When you think of the Investors Club, a Royal Palace is not the first thing that comes to mind. Stately elegance, strict protocol and liberal amounts of deference are not our strengths. Yet, somehow, we managed to fit right in, both above and below the stairs at Queen Emma’s Palace on the Haagse Voorhout.
After a welcome cocktail in the private garden, Marcel, the edifice’s modern chatelaine, guided us through the palaces staterooms and their modern treasure-trove – Escher, in abundance, a testament to his talent and growth.
On entering the ballroom, the pitches could begin. As our members leaned against the gold-leafed panels and set down their glasses on the fine marble of the chimneypieces, the pitching started. Perhaps not the eloquence of past dignitaries, but stimulating all the same:
- The first entrepreneur pitched a new model of legal assistance; one that lowered the cost as well as pre-financing access. Aimed at less developed countries, it was a scheme to widen access to justice.
- The second guy pitched participation in taking over and refurbishing a private hospital in Germany that focused on exploiting the latest innovations in health care such as tissue regeneration. His knowledge, network and position in the field, combined with collaboration with top researchers, created an opportunity designed to exploit the changing market demographics and practitioners willingness to sub-rent.
- The third team pitched a Photo Album concept, with a most interesting business model, combining years of supply chain management through Philips in the storage field and new developed technology that is able to create photo albums out of thousands of pictures without the help of a person selecting. The business model also involves a sponsoring deal where albums are free for users with the addition of brand marketing throughout the album
After more questions than the entrepreneurs were expecting, and the waiting staff, Champagne was served! A toast to our first exit! When time was called to descend the staircase to the old kitchens – Mutiny! Our guests were rather comfortable in the ballroom, we too, networking abounded, the entrepreneurs were courted. Only the tempting aromas of dinner entice us into the garden. Each entrepreneur had an entourage, and they deserved it!