Who we are.

We believe in actively supporting our entrepreneurs. Our senior team offers a mix of complementary skills, from brand building and operational capabilities to profound go-to-market and digital expertise.

Our leadership team and operational advisors have experience at the frontline of leading B2C businesses across Europe.

Hendrik Winkelmans

MANAGING PARTNER

HENDRIK IS...

father of 3 and Freshmen founder. He started out as a lawyer, pivoted to McKinsey consultant specializing in retail and consumer goods. Age 35 together with his wife Catherine, Hendrik founded fiets! In 7 years it grew into a chain employing 200 people. The business is now part of the Colruyt group. After selling the company in 2016, Hendrik started looking for entrepreneurial talent to invest and to help them grow, based on his own experience.

Matt Ariker

Operational Advisor

Matt is ...

Head of M&A at Teradata. Scans the globe for the best AI and ML businesses

Alfonso Villanueva

Operational Advisor

Alfonso is ...

Global Head of strategy of PayPal, loves everything digital and has a passion for Media

Christophe Degrez

Operational Advisor

CHRISTOPHE PLAYED...

a key role in founding Zembro, and is owner of the Eyes & More franchise in Belgium. Christophe is father of 3 and CEO of Eneco Belgium. Christophe is at the forefront of sustainable energy and the recent movement Sign for my Future in Belgium. Personally he is very involved in spiritual searching and reads and practices Taoism. Christophe is an expert in building planet friendly businesses and sustainability marketing.

Steven Spittaels

MANAGING PARTNER

STEVEN IS...

father of 2 and managing partner @ Freshmen. Age 48 and happily married to Nathalie. He started out as engineer on drilling rigs and pivoted to McKinsey. He left as Sr Partner, having served iconic brands such as Tencent, Google, Ebay but also smaller consumer and digital brands. He led the B2C digital marketing and AI practice in EMEA. Having lived through 500 cases across the globe, he is a keen coach for many of our portfolio entrepreneurs.

Henrique De Castro

Operational Advisor

HENRIQUE IS...

the former global head of non-search advertising at Google and was COO of Yahoo. Nowadays he acts as an active investor and board member at Santander and Target.

Wouter Torfs

Operational Advisor

WOUTER HARDLY...

needs an introduction. Wouter is CEO of Schoenen Torfs, a family business which he has built with his team to be the strong omnichannel market leader in Belgium. Wouter’s passion are people and it reflects in Torfs’ 10 years in a row victory in the race for ‘best employer in Belgium’. Wouter brings his experience to Freshmen’s entrepreneurs. Coaching them to maintain perspective in rough times and thinking culture when preparing for scale-up.

Martin Ondas

Operational Advisor

Martin is ...

CEO of Bizmachine, a large Czech software group. Martin is keen to help think through how to co-operate with the best software engineers and lay the technical foundations for scale-up success

Asaf Somekh

Operational Advisor

Asaf is ...

Serial Tech entrepreneur with multiple exits on this track-record. Now CEO of Iguazio, a ML analytical platform. More than happy to share his thoughts on the specificities of tech entrepreneurship.

Christophe Vandoorne

Operational Advisor

CHRISTOPHE HAS...

a very strong people network and brings his people skills to Freshmen entrepreneurs who are craving to grow their teams. Christophe is father of 3 and CEO at Korn Ferry Belgium and Luxemburg. Korn Ferry is the leading headhunter and HR business across the globe.

Jean-Bernard Moens

Operational Advisor

JEAN-BERNARD IS...

First Vice President Games at King, one of the leading digital entertainment companies. Has faced most of the challenges of digital scale-ups, be it commercial, operational or technical

Ahmed Hilami

Operational Advisor

AHMED'S LIFESTORY...

reads like a novel. Migrating to Belgium from Morocco at age 12, than moving to West-Flanders a couple of years later he was thrown in the deep , having to learn 2 new languages in about 4 years time. After his studies he sold his 2nd hand car to be able to start his on-line printing business flyer.be. Today it employs about 100 people .

Pascal Grieder

Operational Advisor

Pascal is ...

Ceo of Salt, CH. Has a passion for the most disruptive start-up ideas

Bernd Vindevogel

Operational Advisor

Bernd is ...

Chief Analytics officer at the Trust digital group (Asia). Bernd has deep knowledge in everything AI, from identifying and developing concepts, to bringing solutions involving data insights from multiple sectors to massive scale. One of the best practical managers we know.

Diedrik Tas

Operational Advisor

DIEDRIK BRINGS...

his strong analytical and strategic skills to Freshmen’s entrepreneurs together with a low key attitude helping them to see things in perspective. Diedrik is father of 1 and partner at McKinsey. As a bio-engineer Diedrik is extremely analytical. He combines this with a rare blend of EQ-capabilities. He plays double bass in Alltree and has a full-fledged music studio. Diedrik co-invested with Freshmen in Würst.

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