This article was published on May 1, 2017

Let’s get personal

Let’s get personal
Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
Story by

Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

Founder & board member, TNW

Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

A few days ago a journalist asked me about the future of TNW. Besides a blog, events, a techhub in Amsterdam and our ever expanding database of startups on Index, will there be another area we’d like to expand into?

To me, it seems logical to expand as our main asset is our brand, so if there’s an activity that strengthens the brand, feels good to do, and generates revenue, than we should certainly consider doing it. One example I mentioned was a fund.

We’ve been there at the start of so many amazing startups, it would be great to invest in some of them.

I remember walking around the Twitter offices when they were with less than 10 employees, I remember taking an Uber when they had less than 10 cars and only available in San Francisco. We were one of the first 10 clients that signed up with Adyen, and I remember being blown away by a little startup called Waze when they launched at our conference.

Investing in some of them could’ve been great. But, as the journalist pointed out, wouldn’t that conflict with TNW’s impartially as a news source? It’s a logical question, but the way we work is so different from how other companies do that I was somewhat surprised by the query.

We’ve hired writers who’ve worked at Apple to write specifically about Apple because we know they would know a lot about the product and company. They don’t need to disclose this, but it’s clearly stated in their bio. There is no shame in writing about what you know.

The same goes for the startups that rent space in our techhub. We write about them regularly because we have a front row seat of what they’re doing. We’re not ashamed of being close to the sources we write about. In fact, we’re very proud of it. And the same would apply to investing.

If we owned shares in a company, that would give us great access to everything they’re doing, and we’d be very much involved in the subjects we cover. Would it color our view on things? Sure, but we’d be open about it to our readers. The same goes for our conferences and events.

Many of the speakers are our friends, as are a lot of the attendees. We’re not embarrassed to admit that we enjoy the parties and making countless new friends. We believe that good relationships are a great foundation for doing business. For us, everything is personal.

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