Dutch Startup Changemakers: Graciëlla van Vliet

Graciëlla van Vliet is an enthusiastic and passionate entrepreneur. She’s the Co-Founder of Closure, a service for relatives to end or alter subscriptions, contracts and accounts of their loved one, once he/she has passed away. Find out how she entered the startup world, what is it about entrepreneurship that particularly attracts her and what are the top 3 lessons for founders she learned over the years.
A brunette in a light coloured shirt posing for a photo

1. Hi Graciëlla, thank you for agreeing to do the interview. Could you tell us a bit about your background and how you entered the startup world?

Entrepreneurship has always been my passion: from side projects along with my studies to starting my food truck (yes, I still own it!). What I learned is that, if you want your business to succeed, you should either ‘go big or go home’. So when my partner in crime, Chantal van der Velde, and I wanted to start Closure, it took us less than a week to quit our jobs and become fully committed to the business. A few months later, Bart Verhaegh, who is a good friend of mine I used to work with on the previous project, joined our team as well. That’s how we got the engine running!

2. You’re a Co-Founder at Closure. Tell us about your mission there.

At Closure, we know that finalising the Digital Identity – consisting of all contracts, accounts, and subscriptions – of a deceased loved one is a heavy burden. Through Closure, relatives can have all contracts, accounts, and subscriptions only in one overview. As a relative, you provide all data required to finish or change the ownership of all contracts at once. Then, you can easily manage and see the status of all subscriptions, contracts, and accounts. In this way, we unburden relatives by saving them hours of emotional distress, administrative paperwork and hundreds of € due to ongoing contract costs.

3. What is it about entrepreneurship that particularly attracts you?

I love being able to build and create new products, services, and value propositions, or to think and act fast and then experience a direct impact. Whether our team came up with something ‘yesterday’, it can often be created ‘today’ and evaluated ‘tomorrow’. That is something I cherish and believe is hard to find outside the entrepreneurial field.

4. Could you share the top 3 lessons for founders you learned over the years in the startup world?

1. ‘Sell before you build’ to avoid wasting a lot of hours for expensive IT, product management and features you may not need after all.
2. Listen to your customers, but remain focussed! Don’t let them make you deviate from your core strategy to avoid whiplashes from all the opportunities you encounter along the way.
3. B2 (corporate) B requires patience.

5. What are your plans for the upcoming months, what will you focus on?

We will focus on growing our network of corporate partner organisations and funeral directors. To accelerate this process, we are currently putting a lot of effort into finding the best people to expand our team. So if you are looking for an exciting opportunity, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Thank you for granting us the interview, Graciëlla. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours!

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