Zerocopy interview: A chat with Maxime Carpentier – Part 1

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For the next few weeks we will share an interview with our CEO Maxime Carpentier. We will discuss how Zerocopy came to be, the challenges Maxime faced and where he wants to go.

This week, how he joined Zerocopy and what attracted him to it.

Enjoy!

  1. Can you briefly explain how you joined the Zerocopy adventure?

From an early age, I knew I wanted to become an entrepreneur one day. When at University (2006-2011), I realized that most of the student-entrepreneurs were engineers.  These people can actually build or program something. As a History student, the odds were very much against me! Then I realized: if you can’t make it, sell it! Therefore, I started following every sales training I could, read books on sales and started going to many entrepreneurial network events.

Through these events I met people with whom I tried several projects, but nothing really took off. As time went by, I was surprised by a Linkedin update from one of my former History class mates. Kjell Clarysse, who  was enrolled at Vlerick Business School at that moment, founded a company. When looking more into detail, I saw that the co-founder was Werner Raeymaeckers, whom I knew when I was student representative at Ghent University.

When historians start companies, it triggers my curiosity! We started chatting via Linkedin and quickly decided to meet up at Sint-Goriksplein (Saint-Géry) in Brussels. It was there, in the sun, on a terrace, drinking a Vedett, that Kjell blew me away with a simple, but genius idea: why don’t we let all students print their courses for free and finance it with advertising in the courses.

I was immediately sold to the idea, so I wanted to help them with their sales and with what I had learned from my Master in Entrepreneurship at Rotterdam School of Management.

After a couple of months, Kjell told me that his two co-founders had left the company. In March 2013, when the company was 10 months old and already had proven first traction in the market, he asked me to join the company. Already quite some time before he asked me to join, I was dreaming about it! Therefore,  I didn’t hesitate and joined through a capital increase. In the process, I also took over a part of Kjell’s shares. In total I invested 250% of all my money.

  1. What attracted you?

First of all, I liked the idea from the beginning because it is so simple and it really helps students. For me, there is a kind of Robin-hood logic in the concept: the rich corporates pay, so the poor students can print for free. Lowering the financial barriers to higher education, with a for-profit-model, where corporates can invest in higher education and thus invest in better educated future employees and increase their buying power,… I loved it! However big the idea, we had to start small and use Belgium as a test market before scaling worldwide, the ultimate dream.

Secondly, before Zerocopy, I  launched the Knaek, the student discount card from the Netherlands in Belgium in cooperation with Arnaud Van der Veen. The fact that I could build upon the experience I had with the student and advertising market also was a very attractive feature of the concept for me.

  1. And now you are managing Zerocopy alone?

Well, alone… we have a team of 8 people at the moment. Besides them, we work with a lot of students. It is true however, that Kjell, the last original founder left Zerocopy 2 and a half years ago. At the time, it was quite a challenge to go from two full time managers to just one.

Luckily, I was supported by Klaus Lommatzsch and Marc Bresseel from Duval Union. Together we took over the shares of Kjell and I could count on Alvaro Sendon Aleu for our IT support. Alvaro and Floris Caes, who helped with advertising partnerships, were the very first employees of Zerocopy.

Tune in next week for the biggest challenges, the best advice and what he would have done differently!

Screenshot 2017-03-14 at 08.52.52

]

For the next few weeks we will share an interview with our CEO Maxime Carpentier. We will discuss how Zerocopy came to be, the challenges Maxime faced and where he wants to go.

This week, how he joined Zerocopy and what attracted him to it.

Enjoy!

Can you briefly explain how you joined the Zerocopy adventure?

From an early age, I knew I wanted to become an entrepreneur one day. When at University (2006-2011), I realized that most of the student-entrepreneurs were engineers. These people can actually build or program something. As a History student, the odds were very much against me! Then I realized: if you can’t make it, sell it! Therefore, I started following every sales training I could, read books on sales and started goingto many entrepreneurial network events.

Through these events I met people with whom I tried several projects, but nothing really took off. As time went by, I was surprised by a Linkedin update fromone of my former History class mates. Kjell Clarysse, who was enrolled at Vlerick Business School at that moment, founded a company. When looking more into detail, I saw that the co-founder was Werner Raeymaeckers, whom I knew when I was student representative at Ghent University.

When historians start companies, it triggersmy curiosity! We started chatting via Linkedin and quickly decided to meet up at Sint-Goriksplein (Saint-Géry) in Brussels. It was there, in the sun, on a terrace, drinking a Vedett, that Kjell blew me away with a simple, but genius idea: why don’t we let all students print their courses for free and finance it with advertising in the courses.

I was immediately sold to the idea, so I wanted to help them with their sales and withwhat I had learned frommy Master in Entrepreneurship at Rotterdam School of Management.

After a couple of months, Kjell told me that his two co-founders had left the company. In March 2013, when the company was 10 monthsold and already had proven first traction in the market, he asked me to join the company. Already quite some time before he asked me to join, I was dreaming about it! Therefore, I didn’t hesitate and joined through a capital increase. In the process, I alsotook over a part of Kjell’s shares. In total I invested 250% of all my money.

What attracted you?

First of all, I liked the idea from the beginning because it is so simple and it really helps students. For me, there is a kind of Robin-hood logic in the concept: the richcorporates pay, so the poor students can print for free. Lowering the financial barriers to higher education, with a for-profit-model, where corporates can invest in higher education and thus invest in better educated future employees and increase their buying power,… I loved it! However big the idea, we hadtostart small and useBelgium as a test market beforescaling worldwide, the ultimate dream.

Secondly, before Zerocopy, I launched the Knaek, the student discount card from the Netherlands in Belgium in cooperationwith Arnaud Van der Veen.The fact that I could build upon the experience I had with the student and advertising market also was a very attractive feature of the concept for me.

And now you are managing Zerocopy alone?

Well, alone… we have a team of 8 people at the moment. Besides them,we work with a lot of students. It is true however, that Kjell, the last original founder left Zerocopy 2 and a half years ago. At the time, it was quite a challenge to go from two full time managers to just one.

Luckily, I was supported by Klaus Lommatzsch and Marc Bresseel from Duval Union. Together wetook over the shares of Kjell and I could count on Alvaro Sendon Aleu for our IT support.Alvaro and Floris Caes, who helped with advertising partnerships, were the very first employees of Zerocopy.

Tune in next week for the biggest challenges, the best advice and what he would have done differently!

Screenshot 2017-03-14 at 08.52.52

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