The Scaling Experts

Our faculty members live and breathe scaling. Check out their track record.


scaling expert

Menno van Dijk

Scaling Strategy

Menno is the founder of ScaleUpNation. His expertise is in leadership, business strategy and growth. He helped many companies to scale and he is always looking for supporting the future innovative enterprises. Menno worked for McKinsey & Company in most European countries, US, Australia, South Africa, China and India . Now, his goal is to make scale-ups achieve success, since “only the companies that scale can move the needle in terms of impact, value creation and employment”.

Robert Oushoorn

Business Engine

Robert’s expertise can be found in business strategy. His career started at Shell, as a business analyst and then marketing & sales manager of Europe. After that he joined Strategy& as Partner and Vice President for over 13 years. Then, he joined Bain & Company as partner, for global management consulting that is dedicated to developing practical, action oriented insights to deliver undering results, mostly focusing on strategy, operations, technology, organizations and M&A decisions.

Robert has a MsC in Chemistry from Leiden University, a PhD in Chemistry and Physics from Paris-Sud university, and an MBA from INSEAD.

Rod Ben Zeev

Rod Ben Zeev

Mission & Vision

Rod’s career started off with playwriting and screenwriting, having passed through stand-up comedy, storytelling, and improvisational theatre. His main metric of success? LPM - laughs per minute. He uses those soft skills for training behavior change through role plays, writing for film and television, and teaching Design Thinking and Leadership at THNK, the School for Creative Leadership.

At ScaleUpNation his focus is on “Storytelling for Impact” - coaching teams on how to tell their story in a way that makes a difference.

Rod holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Boston University and a Master’s degree in Cultural Analysis from the University of Amsterdam.

Karin Verzijden

Karin Verzijden


Karin is an intellectual property lawyer and licensing expert. She’s active in the life sciences sector, with a focus on food.

Since 2010 she has practiced at Axon Lawyers, a niche firm that serves clients in the fields of food, pharma, medical devices and e-health. She is responsible for assisting companies in the generation, protection and exploitation of IP. Previously, she practiced in different law firms, both Dutch and international, and was Senior Legal Counsel at the Leiden University Medical Centre.

In the ScaleUpFood program Karin shares her expertise in IP law, sharing with participants what it takes to negotiate license deals or R&D cooperations, regulatory advice on product qualification and market access, and GDPR queries. Her area of expertise is functional foods, feed and pharmaceuticals.

Robert Wolfe

Mission & Vision

Robert has a long track record of facilitating modules on leadership and personal development - he is one of the founding members of THNK, the School for Creative Leadership, he’s in the faculty of the Amani Institute, and has moderated courses on design thinking and innovation in several renowned universities (Wharton, Columbia, Stanford). In 2002 he founded his own company, where he designs learning journeys for senior management, focusing on strategic thinking, self awareness and next level communication skills. Robert is also the author of 4 young adult novels.

His specialty is helping leaders communicate with connection, vision and startling authenticity, which are the skills he brings to the ScaleUpFood program.

Gijs van de Molengraft

Scale-up Readiness

Gijs has started supporting start-ups and scale-ups over 10 years ago, as co-founder and director of Will, a company that supported ventures in preparing for investment rounds (pre-investments) or in growing further (post investment). After Will, Gijs has joined multiple ventures as business developer and investment manager, the common denominator being to support start-ups getting ready for investment and supporting ventures in making it big.

In 2019, Gijs started Gritd: one of the most important partners in the start-up ecosystem to support the government, incubators and early-stage financiers that are committed to accelerating the growth of start-ups. Grits offers unique insights into how start-ups grow and translates these insights into content that guides more scale-ups with data driven tools.

His passion is developing data-driven training and tools, and to support entrepreneurs in realising measurable goals.


Tijl Hoefnagels

Investment & VC

Tijl has extensive experience in investment and venture capital. He started his career as an associate for corporate finance and capital markets at MeesPierson, before working at Rabo Farm as portfolio manager and director investment. Currently, he is a venture partner at Rubio Impact Ventures and works at Terra Indigo as interim management and trainer.

Aside from his experience in the capital market, Tijl has also joined as venture partner and board member at several investor boards, with innovative companies such as Pieter Pot, Foamplant, Phenospex and Arobrea. He is also the founding Partner of Future Food Fund, an independent venture capital fund that was founded by 25 entrepreneurs and the Dutch government, which focuses on innovative, high growth Dutch F&A companies with an up to 2mio financing need.

