Startup in the spotlight: Closure
Startup in the spotlight is a new StartupUtrecht initiative to showcase our wonderful portfolio of regional startups and their founders. In the first of the series, we have Chantal van der Velde, founder of Closure.
Hello Chantal. Can you briefly introduce Closure?
"Closure is a service that digitally supports relatives in completing subscriptions, contracts and accounts of deceased people. The moment someone dies, it can be difficult for surviving relatives to close all the accounts. After all, they do not know exactly where people are all registered. Closure does that job for you! "
How did you get the idea for Closure?
"As an econometristian, I have always been fascinated by the question of what happens to your data after you die. Almost everyone knows someone who still exists on Facebook or Linkedin, while the person is no longer there. For survivors, closing social media, but also telecom, electricity, magazines and all other subscriptions, contracts and (online) accounts often takes a lot of time after their friend or family member has died. It involves unnecessary costs and a constant confrontation with their loss. My co-founder, Graciëlla van Hamersveld, and I wanted to change that. And that's how the first rough idea for Closure came about. '
Then you have an idea ... how did you proceed from there?
"We have really taken the time to speak to many people from the market and the target group. Do people actually have this problem? Are they open to our solution? How do we actually make money with it? Searching for the right product market fit means a lot of talking and finetuning. For example, in our case it turned out that also companies benefited a lot from our service. For them too, handling contracts and subscriptions is a time-consuming and costly process, with sometimes intensive customer moments as a result. And the constant danger of making a mistake in such a delicate process. We can help those companies. "
Now ten months later, you are already the proud winner of the Philips Innovation Award. How do you explain that quick success?
"Yes, it indeed all happened very fast. The jury praised that we address such a well-known problem. She also saw a lot of potential in our scalable business model and team. Especially the team part is making me very proud. With Bart Verhaegh as third shareholder, and Marenne Hoogenboom and Jochem Meeuwissen and two other people coming up, we really have a team that is ready to complete our mission. "
And that is ...?
"Become the survivor's desk for the private sector. A desk that relieves relatives, just like the municipality does in the public sector. As soon as a person dies, the municipality automatically informs other government institutions, such as the tax authorities, the UWV, the SVB and the Dienst Uitvoering Onderwijs. We want to take that role towards private parties."
What will be the next step to get there?
"We will first pilot together with two large companies and one of the largest funeral insurers in the Netherlands. During this pilot we will continue to validate and optimize our service for both survivors and companies, so that we can increase our value and grow rapidly. "
Good luck! Finally, do you have important tip for other starting entrepreneurs to get quick successes like you?
"Yes, open up to input and advice from others. People always like to help.