Marnix Broer | Founder of StuDocu
Success leaves clues.
Marnix Broer, founder of StuDocu, discusses the past, present, and future of the company, as well as the insight he gained from running the business.
Who is Marnix Broer?
Q: Who are you and what’s your background?
I am Marnix Broer, born and raised in a small village close to Amsterdam. I studied Mechanical Engineering BSc and Offshore Engineering MSc at Delft University of Technology. During my studies, together with some friends I founded StuDocu. Setting up this project was a great experience alongside studying and enjoying the student life.
Q: Who has been your biggest influence, and why did they have such a significant effect on you?
I can not single out one person as having a big influence on my life, but I have been taught from an early age that to reach your goals, you have to work hard with full dedication and that is what I try to do every day.
Q: Knowing what you know now, what would you have told yourself when you were in your twenties?
I really like that we have bootstrapped our business, I think this is the best thing you can do as a founder. It teaches you to get the best out of the very limited resources you have. However, when scaling, which comes with having more resources, I would have told myself to be a bit more aggressive on taking bets. I know a lot of the bets will fail, but some will become great successes.
Q: What is StuDocu?
StuDocu is an online sharing platform where students from all over the world can use and share study resources with each other. The principle works by a very simple Freemium model: 80% of the documents are free to use by anyone, the top 20% of the documents is labeled Premium. In order to access the Premium documents you can share your own study materials or pay a small subscription fee.
In this way more knowledge, and therefore value, is added everyday.
Q: What makes your company different from its competitors?
We have a way more student-friendly model, because a large portion of our content is free to access. On top of that, at StuDocu, we aim for quality. We have learned an algorithm to remove poor content, to filter out the best and most useful documents for students.
Q: What led you to start StuDocu?
During our studies we noticed that any time exams were coming up, we would spend a lot of time, even days, gathering all the relevant study material to prepare for our exams. We would ask all our friends, fellow students, project groups, if they have useful documents to share. Next to time, information was lost because the documents were not properly stored and saved.
We wanted to change this, by simply having all the documents online, easy to be found by anyone.
Q: What has the experience of building the business taught you?
I learned many things during building this business and that in itself is a great thing about building your own business. Furthermore, it is awesome to see and know that with just a little team you can create beautiful and very impactful products. When working with a talented team, it gives so much energy when plans succeed! A business idea is just another great idea, in the end it is all about the execution, and thus your team!
Q: Where do you see things headed for you in the next 5 years?
We have the goal to help all the students in the world excel in life. Right now we are helping millions of students doing so, but there is a long way to go to help all students! Next to helping them with finding and sharing knowledge, we would also like to help them with other topics. For example, finding a side-job during their studies, housing and preparing them for and finding their first job. Meaning I’ll be busy with the coming 5 years and the next.