The Pitch: Studentlens

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, third-year Economics student Joost Schreurs (22) presents his company Studentlens.

Not everyone is blessed with perfect eyesight. Like many students, Joost fixed this problem with contact lenses. He paid a high fee for his lenses and the accompanying six-monthly eye check at an optician, and figured there had to be a cheaper way out. Joost found various foreign websites offering the exact same lenses you buy at an optician, but for a much lower price. He also saw that this concept was not well-known, poorly marketed and relatively expensive in the Netherlands. Joost: “It surprised me that this idea had not yet really taken off in Holland.” The idea for Studentlens was born. On his website, you can order monthly disposable contact lenses, half a year of lenses costing you €40,- to €70,-, roughly €40,- less than at an optician. Joost recently went into business, and the first customers have placed their order.

What are your entrepreneurial qualities?

“My way of thinking is very commercial. That’s partially a result of my studies of course, which really had an influence on me. Also, I think I’m quite good at selling myself, as well as my product.”  

Is entrepreneurship an inherent skill, or something you can learn?

“A bit of both. I think an entrepreneur cannot be risk-averse, and a small part of it is luck. Obviously, these are things you can’t learn. But I do believe that entrepreneurship is becoming more rationalized, there is a lot you can learn and control. I took part in the ECE (Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship) Get Started programme this year, where I learned a lot about entrepreneurship from an academic perspective, for instance about the many different ways to test an idea or a product.”

What are the negative aspects of being an entrepreneur?

“I do everything on my own, which is challenging and can feel a bit lonely sometimes. As I was one of the three winners of this year’s last Get Started programme, I can use their office space and support for another year, which fortunately allows for a bit of interaction as well. I don’t consider getting a co-founder involved at this point because I can handle the workload alone, and it would not be a smart move from a financial point of view.”

How much time do you spend working on your company?

“I have more time than I had before because my university courses just finished, and I plan to spend three days a week at the Get Started office the coming summer. A lot of little things add up, like sending a few emails in the weekends, so I usually work on Studentlens 25 to 30 hours a week in total. I also have a job on the side two days a week, so I can’t invest all my time in my company.”

What are you going to do with the money you earn?

“I want to expand Studentlens, for instance by broadening the range of contact lenses I offer. I also aim to expand to France at some point. There is a lot of potential there, as the online shopping market is still relatively small and there are several big cities with a lot of students, which makes it easier for me to reach my target group. Also, I want to partner up with some opticians in Rotterdam, who could offer eye checks for a small price to students.” IS