We talked to Gijs Dalen Meurs of Eyevestor on how to make participating and investing in companies accessible and available for everybody and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Gijs Dalen Meurs: We are fine. Lucky enough to have enough space, happily married, plenty of pets and plenty to do. Nobody has fallen ill so far. Early March we were all sick for 48 hours perhaps that was our introduction to covid. If so, it was very light. In my practical life, not much has impacted me so far. I am used to working 100 hour weeks and much of that behind my pc at home or elsewhere. Of course more home than before but it also helps focus and productivity.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Eyevestor.
Gijs Dalen Meurs: I went from banker to a sort of financial system cranker. I can make this a very long story, but since 2009, I became conscious how our financial system works, every €,$ is someone else’s debt. Realizing this as a banker, it hit me. This way, we would never solve the systemic, global and ecological issues—too much perverse stimulus. My ultimate dream is to be a firestarter towards an equity society (away from debt society). Eyevestor | the share company is the result. A platform to empower entrepreneurs to do more with their equity and realize the importance of having their equity in order first. At the same time, our vision is to make stakeholder participation familiar and make participating and investing in companies you belong to accessible and available for everybody.
How does Eyevestor innovate?
Gijs Dalen Meurs: Eyevestor platform innovates by digitalizing 400-year-old analogue and silo processes. Removing the paper trail and most of all, make it more possible, accessible, faster, cheaper and more fun to invest and to fund with equity. Through the digitalization and democratization of (co)-ownership for any organization, many possibilities arise. With eyevestor platform, we make it possible for organizations (eyeventures) to market, position, transact in their equity under their terms and conditions, against their price and valuation.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Gijs Dalen Meurs: It gave a severe blow at first but overall and medium to long term what Covid causes makes our message and more importantly, our solution only more understood. We have an inflow of leads at present and customers going live. We expect significant growth in the coming year.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Gijs Dalen Meurs: In my overall journey as an entrepreneur, I learned to love the journey and not the race or the result. Yet loving the journey is only possible when the inner drive or purpose is alive and kicking. So Corona too is just another obstacle in the journey. Keep the faith has been my most significant learning. Keep the faith. We certainly had to make difficult choices and revisit our budgets. Instead of a smaller office or no office, we went for a larger office, perhaps even too early, since prices have been dropping. We have plans with our offices, and we already use it actively as it is more corona proof but also learned it is essential to create the right environment to work in at home and in the office. Overall, the most challenging choice was to invest rather than cut, but we undoubtedly re-aligned where to invest. It went into more resources, motivated top people, and said goodbye to less fitting people for the phase of where we are.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Eyevestor in the future?
Gijs Dalen Meurs: The best avoidance of stress is sleep and exercise. I do both too little, yet I do not think I am overly stressed because I know and chase the long-term goal! It does not mean I sit back and relax, awaiting the result. That is not in my nature. I think I am a natural executing visionary. It does always mean a struggle as I am always ahead of the curve of where most people are. Important too is to listen to your body and mind. They are interdependent and interconnected. At times, I need to recharge, which does not mean a holiday but just a day outside or go to bed earlier. For 2021 I expect and project that our company will achieve stellar organic growth with a fast path to internationalization. The ambition is large enough from the outset; to work towards and equity (equitable) society; away from our current debt society. So it is a never-ending story, just like Star Wars.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Gijs Dalen Meurs: This is the largest niche market every as we see it. We also play in numerous sectors. I think; funding, administration, legal, marketing, engagement, and loyalty. I am not aware there is someone who has the approach we have, nor the breadth of capabilities we can cater for a low barrier, accessible and fast. There are undoubtedly many more sexy or blockchain-oriented parties. But honestly, cliché too perhaps, we do not look or care much about competition. We care about our journey and our achievements. Only focus on what you can control. We stay in the game for as long as I am, we are, happy to be a player in our own game. I am only flattered if companies compete with us. Whilst we follow our path, other companies come to the same solutions and conclusions. Whether they compete or copy or not does matter. It is always better to see others think as you think. I try to think in abundance rather than in scarcity. The more spreaders there are of the like-minded gospel, the better, bigger and faster the opportunities expand.
Your final thoughts?
Gijs Dalen Meurs: I am afraid they will only be final when the mind stops thinking. For now, follow your heart, get driven by your vision and purpose, and all will fall into place.