September 15, 2021

Meet the Team: Lars – CEO and cofounder

Tell us about yourself?

I am a native Dutchman and have been living in Amsterdam for five years. Before that I lived in Utrecht, which is not far from the village I come from.

 

I like sports and am a big fan of football. I played football, baseball, tennis and ice-skated from the age of six/seven to nineteen. Since then I only fitness and jog. I am competitive and played baseball at a good level, that's also how I started doing fitness when I was 16/17 because I needed to get stronger and faster for my sport. My favorite holiday is skiing and I love to go on long trips and discover the skiing area. I watch every game of my favorite football team and I love going to the stadium, but I also like to watch field hockey matches or almost any sports on TV/online.

 

Tell us about your journey?

I did a bachelor's degree in political science. I found it very interesting to see certain constructs from different points of view. As an example, we grow up in the Netherlands that the “West” is good and that Russia or communists are bad.We notice this in everything: the news, historiography, economy, etc. But why are we good and they bad? Where does this idea come from? And what if we would turn it around, what do you think residents from those countries think about us? This was essentially my study, and I'll take this thinking with me forever.

 

Between my bachelor's and master's studies, I started working at ABN AMRO Lease, first asa working student and fairly quickly as a sales consultant. Originally this job was meant to bridge the limited time between my bachelor's and my master's, butI found it valuable to gain corporate experience and besides I was good at sales. Two things during this period have made a big impact on me: a large corporate organization is very cumbersome and progression/change is difficult to ignite, and ABN has helped me to learn how to innovate through their internal incubator program. From this period I knew very well what I want and what I didn't want to do in life!

 

After ABN,I went on to do a master's degree in business administration, which was the intention all along. I hoped that after my studies I could start my own business because I was still young, had no mortgage to pay and no family to provide. In addition to my studies, I used this year to work out several potential business concepts, to discuss with entrepreneurs and friends and also to further educate myself technically on the concepts. I had the idea for GymStory for a few years and my confidence in the concept grew over this particular year.Because I was not technical myself, I sent an whatsapp to friends from high school who studied in at the Technical University in Delft. Mathieu was one of them and we have been working together for three years now!

 

What's your biggest surprise?

Beforehand,I had never expect to be able to enjoy work as much as I do know. The only real working experience I had was at ABN, but that is not comparable to what we do now. Every day is a party and I am loving it. Since we’re doing such cool stuff at GymStory, I cannot wait to see what's to come!