Frederik Van Lierde

Creator / Founder of Gift Voucher Kiosk + WandrCard



To work with a startup or not to work with a startup

To work with a starup or not to work with a startup

If you are a startup, or if you run a business, this article could be for your interest.
Myself, I am lucky to have a local business and an online business and the last weeks I noticed something in the behaviour of businesses.

As a local business, I get regular startups to bring me their latest coolest idea, and often I am very sceptic.  Via my online business, we get the same reactions from local businesses we visit.

Now, our online business in around 1 year old and we start signing up partners (local businesses) who we targeted many months ago.   So I wanted to find out why.

The only reply that those partners was that we keep persevere in our promotion. We kept going.

Going back to my local business, why did I say in most of the cases No ?  Because they simply didn’t show me they were sustainable and I don’t want to loose time (and certainly not money) trying new tools.
Like, the sales person who came to visit me, doesn’t work for the company any more after 10 months etc.

Tips for startups

Don’t present yourself as a startup, proof you are already well tested and you are sustainable.
When you put sales people on the street, and after 1 year the email address is not working , that is for me, and for many businesses, a red flag NOT to work with you.
At least keep all email addresses and phone numbers open.

Your future B2B clients have their own bills to pay, to grown their own business, not to be enthusiastic about your idea.

Tips for Businesses to work with startups

Check time to see if they are sustainable, you can easily wait and follow up monthly how their business is growing.
Keep contact with then and check if they keep pushing.
When they do, and you feel they are sustainable, go for it, often startups have great ideas.

How do you stand to work with startups?
I know startups have difficulties to have traction , but how do you see startups with another idea come to you as local business. How do you react?

Startups, how do you tackle local businesses?
Did you notice the same patron in your startup`?

To Foursquare or not to Foursquare, that’s the question – Cool New Features

Foursquare  - cool new features?
Foursquare – cool new features?

When you reading this post, I’m sure you used Foursquare before and maybe you stopped using it like me.  Well not 100%, but I rarely use it anymore.

Then Foursquare is still active and alive and I am still waiting for some cool features.


Facebook, Foursquare,.. it is all about social discovery, so I want to be able to give my friends my favourite list of places I visited in Barcelona … last year.

I live in Geneva, Switzerland. Barcelona is a top destination for many Europeans (and non-Europeans).  A city you must have visit, even more then once.  But we don’t visit it every month

What would be great is to have an easy feature to groups my Check-Ins in Barcelona and share it with a friend(s) who will visit Barcelona in 3 weeks.

Other friends can do the same and the friend(s) gets a Top Places to Visit in Barcelona.

You can mention that Foursquare is doing this in some way already, as if those friend(s) are in Barcelona, they will get a list based on their friends.   But this keeps the real social part out.  I want to connect with my friend(s), I want to talk with my friend(s) .  I want to give them “personally” my personal favourites.

Extra: Why not a feature where I can share with my Friends I will visit Barcelona soon and ask for places to visit (like Quora) and then my friends sends me their recommendations as described above.

This is social discovery.


Myself, I am running also a local business, and in Geneva I know a lot of local business owners.  We receive so many offers to get more customers, to promote our business that we don’t have the time (and knowledge) which one to concentrate on and to make sure we are not spending all of our time behind the computer instead of giving service to our customers.

So when it comes to Foursquare, as an owner I don’t see the value of check-ins and checking  who  did what where. (perception)


Foursquare is in the right position to offer Online Reservations directly from the app. It doesn’t have to be another app, just an email to the local business.

Email is still used a lot in local business and it is something local business owner know how to use.


Foursquare should become the #1 of reviews.  More an aggregator of reviews.

I don’t want to to scroll thru many reviews, reading.  I am on a night out with friends and I want to have quick access, instant information

Imaging you pass by a shop you check (via NFC, the app,…) and you see instantly an aggregate view saying the overall score, how many % loves the place, best review and worst reviews.  An overall overview so I can, as user , decide in a second to enter /visit the place or not.
A simple 1 view profile, like a Twitter Card, like an About Page

Why? I can’t afford inviting my friends to a non cool venue, it is about my reputation😉

I am writing this blog post as I did love Foursquare and happy to see they still exists.  I want to become even better so I wrote down what I am missing.

What would you like to see Foursquare offers?  Share it here in the comment

You feel like a rock star when creating a start-up? You should remember the following next time you code while listening to music

A very good friend of my wrote on herFacebook wall recently

When I was young,  Guys who wanted to impress me told me they are playing in a rock group…..   Today they tell me they created a startup…


Rockstar - Startup

And it is true, I even see every day more and more connections between the music industry and the start-up world.

