Every month we ask an entrepreneur, CEO or investor that visits Holland Startup 5 questions, and share their answers with our community. This month we asked Pascal Ontijd, co-founder of SnappCar, to share his vision, insights and experience with us.
What do you believe that few people agree with you on?
There are a number of issues in the world that require a much higher sense of urgency in pushing for improvement. I’m mainly focused on climate change, social isolation and inequality at home and around the world. People around me do acknowledge and observe these issues but many people do not agree with me on how quickly we should move to solve these problems. It’s time to kick into high gear to address these fundamental issues.
What’s something you’d tell your younger self?
I should have started my first company earlier than I did. Just start and you’ll learn and improve much quicker. I probably should not even have finished my university degree. From high school onward I felt like my way of thinking did not fit the system. I probably could have spent my time much better by just doing and learning that way. Don’t get me wrong, I had an amazing time as a student. But I did not take away any skills that I really needed and could not have learned by just going out and doing what I wanted to do. If I would have started my first company earlier I would have found and developed my own style of working much quicker, instead of trying to follow someone else's process.
What’s the most useful piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Follow your gut feeling. This may sound easy but it really isn’t. It is a constant point of attention for me. I have encountered the struggle with my gut feeling tens maybe even hundreds of times. What would have happened if 5 years ago I had not followed my dreams and started SnappCar? This struggle continuously surfaces in the small choices of daily startup life.
Are there any lessons you’ve had to learn multiple times?
As I said among other things the realization that you have to follow your gut feeling. I need to constantly remind myself of this personal rule. I also have the tendency to lose myself in the thing I’m currently working on. This results in an inability to take a step back from what I’m focusing on and make the right decisions. Finally I think that most of the times I’m already multiple steps ahead of the people around me. This causes communication problems and it makes it hard for me to focus on the current tasks at hand. Often I don’t have the peace of mind to store these ideas somewhere and work on them when the people around me are ready for them.
What’s next for you?
I want to keep making an impact on the problems that I feel are most dangerous to our society and the world. Making sure that that impact keeps growing is a big point of focus for me. I do this through my company and I hope to start more of those in the coming years. Maybe parallel to the things I’m working on now or as separate ventures. In the future I would like to expand my impact by empowering others to make a difference in areas I find important. Impact and empowerment of others are what I will be working on the coming years.