Jaap Strengers


Jaap is helping to scale sustainable innovations in food & agriculture at the Future Food Fund, as Venture Capital investor. He is investing in early-stage Dutch food & agriculture technology companies and supporting them through their growth journey. Before starting at FFF, he gained experience at McKinsey, as head of corporate finance and strategy, at Lumicity, as associate partner at Systemiq, and as Head of Corporate Development at Nutreco.

His experience can mainly be found in leading food and agriculture transformation, and strategy and innovation with a focus on sustainable transformation. A common denominator in his previous work is sustainability, ranging from the clean tech and the energy sector, to the F&A sustainability transformation.

Jaap has a Master degree in PHysics at University of Utrecht, a master degree in econometrics at the University of Amsterdam, and MBA at INSEAD.

Jos Putker

Financial Management

Currently Jos is project manager of Food at Oost NL, supporting and investing in start-up and scale-ups in the East of the Netherlands. But he has extensive experience in food and agriculture. Starting at the ministry for Agriculture at the beginning of his career, moving on to business at Solvay Chemicals as account manager, international sales manager at Corbion, and business development manager at DSM Food Specialties, and managing director at Kaasmerk Matec.

He connects his strategic vision with reality and feasibility, achieving the agreed upon goals and taking the interest of all stakeholders involved into account. Jos is experienced in the B2B fine chemicals and food ingredients industry. This expertise includes financial analysis and management, optimizing business processes, business development, innovation and acquisitions.

He has a degree in Mathematics from Leiden University, and MA in Molecular sciences at Wageningen university.

Thomas van den Boezem


Thomas has a long track record in food innovation.

He holds not one, but two degrees from Wageningen University, one of the leading food&agri universities in the world: a bachelor’s degree in Health & Society, and a master’s degree in Management, Economics & Consumer studies. After graduation, Thomas co-founded BoxBites, an healthy snack company which grew to €80K revenue in one year. The company was acquired 2 years later. He then joined InnoLeaps as a consultant, working on projects with Ahold, Rabobank, AB InBev, Unilever, and others. He was also a program manager and venture developer at Startife, where he worked with several food & agri ventures on customer development, business modeling and pitch training.

In 2018 he joined Innovation Industries as an investment analyst, focusing on hightech and agri-foodtech early-stage and growth companies. Since 2020 he has been the Business Creation & Investment Manager at EIT Food, a EU-funded consortium of industry & academic partners in the food industry.

Thomas' primary goal is to help Food & Agri and life sciences ventures grow. At ScaleUpFood he will do that by offering participants advice on their investment strategy.

Jeroen Leffelaar

Jeroen Leffelaar


Jeroen has over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, with over 15 years specified in the F&A sector. He strongly believes that groundbreaking start-ups and scale-ups in the food and agri value chain can help to nourish the world in a more sustainable way.

As co-founder of F&A next, the first European platform that connects investors, start-ups and scale-ups in the food and agricultural domain, Jeroen envisions creating a flourishing ecosystem where start-ups to have access to finance, knowledge and networks to turn their new ideas and technologies into tomorrow’s game-changing solution.

The aim of Jeroen is the acceleration of innovation and entrepreneurship in F&A by leveraging network and industry knowledge, with the overarching goal to strategically engage with the best companies in the sector. His expertise can be found in financing and fundraising.


sector experts

Jonathan Teoh


Jonathan Teoh is the founder and commercial director at Doppio Espresso - joining the company in a very early stage and helping it develop to one of the leading brands in the national market, which expanded via franchise. Jonathan was responsible for the general management, business development, franchising, marketing and operations.

After Doppio, he worked freelance as a consultant, being involved in a variety of strategic and management assignments, before starting at StartLife as a start-up coach and joining Foodvalley as entrepreneurship lead. Jonathan is responsible for the development and implementation of strategy for a world-class entrepreneurial ecosystem in which the most promising ventures can innovate and accelerate to impact the transition to a sustainable global food system.

Jonathan has a proven track record of building a significant market presence in a competitive consumer market. In his opinion, a strong brand identity, hospitality, encouraging personal growth and working for a greater good are drivers for business growth and expansion. His areas of expertise can be found in franchising, branding, business development, leadership, entrepreneurship and marketing.

