Interview with: Arthur Nijhuis & Maarten Bouten – founders of Rechtstreex
by: Nadine Maarhuis, 3-5 minutes
On Friday the 15th of January the moment was finally there. After nine inspiring pitches and a by peer ranking under the members and mentors, the winner of the third edition of Impact Hub Amsterdam’s Investment Ready Program (IRP) was announced. After a quick photo moment on stage, I was able to get a hold of the founders of this year’s winning social enterprise: Rechtstreex. In the middle of the commotion, Arthur and Maarten told me what Rechtstreex is all about and what winning the IRP means to their already flourishing venture…
Rechtstreex – which is a variation of the Dutch word ‘directly’ – is a social venture that works to create a direct link between farmers and consumers. It was the ongoing frustration with the current super market model, which is characterised by a lack of transparency, sustainability and justice, that inspired Arthur and Maarten to launch the venture in 2013. With Rechtstreex, they want to revolutionise the entire food chain. And if you ask me, this is exactly what they’re doing. Rechtstreex not only allows customers to buy their food in an informed way, but it also puts an end to unnecessary long food miles, prevents food from getting spoiled by artificial additives and offers the farmers a fairer share for their products. Because at Rechtstreex, instead of the bold 2-40% they normally get, farmers receive 63% of every euro the consumer spends.
About four months ago, Arthur and Maarten decided to participate in Impact Hub Amsterdam’s Investment Ready Program because they felt like it was time to raise the bar and take Rechtstreex to the next level. They chose an impact investment program over a regular one because it’s more in line with Rechtstreex’ raison d’être: ‘’Our primary objective is to make a positive impact on society by changing the way the current food ecosystem is structured. And despite of the fact that we feel the best way to do this is by creating a financially viable enterprise that has the capacity to grow and make an impact on a national, or even international scale, Rechtstreex is not economically driven. It’s impact driven.’’.
Participating in the IRP has brought Rechtstreex one step closer to really kick off their food revolution. The program helped Arthur and Maarten go gain a clearer focus and to develop a more realistic business strategy. It also enabled them to access the knowledge and experience they needed in order to deal with the dilemmas and challenges they encountered along the way: ‘’For example, where the Boston Consultancy Group helped us gain a very helpful and new perspective on what to do in an operational sense, our mentor gave us a more detailed understanding of the market we’re operating in. It’s this dynamic of peers, coaches and consultants that makes the IRP a truly unique and valuable experience.’’.
Winning the IRP enables Maarten and Arthur to share the story of their ambition with the potential investors connected to the program. They hope this will help them to grow both qualitatively as well as quantitatively by improving their current business practices and simultaneously expanding from three to five regions. In addition, they want to break even in order to give their current business cases – among them serving healthy and fair lunches at offices – the impulse they need to thrive even more.
In twenty years, Arthur and Maarten want people to be able to say: ‘’Right there was the moment it all changed’’. But in order to make that happen, Rechtstreex still needs a 50.000 euros loan to start with and another 500.000 in the form of an equity investment before the end of the year. So if you are or know someone that’s looking to invest in a true impact revolution, contact Rechtstreex at arthur(at)rechtstreex.nl.
In addition to enabling Rechtstreex to participate in the Investment Ready Program, Impact Hub Amsterdam:
- Enabled Rechtstreex to gain access to the knowledge, expertise and experience they needed to grow their business into the amazing venture it is today.
- Connected Rechtstreex to experts, entrepreneurs and investors with similar energies, norms and values that they can reach out to whenever it’s needed.
- Inspired and still inspires Rechtstreex every single day by offering them access to a work environment that’s full of ambitious and creative people that are all about making a positive impact as well.