Dutch Startup Changemakers: Phuong Do

We interviewed Phuong Do, a serial entrepreneur and founder of many companies in tech, design and product. She’s also the Global Head at Startupbootcamp, where her mission is to empower hundreds of startups and scale-ups by helping them to find growth opportunities that can scale their technologies. Find out how she entered the startup world, what is it about the startup world that particularly attracts her and what are her top 3 lessons for founders she learned over the years.
A brunette Asian woman smiling while posing for a photo

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

I’ve been a serial entrepreneur for over 15 years and founder of companies in tech, design & product where I brought my ideas to realisation. There is nothing more beautiful, but also nothing more agonising. It’s a rollercoaster ride with surprises at every turn. It was in 2012 that I entered Startupbootcamp (in Amsterdam) with a tech company I co-founded called Layergloss. 

2. You’re the Global Head at Startupbootcamp. Tell us about your mission there.

Both entrepreneurship and innovation are at the core of our DNA. Together with the Startupbootcamp team, I’m on a mission to empower the corporate clients we work with, by bringing the outside innovation inside. We’re dedicated to helping our clients innovate faster and smarter by harnessing the disruptive potential of startups and scale-ups. And then, of course, we’re also on a mission to empower the hundreds of startups and scale-ups that we work with by helping them to find growth opportunities that can scale their technologies at speed!

3. What is it about the startup world that particularly attracts you?

I love working with passionate people who want to change the world with their innovative ideas. I enjoy driving and inspiring both creative and technical people. I love helping people to communicate their ideas in a way so that their grandma also understands it and then converting those beautiful words into action.

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

  • Is there a real customer problem you’re solving? As a founder, you have to be obsessed with the problem you’re solving, and relentlessly resourceful in finding creative solutions for the problem you’re trying to solve. If there isn’t a real problem – if there’s no need for your product or service, you need to carefully consider if you should be working on it in the first place.
  • Realise that your startup is something you’re going to be working on 24/7. As a founder, you will have to give up many things in life (social life, financial stability etc.), because this endeavour of starting your own company will be what takes precedence over lots of things.
  • Surround yourself with the right team. 8 out of 10 startups experience founder issues along the way. Be aware of that – stay open and keep talking to your co-founders. It’s a long and adventurous road, but it is definitely going to be a rollercoaster. In a startup, you’re going to be working under extreme pressure, so it’s always good to stay focused on building the right team and keeping open communication between you and other founders. 

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

We have some great initiatives coming up, focused on innovative and interesting industries. Right now here in Amsterdam, we have our flagship Media program running, supported by the program partners such as RTL, Moon Ventures and Veronica Ventures. We’re also working on HealthInc, a digital health accelerator together with the Amsterdam Health and Technology Institute. Another new program that’s about to kick-off is our FashionTech Milan program. Our Italian team has already begun scouting, so we’re excited about that as well! We’re feeling really energised because, within a short period, we’ll be able to empower so many startups and corporates in the upcoming months!

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

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