Former Business Creation & Investment Manager at EIT Food and Investment Analyst at Innovation Industries. Ex. Program Director at StartLife. Founded BoxBites, a healthy snacking subscription company. Holds an MSc in Management, Economics, and Consumer Studies and a BSc in Public Health from Wageningen University, the Netherlands.
What is a common lesson among your previous experiences as a founder and early-stage investor?
Good ideas don’t drive success; people do. It is not a surprising insight, but I keep getting reminded of its importance. At Wageningen University, I worked with some of the most brilliant researchers and most ingenious technologies. Most remained in the lab or at pilot scale, while only a few managed to break through and deliver impact at scale. Universal among those that succeeded has been the presence of one or more founders with passion, a drive for execution, and the people skills needed to win over customers and investors. During the investment process, I try to make sure the team has what it takes and whether I would enjoy spending time with them afterward.
Why did you decide early on to focus your work on the food industry?
Originally, I graduated as a public health scientist. I was trained to teach people not to smoke, to exercise, and to eat healthily. My main takeaway from that is how incredibly difficult it is to convince people to change their behaviors. Moreover, during a semester at the University of Illinois, I learned of the profound impact of the food industry on our health and well-being – through the industry’s scale, resources, and brands loyalty. At that point, I decided I would focus my efforts on supporting technologies and innovations that give people what they already want – delicious, convenient, and affordable foods – while contributing to their health and well-being.
Do you cook healthy food and exercise?
Exercise, yes. However, only close friends and family know that I really don’t like to cook and hardly ever do it. Instead, I consider myself an early adopter of the many products and business model innovations available. As such, I am an avid user of delivery services, healthy meal shakes, and ready-to-eat solutions. Fortunately, Utrecht – the city where I live – is home to plenty such convenient options.