IESE MBA’s Start-up Chosen by Wayra

The firm Treeveo will become operative in early May

12/04/2013 Barcelona

Jeroen Kemperman

The digital business Treeveo, founded by the second-year MBA student Jeroen Kemperman, is one of the new projects chosen in 2013 by Wayra to receive development funding. Wayra was established by Telefónica in 2011 to encourage the best business models in the IT field and help them to grow. Wayra currently operates in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Spain, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela and plans to expand in Europe is search of new ideas.

After being selected as one of the winning projects at "Wayra Week Barcelona 2013," held on Match 19, Treeveo will receive an initial investment of €40,000, a rent-free workspace in the Torre Telefónica in Barcelona for six months, mentoring and access to the platform’s network of investors. Treeveo is expected to become operational in early May.

A Hard Road to Travel

"The first I heard of Wayra was through IESE’s MBA Career Services," says Jeroen. "At the time I was a first year and wasn’t eligible but later I attended a presentation in class and saw that this could be a great opportunity for me and my project and so I registered for the 2013 competition."

Jeroen said it has been a long hard journey. "To begin with, 350 teams had to present the documentation behind our ideas from which Wayra chose 40 to go into the semi-final. In that round we had to explain our proposal to a group representing the platform who chose 16 that would go into the final phase. The last round was the decisive one as each team had only five minutes to present their project to a panel of specialists followed by a 10-minute Q&A. Our team had to work hard to get there but we knew the project so well and we had trained hard so we were well prepared for the selection phases."

IESE is a Unique Milieu in Which to Create Companies

Jeroen doesn’t believe that being an IESE student gave him a special advantage over the other teams but is convinced that if he hadn’t studied at IESE he wouldn’t have been able to present the project with the same guarantees. "What’s important isn’t so much the school’s prestige but the support you get to work on your project and the knowledge you acquire about entrepreneurship. Is this sense, IESE is a unique place for an entrepreneur. You acquire high quality knowledge, it opens the door to a huge network of contacts and, being a two-year program, it gives you – through the entrepreneurs’ club - time to propose and develop an entrepreneurial project. Furthermore, the professors are always on hand to help and, in my case, their support has been fundamental."

Entrepreneurship Beyond the Digital World

Treeveo is web tool designed to help companies involved in the merger process. The aim is to maximize the synergies between two merging companies and minimize any loss of efficiency during the process. "Before I came to IESE I went through a similar experience and there were no tools like this so I believed there was a demand for my project. I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, to develop my own company, grow it and through it contribute to society. And although I have a wife and two children, this is the right moment to try to do it while I’m in the perfect milieu to achieve it," Jeroen said.

"I don’t know if Treeveo will be a success but my idea is to manage it until it grows up. After that, we shall see what life brings, but I’m sure my career will always been linked to entrepreneurship. These days loads of new digital projects are appearing because it’s relatively cheap and the knowledge isn’t hard to acquire, but there are other paths to explore, such as health and medicine. I think the future will involve more interaction between business schools and technical universities in order to bring together academics and executives who can develop this type of project."

With An Eye on Silicon Valley

Like Jeroen, any entrepreneur carries Silicon Valley in their head as a point of reference which is why, when he arrived at IESE in 2011, he had the idea of organizing an annual visit of a group of professors and students to California to learn in situ from some of the world’s most successful companies.

In 2012, 20 MBA students took part in the first "IESE Meets the Valley" experience which included three events, meeting with 25 business people and visits to 20 companies. The 2013 trip took place from March 25-31 and students visited companies such as WhatsApp, Khosla Ventures, 500 Startups, Lemon, Dorsey & Whitney, Scale Venture Partners and Cisco Systems.

"It was a terrific experience. The quality of the visits and meetings exceeded our expectations and all the students came back feeling really satisfied. It was also interesting that a journalist from Poets & Quants came with us in order to write an article about the trip," says Jeroen.