Last May, the Nyenrode Alumni Talks kicked off in Amsterdam. We asked Nyenrode alumni Juan Lacroix (co-founder of Kickstox) and Sjoerd Wennekes (entrepreneur and owner of De Entreprenerd) to share their experiences from the event. “It was a great opportunity to exchange knowledge with a mixed audience of alumni in an informal yet serious manner.”
The idea for Kickstox was born when Juan Lacroix and Victor Swaab saw an American talk show about fantasy sports. “In the United States, this is already very popular and successful. When we set out to find a good sports concept that’s suitable for the Netherlands, we ended up tapping into our passion for football and interest in the stock market.” Kickstox combines these two realms, turning football players into shares. At Kickstox, players can take matters into their own hands by trading in shares of football players.
The value of the footballer fluctuates depending on his real performance during the matches.
These are adjusted live during the match, creating a new way for football enthusiasts to consume the sport. Participants can play with and against one another to test their football knowledge. Who can make the best trades in a weekend, for example? “Kickstox is designed to be a unique product for true football fans. By working with live data, the game is also meant to feed users’ hunger for more football knowledge and provide topics for lively discussions.”
Inspiring entrepreneurial environment
Kickstox was developed over the past year and a half within the Nyenrode Incubator. “A fantastic opportunity to work on our product in an amazing location and collaborate with other entrepreneurs who are in the same phase of their projects,” Lacroix says. The first Alumni Talk was a great chance to shine a spotlight on Kickstox. “It boosted our brand awareness. But the critical questions we received when we presented our project were just as useful. These questions – along with the combined knowledge and experiences of the alumni in the audience – are essential to perfecting Kickstox. We want to launch the game upcoming season. If the concept catches on in the Netherlands, we’d like to expand Kickstox abroad.”
Bridge between two worlds
Alumnus Sjoerd Wennekes – a graduate of HKU University of the Arts in Utrecht as well as the Executive MBA program at Nyenrode – founded De Entreprenerd with the aim of helping entrepreneurs in the creative industry with the business side of their companies. “Many great things are made that are scarcely exploited commercially. Creative entrepreneurs often lack the business knowledge required to make a good business plan and arrange sales and marketing. They also have a certain distrust of the business world. You see the same thing the other way around: people in commercial companies, government organizations and care institutions find it difficult to work with creatives. I know how both parties think, and I can build a bridge between creative entrepreneurs and the business world.”
Content and relaxation
Networking and sharing knowledge are important tools for forging long-lasting business relationships. That is why Wennekes believes the Alumni Talks are extremely valuable. “The first edition was a great meeting in typical ‘Nyenrodian’ style: serious, relaxed and informal. There was room to have some fun, but it was in-depth in terms of content. Nyenrode’s strength lies in its network. I therefore hope that the Alumni Talks become a lasting part of our rich Nyenrode culture.”
Nyenrode Business University attaches great value to mutual involvement between the university and its alumni. The Nyenrode Alumni Talks are a periodically recurring opportunity for alumni to engage in dialogue and exchange knowledge and experiences with one another.
The Nyenrode Alumni Talks are an initiative led by Heleen van Hall, Head of Alumni & External Relations, and Job Andreoli, lecturer in Entrepreneurial Finance, PhD candidate and leader of the Nyenrode Incubator. For more information, please contact Heleen van Hall: H.vHall@nyenrode.nl.