– “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” author Mark Twain once said. –

Holland in the Valley profiles nine Dutch entrepreneurs, who all caught these trade winds in their sails and set foot in the land of entrepreneurship: Silicon Valley. Their journeys are adventurous, sometimes very difficult and often a lot of fun. They all shared their experiences with Holland in the Valley. You can read their profiles here, as written down by Elleke Bal, journalist for The Intelligent Optimist. And be sure not to miss the additional video-interviews.


In the 28 years Erik Rutten has worked for DSM, he has seen the multinational evolve from a traditional chemical company into a products and materials specialist for the health and nutrition sectors. As an investment manager for DSM located in Silicon Valley, Rutten spends his time looking for startups developing products that fit with DSM’s new profile, to partner with them and generate innovation together. Read more in the full profile here.


EFactor is a San Francisco-based company offering a social network for entrepreneurs. The company is run by Adrie Reinders, Roeland Reinders, and Marion Freijsen from their offices in the iconic Flood Building in the heart of the city. Read the full profile here.


Pieter Bas Leezenberg is working to unleash a minor revolution in the world of infrastructure inspection. With his company Hansje Brinker, he analyzes locations such as levees, dams, railroad tracks and buildings using satellite images. Read the full profile here.


During an internship at Philips as an industrial design student in Eindhoven many years ago, Maaike Evers was advised by her mentor to spend some time in America. She ended up never leaving the US ever since, working at several design firms and starting her own business. A year ago, Google asked her and her American partner Mike if they would like to set up an industrial design team for Android. Read the full profile here.


Jan Paul Teuwen and Eric Senders of San Jose-based Philips Lumileds are interviewed by Elleke Bal for the latest in our series of Featured Profiles. Learn more about the LED business and why being located in the Bay Area is an asset to the company. Read the full profile here.



How can you make a business out of hacking? In this featured profile Jasper van Woudenberg, CTO of Riscure explains how the company tries to help their customers  improve the security of a product by breaking them, the  advantages of being physically present in Silicon Valley, and how you can be polite and honest at the same time. Read this and more in the full profile here.


Symbaloo.com is a personal homepage that organizes all the websites you regularly visit into an orderly “webmix” of colorful tiles. Founded by a group of students from Delft University, the company is now led by seasoned entrepreneur Klaas Lameijer, who opened a second office in Costa Mesa and has managed to grow the site to 1.5 million users. And he wants the company to grow much larger.  Read the full profile here.


When his Internet startup Tinypay landed one million dollars in funding from an investor, Valentin Smirnoff moved from the Netherlands to Silicon Valley. And even though he experienced ups and downs with his company, he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else to execute his new entrepreneurial ideas. Read the full profile here.


For the last two years, Neal Blaak and his partner Jan van Ottele have been making it easy for all your tech-y devices to talk to each other effectively with mobile applications from their company, ZappoTV. Read the interview with Silicon Valley-based Blaak here.

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