BASED IN: AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
Children are constantly online, searching the internet for information, but finding the relevant and readable information is very difficult for them when they use the common Search Engines. It is our mission at WizeNoze to make the internet a more suitable place for children (6-18 years), by giving them access to trusted content in various reading levels. An 8 year old receives easier to read material than a 14 year old. We also we want to make sure that the content providers write easier to read material. That is why we developed a content editor that can help an author to translate a difficult text into something that is easier to process.
How did your past experiences help you get to where you are today?
When I worked for Microsoft, I have seen that scalable software can have a massive impact in the world. I also have seen that you can solve big problems with software if you are capable of building a very strong, smart and successful team. This experience helps me every day.
Is entrepreneurship something that anyone can tackle? What is the most important thing to consider?
When I left Microsoft I never thought that I could be an entrepreneur. But after taking time off for a year, many coffees with other entrepreneurs and after truly listening to my heart, I decided that I wanted to start my own business. If being an entrepreneur is doing what you really love to- everyone can be an entrepreneur. Make sure you are not doing it for other reasons than a true passion, belief and drive!
What are some ways of motivating yourself in times of doubt? Do you ever feel like giving up? Why do you keep going?
Running your own company is not easy at all, in fact, it can be very hard and challenging. I am sure that every entrepreneur has days when things are not going as planned and when the feeling of failing feels more realistic than ever. The only thing that can change this is a positive and optimistic mindset. Whenever I have moments of doubt, I think of the incredible and great things we are doing, of all the amazing people who help us to achieve our goals and almost instantly all worries disappear. I am truly 100% convinced that there is a solution for every problem and that my company will be successful. And as long as you believe in the success of the company, the rest will believe it too. Giving up is simply not an option!
Do you think you want to start other businesses in the future or do you want to keep growing this one as long as possible? What is the dream?
My dream is very big! I want to make the internet a better place for all children worldwide. And not only for children but also for everyone for who todays Internet is too difficult. Think of low literates, immigrants, second language learners and elderly people. It will take some time to deliver on this dream, so I expect to spend quite some time growing this company.
Why do you think that female owned businesses are a VERY small percentage (that has not been growing) of businesses that get funded by venture capital? What can we do to change that?
Generally speaking, female founders tend to be more modest, a bit more insecure, a bit more risk averse and slightly less interested in analytics & numbers than male founders. In some situations, these are great assets, but when talking to VC’s these are characteristics that need to be emphasized. Next to that, female founders often choose a proposition that is not the top choice of men. That’s great, but for the male dominated VC environment hard to judge and accept. It’s not per se a natural fit. What can we do to change this? Have more female VC’s and let the current VC’s value other qualities and competences/skills.