Meet Korneel Defauw, Our Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder
Korneel Defauw is the driving force behind Otamiser's strategic vision and one of the co-founders. As the father of three children, including a set of twins, Korneel brings a unique blend of high energy and dedication to achieving personal and professional goals. His role as Chief Strategy Officer serves as a guiding influence for the brilliant minds on our team, ensuring they maintain a realistic perspective on the business landscape. He is adept at identifying potential risks and opportunities, a skill honed through years of experience. Constantly fine-tuning our short-term and long-term strategies.
Korneel's educational journey began with Economic Law at Ugent, where he specialized in Economic Law and M&A at ULB. It was further enriched by his Erasmus experience at Universidad de Pontificio Comillas.
You and Otamiser, how did it happen?
I was one of Bart-Jan's first customers, and although I initially had some doubts, I was so impressed by the results and, after some time, by Bart-Jan and Lucas's capabilities that I decided to fully commit. Together with Bart-Jan, I transitioned to Otamiser (formerly Loreca), and I've never come across such a significant business opportunity in my 10-year career.
How’s it going in Otamiser?
Fast. We had no funding, no government subsidies, no incubator, no Angel Investor, and yet we managed to turn a profit with a team of 12 employees. We bootstrapped our way to prove business/market demand, prove the concept, and even prove the product. We raced to the market and paid close attention to our initial customers, our ambassadors, and our believers (we are immensely grateful for them). We take great pride in how we've reached this point, but we stand at a significant turning point where we require funding for scaling (international expansion) and R&D.
Favorite memory at Otamiser:
My first meeting with Bart-Jan. Online, in his t-shirt, seemingly unprepared, and with a look that seemed to say he couldn't care less. It was like I was talking to the local Mark Zuckerberg: 'I know how much value my product can bring to you, so if you don't take it, that's fine. Leave the money I'm offering you on the table and keep running your business like it's the stone age. The next customer is already waiting in line.' Hilarious, and in hindsight, it's unbelievable :-D
A Round of Rapid-Fire Questions for Korneel:
As a child, did you have career aspirations?
Surprisingly, I wanted to be a businessman or entrepreneur. My first venture began when I was around 6 or 7 years old, mixing peppermint and chocolate and selling it in my grandparents' neighborhood.
What's an activity everyone should experience?
Taking a leap and living abroad for a while, immersing yourself in a new culture and starting a 'real' job there that aligns with your career in your home country. My wife and I randomly chose a destination on the world map, and a month later, we were living in Chile for 2 years.