Startupbootcamp mentors donate their time, energy and effort working with startups from our accelerator programs across the world and helping them with all business aspects ranging from team to business modeling. For our recently announced FinTech & CyberSecurity program in Amsterdam, we have connected to 250 mentors and industry experts who will guide the first class of the startups.
Before the kick-off of the program, we wanted to get to know our FinTech & CyberSecurity mentors and find out what inspires them in the startup industry. For the first interview, we sat down with Peter Kwakernaak.
Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Peter Kwakernaak, and I am CEO of AcceptEmail that provides billers with the key to effective and informed customer interaction. In the past, I have started and participated in a number of companies, mostly in the FinTech industry. One of the companies in cash management, MaXware, was sold to Clear2Pay that was acquired by FIS in 2015. Another company in financial crime software, Neteconomy, was acquired by Fiserv in 2007.
I have a degree in Business Economics from the Erasmus University Rotterdam. I am married and have two kids. My big passion is baseball. For 25 years I have played at a high level and at the moment I am active in top talent development and setting up an indoor training baseball facility.
What is your connection to the FinTech startup ecosystem?
At AcceptEmail we consider ourselves as an 8-year-old startup. We have always kept an eye on the FinTech startup scene. Less than 2 years ago we have expanded internationally in this fast-changing industry. As an entrepreneur and an informal investor, I want to stay connected with the FinTech startup ecosystem via multiple networks, to keep up with the trends, and look for opportunities and partnerships.
What are some of the major trends and developments you see in the industry that are relevant to you and could have a great impact?
Some relevant trends and developments in the industry for us at AcceptEmail are:
- Payments – fragmentation of payments landscape internationally, lack of affordable mobile/online bill payment methods, PSD2 XS2A, Faster / Instant Payments.
- Billing – adoption of digital billing is too low due to unfriendly billing portals, focus on document automation (PDF) and lack of attention to customer preferences in communication channels. Companies need to bring the bill to the channel your customer prefers; for example, email, text, social, or Passbook.
- Consumer trends & characteristics – personalization, convenience (frictionless), instant feedback, sharing experiences and trust issues with digital messages.
- App-of-all-Apps – read here in Dutch and here English.
Why do you want to help FinTech & CyberSecurity startups?
I want to help startups because it gives me energy, inspiration, and a different mindset. As mentioned before, I want to keep in touch with new technologies, young people (young by age or by spirit) and new trends. I am inspired by the art of creation – making something out of nothing.
Besides that, I am inspired by the parallel between top sportsmen and entrepreneurs: both of them need to make a top team with a top product. Just as it takes 10 000 hours to truly master a sport, it takes the same amount of time and dedication to set up a successful company.
What would be your personal contribution to the FinTech & CyberSecurity program?
My personal contribution to the program and the startups would be that I still consider myself a startup in every sense of the word. I am still curious, fascinated by technology (some, not all), inspired by entrepreneurs regardless of age, experience, and background, and energetic people. I want to challenge myself and others every day to get out of their comfort zone. I want to challenge people to create their own masterpiece, make a difference in the world or die trying! I’ve tried a lot of things, met a lot of people, and with the trust in my own instincts, I can contribute into spotting the real opportunities, threats, pitfalls and dangers on the road to success.
Applications for the FinTech & CyberSecurity accelerator program are now open! Apply now to get intensive mentorship, office space, access to our broad international network and funding.
Written in collaboration with Claudia Pereira