What are the 3 top challenges founders face when starting a company? 🎢
In my opinion, the first thing is to have an answer or solution to a problem - to ensure you are providing something that meets customers' needs. The second is finding a partner to start this journey with. It has to be a joint venture, and I'm thrilled that I found Louis Stockreisser - younger than me, smarter than me. And the third is of course, funding. We went down the Friends & Family fund route, with connections to big corporates with family office investment capabilities.
Speaking of Louis - how did you manage to find the right co-founder? ✅
In my case, I avoided the emotional aspect - which I’m not saying is the right way, but it worked out in the end! I built a list of requirements: engineering background and experience, certain mindsets and values, ready for an entrepreneurial adventure, and so on. Once I defined that, I utilized my network and was lucky enough to get in touch with one guy [Louis] that fit the bill and asked “well, can we have a drink?”... the rest is history.
In your opinion, what are the main responsibilities of a founder? 💡
For me, there are two core responsibilities: The first is to deliver and execute the vision that has been shared with the shareholders. On top of that, as a co-founder, my job is to grow teams and allow them to deliver to their full potential - to ensure that our talents are happy, and feel encouraged. Every day I have room to improve, and every day I'm learning. We find 360 peer reviews are particularly helpful in that aspect.
What inspired you to start meersens? 💭
Both of my children were born in China, where there are all forms of pollution - air quality, and water. I wasn’t that aware of the effects until my daughter was diagnosed with asthma purely by living in that environment. In addition to similar encounters with previous colleagues there, I quickly realized this was an increasing concern for people and something needed to be done. I decided in 2017 to do something about it.
"Did you know that more people are dying from the air quality than cigarettes? If we are anticipated to live longer, but not in good health, what's the point?"
What is the end-goal? 🎯
Today we are mainly focusing on air, pollen, noise, UV and their impact on the health and well-being for companies and cities. But in reality, that's a significant challenge, no doubt. The dream, at least in essence, is to contribute to SDGs 3 & 7, which aim to prevent needless suffering from preventable diseases and premature death, by focusing on crucial targets that boost the health of a country's overall population and provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible green and public spaces. This with particular focus on women and children, the elderly, and people with health conditions or impairments.
Meersens improves health and well-being at work and in cities by harnessing the power of environmental intelligence. Our SaaS/API platform is the most flexible and easy-to-integrate solution to make healthier decisions. Beyond compliance, we are mobilised to create a sustainable future, mitigating environmental risks and positively contributing to the health and well-being of stakeholders. Our preventive routines are proposed to over 1M users through insurance and healthcare companies and smart city players. We contribute to life expectancy in good health while reducing chronic diseases.