My grandfather built his wholesale business from scratch. I looked up to him, not just as an entrepreneur but first and foremost as a person. To me he was (and remains) a caring and tireless giant.
Every Saturday morning, he would pick me up for a tour. First stop would always be his own company. I loved spending time there and knew the premises and people by heart. Then he and I would get back in the car to visit the businesses of befriended entrepreneurs.
Spending time with my grandfather taught me a lot about work ethos, persistence and resilience. It also taught me why he was willing to do “whatever it takes.” He wanted to share his success, to mean something, to make things better; he wanted impact.
I recognize this drive for impact in our founders and in myself. My way, however, is for entrepreneurs rather than as an entrepreneur.
What I enjoy most is working with our portfolio companies, supporting them in developing and implementing operable and scalable operational structures and financial models. It is a crucial and very tangible value-add we bring as a seed-stage VC.
In addition to supporting Sven and Andy with the compliance and financial operations of the fund, my natural role in the LUMO Labs investment process is offering counterbalance. This basically means “shooting the holes.”
No early-stage venture is perfect. Finding fault in a pitch deck isn’t difficult. I believe that in early-stage investment decisions, shooting holes in an idea is not so much about the holes themselves but about getting a clearer view of what remains. That’s where we find the real opportunity.
My talent – my natural reflex – is to recognize and point out all the obstacles a venture may encounter going forward. It’s painful sometimes. However, where the majority talks about the risks, I highlight the positive to add balance.
What I appreciate most about the culture at LUMO is the exceptionally strong you-can’t-win-on-your-own attitude. This is evident in our active involvement in the ecosystem as well as in the complementarity of our team.
I consider myself lucky to be in a position where I can excel at what I do best and by doing so, allow others to excel at what they do best. This is the result of working with two founding partners who have worked together for more than 20 years. Their partnership works not because they are the same but because they are so different.
The funny thing is that when I graduated in Strategic Management from Tilburg University with a thesis on sustainable innovation, its title read “You can’t win on your own.” A decade later, this phrase means more professionally and personally.
I am the proud father of two young boys and proud husband to their wonderful mother. They are without a doubt my most important allies in life.