5 million viewers saw Julians pitch at the Dragons Den on Dutch National Television.In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:Sleep as a superpower;Shifting from distributors to direct to consumer;Building a strong team to support the growth;Links mentioned:People: Julian Jagtenberg, Reid HoffmanBooks: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, A guide to the good life by Wiliam B IrvineCompanies: Somnox, TU Delft, PHIA, Rabobank, Coolblue, VanMoof, Auping, Health Investment PartnersMedia: Dragons Den Somnox, CES 2018 We went to bed with Somnox the sleep robot, Somnox Youtube channel, hackyourcareer.com (Somnox is hiring!), Founder Book ClubOther: Trustpilot reviews, bootstrapping, Baba o’ Riley - The Who
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