Tell me a little bit about yourself?
I grew up in the Netherlands as the only son of a single mother, and was quite active in debating when younger. I studied at the University of Oxford for two years before dropping out of my degree, after which I co-founded what now is the international nonprofit AMPION and the mobile learning startup Sterio.me.
In all your moves what have noticed about the education system?
I gained a lot from being in Oxford. The first year helped me improve my mathematics, logic and general thinking/learning skills as well as improving my mastery of the English language and making me generally more articulate. However, at the University I gained as much if not more from extracurriculars; during my first year I rowed 10-16 hours a week, I was part of many societies including the Oxford Microfinance Initiative and the Bacchus Wine Tasting Society and served as the VP Secretary of the Junior Common Room. During the summer holiday of my first year I volunteered in China teaching English for a month and backpacked for another 5 weeks through the country. The second year I delved into the entrepreneurship society, eventually becoming President.
How did that make you feel and what did you decide to do about it?
To date I highly value the education Oxford gave me, both intra and extra curricular. I did decide to drop out of my degree at the time, after two years, to pursue several entrepreneurial projects which have these last two years culminated in StartupBus Africa, AMPION and Sterio.me. I don’t regret this. But I wouldn’t recommend dropping out to just anyone, only do it if it makes sense in your specific education, as ultimately in today’s society the degree does hold a lot of value, and the ecosystem in Oxford is pretty special too.
What attracted you to entrepreneurship and how many projects have you been involved in?
I am quite bad with authority, have quite strong and frequent ideas of how to improve systems or innovate to solve problems I see around me, and an inclination to do something about these things. As everyone, I like working on things I’m passionate about, and don’t mind working 16 hour days. The challenges I choose to work on are intellectually challenging, and the people I work with are sublime – which is not the case in many other professions where you frankly don’t have much of a choice. I’ve been involved in several projects, most recently what is now AMPION, and Sterio.me.
Now at UYD, we are always looking to find out different ways people use their difference to make a difference. How do you use your difference to make a difference?
Both AMPION and Sterio.me are impact-focused, both through the intrinsic impact of that which we are trying to accomplish and indirect effects.
Tell us something about Chile that not many people know.
This depends on your readers… I imagine a lot of people wouldn’t be able to point Santiago on a map if asked 😉 I’d say one interesting fact is the excellent beer culture in the country, in addition to its wineries. The beer culture initially started in Patagonia / the south where many Germans migrated after or around the Second World War.
Where can we find out more about you and your latest project?