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 Sarah Massey, she/her, Co-Founder of freeQ. Launched in the beginning of the pandemic, freeQ offers LGBTQ+, sex-positive, and body-positive people a safe, fun, online events space to connect. 

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

For my whole life, I have been hosting fabulous events, so it makes sense freeQ is throwing the queerest events on the internet! freeQ delivers queer joy online on safer tech. As a queer woman, I live the experience of desiring safety in the spaces I inhabit at home, work, and public. As a communications leader in the social justice movement, I also observe how social media exploits queer culture while at the same time allowing harassment and bullying of queer people.

When COVID forced us to halt Pride celebrations, my team and I decided to move these vital community events online. To offer more safety, we developed a tech suite free of AI-spying and we operate free of surveillance capitalism. Of course, we also develop freeQ events to be super fun! 

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

Amsterdam and freeQ share the values of inclusion and social impact. We just landed here last year; and, in this short time, we have found resources for developing an impact business and a community that values diversity. The connections we gain at startup events and larger tech spaces, like the TNW conference, are invaluable! We love Amsterdam.

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

freeQ is growing! We’re thrilled to offer #LGBTQ+ inclusion workshops and trainings to tech companies that value safety and diversity. These #freeQPride365 events are founded in queer joy and empowerment. freeQ’s goal is to take what we’ve learned as a queer tech company and infuse that awesome throughout the tech world.

freeQ is brand new to Amsterdam! When it comes to needs, please connect freeQ with LGBTQ+ techies, groups, artists, and event producers. freeQ incubates events to move online and create earnings through ticket sales. We also offer an early adopter plan so LGBTQ+ organizations can move their online meetings to freeQ’s conferencing tech now.

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

freeQ was asked to present to the United Nations how we developed an all-LGBTQ+ tech business earlier this year. I have to say this was one of the proudest moments of my life. We are humbled and grateful to be leaders in this space.

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

Due to COVID-19 being in retreat, potential event partners see less of a need to be online and are returning to the old model. We solidly disagree because we learned there are community members for whom the online space is most favoured. freeQ seeks to connect with the LGBTQ+ community members who cannot make it to IRL events. This is about accessibility and inclusion, so we are hustling to develop tools to bridge the IRL and online events worlds. freeQ wants to offer events tech so queers can easily broadcast online and create earnings through online ticket sales. Queer content is endless. 

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