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JADS Lustrum Stories: Koen Aarns, Founder of Bluetick

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In our series of JADS lustrum stories, Koen Aarns, Founder of Bluetick (graduated from JADS January 2020), shares with us his personal experience with JADS. 

The ‘Why?’ question

“When I started studying at JADS in 2017, I expected to learn how to work with data in the real world. I always thought I wanted to apply it at large companies, which was considered the holy grail during my BSc in International Business at Tilburg University. 

Soon, I noticed I was surrounded by curious and critical students who questioned my common beliefs. I don’t think I ever heard the question of “why” that often, especially from students like Axel Jansen, who were experienced in setting up companies. Sometimes it was annoying when common beliefs were challenged, but it opened up a space of personal growth. We formed a “business club” with a group of around 10 like-minded students to share ideas and knowledge. We conducted weekly brainstorm sessions at JADS and visited scale-ups and investors.  

Soon, the JADS staff noticed a need for students to get together with like-minded students and discuss any topics related to entrepreneurship. Later, this concept grew to be the JADS Playground. ”

Entrepreneurship in Action

“This, combined with the group work, led me to seriously reconsider working for a corporate and start something for myself. From the course Data Entrepreneurship in Action III, I started working on a research platform for lawyers with fellow students I currently call my co-founders.  

During our early days, Ruud Sneep -the driving force behind the JADS Playground- helped us a lot. For example, Ruud interviewed all founders of Bluetick about our expectations regarding the future and drafted a cooperation agreement based on these conversations. This document became the basis of us collaborating more seriously and professionally. Ruud helped us get to the next phase of growth by introducing us to the Investor Readiness Program (IRP) of the BOM in Tilburg. This turned out to be a natural transition and led us to validate the problem we aimed to solve. ”

Flexibility of JADS

“All this time, JADS showed itself to be an entrepreneurial university in the sense that it provided us all the space we needed to get through the early days of starting our company. We were allowed to skip lectures and received extended deadlines for assignments, which resulted in the successful launch of Bluetick while graduating without delays. All in all, the JADS community in general and the Playground specifically helped to activate my critical thinking and lit a fire to create something meaningful rather than follow the crowd.”

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