Gijs Gillissen took sustainability in stride when he co-founded Goodcase, a project dedicated to making the discovery of sustainable food both accessible and exciting. Due to his experiences with Goodcase, Gillissen champions the idea that making mistakes and learning from them is necessary in the grander scheme of building a start-up; and that having a unified team is of the utmost importance. And while Goodcase has reached the end of its lifespan, the knowledge Gillissen acquired propels him toward the future as he further develops himself as a Discover Trainee at VodafoneZiggo. Discover more about Gillissen’s unique entrepreneurial journey by reading below.
Gijs Gillissen, along with other guest lecturers who share their knowledge and expertise with our students, demonstrate Global School for Entrepreneurship’s ever growing network. At Global School, students have access to a diverse ecosystem of connections stimulated by willing faculty and guests. With our Bachelor’s of Science in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and our Master’s of Science in Scaling Up, students can expect to create and scale their start-ups, and start building their network day one. Explore our programs by checking out the buttons below.
What is your background like?
I’m originally from Middelburg, and I did my Bachelor’s and Master’s at TU Delft, both in Industrial Design Engineering. During my Master’s I had my start-up together with two other students, called Goodcase. I also worked for two years at a company, which was a small start-up. When working there, it really enriched my time as a student so I’d definitely recommend getting some work experience during your studies. And now I’m a technology trainee at VodafoneZiggo, a company that provides communication and entertainment services to consumers and businesses in the Netherlands.
How did you get your passion for design?
I was always drawing and painting, and I enjoyed that a lot. I lost that a bit once I got to middle school, and then I got really interested in tech; about how things work and how they are made. And then all of a sudden I had to search for the next step, and saw this study which combined creativity and technical knowledge. I thought it would be a great fit, so I went to the open day and I knew that I didn’t have to look anywhere else.
How was your experience with your start-up, Goodcase?
Goodcase was a start-up which aimed to accelerate the transition to a sustainable diet. On one hand we saw a lot of start-ups/small companies in the Netherlands which produced very innovative sustainable food. And on the other hand we saw a lot of customers willing to eat responsibly. However they lacked the time to do their own research or find alternatives outside the supermarket. We tried to combine both parties by assembling boxes with sustainable food from the provider, and delivering it directly to the customers. We wanted to tell the story of the food they were going to experience, the start-ups which made them, and inform and engage them in that way. And with Goodcase we hoped to help them start their own journey of sustainable food discovery.
How did you come up with Goodcase as an idea?
We were all interested in sustainability, and we all like food, so we thought ‘let’s do something with that.’ There was one company called Haagse Zwam in The Hague and they were producing oyster mushrooms that they grew on used coffee grounds. That’s really a sustainable way of growing produce, and they really inspired us to start the venture. They connected us with a lot of other start-ups as well, so we started there.
What’s the status of Goodcase now?
We killed it, for multiple reasons. You have to look very good at your team. You start as friends and you know each other a little bit, but it’s really important that you get to know each other very well. During your journey You get to know each other in a very different fashion and you need to have a strong basis. We also realized that we lacked diversity in our skillset. On the other hand we were still doing our studies, and I think for all of us it was a good chance to gain more working experience. Overall though Goodcase was a great learning experience.
What did you discuss during your guest lecture at Global School for Entrepreneurship?
I talked about how we did our pilot rounds where we sorted all these boxes. We went over the stories of Goodcase, and shared the experiences with that; like how we delivered the first boxes on our bikes. We also talked about mistakes that were made. And that now you can laugh about them of course, but when you actually make it or recognize you made one then it’s not that fun. You have to deal with it and be prepared that you are going to make a lot more mistakes. And of course when you make mistakes, when you don’t have the insight yet, then all you can do is just handle it with your best interest. Making mistakes is very important, it’s a part of learning. But how you deal with them is how you can really make a difference.
Do you have any advice for future entrepreneurs?
Really stick to your team. You really need to know each other in good or in bad times. It feels almost like a marriage. Also get to know your customer, that’s the most important thing. Even if you think they know them you probably don’t know them well enough. If you have the right mindset then you’re always eager to learn more about them and make a greater impact. And of course, like I mentioned before, be prepared to make mistakes.
Plans for the future, any set sights on a new enterprise?
For now the plan is to gain more experience, and VodafoneZiggo is a great company for that. I want to develop myself some more, and then we’ll see what the future brings.