About three years ago I moved back to Amsterdam. Studying abroad had resulted in many beautiful memories, new friends, a little detour through Silicon Valley, a paper from Copenhagen Business School and not a nickel to my name.
I decided it was a good idea to join a 6 month old startup named Iamb&b. Unpaid but with the promise of equity and a team with huge ambitions. I slept on an air mattress on the floor at my co-founder or in our office and worked my ass off 7 days per week.
We hired people, built software and grew the company. Even though we were all very inexperienced for some reason it worked quite well. We quickly became the largest concierge company in Amsterdam. To clench our thirst for growth we decided it was time to make some new steps and opened an office in the biggest Airbnb market on the planet: Paris.
Of course it wasn’t all roses and sunshine, there where plenty of hard moments. Like the time a journalist slammed our company with a highly slanderous piece, or when we fought off (and won) the biggest fine given for Airbnb rental ever, worldwide. How weird it may sound, this is also what’s fun about entrepreneurship, the lows are as deep as the highs.
Legislation and public opinion shifted a lot in our home market. Together with increasingly harder competition this forced us to make strategic choices, I debated a lot on this with my co-founders. We went through many different options. Getting an investor on board, merging the company with a third party, pivot into a new service. The outcome we agreed on meant downscaling the company and perfecting our service for our existing clients.
Rationally I’m 100% behind this strategic choice, but in my heart there was something missing. I like to work on stuff that has the potential to scale through the heavens and where technology is a very important factor. In the new strategy Iamb&b will be a very solid and steady company, focussing on perfecting the quality in existing markets.
I felt, however, that this would be a different business. A business where my interest and expertise are less mandatory. And most important: I didn’t feel the fire that enabled me to work homeless and broke for months in the beginning. This is the reason I have decided to sell my stake in Iamb&b.
I’m very happy to be able to sell to my friend and partner Jorrit Stracke who will continue the Iamb&b legacy. I’m totally confident he will take it to its maximum potential.
I feel grateful that I can reflect on Iamb&b as a very unique experience that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I’m thankful for all the greatly talented and inspiring people I was lucky enough to work with and learn from.
When we’re done drinking champagne on closing the deal I will focus on a new company I’ve been brewing on. A project that will light the fire again to drive me through the entrepreneurial rollercoaster.