  • Every can launch a rock group as well every one can start a startup.
  • Only a few groups became very successfully, as well as startups
  • Only the groups that worked hard and played a lot had a change,as well as start-ups
  • Rock groups have to handle record labels who decide and guide their selected groups, with startups we have Angel Investors, Equity funds,….   The same complex hierarchy.

The good news is that we can learn as a startup from  the music world, we are having a perfect example of what can go wrong and what can go well.    As startup people may see us as Rockstars, but as real rockstars you need torun  your business if you want to stay a Rockstar.

Many rock groups went down to drugs and other non related site activities, also record labels with there complex structure of copyrights, ownerships etc.  controls the music group.   Do you really think Justin Bieber or Myley Cyrus really can make the music they want or they can really say no to a show?  Do you believe that a group like One Direction made it without a whole team behind them, and hard work?  Of course not. And this is the same for startups.  Startups with investors (angels or others) or in the same position.

I met in my life many startups, dreaming and wasting too much time on the side activities, like presenting on stage when the software/app is not online yet, talking about big numbers but didn’t had done any market research, and after 1 year and when I asked there business plan, no answer.

As like every small rock group, they started in a garage and grown by playing more , promote and play and promote.  Startups often starts in the kitchen or bedroom and they work hard,try, grown, test, try, grown, test…..

Next time you listen to music when working on your start-up, remember the following:

  1. Creating Software / Product / Service = Writing songs
  2. Going Live = Selling your Songs via iTunes or Play Store, or having Paid Clients
  3. Marketing and Communication andpromotion = Concerts
  4. Your Team = Booking Managers, Tour Manager,..
  5. Success = When you are on stage and people are shouting your name

While launching my startup, Gift Voucher Kiosk (, I kept this in mind and I had fun, but I concentrated on the service like a rock star concentrate on his music.

Let me know how your start-up fits the rock star world.

Author: Frederik Van Lierde – Google+

Rovio – A Startup from Finland

As a big fan of Silicon Valley and as many people I was wondering what kind of other cool startups are out there, outside the Valley Area.  here is the first one and I don’t have to introduce it anymore.  Who ddidn’t play Angry Birds?

Rovio Entertainment LTD
Country. Finland

Who is Rovio?

Rovio is an entertainment media company, and the creator of the globally successful Angry Birds franchise. Rovio was founded in 2003 as a mobile game development studio, and the company has developed several award-winning titles for various mobile platforms.

In 2009, Rovio released Angry Birds, a casual puzzle game for touchscreen smartphones that became a worldwide phenomenon from 2010 onwards. The Angry Birds games have enjoyed continuing worldwide chart success, and the franchise has since expanded to a variety of new business areas. Rovio is rapidly expanding its activities in broadcast media, merchandising, publishing and services. Rovio’s headquarters are located in Finland.

Real Time Transparancy to Stimulate Sales?

Many great ideas exists on the Internet to promote your travel Agencies, some free, some with a commission, others with a fixed membership.   The difficulty is to find out where to spent time and money.

With our Platform we had the same issue, our members, before paying, they wanted to see numbers, understand the risk, the investment etc.  and of course we gave them those information like every Sales person does.  beautiful numbers

But then again, we all know we love to present beautiful numbers and I wanted to offer something different. a way my Sales team don’t have to call every day to persuade you to become member.

Therefore we created an online real time statistic page, with information on our platform + the growth. This way our future members can have a look how we are growing without listening to our sales talk:)

View it live on you even get information about how many more deals, subscibers are added since your last visit. (Do the test and come back a few hours later)

How do you like this page?  Would you like to see this more from other suppliers?  Would this help to become member or buy a service online when the service offers more real time transparency?

Do you know other companies who opens their statistics in Real Time ?

Follow a group of young entrepreneurs starting up a new Open Tourism Platform/Search Engine

YabbedooI am involved in the project.  The project is a startup of a new Tourism/Travel platform.   It is a big challenge, as many websites and search engines are available. 

After talking to many people within the business and with internet users we have found that our idea can work and is rather different than the existing websites.

Therefore Bert and I decided to take the risk and invested money, time and expertise in the project.

What is Yabbedoo?
For travelers: Yabbedoo will a new way to plan your holiday.
For tourism professionals: Yabbedoo will be a new way to connect to your (future) customers.

