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 scalable, it was, according to Weddepohl, the first steps to starting a business.
In 2009, however, after selling this 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 into an opportunity, 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 help of his neighbors in his time of need, Weddepohl created Peerby, a service that allows people to borrow and rent things from their neighbors. 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 Amsterdam.
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 completing the Founder Institute, Peerby was selected to take part in the Rockstart Accelerator program as well as Techstars London.
Today, Peerby has raised over $3.5M in funding, and continues to expand. In addition, the company was featured in The New York Times as a front runner for the sharing economy, and named a top environmental company by World Economic Forum.
Learn more about the company at Peerby.com.