Bloomon: scale-ups in the fast-moving B2C online environment

Wednesday September 25th, 2019, the Dutch alumni were hosted by bloomon for an exciting event about scale-ups in the fast-moving B2C online environment.

bloomon is a subscription-based flower delivery service headquartered in Amsterdam with international offices in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, and the UK. Dubbed the ‘Netflix of Flowers’ by the Financial Times, bloomon aims to bring bespoke bouquets from grower to consumer in the fastest way possible by cutting out the traditional supply chain.

Over sandwiches and soup, founder and CEO Bart Troost described how bloomon came about, explaining that he and his two co-founders began looking at the traditional supply chain in the flower industry and decided to ‘rewrite’ the old supply chain, and to bridge the gap between the grower and the consumer. After the introduction, alumni were split into different groups and given an extensive tour through the new and impressive bloomon factory in Aalsmeer, where millions of bouquets are designed and put together each year. Following the tour, Bart and his team further explained the opportunities and challenges that a growing scale-up like theirs faces in today’s business environment. As always, discussions continued for quite some time during the closing drinks!

A huge thank you to bloomon for their incredible hospitality and to all alumni for being there. We hope to see you all for the INSEAD Alumni Book Club Night at the Nieuwe Poort in Amsterdam on October 28th, 2019! For more information please visit


Quality in Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

Amsterdam, 19 September 2019 – Quality in Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

On Thursday evening, the SIG Healthcare and Life Sciences were welcomed at the famous Netherlands Cancer Institute ”for more than 100 years at the international forefront of cancer research and treatment”. The stage was set in the impressive boardroom of the institute in which Michel Wouters, oncological surgeon and Martijn van Schaik, program manager care paths, laid out an equally impressive quest for quality improvement in the oncological care.

The audience listened with great attention to the story of leadership that was presented. At the turn of the century, there were no national quality data available in the Netherlands, making it de facto impossible to compare oncological care across the country. Motivated to improve the overall standards of treatment that patients would receive, the profession set up standards of care and national registries (SONCOS and DICA). These enabled quality improvement of which some astonishing examples were shown, but it also painfully revealed inequality in care delivered. Despite the many challenges, the movement continues into a new phase in which more data are becoming public. With the ultimate goal of quality to be governed through entire care paths including patient outcomes.

This insightful story from within the medical profession was the third event this year of the INSEAD SIG Healthcare & Life Sciences, organised by Thomas Calis & Cynthia de Leeuw.

INSEAD SIN & IN-BOARD Golf Tournament

The traditional annual INSEAD SIN & IN-BOARD Golf Tournament was held on Tuesday 2nd July 2019 under superb sunny circumstances of the Dutch summer weather. Last year’s winner, Aljosja van Dorssen (MBA1986), hosted a field of nearly two dozen contenders at the Royal Hague Golf & Country Club (“The Haagsche”), which is the leading golf course in the Netherlands and ranks amongst the top 5 in Continental Europe. Given the popularity of this beautiful golf course in Wassenaar (near The Hague), the seven available tee-times were fully booked by the contenders within the first 24 hours!
During the play on the day, the players faced a fairly strong wind on this links course which made good scoring rather challenging. On the other hand, we were graced by an abundance of wildlife including deer, rabbits and raven which tried to steel the sandwiches out of the golfbags of the players. Several of the players nearly run out of balls when they arrived on the 18th tee, as the high rough and blinds shots on several holes caused many balls to be lost.
After the play several rounds of drinks and plenty of bitterballen were consumed before every participant was seated on a long dining table for a lavish three course diner. Just before dessert arrived, Aljosja led the prizegiving ceremony and handed the 1997 victory trophee to Manish Kumar Singh (MBA 2009), who scored no less then 42 stableford points. He was the only player to play better than his handicap which was a great achievement given the tough circumstances. Manish was kindly requested to polish the 22 year old trophee for next year and to add another plateau for new brass plates for the names of the winners for the next 20 years. A final requirement for receiving the trophee was to commit to organizing the INSEAD SIN & IN-BOARD Golf Tournament in the year 2020. As the home course of Manish (Welschap) was not considered to be up to INSEAD standards it was decided that next year’s event will be played on the Eindhovensche Golf Club!

