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Start to scale. Startup and Scale-up Founder Stories.

Author: Up!Rotterdam

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Showcasing the vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem of Rotterdam - and our journey to support the startup and scale-up founders responsible. Hosted by Lars Crama, edited by Lisette Braakenburg. (Buma Stemra licence 10682974)

59 Episodes
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Berend is on a mission to revolutionize the agriculture industry. With a Master in High-Tech Engineering ánd a Master in Management of Technology, he founded Plense Technologies together with Thijs Bieling. They use a patented technology with smart sensing devices that literally listen to plants - and turn that into data for growers.In this episode, we'll talk about:Measuring the inner working of plants;The importance of tough love from critical advisors;How to make the most of a co...
Immediately after graduating from TU Delft, Sander and Auke developed an innovative product called HeatCycle - which recovers all heat from household wastewater. That led them to win the ASN World Prize in 2020. Later they added the sleek and smart AO heatpump, that won the iF Design Award 2024 out of almost 11,000 entries from 72 countries. Today, DeWarmte is well underway to install their 3000th heat pump by the end of 2024.In this episode, we'll talk about:A smarter way to get residential ...
Let me introduce Inventor, Biodesigner and Entrepreneur: Bob Hendrikx.With a background in Architectural Engineering Bob strives for a world in which we work in symbiosis with nature. In 2020 he founded Loop Biotech, on a mission to revolutionize the funeral industry - through coffins that turn people into plant food.Bob's journey received widespread attention, making headlines in Wired, CNN, The Guardian, and the BBC. VICE Media even awarded him the title of Human of the Year. His backe...
With a masters degree in Complex Systems, Josefien Groot went from national boxing champion to Scale-up CEO, advocating for a sustainable future. Before reaching the age of 21, she had already established and sold her first business specializing in circular products. In 2017, she co-founded QLayers alongside Ruben Geutjens. Her significant contributions have been widely recognized through numerous accolades, including the prestigious European Rising Innovator and EY Emerging Entrepreneur...
After he completed his master in strategic product design from Delft University, Dorus began to do graphic studio work together with his fellow student Delft Tom. From a deep love for music and the determination to stand up against the industry with products that produce massive electronic waste - they started Gerrard Street, in 2015, which was later renamed Repeat Audio. Today, Repeat offers a range of modular high fidelity headphones. Notable users include the Metropole Orchestra,...
With Master’s degrees in Strategy and Marketing, she excelled in mobility. From cutting carbon footprint at General Motors to boosting fleet growth at Greenwheels. In 2021, Bibi co-founded umob with Raymon Pouwels. They secured 8M in funding within two years. And today, umob stands as the first MaaS operator in the Netherlands to integrate all three e-moped operators (Check, GO Sharing & felyx) into one platform.In this episode, we'll talk about:The opportunities and business model i...
In the last episode of this year, Up!Rotterdam's Lars & Lisette reflect on the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Rotterdam and its development over the past 4 years. We'll talk about:How our scale-up ecosystem developed over the past 4 years;Who you found the most interesting founders this year;All you ever wanted to know about Up!Rotterdam.Links mentioned:People: Lars Crama, Lisette Braakenburg, Hans Scheffer, Friso Schmidt, Han Kleppe, Fonger Ypma, Koen Burgers, Mattijs Slee, Nalden, Ellen S...
During his PhD research, Wang explored robots' societal impact on the elderly, especially with dementia. In 2015, he left that and founded Tinybots, to make a tangible difference for those with cognitive challenges. Today, their care robot Tessa is a proven solution for patient self-reliance, used by care providers all over the Netherlands on a daily basis. In this episode, we'll talk about:How care robot Tessa helps clients lead more independent lives;The challenge with technology ...
With a Master in Hydraulic Engineering from Delft Technical University and an Executive MBA from INSEAD, he spent 15 years with Shell, where his latest roles included Investment Director for Shell ventures as well as Commercial Head for Shell Hydrogen.In 2021, he was asked by Koolen Industries as the first employee of Battolyser Systems, a cleantech company with patented technology. Fast forward three years, and Mattijs is the CEO of a company of almost 100 employees.We'll cover the following...
Joris Biskop is the former CTO of Luxexcel, 3d printing lens specialist, which was recently acquired by Meta for €400 million. Based on his insights there, he founded Addoptics, of which he is now the CEO. Addoptics is a smart manufacturer of optics, serving an impressive list of customers worldwide from their office in Rotterdam.We'll cover the following topics:The opportunities in a 1 trillion Augmented Reality market;Pivoting from niche prototype production to scalability;The pro’s and con...
