initiator and expedition leader
Martijn Arets is an international expert in the field of scalable online platforms, like Airbnb (sharing economy), Kickstarter (crowdfunding), and Uber (‘gig’ economy). These are all examples of young companies that entered the market from outside the industry to become strong international players within a few years. Not by building and owning everything themselves, but by facilitating others in making transactions with one another directly.
His fascination with the transition to a platform economy emerged when he was able to successfully complete the world’s first equity crowdfunding campaign in 2011. In doing so, he discovered the platform economy’s potential, but also its drawbacks which need to be resolved in order to reach the economy’s full potential and establish a sustainable model.
Fueled by his curiosity, Martijn has been globetrotting for the last three years to learn about the emergence of scalable online platforms, understand their dynamics, and chart their development. He has engaged in over 300 conversations about these developments with businessmen and experts from over 13 countries, and still makes an average of 12 knowledge-acquisition expeditions abroad each year.
He shares his insights, analyses, and thoughts through articles, videos, and books, as well as through presentations at (international) congresses. He also supports (corporate) organizations and governments that want to understand and access this ‘new’ world. As a freelancer, he often takes part himself in innovation trajectories, both with corporations and start-ups.
Martijn’s background is in marketing and branding, and he has written the books ‘Brand Expedition, a journey visiting Europe’s most inspiring brands’ and ‘Crowdfunding, beyond the hype’. Currently, he is co-writing three more books about new leadership, crowdfunding, and the rise and future of the collaborative economy. Martijn was elected ‘Entrepreneur of the year 2011’ by Sprout, and has represented the Netherlands as one of the ’40 Young Potential European Leaders under 40’ since 2014.