In the “Meet the Startup Board Member” we profile a member of our ScaleUpBoard alumni community. Today we are speaking with Class 14 alumnus, Koen Mulders.
Koen is a ScaleUpBoard alumnus with over 20 years of experience in value creation and business leadership. His background in business, team leadership, and innovation makes him uniquely skilled in Global P&L and end-to-end value chain management. Koen is Global Business Leader and Vice President at Versuni (PE, Philips Domestic Appliances). He is eager to bring in his broad expertise to advise (impact) scale-ups and be a catalyst for their success.
In his free time, Koen is an avid rower, enjoys nature, hiking, and spending time with his family, and he likes to learn new things like wing foiling.
Learn more about Koen and his experience in the ScaleUpBoard program below!
Meet… Koen Mulders!
What is your headline?
Global Business Leader | Value Creator & Innovator | Connector
As a business leader, I like to build and grow global businesses and teams. I focus on creating value, innovation, and scaling. I aim to spark and foster impactful connections across teams, functions, and insights. I wish to be a catalyst for innovative solutions, collaboration synergies, engagement, and transformation.
What are you passionate about professionally?
To support scale-ups, I can offer my experience of understanding and interacting with all different functions across the value chain such as design, research, innovation, supply chain, finance, marketing, sales, and customers. I can help create a clear strategic vision to steer and connect people across disciplines, so the group can move toward the same ambitious goals.
I enjoy creating and scaling businesses with an energized team. In my view, it starts by truly understanding the consumer to create relevant innovations matching their needs and at the same time take care of our planet. Offering this proposition and a fitting business model can inspire them to transition, or at least change old habits. I am happy to bring in my skills and experience to support scale-ups that aim to create a positive impact.
Which sessions of the ScaleUpBoard program did you find the most insightful?
I really liked the case studies, the teamwork, and the examples presented by the ScaleUpBoard experts. The collective knowledge from the diverse participants and faculty members created great dialogues, with interesting perspectives and rich insights. Through this process, you see the typical challenges that arise in many scale-ups. This is the power and strength of participating in this program. You become aware of the challenges that affect scale-ups and how you can deal with them effectively, both from a hard and soft-skills perspective. The dialogues and case studies help you to know what to expect in real-life situations. So you will be better prepared as a board member.
How do you want to add value to a board?
My main value-add is my experience in building businesses and teams from scratch to global success. Over the past 20 years, I developed an ambidextrous leadership style in which, on the one hand, I lead to “explore”, and craft a vision and strategy to generate growth. On the other hand, I drive “execution” to run a business efficiently, tackle challenges and drive continuous improvement. I get energy from connecting teams to enable synergy and engagement, especially on the edge of innovation and business. I see people who are great at innovation and others who are commercially excellent, but not many who lead at both. Understanding each, I like to connect these worlds for joint success.
ScaleUpBoard taught me how to apply my experience in the best way within a scale-up context.
If you are on or have been on a board or in an advisory position, how did you encounter the opportunity? If not, what type of board role are you seeking?
Ideally, I would like to work with an impact scale-up. In a board role or as a business coach to a founder. The founder-to-CEO transition is often difficult. Many founders are great at innovating and creating strong start-ups. Yet moving through the scale-up phase requires a different skill set and experience level. I can help a founding team with scaling their company in order to realize their dream with impact.
What is the best piece of advice someone gave to you?
“Slow down to speed up”
Many teams try to run faster. This is ok, yet I learned, that it’s best to pause once in a while to reflect to be able to see what is really needed to achieve one’s goals in the best possible way. Reflecting on for example: Are we doing the right things, in the right way, or do we need to pivot? What did we learn? Do we need to make new strategic choices? Where to focus on? How do we manage and balance the attention of the leadership team between ‘execution’ (operations, efficiencies) and ‘exploration’ (new opportunities, innovation, growth)? If you take time every now and then, together with your team, to ‘check in’ it will facilitate connection to shift gears. This results in reaching your goals faster, as well as reaching further.
What do you want your impact to be through your work?
I would like to put my skills in service of a scale-up that has a mission to create a positive impact. I can help a scale-up to grow and mature for lasting impact.
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