Follow the startup
The Yabbedoo Team has created a blog,, that will write about the challenges, problems and much more during the startup. 
At regular occasions we will explain more what the project is about, what we are doing and much more….

How can you help?
Please feel free to have a look at the Yabbedoo Blog and subscribe to follow up the bog by Email or RSS.  The team will not blog everyday, so you will not be spammed :)  But it will be a great motivation for them.

Be free to give comments and ideas which features you like or like to see when preparing for you (needed) holidays or to promote your tourist related company

 Related websites:

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Thomas Mylonas – Crux Group, Dot Kite, Loggia Import

thomasMylonasI am personally interested in the stories of people starting up a company, why they did take the change, what did make them make the jump etc.

Today, I talked to Thomas Mylonas (20 Mar 1982, Netherlands, born in Greece), Owner and CEO of 3 companies Crux Group, Dot Kite and Loggia Import.

Websites:  ,  ,

Thomas Mylonas is one of the most influential designers and entrepreneurs of his generation. At 27, he has already influenced and inspired others through a wide range of disciplines & media; creating everything from chairs, household objects, advanced footwear concepts, consumer electronics, Hotels and Bar-Restaurants.

In 2007, Business Week announced that Thomas Mylonas, founder of the successful design brand Dot Kite, has been selected as the winner of the Europe’s Young Entrepreneurs 2007 competition. This award is an annual recognition for the most promising young business minds. Earlier this year, Thomas Mylonas was nominated and published by the leading design magazine “Square-Mag” as the most influential designer of this year.

Born in Athens, his collective inspiration gathered from his early years spent travelling across Europe, paid dividends when he relocated to Rome to study Industrial Design.

When the globally renowned footwear company FILA offered a position in their newly developed Advanced Design Department, Mylonas relocated to Montebelluna. It was during this reflective period spent at the foot of the Italian Alps, that he conceived the Dot Kite Brand.

Although his educational roots rest within design, Mylonas’ ability is fuelled by his passion for entrepreneurship; a willingness to contribute, creating more sensational and emotional living and working environments.

In less than one year Dot Kite opened 3 offices iin major European capital cities, Amsterdam – Athens – Rome.

Thomas Mylonas, with his arrival in Amsterdam – The Netherlands, has initiated a new company under the brand Loggia Import. Loggia imports premium quality wines from Italy and Argentina and Extra virgin olive oil from Greece. With Loggia, Mylonas expands his entrepreneurial activities in other fields and sectors with success.

Dot Kite
Dot Kite was conceived in 2005, in the shadows of the Italian Alps. It was schooled in the art of fine furniture and SoHo related products, as exquisitely dimensional as its homeland: the brand assumed boldness from its mountainous landscape, its fluidity from the Mediterranean coast.

The brands of the Dot Kite Group, all with their own personal identity, are linked by the same philosophy, which distinguishes itself for a well-balanced mix of tradition and modernity, high quality, creativity and functionality.

The high standard of quality met by the products is guaranteed by the strong craftsmanship involved in every and each phase of the production: every product is crafted with techniques of the highest skilled handcraftsmanship. After various production steps and control phases the product is destined to become an exclusive and distinguishable object.

Loggia Import
Loggia Import is specialising in Premium quality Prosecco and still wines and High quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Crux Group
Crux Group is the core of Mylonas’ activities. Crux Group is the main vehicle from where Mylonas invests in different projects, ventures and companies with the goal to bring quality to people’s daily lives. The aim of Crux Group is to encourage entrepreneurship, assist to the development and growth of ventures across the entire range of productive activity, and to combine the most cutting edge technologies with the refined wisdom of the old times.

What was the reason you decided to startup your own company?
 I had my first entrepreneurial activity at the age of 14. At that time, I was  organizing parties and events in clubs and besides I was 14 years old I was very  successful. Since that time, it was clear to me that I would  be operating as an  entrepreneur because I simply loved the freedom of doing what I wanted, when I  wanted and how I wanted. Moreover, I love creating and develop new  ideas/ concepts and in combination with my entrepreneurial mindset I can realize  my dreams to reality.

What were the main obstacles you encountered launching your idea/company?
The main obstacle was probably the age. It was (and still not) simple to enter a boardroom in a meeting and being the youngest of the group. Of course, that was not a problem because since the beginning I tried to make everybody understand that they should not look to my age but to what I had to say and the energy and passion I had/have to create businesses

What innovation your company is offering to the customers, what is the added value of your company?
Dot Kite has a Total Consumer Experience approach in the world of design. Dot Kite offers professional design services in many different areas, from Strategic Branding & Communication to product & Furniture design to consumer electronics, from packaging solutions to graphics till the complete interior and retail experience. By offering such variety of creative services of high standard and high quality, we make sure to provide them one-stop-shop for their business needs. Moreover, Dot Kite is always willing to work as a real partner with its clients in order to show full commitment and of course to make sure the final outcome will be the best possible for all parties involved.