Energy Club: Port of Rotterdam

After previous sessions on the Climate agreement by the Dutch government and on the gas phase-out in the Dutch residential sector, Industry was the focus for the latest (and quickest to sold-out) event from the Energy Club of the Dutch INSEAD Alumni Association.

Kindly hosted by the Port of Rotterdam, overlooking both the city of Rotterdam and the port itself, Yvonne van der Laan (VP Industry and Bulk Cargo at the Port of Rotterdam) showed us the journey the Port has taken so far to becoming the most sustainable port in the world, and the steps and challenges still ahead. This includes creating a new energy system (e.g making green hydrogen using electrolyzers) and utilizing new processes to create raw materials (e.g. waste-to-chemicals), all needed to fulfill the future energy need of the port and surrounding area.

The second speaker of the evening, Marcel Galjee, Director Energy at Nouryon and as such also responsible for Nouryons €500M energy bill, gave us insight into Nouryons vision of creating a circular, biobased industry of the future, and the need for partnerships in successfully achieving this.
Industry was not just one of the tables in process leading up to the Dutch climate agreement, but is actually feeding into all others (built environment, mobility, energy, and agro) as well.
He made all of us aware of the massive task lying ahead of us. As an example, while Nouryon is planning to build a 20MW electrolyzer in Delfzijl, and a 100MW one in the port of Amsterdam, it would take 50 of the latter (e.g. a 5GW baseload) to fully decarbonize the Tata Steel location in IJmuiden, putting the current offshore wind ambitions of the Dutch government in perspective…

For large scale roll out of electrolyzers, not only the cost of green electricity needs to drop further, the CAPEX of electrolyzers is required to drop by ~50% over the next 10 years (which is of the order of magnitude of cost reductions seen in the PV and battery storage technologies).

While the next event from the Energy Club has not been scheduled yet, the Energy transition will be a topic of the Strategy Forum which will be held November 26. But before that, don’t forget Global INSEAD day on September 12. Looking forward to seeing you at these events or the next Energy Club event.


The future of digital health and patient empowerment, SkinVision

19 juni 2019 – The future of digital health and patient empowerment, SkinVision Amsterdam.

SkinVision, startup environment, view on Amsterdam Marina was the place to be on June 19th 2019 in the evening.

Thomas Calis opened the evening by thanking Eva de Bres for 8 years of volunteering in the SIG Healthcare & life sciences. He introduced Cynthia De Leeuw (MBA’99D) as the new SIG volunteer. Cynthia on her turn announced the next SIG meeting which will take place @ IKNL AVL in September / October 2019. Details will follow shortly.

SkinVision CEO Erik de Heus, assisted by two colleagues INSEAD alumni MBA’s Loes van Egmond and Tobias Dekker, shared the SkinVision story with over 30 enthusiastic INSEAD alumni. During a one hour highly interactive session Erik openly revealed the success stories and the setbacks of this digital journey to save at least 250.000 lives from skin cancer.

His company (50% international and 50% women) has purpose. Focused on quality, service, reputation, funding, efficiency, the dedicated team is turning a dream into reality. De Heus, a senior compared to the rest has a mission and is determined to succeed.

The dialogue continued after the session as the SkinVision team took great care of demonstrating true hospitality.

We are grateful for the presentation and hospitality!

Thomas Calis & Cynthia De Leeuw

SIG Healthcare & Life Sciences.


Scale-up Nation

Thursday June 6th, the Dutch alumni were hosted by ScaleUpNation for an interesting event on the governance of scale-ups.

Founder Menno van Dijk (MBA’90) gave an overview of the rationale behind ScaleUpNation and how it aims to help scale-ups in the Netherlands succeed after which faculty member Hayat Chedid presented the latest insights on how board members could help scale-ups grow.

Then it was time for the alumni to get to work. After a warm-up exercise to get to know the other participants better, we dove into a board simulation. With the kind help of 4 great scale-up teams (Powerpeers, Squla, Leeruniek and Owlin) who presented actual issues in their companies the alumni roleplayed an actual board meeting, strategically coached by the ScaleUpNation team to increase the effectiveness of the interaction between board and scale-up management team. An excellent and fun learning experience in which the alumni could get a real feel for the typical issues in a scale-up. The discussions continued for quite some time during the closing drinks!