YES!Delft Behind the Scenes – A Change of Leadership
For the past six years, YES!Delft has grown exponentially and is currently the biggest tech incubator in Europe. The team was led by Evert Jaap Lugt, enabling a thriving environment for startups to be their best. Now, it’s time for Evert Jaap Lugt to pursue new adventures. So, Ras Lalmy will take over the Managing Director role at YES!Delft. We have interviewed them to get more insight into the incubator from Delft and its leadership.
From Delft to Rotterdam and The Hague
Originally, Managing Director Evert Jaap Lugt was an engineer trained at TU Eindhoven. However, he is a passionate entrepreneur and founded multiple companies. This experience was of tremendous value the past six years as Managing Director of YES!Delft.
“I learned a lot as an entrepreneur and wanted to give back, which I could do at YES!Delft. I strongly believe that you must have experience in startups. For example, if you are leading a team that runs programs for startups,” says Evert Jaap Lugt. “I have a huge passion for entrepreneurship, so it has been very nice to be involved in many startups and be able to help them. I came across many different innovative ideas at YES!Delft, too. It’s fascinating to work with so many startups; products and services range from quantum to photonics to robotics.”
Six years ago, Evert Jaap came to Delft with high ambitions for the YES!Delft incubator. He wanted to expand its reach beyond the city walls of Delft and create more opportunities for startups to grow. That hasn’t always been easy, as YES!Delft was originally a not-for-profit public entity without a business model. That also posed the question of how to expand the incubator regionally.
“I had to be creative and use my entrepreneurial mindset to create the regional expansion to Rotterdam and The Hague,” says Evert Jaap. “First, it was important to convince stakeholders. Second, we needed to find a way to create more money to finance a growing YES!Delft Team, as well as multiple locations. We created a commercial proposition that worked and enabled us to help even more startups, and I’m very proud of that.”
YES!Delft now has three locations: Delft, Rotterdam, and The Hague. Ras Lalmy was in charge of opening the office in The Hague. He will take over from Evert Jaap Lugt as Managing Director on May 1st.
Ras has been active in the tech startup scene for ten years as a co-founder of multiple startups. That way, he came into contact with YES!Delft and was immediately excited about its programs and community.
“Over coffee, Evert Jaap asked me if I wanted to set up an office in The Hague. Coming from Amsterdam region, I didn’t know The Hague well, so I thought it was a good learning opportunity,” shares Ras. “Working with YES!Delft, I became even more enthusiastic.
I knew Evert Jaap was thinking about pursuing other opportunities. So, after some soul-searching, I decided to go for the role of Managing Director.”
Giving back is very important to Ras Lalmy. It brings him a lot of fun and pleasure to help passionate founders succeed.
“I love sharing knowledge and experience with aspiring entrepreneurs. Things I wish I had known in my first years as an entrepreneur. If I had followed some of our programs it definitely would have saved me some blood, sweat and tears.”
What are the plans for the future?
“The past years, YES!Delft has made great progress. However, there are still many opportunities to strengthen and improve. From inspiring future entrepreneurs to guiding high quality tech startups on their road to success. And in close cooperation with great partners like TU Delft, Erasmus University and Erasmus Medical Center we can become a real powerhouse for tech entrepreurship” says Ras Lalmy.
Evert Jaap Lugt smiles as he says: “I will keep on working, even past my retirement. I will certainly remain active in the YES!Delft ecosystem; I am an entrepreneur in heart and soul, like many here. Building a new company is not easy, and everyone should have much respect for people who start their businesses.”
Any famous last words?
“I am happy that Ras has accepted the role of Managing Director. He knows YES!Delft very well and has done a great job with opening our office in The Hague. He also is a serial entrepreneur, like me. Ras, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Good luck!” says Evert Jaap Lugt.
Ras Lalmy adds: “I’d like to thank you, Evert Jaap, for your accomplishments over the past six years. You established growth using your entrepreneurial mindset and created a solid foundation from which I can work.”
With the change of leadership set to take place on May 1st, Ras Lalmy and Evert Jaap Lugt are looking forward to this new chapter for YES!Delft, the team, and the startups that are under their wings.