Name: Erik-Jan Schreurs
Occupation: Founder of ReSnap
Advice for starting entrepreneurs: “You need a lot of determination to power through 99 rejections until you get one solid ‘yes’.”
Erik-Jan is one of the founders of ReSnap. Recently, his company merged with a large corporate, Albelli. In an interview we asked him about entrepreneurship, success, failure and his passion.
Erik-Jan started studying Business Administration at Radboud University, but decided to change his major, as he didn’t enjoy the research courses. He changed to Commercial Economy at the HAN University of Applied Sciences and graduated within 3,5 years. During his study, he started his very first business in narrow casting, which means targeting audiences through television displays at strategic locations. He installed a video system at the University and sold advertisements to companies to be displayed on the screens. When the university prohibited commercial outings on the screens, the university decided to buy the system from Erik-Jan. At that time he was 21 years old. “After selling my first business I asked myself, what should we do next?”
For a while Erik-Jan and his companion helped scientists at Radboud University with launching their ideas into society. Mainly that meant writing grant applications and meanwhile waiting for a great idea of their own. And then it struck them! “It all actually happened out of frustration. We came back from our holidays and we wanted to create a photo album with the photos we took during our trips. But it took so much time!” They decided to develop a less time consuming solution for creating a photo album. This is how ReSnap was born.
Erik-Jan and his companion knew they needed a technological solution. However, their knowledge of technology was quite limited at that time. By spreading flyers on campus they found the person they were looking for. A fourth member joined the team and they all became founders of ReSnap.
In 2013 they developed their first technological tool for selecting photos and creating photo albums using Facebook. They measured the popularity of personal photos by ‘likes’ and comments. The most popular photos were selected for personal photo albums. They launched this tool with the Dutch company PostNL, but it didn’t lead to a lot of sales.
“Then the social media platform Hyves announced to quit. People were wondering what would happen with the photos they published on the platform. Well, we had the solution.” In collaboration with Hyves they launched the website redjehyves.nl (save your Hyves), using similar technology they used on Facebook. Within two weeks ReSnap’s sales increased significantly. “Although everything that could go wrong actually went wrong during that time, but we learned a lot from it.”
Experienced by their successes and failures they got their big breakthrough. They were asked to develop a tool that selects personal photos without the interference of social media platforms. This meant a new challenge for the ReSnap-team. They came up with a tool based on Artificial intelligence. It selects photos with the highest quality and it’s also programmed to pick photos people think are the most beautiful. This approach appeared to be very successful. After three years of developing, they got an offer from Albelli (the largest photo book supplier in the Netherlands) and they merged in September 2017.
When we asked Erik-Jan what valuable lesson he learned in the past five years, he told that he now knows how to make money. “Being an entrepreneur is not that easy and romantic as it often is being portrayed nowadays. You have to work hard and be stubborn to build something from scratch, but more important, you need to learn how to make money.”
Looking back Erik-Jan enjoyed the process of starting a company, especially in Nijmegen. “I would recommend people to start doing business in Nijmegen. Particularly at the Heyendaal Campus where they develop so many interesting and innovative ideas. Also, the quality of the innovations is really high. I think that is something rare. So, get inspired and go get your solid ‘yes’.”