Vincent Karremans: Entrepreneur, politician and a man who works hard to make things happen.
Vincent Karremans is the kind of person who likes to make things happen. If he finds a problem, he will also find a solution, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that entrepreneurship suits him so well. As the founder and managing director of Magnet.me, an online platform that connects students and young professionals with employers, Vincent knows what it takes to run a scale-up company.
With more than 5,000 employers, Magnet.me is not your typical job board. Instead, it is a talent marketplace where applicants – still in the early stage of their careers – can get acquainted with companies they like and make an informed decision before they hit ‘Apply’.
“What we are trying to do is experience the process of applying for a job from the user’s perspective and not the company’s,” Vincent says. “By doing that, we are creating a community whose needs we really understand and a community that loves using our products.”
Magnet.me, the matchmaker
The idea for starting Magnet.me came rather naturally to Vincent. He was towards the end of his Master’s in Economics and Law at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam when he started looking for his next step. “While I was looking for a job, I noticed that different career fairs and career websites always included the same big companies. They are great employers but there is a limited number of them, and there are thousands of other potential employers and recruiters out there, such as startups and scale-ups.”
The difference is, Vincent points out, that startups and scale-ups do not pay a fee of 10,000 euros to attend a career fair because they either don’t have enough money or because it will require them to mobilize their entire team to be there. Or probably both. “That is why we thought opening up this market and making those employers available to students, and the other way around, would be a good idea,” he says.
The approach that Vincent and his co-founders took was to create an online platform that is a lot more like a community than a social network. While on LinkedIn a candidate may find rather “generic job offers”, on Magnet.me everything is a lot more tailored and targeted. The platform gives employers the space to introduce themselves and show a bit of their culture and way of working, so candidates can feel if there is a match even before they have applied.
“We make sure to understand what applicants want, what they find important but also what scares them, so we can provide the best experience possible. Applying for a job is a big life decision and we know that.”
If you ask Vincent about his proudest moment running the company, he’d say it was “the first time I heard that someone secured a job via our platform.” It was a moment of validation that there was real value in what they were doing. Magnet.me currently operates in the Netherlands, out of its main office in Rotterdam, and in the UK.
Bringing entrepreneurship and politics closer together
Having been at the helm of the company for 10 years now, Vincent – together with his team, of course – has left a mark in a market that was looking for a more personal and tailored approach. His drive to find innovative solutions to problems has led him to this point, but it has also led him to explore another field he’s rather passionate about. Politics.
In 2018, Vincent became the Representative of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) in Rotterdam and has been holding the post since. “Entrepreneurship is obviously different from politics - politics goes very slowly and sometimes you might need months or years to reach a decision, and entrepreneurship on the other hand is quite fast,” he says. “Still, both are concerned with the same thing – making an impact. My motivation for going into politics was that I wanted to approach politics the same way as I would run my own company. I wanted to make people start thinking more like startups.”
Having entrepreneurs get involved in politics is something that Vincent believes needs to happen more often. In politics, there is a lot of debate but not much experimenting, he says, while entrepreneurship is all about trying things out and finding new solutions. “What really gets me going is actively looking to solve problems and face challenges,” Vincent says. “To make things happen.” It just so happens that this is exactly what the City of Rotterdam stands for, too.