Founders Fridays is a new StartupAmsterdam initiative that showcases local entrepreneurs who help strengthen our ecosystem. By inviting founders to answer five questions, we want to shine a light on our ecosystem’s most inspirational stories and role models. We hope that we’ll all learn and grow together by providing startup founders with a space to share their insights and experience.

This week we spoke to Emily Huberts, the founder of TLNTHUB, the online platform that connects the creative industry. Through TLNTHUB you can connect with other talents, browse creative jobs or projects and build your own portfolio and CV in one.

1. How did your career journey lead you to found TLNTHUB?

While looking for creative jobs back in 2019 I found most professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn and Indeed, to be very corporate focused. With a background in design and marketing, I was looking for a job at a creative agency or marketing firm. The job websites I visited don’t properly fulfil the needs of the creative community and don’t allow brands to easily discover creative talents or see their portfolio work. Portfolio websites (also my own) are often not up to date, due to the effort it takes to design such websites. Then there’s the problem of companies that simply don’t know where to look when searching for creative professionals. 

During this period, I started freelancing as a content creator and social media strategist. My first clients found me through Instagram or a shared connection. However, Instagram’s search tool is very limited and only shows profiles that you are already related to in a way. So where do companies have to look when they want to hire a specific creative for a job?

I wanted to launch a platform where talented creatives can showcase their portfolios as well as their work experience and skills. TLNTHUB is still in its early stages but is already becoming successful. While maintaining close contact with our users and asking them for feedback, we know exactly what their needs are and how we can further improve. Companies are happy with the fact that their job posts are now visual and therefore more attractive for creatives. It’s also easier for companies to stand out, compared to websites like Indeed.com and Monsterboard.com.

TLNTHUB screenshot

2. What makes Amsterdam a great city and a great ecosystem for a startup founder?

I’ve been living in Amsterdam for 8 years now and I think it’s one of the best places to start a business. Besides the fact that I love the city, the people, and its culture, there are so many opportunities, programmes, events and hubs to join as an entrepreneur. The city has a community of dedicated ecosystem builders and contributors. The ecosystem is booming, in large part because of the organisations that foster local talent development, attract people from all over the world, drive impact innovation, and create environments for entrepreneurs to thrive. I feel like it’s a very creative and innovative environment which is great for our business.

3. What are the goals and needs of TLNTHUB for the upcoming months?

Eventually, our goal is to become the leading professional online network for the creative industry. We are planning to implement our business model within a couple of months and from there we will bootstrap our business for as long as we can. For us, bootstrapping is an important part of our validation process because it will prove if we actually have a product-market fit. It will be challenging to turn our users into paying customers but also very exciting to generate revenue and accelerate growth.

4. What has been a recent win for your business? 

We have gained over a thousand users from 20+ different countries within the first six months after our launch. I’m proud of the product we have developed and the positive feedback we received from our users. We recently moved into a new office that we share with another startup which allows us to learn from each other and expand our network. However, I would never have gotten this far without my co-founder Riche Hiemcke, who has a great track record in business and IT. As a team, we complement each other and work with the same vision in mind that keeps us motivated. Another win is our amazing intern from Finland who just joined our team at the beginning of this month. 

TLNTHUB founders Amsterdam

5. What has been a recent challenge for your business and what have you learned from it?

As an entrepreneur, you are the driving force behind growing a business. This means your personal wellbeing is just as important as investing in your business. To me, it has been challenging to find the right work-life balance, especially at the beginning of starting this business. Throughout the years I have learned to take breaks and sometimes work less, in order to be more productive during the week. I can be quite result-driven which is sometimes difficult when results are below expectations. Staying focused and perseverance are one of the most important pillars when it comes to success.

Want to learn more about the women breaking through the startup scene? Check out this roundup of Amsterdam’s wonder women

Looking for advice and guidance on how to launch a business or a career in tech? Discover our ultimate guide for female entrepreneurs and women in tech.

And if you would like to share your story with our local ecosystem, you can contact us by email: startup@amsterdam.nl.