Jan Meiling


Jan currently is the managing director of Startlife, aiming to shape the future of food. He is a dedicated professional with over 20 years of experience in driving innovation and business in the food, agro and green biotech industries. Before joining Startlife, he has gained experience at DSM and the Wageningen University and research centre.

Next to Startlife, Jan is co-founder and director of F&A Next, a conference that engages start-ups and scale-ups with investors and corporate innovations, and thus promotes businesses for impact. F&A Next is a strategically motivated and powerful joint venture of Startlife, Rabobank, Wageningen University and Anterra Capital, each bringing in unique and complementary networks and perspectives.

Jan’s specialities are in innovation management, technology transfers, and start-ups.

Leendert Wesdorp

Technology Strategy

Leendert is a creative and inventive scientist with deep experience in food and technology. In his own words, his motivation is to “improve people's well-being and leave a healthy planet to the next generation”.

Leendert boasts an impressive career at Unilever: over the course of 30 years, he took on the roles of Project Leader, Head of Product Development, and Director R&D, ultimately joining the global leadership team as Vice President of R&D. After that he joined the supervisory and advisory board of different food & agri institutions - Dechema, Institute of Sustainable Process Technology, Barry Callebaut group, and others. In 2016 he started his own practice, offering R&D and business strategy advice to public and private organizations in the fields of Foods Science and Technology, with a focus on Edible Oils & Fats.

In ScaleUpFood, he works with scale-up teams to translate their business vision into a challenging technology strategy, and then to create an effective delivery plan in the short and long term.

Jeroen Willemsen


Jeroen is the “protein commissioner of the Netherlands”. Currently, Jeroen is the innovation lead protein shift at FoodValley, which has since 2004 been developing and strengthening the F&A ecosystem as an international network of organizations and companies that jointly work on the transition towards a sustainable food system.

Next to his position at Foodvalley, Jeroen is the founder and spokesman at the Green Protein Alliance: a worldwide unique, fast growing alliance accelerating the consumption of plant protein. Their ambition is a more healthy and sustainable 50/50 intake of animal and plant protein, that wants to inspire consumers to make a difference. He is also a consultant at Food for Impact. In short, everything Jeroen does is to inspire consumers and businesses to make a difference in the food industry and make our diet a bit more sustainable in a social, environmental, and commercial way.

Jeroen has over 20 years of experience in the area of food research and entrepreneurship.

Loet Rammelsberg


Loet is a highly entrepreneurial professional with a strong desire to gain new skills and find business opportunities. Currently, he is program director at Startlife where he supports Food & Agtech entrepreneurs to turn their idea into a viable business, create partnerships with innovative corporates and share his experience along the way.

Before joining Startlife, Loet gained his experience as an entrepreneur setting up Vicancy: an innovative marketing company that specializes in recruitment, where he was the creative director. Now his mission is to foster entrepreneurship in the food and agtech sector, to support entrepreneurs and their teams as they develop their innovative business ideas into global enterprises with a lasting impact.

Loet has a BA in Tropical Agriculture, writing his thesis on the extent to which bilateral development banks apply Genetically Modified Organisms policies and/or criteria in their investment criteria. He spent six months on an internship at a sustainable food technology start-up in Silicon Valley, on an entrepreneurship scholarship from Harvard, Standard and MIT.

Sales & Marketing

Rene Jongen

Rene Jongen

Commercial Excellence

Rene Jongen has a background in business strategy and marketing, having managed business units in different tech companies. He then rose up to partner at Boer & Coon, a management consulting firm, where he helped companies streamline their marketing & sales strategies for nearly 10 years. In 2014 he founded RevelX, a strategy consulting firm that supports organizations with the design and execution of growth, innovation and go-to-market strategies. Along with his co-founders, he helps clients sail the waves of digital transformation through strategic innovation.

At ScaleUpNation he helps teams develop a winning sales strategy. His expertise is in commercial excellence, value proposition design, coaching and change management in commercial organisations, and persuasive communication strategies.

Peter de Boer, Proposition Designer

Peter de Boer

Delighting Customers

Peter de Boer has worked with numerous brands throughout his career, and has a wide experience in finding creative and unconventional ways to bring them to life. Peter achieves that by “inviting, stimulating and helping brands to break the rules and reshape them in a beautiful and irresistible way”.

He has over 20 years of experience in a wide range of roles and industries. In the last 5 years alone he has become a branding associate at EY VODW, started his own practice (irresistible branding), wrote a column at the Marketing Tribune, joined Viisi as the creative director, and founded his own brewery (Willsark).

