After a career spanning over 20 years in online banking and media, Dirk decided to change tack and start as an entrepreneur himself in 2018. He does this by participating in WinWinner and The Harbour as a director. He spends most of his time at Unpaid: a legaltech company founded by Jeroen De Man in 2016 within the De Groote – De Man office. Unpaid’s main focus is to assist in the collection of their undisputed and unpaid B2B invoices in a simple, transparent, fast and inexpensive way. At Birdhouse, Jeroen and Dirk found the perfect environment to join forces and develop an ambitious growth plan for Unpaid.
Dirk started his career at media companies such as Lannoo, De Persgroep and Mediahuis. He then moved on to the banking world, where he was Marketing Director at Rabobank.be and subsequently worked for NIBC Direct Belgium, an online bank he founded. In early 2015, he returned to De Persgroep as General Manager for online services where Tweakers.net, Vacature.com, Regiojobs.be and Spaargids.be came under his responsibility.
What he wants to teach start-ups? A good idea and a lot of enthusiasm are not enough. There must be potential to build a business. It must have been thought through. Is there a market? Is it big enough? Are there alternatives and/or competitors? How is the market evolving? Is there any specific knowledge required and where can you find it? It is these questions that should be asked before you invest time, money and energy in a project.
The great thing about working with start-ups is the incredible amount of creative energy and drive that is present. Moreover, it always opens a window to discover new technologies.
His added value for start-ups consists of three parts: as a marketer he has been busy for years marketing products and concepts. He can use this marketing experience to its full potential as a Birdhouse mentor. He also has an enormous amount of knowledge about online brands. Rabobank.be, NIBC-Direct.be, Vacature.com, Spaargids.be, Tweakers.net, … They are all online brands that are successful in the marketplace. Of course, access to Dirk’s media network is a huge asset for start-ups. Given his years of experience at Mediahuis and De Persgroep, he obviously has a wide range of relevant contacts.
“In God we trust; all others must bring data.”