Sjoerd grew up in a small village in the center of the Netherlands. During his time at secondary school, he made a commitment to himself that he wanted to become a millionaire by age 35.
Therefore, he was very focused on choosing a master’s in business administration and he even took an internship outside of Europe to polish his CV. In 2010, he got to know the Vietnam-focused PE firm, Mekong Capital, which was showing some promising returns during his internship, so he decided to pack up and move to Vietnam for his big adventure and stay in Vietnam for 6 whole months.
Vietnam was amazing and Mekong Capital as well, but there was something different about the company. Besides returns and investments, the team also stood for visions being fulfilled of our investee companies and transformation. He was inspired by Mekong Capital, so he had extended his internship and became an analyst in the investment team. He was determined to move up and to make more money as he had never neglected his goal to become a millionaire.
Sjoerd burned the candle at both ends. He became an associate and closed 3 deals together with deal leaders, ABA, YOLA, and Pharmacity. He thought he was a star performer and that he had proven himself to be a value-added team member of Mekong Capital. He was on his journey as a millionaire-to-be until one day, he met a beautiful Vietnamese girl named Lan Anh, who eventually became his wife.
Sjoerd, all of a sudden, felt a sense of clarity of what he was committed to. He also wanted to have his family be safe, his parents and Lan Anh, and maybe a little on that will come someday.
Sjoerd worked even harder and became the Deal Leader for YOLA. He was super excited about the opportunity. He gave it all to his deal. Unfortunately, the more he tried, the fewer results generated. He became complacent as if he had lost his fire, the thing that made him be a rock star in nearly ten years at Mekong Capital. He could not see how he could move on and for a moment, he thought of a career switch would be better off for him and the company.
Serendipitously, during coaching, he discovered for himself that he was too focused on ‘how’, on telling others which actions to take instead of aligning on the intentions – knowing vs being. At the same time, Lan Anh and Sjoerd got this beautiful baby boy and things really shifted. Something special ignited inside him. He no longer felt like trying to look good or to be a millionaire. He no longer saw himself as HE only. It became WE. WE as a family at home, but also at Mekong Capital or at YOLA. He strongly felt committed to leaving the world a better place for his son by having a big impact positive impact on Vietnam. As such, he took a stand to transform and reinvent himself to be the one for that future. He became the champion for YOLA other new potential investee companies and Mekong Capital achieving their visions.
And now, standing in the future, Sjoerd is committed to achieving the impossible and he takes a stand for entrepreneurs to achieve their visions. He has created his vision for YOLA, the education sector, the technology sector, and a vision to have an impact on the lives of the people in Vietnam.