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How Joelle Frijters brought transparency into the advertising space with Improve Digital

In this episode, Joëlle Frijters - co-founder of Improve Digital - uncovers the important moments of her entrepreneurial journey: from bootstrapping her startup until €80 million in revenue to selling 85% shares of Improve Digital to Swisscom in 2016.

Listen to the episode

What are some of the topics you can expect?

  • How did Improve Digital raise their first round of funding?
  • Why did Joelle make the 85% sale of Improve Digital to Swisscom?
  • What is Joelle’s strategy for hiring the best talent?
  • How would Joelle approach her ‘going abroad’ strategy if she had to make this choice today?
  • What was the shift from founder to CEO like for Joelle?
  • What is her advice for young entrepreneurs?

All these questions are covered within our new podcast episode. Available now on all major listening platforms: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts.

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Biography

Joëlle Frijters is a CEO and technology entrepreneur,  she co-founded Improve Digital - a global SAAS platform/marketplace in the digital media space with data and AI at the heart of it. Improve Digital was sold to Swisscom in 2016. At the end of 2017, she handed over the company to a new CEO. Before Improve Digital she held international roles at large corporations such as Microsoft and KLM.

Today she's chairman and member of company supervisory boards and active in the venture capital industry.

With her non-profit InspiringFifty, she promotes the visibility of female role models in tech in over 10 countries. Joëlle feels diversity and inclusion (in the broadest sense) is incredibly important in the current tech transformation, making sure anybody can develop their potential in this new era.

Key Highlights

08:33 - Joelle - “A lot of decisions in the VC industry are being taken based on a gut feeling - do I feel that this guy can scale it [the company] to a billion. And I am not sure if you are half pregnant, you are presenting a standard image of someone who will be able to work 80 hours a week and pushing things through the roof.”

15:35 - Joelle - “ When you don’t have enough money, you start to hire hands to help you. But you also need to hire people that can help you move the needle from A to B independently.”

19:02 - Joelle - “I never have the problem of hiring people better than myself. I think it’s actually a blessing if you can do it.”

31:37 - Joelle - “In hindsight, I would say: take one market and go in big.”

41:38 - Joelle - “Because we were two female founders, which is not very conventional, we also attracted a lot of unconventional profiles - and I think that it’s a hugely underused pool of people.” 

55:06 - Joelle - “The product is not what you sell, you need to use it to solve a challenge out there”.

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