Real entrepreneurs

Hans-Poul Veldhuyzen of Zanten and Eric Visser have many successful companies to their credit. We talked to them about entrepreneurship, investing, ideas and the relative importance of money: "Really good ideas never fail because of a lack of money." The problem of the past years in a nutshell: "Entrepreneurs who were not entrepreneurs got a plan that they did not understand among investors who did not understand money for an idea that had no chance of success, " says Hans-Poul Veldhuyzen of Zanten and Eric Visser from investment company ZEP Holding

Hans-Poul Veldhuyzen of Zanten and Eric Visser have many successful companies to their credit. We talked to them about entrepreneurship, investing, ideas and the relative importance of money: "Really good ideas never fail because of a lack of money."

The problem of the past years in a nutshell: "Entrepreneurs who were not entrepreneurs got a plan that they did not understand among investors who did not understand money for an idea that had no chance of success, " says Hans-Poul Veldhuyzen of Zanten and Eric Visser from investment company ZEP Holding. The enterprising investors can not worry about it. They know how, ideally, companies get off the ground: "A real entrepreneur puts his soul and salvation in a new idea and can not sleep because he is constantly working on his new plan." Only at a much later stage does he think of picking up money." The technology market is still very suitable for such entrepreneurs, according to Veldhuyzen van Zanten and Visser. "The bursting of the internet hype did not spoil the market for us because we were not in the same waters as the gold diggers." The current, turbulent market would be even better for real entrepreneurs than during the golden years, because a good plan would not depend on sentiment, not even money. "Really good ideas never fail because of a lack of money."

More tips for entrepreneurs? "Start-ups have to be able to support themselves, suppose we have a great idea, as an alternative to a remote control, so we do not immediately match the first best financier, but we give all the time and energy to that plan, borrow some money here and there, the plan will work out until it has been proven that it works, and then the big money will come naturally. "

Over to the performance of Veldhuyzen van Zanten and Visser who have to justify the above statements. Under the day-to-day management of partner Eric Visser, ZEP Holding has expanded the investor website IEX.nl into the market leader in terms of independent investor information. Visser: "Our financial websites, in addition to IEX.nl, are DeBeurs.nl and the British CityComment, have been profitable since October 2002 and that will only be further expanded in 2003." And that while the stock market and the advertising market are in a big dip. "So that will be a big hit when both markets pick up." New expansions are already in the waiting room, as Veldhuyzen van Zanten and Visser do not stop. And in the end a big player, with a big pile of banknotes? "Selling the business is not an end in itself, the goal is that it will be profitable and we will not be in the background as directors but as supervisory directors in the background, but an acquisition can not be ruled out."

Impatient

Visser and Veldhuyzen van Zanten are men of deals and ideas. "We are not managers, we have never had a big company either, but in the heyday of DPI (see box) we worked with 35 people and we are too impatient to build up companies." Von Veldhuyzen van Zanten and Visser were perhaps too impatient to sell V3 (known from the come.to domains, see box) at the portal FortuneCity. The million dollar made internet acquaintances of the entrepreneurs, but afterwards Veldhuyzen van Zanten thinks that sales had been more favorable at a later date. "It was at the end of 1999, half a year before the IPO of WorldOnline, which marks the highlight of the Internet hype, and at that point we might have been able to get it tenfold for V3."

Visser and Veldhuyzen van Zanten are not on their earned money. "We are constantly working on new ideas, a few small start-ups and a bit more work." The gentlemen of ZEP doubt whether they continue to do start-ups in which they themselves are closely involved, or more like distant venture capitalists, perhaps with money from third parties.

At the moment, ZEP and Roel Pieper are looking at a major project within the aircraft industry, which for the time being is surrounded by mystery. It would be an absolute breakthrough in terms of price and performance, due to technological progress. Because everything is still at an early stage, they exercise some caution. "We have experience with setting up a good company quickly and efficiently and Roel brings his experience."

Another idea for a personal start-up with which Visser and Veldhuyzen van Zanten play is a sort of "V3 for telephone numbers". "The idea came home in the plane after we sold V3 in Monaco - in fact, quite simply, we want to offer a world-wide range of easy phone numbers - a kind of 0900-BELEMERCE - now this is only done by companies, but we want that international and free of charge, the idea is that after calling that number you will be given a choice menu, so you can immediately have it forwarded to the normal telephone number or listen to a joke or something else. " How do they want to make money with it? "We offer the numbers for free, but the call costs are fifteen cents higher, half of that amount is for the owner of the number, so he also has an interest in being called to that number." However, much research still needs to be done. A problem here is that telephone numbers, other than URLs, have a fixed number of digits.

Biotech

A sector in which Veldhuyzen van Zanten has great expectations is biotechnology. "Everyone is now talking about nanotechnology, but biotechnology is the ultimate in nanotechnology and will change the world in twenty to fifty years." This sector is expanding beyond IT. "Energy, food, everything becomes biotechnology. converting an efficiency of ninety percent solar energy into useful chemical energy for the plant Do you know how efficient the best solar cell is? Five percent In a few decades, somewhere in an African desert you will have a deposited area with plants that have all kinds of shapes to generate energy. " Closer in time and closer to home, Visser and Veldhuyzen van Zanten are enthusiastic about Pharming ("fantastic market position, fantastic product") and American Genzyme. And further?

"And in the longer term, of course, you will have faster, more intelligent computers based on quantum computing - practical artificial intelligence will be a phenomenal breakthrough, think of devices that come into the house, as much as possible, give the consumer bandwidth and use it. " For instance? "I was snowboarding last week, but would not it be great if I had a camera attached to my helmet and my friends in the Netherlands could watch live on their mobile phone, laptop or PC during the descent? There are still so many possibilities, the synchronization of all kinds of equipment is still in its infancy. "