What are, in your opinion, the success keys of your startup?
The success keys that brought me to success are the following: Passion for developing new businesses, Commitment to any new project and loads of Energy to make things happen also when things appear to be difficult.

What was the impact of being awarded from Business Week as “Europe’s Best Young Entrepreneur 2007” ?
Business Week award was a great experience. It was a form of recognition for all the effort, passion, energy and commitment I placed to my entrepreneurial activities. The impact of “Europe’s Best Young Entrepreneur” was more of a psychological than actual/practical. People now are searching for me instead of the other way around.

What are the possibilities for your company with this crisis?
All my three businesses, perform very well during this year. Actually, I do not feel there is any Financial Crisis. I believe that in such times, businesses should be more flexible and being able to  adapt to the new business environment as fast as possible. This is also what I always tried to do with my entrepreneurial activities. To work on a smaller scale and being able to maneuver faster and more efficient

What would you like to see the government will do to push innovation and young entrepreneurs?
Governments should try to work closer with the entrepreneurs and try to understand which new policies, rules and legislations might help to boost all business operations. Moreover, I believe that governments should start working from the educational system rather than providing funds to new companies and/or young entrepreneurs. What we lack today is a proper educational system that stimulates the entrepreneurial mindset of every single person. Unfortunately, at schools they teach us on how to be great workers and how to obey to orders. Entrepreneurship is totally the opposite! Entrepreneurs love to be challenged and to think out of the box. Entrepreneurs love to live at the edge and of course this is what makes them successful as well.
Therefore, I believe that governments should put more of their efforts to create a more stimulating educational environment that will “build” more independent thinkers and people that love to take risks rather than just people that are trained to do one job.

How do you see/handle expansion to other countries or do you stay local?
Currently my businesses expand in three different countries in Europe. Dot Kite has offices in Amsterdam, Athens and Rome and for those offices we provide our high quality design services to our clients.
In addition, Loggia Import is operating in The Netherlands but we are planning to expand our operations to the BeNeLux market very soon.

Finally, Crux Group is my investment vehicle that I am looking for interesting a new projects all over the world. Staying local in this global market is not an option and therefore every new business activity I undertake I always think if and how it could scale up for the global market.

Contact Information
Websites:  ,  ,
Networks: A Small World, LinkedIn

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Jacqui Rosshandler – Jacquean Products (eatwhatever)

Jacqui Rosshandler - eatwhateverI am personally interested in the stories of people starting up a company, why they did take the change, what did make them make the jump etc.

Today, I talked to Jacqui Rosshandler, (March 20, 1982), an Australian living in the USA.  Jacqui Rosshandler is the CEO and Co-Founder of Jacquean Products. She has bachelor degrees in Law and Performing Arts and decided to become her own boss on the first day of 2007.

Her product is eatwhatever, it is an incredible new breath freshener. Mints and gum merely mask stinky breath whereas eatwhatever eliminates it.


What was the reason you decided to startup your own company?
I was working as in-house counsel for an event and interior design company. I was loving it but working so hard and knew I’d never be able to really reap the rewards of all my hard work whilst working for someone else so I decided it was time to take control of my own destiny and start my own company.

What were the main obstacles you encountered launching your idea/company?
It was the first product I had ever sought to have made and I didn’t know the “language” to describe what I wanted. So, I would approach people and sound a little crazy and inexperienced. But, after a while, you start to learn the correct terms for things and you get to know others in the business and everything becomes easier.
It’s also a little scary to try and start making a new product when all your competitors are huge multi-nationals. Many people told me I was mad, so I had to block that out and believe in myself which is a very difficult thing to do when you start out.

My company makes a breath freshener that is extremely effective as well as being cute and fun to use. It’s all about freedom – the freedom to eat the things you love without hesitation and then go out and be confident that you smell amazing.

It’s a 2 step process to achieving kissable breath – first you swallow a vegan gel cap filled with organic oils then you suck on a sugar-free mint. The gel caps’ organic peppermint and parsley oils dissolve in the stomach providing you with fresh breath from within whilst the mint provides instant freshness in the mouth.
Eatwhatever is vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free and filled with organic oils.

