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As the old saying goes, Once you hit bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up. For Daan Weddepohl, this was especially true. At a young age, Weddepohl worked in IT for numerous banks and large companies, including Phillips. In his spare time, he began building software, and began to figure out how to monetize his work. Weddepohl then started working with his roommate, who helped him monetize his product, and together they established a small company.

I think I’ve always wanted to build and create stuff. I’ve been thinking about creating devices and flying machines since I was young. And, it feels like entrepreneurship is just a way of accomplishing these dreams.

The company started selling software and while the company was not scaleable, it was according to Weddepohl the first steps to starting a business. In 2009, however, after selling his business, Weddepohl’s apartment suddenly burned down. He lost almost all his belongings in the fire. In true manner of entrepreneurship, Weddepohl began to turn an unfortunate event and started to build from it.

I lost all my stuff and I needed to ask for help because I didn’t have anything. At first I really hated it because I really like to be independent, but then I discovered that asking for help really strengthened the relationship between me and the people that I asked. I discovered that people really love helping out and playing a role in another person’s life and being of value. And I also learned that you don’t need stuff - you just need good people around you.

Inspired by the event, Weddepohl created Peerby, an Apple and Android app that allows people to borrow things from their neighbors within 30 minutes. After realizing that he had an idea for a sharing system that he could turn into a startup, he looked into joining the Founder Institute chapter in Amsterdam. Looking to learn the necessary tools to make him into a successful entrepreneur make his business scaleable, and make a profit from his idea for Peerby, Weddepohl applied, was accepted into the program and the rest is history.

The Founder Institute really helped me to understand how to build a scalable software company and be an entrepreneur. I had some basic experience of running my first company but the Founder Institute really taught me how to have a Silicon Valley mindset, to THINK BIG, and how to build a platform that can scale globally.

After graduating from the Founder Institute, Peerby was selected to take part in the Rockstart Accelerator program as well as Techstars London. Having secured $2.1M in funding, Peerby is looking into product development as well as expansion with a particular focus on the United States. Peerby is now in eight cities in the US and growing.

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