The Pitch: Dwillo

Every month, an entrepreneurial EUR student is put in the spotlights in ‘The Pitch’. The entrepreneur answers five personal questions related to entrepreneurship and gets thirty seconds – and only one take – for a video pitch. This edition, recently graduated RSM alumnus Daniel Gaspersz (25) presents his company Dwillo.

Struggling with the infinite range of career options as an RSM Master student, Daniel figured it would be great to discuss his plans with someone who made this decision a while back. The idea for Dwillo was born: he envisioned a platform on which experienced professionals could share their knowledge and expertise with students. Together with his business partner Bart Jacobsz Rosier he decided to burst into the office of RSM Alumni Relations, and proposed to create such a platform for RSM students and alumni. Starting off as MentorMe, they switched to the name Dwillo along the way. Roughly one year after the launch of the company, they have expanded their team to eleven students and graduates, won both the I WILL Award and the Phillips Innovation Award and are packing their bags for a business trip to New York City.

How do you make money?

“We create platforms on which mentors and mentees can connect. We currently do this for nine different clients: universities, but also student societies and companies such as Google. Mentees can search for the type of mentor they would like to talk to and send a request to the mentor of their preference. Clients pay us a yearly license fee depending on the size of the organization.” Now that you’ve found your own way as an entrepreneur, do you still need a mentor?

“Yes, I have different mentors for a variety of topics. My academic background is in sales and marketing, but as an entrepreneur I also need to learn about legal issues, recruitment or administrative matters. Instead of reading books or blogs, I call experienced entrepreneurs to ask them about the problems I run into. They are often more than willing to help, as they see that their time and expertise really makes a difference for someone like me.”

What are difficulties you run into?

“Next to those practical things such as legal issues and administration, I have noticed that I sometimes find it difficult to let things go. But as the organization grows you simply have no choice because you can’t control everything. The people working for Dwillo are here to learn, and I think it’s our responsibility as employer to let them. Concerning the connections between mentors and mentees, we struggled with the matching process in the beginning. The quality of the relationship greatly depends on how well they match, so it was one of our key concerns.”

You’ve already won two big awards this year. What’s your secret?

“We sign up for a lot of awards, and it’s something I can recommend to any starting entrepreneur. You get a lot of exposure out of it and the prizes are often quite nice. We’re especially happy to have won the I WILL Award, because its ideology really matches with what we do. I WILL stands for making students think about their future and about what they really want, and that is exactly what we aim to do as well. Winning was a great boost for the whole team, and the prize money (€15.000,-) really helps us to further expand.”

What are your future plans?

“We have been invited by the Dutch Consulate in New York for a ‘Holland in New York’ boot camp for promising start-ups, which will take place next week. We’ll be taken into the New York technology and entrepreneurship scene, and we’re given the opportunity to do workshops and pitch for potential investors. We see a lot of opportunities in the United States for Dwillo, as universities there often have close connections with their alumni. Besides that, we’re currently expanding to Germany and France and we also have Italy, Spain and other European countries on our list. Our ultimate aim is to reach a million people at the end of 2016.” IS