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Startup Spotlight: From corporate analytics to startup at the JADS Playground

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In this interview series, we shine a spotlight on the innovative minds behind the startups at the JADS Playground. We had the pleasure of speaking with Dennis van de Wiel, an experienced data scientist, who decided to leave corporate analytics behind to embark on an exciting startup journey. In this interview we explore his background, his startup, and the unique role that JADS and its ecosystem have played in his entrepreneurial venture.

Can you tell me about your background and your connection to JADS?

“I am originally a Data Scientist/econometrician, with a background of 15 years at KPMG. My focus has always been on understanding businesses through data, with a focus on discovering risks. In 2016, I became the Head of Business Analytics, forming a new department within KPMG. I had to build a team, and at that time, Data Science wasn’t a well-established field, so I was looking for a training program to create a common language in data science and establish a strong foundation.

That’s when I discovered JADS, and a tailored program was crafted for KPMG within the existing Professional Education program. Both JADS and KPMG’s Data & Analytics suite operated with the entrepreneurial spirit of a startup, finding common ground in shaping the program to benefit the participants and the business world.

After 15 years I decided to leave KPMG, because at that point, two things converged. I have always had the dream to create a new technology and build a company around it. It onlytook me 15 years to build the confidence to do so. Secondly I realized I was halfway through my career, and if I wanted to chase this dream, now was the time.

Starting a company with Max and Martijn was about proving ourselves.. The challenge to create something of value that was not there before. I got the opportunity to stay attached to JADS as Community Academic Director of the KPMG program, and decided to take it with both hands.

Tell me about your startup, Tidal Control

Tidal Control addresses a niche at the intersection of data science and compliance auditing. Traditional auditing involves extensive interviews and checks, often while bothering quite a lot of people at the audited company. Instead, we connect directly to the software of organisations and just automatically gather the information we need for the auditor. Becoming compliant with rules and regulations suddenly becomes streamlined, requiring less time for auditors and preparation for the company. In doing so, we aim to bridge the gap between the relatively sheltered world of auditors, and the growing group of technology-driven businesses ”

What is your connection to the JADS playground?

“Geert Jan Peters, who headed the Professional Educations programs of JADS, introduced me to Jonie Oostveen, the head of the JADS Playground. When we started we knew enough about corporates, what they need and how to sell to them, but we were newcomers in the startup world. Jonie suggested that we could learn a lot from the startups in the playground, and in turn, our corporate experience could be beneficial to them. He was right! It was a mutually beneficial exchange. The ecosystem plays its role. When discussing startups, people often refer to Silicon Valley, where everyone in the startup ecosystemsupports each other. I believe a similar dynamic is at play within the brainport region.”

What is unique about the Playground and JADS?

“The biggest strength lies in the focused emphasis on data science; it’s not a byproduct. The integration of education, research, and entrepreneurship in one place is unparalleled. The collaborative environment is enhanced by the uniqueness of the Mariënburg.”

What advice would you give other Entrepreneurs?

“The most crucial advice is to talk to as many people as possible and crowdsource their knowledge. Ask for help and seek as much feedback as you can get, even if you think someone may not be able to assist you. Some of the best things that happened to us came from unexpected encounters..”

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