With a background in biology and a passion for environmental conservation, George embarked on a unique journey that led him from asset management to the world of oyster reef restoration. After completing this MBA from Rotterdam School of Management, he founded Oyster Heaven - on a mission to make marine regeneration financially sustainable.We'll cover the following topics:Cleaning the ocean with oyster reefs;How To Make Ecosystem Regeneration ProfitableWhat George is up to in his freetim...
In this episode I speak with Auke Bleij, Founder of Respyre - the fascinating startup that helps cities turn green through a special concrete that holds moss. Respyre is a spin-off from Delft Technical University, on a mission to create greener cities through the application of mosses. You hold a Master in Construction Management from that same University. We'll cover the following topics:Auke’s entrepreneurial journeynature inclusive development and how to make the most of a competition...
Marsha started Breeze - the worlds first offline dating app, together with 6 co-founders from the Technical University in Delft. That was 2019 and today, they are the fastest growing dating app in the Netherlands, with prominent investors supporting them. In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:Diversity in tech;Starting a company with 7 co-founders;The Philips Innovation AwardLinks mentioned:People: Marsha Goei, Stefan van den Berg, Thijs Verheul, Rogier FischerCompanies: Bre...
Souren's career spans across esteemed institutions such as Merrill Lynch and Rabobank, where he excelled in investment banking and M&A.Today, Souren leads the charge at BAQME, the first company globally to offer a free floating shared cargo bike service. At a young age, he moved to the Netherlands from Armenia. He currently lives in Amsterdam, but soon will return to Rotterdam. We'll cover the following topics:The future of Urban Mobility;Bootstrapping versus venture capital;Making i...
Pim and his co-founder Lorenzo van Galen, are challenging the fast fashion industry. With their company Wear, they are creating the largest platform for pre-loved sneakers. Their collaborations with established players like Bristol and Bijenkorf have gained recognition, including the social impact newcomer of the year and the upcoming talent marketing award from our Mayor, Aboutaleb. Prior to Wear, Pim made waves as a freelancer, leading communication efforts for organizations like VoorG...
In 2014, along with Maarten Logtenberg, Lucas set out on this journey from a garage, fueled by their dream of designing and building cutting-edge machines. Fast forward nine years, CEAD has become a global leader in large-scale 3D printing, operating from a 3,000-square-meter facility in Delft.=Lucas holds a Master's degree in Integrated Product Design from Delft, and when he's not leading CEAD, you can often find him pursuing his passion for surfing or kiting.In this episode, we'll cover the...
In 2017 she co-founded Peelpioneers, the largest producer of raw materials from citrus peels in Europe - together with Sytze van Stempvoort and Bas van Wieringen, where she now sits at the supervisory board. Next to that, she is co-founder and director at Tekkoo, an organization that helps startups and established organizations with sustainable innovation. She is also the initiator of Circular Factory, a start-to-scale-up program for circular startups in collaboration with BlueCity...
As a chartered accountant Pavle Beslic started his career at Deloitte - after which he decided to go independent and stumbled into the world of recruitment. That inspired him to found Staffyou, now one of the fastest growing on-demand staffing platforms in Europe. He's been recognized as one of the Netherlands' top young entrepreneurs by Quote and has earned accolades from FD Gazellen and Deloitte Fast 50. And when he's not in the business world, you might find him on a boat or in the bo...
Fonger is an experienced leader in the energy sector. He obtained his PhD in mathematics and physics at Oxford University, after which he worked as a strategy consultant and McKinsey and as head of a Eneco Smart Energy Lab. Since then, he was the CEO of Brainbay, and a cofounder of Blockheating - the scale-up that recycles data center energy.In this episode, we'll cover the following topics:His rather bold mission to slow down global warmingThe difference between Corporate venturing and a run...
Niels Verwij is a successful e-commerce entrepreneur. He started dekbed-discounter, a disruptive online duvet webshop, in 2014 from scratch. It disrupted traditional retail and soon became one of the most successful e-commerce companies in the Netherlands. Today, as the CEO of Jamani, he oversees multiple businesses, including Dekbed-Discounter, Boxspring Lease, KoopJeDeal.nl, and WoonQ. At the age of 34, Niels has built an impressive portfolio, solidifying his position in the industry a...
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