At ScaleUpNation, he helps teams create a branding strategy that will make them stand out.

Peter holds a Master’s degree in History of Art (Leiden University, 1985), and is a Doctor of Philosophy (Delft University of Technology, 1988).

Team & Operations

francesca nardocci

Francesca Nardocci

Operational Processes

Francesca has over 20 years of experience in operations leadership roles in corporates and scale-ups, including Cisco, WeGrow, Codaisseur, Charlie Cares, and Guidion. As an organizational coach, she helps scaling teams develop and implement a strategic plan to streamline their operations.

In order to scale, teams need to work together to a particular business beat when they want to scale a company. At the ScaleUpFood program, she will help you define that beat and achieve sustainable growth, using OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) and Lean principles.

Francesca’s mantra is “Ideas are easy, execution is everything. And discipline will set you free.”

Martijn Messemaker

Leadership & HR

The experience of Martijn can be found in driving digital organization performance and personal growth in disruptive businesses. He has gained his experience in HR at Unilever, Ahold and Varova Fashion Holding. As head of HR, Martijn has driven the growth and supported scale up, Bugaboo and Mollie, among others.

Currently, Martijn works as independent advisor and interim HR developer, to strengthen the HR strategy, optimize organization, and help to improve sustainable employability. His specialties can be found in human resources management, translating business needs and HR expertise into practical interventions, leadership and talent management, and managing growth.

Martijn has a Master of Science in industrial engineering at the TU of Eindhoven. He also joined the Corporate Governance and Responsible leadership program at Nyenrode Business university.

Anne Mieke Eggenkamp

Anne Mieke Eggenkamp

Leadership & Board

Anne Mieke believes that “re-inventing today’s world requires new ways of thinking and doing”. Her mission is to help entrepreneurial leaders design new possible futures and apply creative intelligence to transform their business.

Anne Mieke is a trained designer and experienced board member. She has worked in different disciplines and countries, and in 2016 she co-founded her own business innovation consulting firm - Caracta. She and her co-founder help companies design their future direction, brand positioning and transformation journeys (clients include AkzoNobel, Red Cross, Corbion, KLM, Atlassian, The Hague University). She also serves as chair of the supervisory board at BYBORRE, an innovative textile innovation studio, alongside several other advisory and supervisory board positions.

In ScaleUpNation she is responsible for building creative leadership and the essential competencies for driving scale. Her focus is on companies working in the field of food, agriculture and circular economy.

ScaleUpNation Facilitators

Anieke Wierenga

Food Program Director

Anieke holds 20+ years of hands-on experience in innovation and strategy departments across different food & agriculture corporates. She was Innovation Project Leader at Unilever for 10 years, before joining Corbion as Sr. Director Innovation of Food. In 2019 she joined the ScaleUpNation team as director of the ScaleUpFood program. During that time Anieke worked directly with dozens of scaling food&agri ventures in the Netherlands and abroad, witnessing first hand what the best practices for scaling an innovative venture are in the F&A industry. In 2021 she stepped up to the role of CEO at ScaleUpNation.

Anieke is passionate about helping companies articulate and accelerate strategic business development and innovation initiatives. She always says there’s 2 sides to innovation: the one you can see - prototypes, project plans, business cases - and the invisible side. Everything that is related to passion, human interactions and learning. Anieke believes that those aspects are the true enablers for innovation, and in her interventions she strives to bring those aspects out with change management techniques, combined with innovation management tools.

Anieke holds a PhD in Chemistry (Utrecht, 1997), a Master’s degree in Advanced Change Methodologies (SIOO, 2011) and an education in Corporate Governance (ESAA 2020).

jolanda holwerda

Jolanda Holwerda

Board Program Director

Jan Paul Grollé

Business Case Facilitator

Jan Paul’s career has been focused on digital transformation for over 20 years, in roles that ranged from journalist, to intrapreneur, to senior global executive. His experience in the scientific publishing industry revealed to him the limitations in traditional governance practices, but also the opportunities to improve. So he went on to become an independent coach on innovation and leadership. In 2015 he joined Rockstart as Program Director of “Renew the Book”, an international startup accelerator. He also joined THNK, the School for Creative Leadership, as an enterprise coach, guiding participants on their individual innovation projects.

At ScaleUpFood his role is to guide participants through the program’s business case module, a practical simulation of different scaling challenges.

Nina Kotterik

Product Owner

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