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Our Story

We are Hendrik and Steven, partners at Freshmen Fund. Back in the days we met at McKinsey where we collaborated on numerous consumer & tech projects. We then took separate roads.

About fifteen years later we got back together: by then Steven achieved consultant veteran-status as McKinsey senior partner while Hendrik ventured into entrepreneurship and built a 200 FTE bike retail business. After numerous coffees we decided to create Freshmen. Freshmen's objective is to share our cumulative expertise with entrepreneurs and help them create remarkable ventures.

We are Freshmen!

We do it in a down-to-earth way.
We are hands-on partners when it comes to product and people decisions, financing rounds, building a board, taking bold steps. With our exceptional network and resources, we've got your back all the way.

We are very excited to hear your story and vision. That's what makes us tick.
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Meet our team

With a distinct network of advisors & investors, and over 30 years of experience in brand-building, go-to-market and growth hacking, we support exceptional entrepreneurial teams with smart capital.

Hendrik Winkelmans

PARTNER

Meet Hendrik, founder at Freshmen. A former lawyer turned McKinsey consultant, Hendrik founded bike retail chain fiets! (Bike Republic) at age 35 and scaled it to a business of 200 employees and 50m turnover in 7 years. After exiting to Colruyt in 2016, he shifted his focus to supporting fellow entrepreneurs. Today Hendrik is an experienced investor and mentor. If you are thinking of starting a venture, Hendrik is the person you want to talk to!

Steven Spittaels

PARTNER

Meet Steven, managing partner at Freshmen. A former engineer on drilling rigs, he became senior partner at McKinsey where he advised tech giants like Tencent, Google and Ebay alongside many smaller consumer and digital brands. Specialized in digital marketing & AI, he led the practice in EMEA. Steven now channels his extensive expertise and network into coaching Freshmen's portfolio. With Steven, you are in capable hands!

Martina Iannuzzi

investment associate

Meet Martina, investment associate at Freshmen. She is the New Gen of VC, infusing Freshmen with a Millennials perspective. She is passionate about impact and a strong believer that new ventures with smart capital can change the game for the good. Martina started her career in equity research at an investment bank and soon transitioned to early stage investing. Before joining Freshmen, she worked with major angel networks in Europe.

Meet our advisors

At Freshmen, we pride ourselves on our powerful advisor network, offering a wealth of knowledge, connections and know-how in various domains.

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Martin Ondas

Matt Ariker

Jean-Bernard Moens

Christophe Degrez

Wouter Torfs

Pascal Grieder

Henrique De Castro

Bernd Vindevogel

Asaf Somekh

Wouter Jager

Christophe Vandoorne

Ann Chapelle

Diedrik Tas

Ahmed Hilami

Stefan Otte

So, are we a match?

We are not banks. Beyond money we offer skills, network and experience. We are entrepreneurs ourselves, we've been there before.

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