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 Maxime ten Brinke, co-founder of Hotelshousing, which assists businesses in meeting their employees' needs for business travel. Maxime has an in-depth understanding of the Amsterdam’s tech ecosystem and guided us through her entrepreneurial journey.
1. How did your career journey lead you to found Hotelshousing?
I started my career at the heart of (womxn-led) entrepreneurship at The Next Women in Amsterdam. In my role, I was able to organise pitch competitions around the world and grow my network through these events. A few years later, I decided to continue my entrepreneurial journey at ACE (Amsterdam Center for Entrepreneurship) leading their marketing efforts. Putting my knowledge into practice, I’ve recently become a co-founder of Amsterdam-based startup: Hotelshousing. The co-founders of the startup found me via shared connections in the (academic) startup ecosystem. A shared interest in a sustainable solution to make remote work accessible to everyone is what brought us together. The circle is now complete!
2. What makes Amsterdam a great city and an excellent ecosystem for a startup founder?
During my time at The Next Women, I was able to peek into a lot of different startup ecosystems, in London, Paris, Buenos Aires, Lisbon and Tel Aviv. It surprised me that, although most of the ecosystems were flourishing, the community was rarely ever as close as in Amsterdam. I believe the “village” type of atmosphere Amsterdam has, allows (first-time) founders to navigate through the landscape of entrepreneurship, mentorship and funding very quickly: resulting in fast growth.
3. What are the goals and needs of Hotelshousing for the upcoming months?
Hotelshousing is a B2B platform in the hospitality industry, connecting Amsterdam-based hotels to companies that want to relocate their employees to Amsterdam for an extended period. A sustainable solution to make remote work accessible to everyone and that is beneficial to the housing situation in Amsterdam. The goal is to continuously improve the platform based on our customers’ feedback, to spend our recent funding (a €10,000 convertible loan from the Academic Angel Amsterdam fund) wisely, and raise new funding by the end of this year.
4. What was the toughest moment in your business journey? How did you get past it and learn from it?
The toughest moment in my entrepreneurial journey was forming a rock-solid team. As a team of multiple co-founders with different personalities and perspectives on the company, I think it is and will always be challenging to make sure we’re aligned and on the same page. Even in the case of a conflict, the company should always be placed at #1.
The founding team consists of Mayke Hoynck van Papendrecht (CEO), Kirill Smirenko (CTO) and myself (CMO). Mayke and Kirill met through the MSc of Entrepreneurship, a joint track of the University of Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Having a lot of experience in the hospitality industry, Mayke is the “hustler” within the team. It goes without saying that Kirill is the mastermind behind the product, the platform itself. I’m here to fine-tune and market the product, making it appealing to the market we sell it to.
5. What has been a recent win for your business?
A recent win of ours has been the funding we recently received from the Amsterdam Academic Angel fund. As the founding team comes from academia and the university was the birthplace of the idea itself, it was very rewarding to receive our first funding from an academic angel fund. The money will be spent on further validating and developing the platform and bringing it to the market.