Evelien de Vries joined the YES!Delft incubator without even knowing at first, through Startup Corner platform. Then she tasted the power network of co-founders by attending the UNconference even without having her startup in YES!Delft’s portfolio. That’s when she knew she had to make it into one of the largest tech incubators in Europe.
Evelien de Vries adventured in the entrepreneurship world little over a year ago. Having worked at StartupDelta previously, the name of YES!Delft was familiar to her.
However, her first step of tasting this startup ecosystem was when she received an email with a call to action to join the platform Startup Corner — which promised to offer support to tech startups in areas such as legal, HR, finance, marketing and more. The email was from Marie José van den Boomgaard, Liasion Manager Startups at KPN. “I was already familiar with Marie José and KPN, so when she recommended Startup Corner I thought “Why not?”,” Evelien remembered.
Through Startup Corner, she got in contact with one of the corporate partners – Arnold & Siedsma. Evelien got help for free from them, mostly through emails and phone calls. Having help from Arnold & Siedsma on patents, helped Evelien and her co-founder move with some decisions.
Not long after that, another email landed in Evelien’s inbox: Startup Corner’s newsletter. In that newsletter, there was an invitation to register for the UNconference. She read that it was a bi-annual event in the YES!Delft community, where co-founders set the agenda of the event with topics that contain both challenges and successes to learn from their peers and this way speed the learning process.
“One thing I learned in the last year is that it always helps to engage with different groups because you never know what inspiration you get,” Evelien remembered. “ That’s why I signed up to the Unconference. In the end, it totally paid off. A five hours event only with co-founders, where everybody shared knowledge”.
It was at the UNConference that Evelien and her co-founder met David Cerda Salzmann, currently a partner at FORWARD.one and one of the co-founders of Ampelmann (one of the firsts YES!Delft incubated startups). After connecting with David at the UNconference, they went to his office to talk about the strategy of their startup where he helped them on the spot. When Evelien told him they were thinking to join YES!Delft, David said it would be very useful and suggested them to apply to the AI/Blockchain Validation Lab. “He specifically advocated for the network and support we would get access to”, she says.
AI/Blockchain Validation Lab
This was the opportunity that Evelien looked for so she could join YES!Delft. Not even a month later, she and her then co-founder started the AI/Blockchain Validation Lab and became part of the YES!Delft ecosystem. From having access to YES!Funded and YES!Talents to having one-on-one sessions with experts from our incubator, the two co-founders entered a 10-week part-time program geared on helping them find their product-market fit. In the end, for her startup, the program revealed a team misalignment, resulting in the founders parting ways.
On the 25th of July, the teams participating in the AI/Blockchain validation lab graduate with the Pitch Day event. This celebration will take place at the YES!Delft’s Digital Hub in The Hague, which opened earlier this year and focused on AI and Blockchain.
In the end, for Evelien, having access to Startup Corner, joining the UNconference, and later joining the AI/Blockchain Validation Lab, gave her not only 360-degree help on her startup, but it also shifted her entrepreneurship journey to 180 degrees, as well. “During the Validation Lab I have learned not only new business validation skills, but also valuable lessons on the foundation of a startup. Especially concerning what building a team really is. Although I’m disappointed that this startup didn’t work out, I’m really excited for new opportunities. Being part of the YES!Delft ecosystem reinforced that being an entrepreneur is want I want to do.”