Image of the eatcwhatever product
Image of the eatcwhatever product

What innovation your company is offering to the customers, what is the added value of your company?

What are, in your opinion, the success keys of your startup?
The product really works.
You don’t have to believe in it, it’s not spiritual, it’s not like a vitamin – you literally take it and within minutes you smell and feel fresh. If you drink champagne, you may do a little peppermint burp.
It’s truly amazing stuff.

What are the possibilities for your company with this crisis?, what are your motivators?
At the end of the day, everyone still needs fresh breath. They still need to go to interviews; they still need romance in their lives so sales in breath fresheners have been pretty steady this year. Also, when larger companies are cutting down on PR and marketing, it provides small businesses like mine the opportunity to market and advertise at a better price.
What would you like to see the government will do to push innovation and young entrepreneurs?
I keep reading about all of these SBA loans that the government has created but then when I approach the banks (who are supposed to provide these loans) they hardly ever participate in the programs. It’s very disappointing. I’d like to see the government insist that the banks (who they bailed out!), actually provide these loans to small businesses that need them.

How do you see/handle expansion to other countries or do you stay local?
I have barely expanded outside of New York City so I have a lot of area to cover in the United States, particularly in California where I think they will love eatwhatever.
Having said that, I have been approached by people from India and Southern Africa to Canada and the UK to sell and distribute eatwhatever so hopefully the product will be available all over the world sometime soon.
Contact Information

Do you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Jacqui Rosshandler, she will be happy to answer!

Michel Verschuere – Eco Quest


I am personally interested in the stories of people starting up a company, why they did take the change, what did make them make the jump etc.

Therefore I will post regularly some stories about young entrepreneurs, about their business and more. 

Today I talked to Michel Verschuere (Belgium, 23/12/1975), Managing Director of Eco-Quest bvba.  Eco Quest BVBA is an import, export and marketing company with fields of activity in renewable energy and energy efficiency.  The main product lines are photovoltaic (PV-) equipment, heat pumps, small-scale wind turbines and LED lighting fixtures for general lighting applications.

What was the reason you decided to startup your own company? 
Global warming is a fact of life for present generations and greenhouse gas emissions at its cause are deeply embedded into our everyday life.  Even the simplest of human actions imply increased emissions which, combined with ever increasing global population numbers, imposes an aggregate environmental impact than can no longer be ignored nor left unmanaged. 

The vision behind the creation of Eco Quest was the creators’ conviction that equal standards of living can nowadays be reached using new technologies, often referred to as ‘green tech’, that impose a lesser carbon footprint onto the environment.  The quest for ever more efficient green technologies is at the core of Eco Quest’s business strategy and it’s marketing towards an ever widening customer base its goal.

What were the main obstacles you encountered launching your idea/company?
As with every startup, Eco Quest faced the problem of assembling a sound product base and devising the right marketing strategy after the target customer groups had been identified.  Specifically on the PV side of our activities, selecting the right quality of material and eventually the proper partnership choice was paramount to our later success.  The process of selecting the right product range, whatever the technology, is a long and costly one, especially from the point of view of a startup.

What innovation your company is offering to the customers, what is the added value of your company?
Our customers benefit from the guaranteed high quality standards for all our products, throughout our activity range.  The fact that we have direct in-house experience with the applications of our PV equipment and LED lighting technology is a strong plus when offering customer advisory.  We are convinced that the quality standard of our after-sales service is the main reason why competitors are unable to unlock our most trusted customers and we believe that the trusted relation with our dealers is an asset, stronger than any clause in a standard resellers’ agreement.

What are, in your opinion, the success keys of your startup?
The driving force behind the success of Eco Quest is the simple clarity of one central idea: Energy efficiency for the masses.  In all we do, we try and combine operational cost efficiency with product quality for our green tech products, so that the ‘Eco’ mark can both trigger reference to ‘Ecological’ as well as ‘Economical’ customer value.

What would you like to see the government will do to push innovation and young entrepreneurs?
Young entrepreneurs always face the financing question for their project or idea.  The government’s role consists in defining the level playing field towards young entrepreneurs.  It is to the government to stimulate development of for instance green technology sectors, either through grants, project competitions or tax rebates because there is strong popular support for it.  The government should however not directly intervene in the everyday management of startups but rather leave the decision to invest or support a viable and innovative idea to a panel of independent advisors or experts stemming from a broad range of businesses or academic institutions.

Contact Information:
Website: +

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