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From Student Dorm Idea To A Marketplace With 24 million Monthly Users, A Founder’s Story with Marnix Broer

Marnix Broer (34) is the founder and CEO of StuDocu. During his studies Mechanical Engineering BSc and Offshore Engineering MSc at the Delft University of Technology he, together with three friends, founded StuDocu. This educational platform over the past 10 years grew from a student dorm idea to a marketplace used by 24 million students from over 60 countries every month.



Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
I was born in a small place close to Amsterdam. I grew up in a nice neighborhood, a good place to have some fun while being close to Amsterdam. As a kid I always worked on side projects, like selling 2nd hand construction-nails, building wooden tools, furniture, and small boats. This entrepreneurial mindset and the desire to build stuff from scratch led to founding StuDocu as a side project next to my studies in Mechanical and Offshore Engineering.


How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
While still students ourselves, we always got frustrated by the amount of time we had to invest in collecting the best summaries, lecture notes, and other study materials when prepping for an exam. We’d spend days asking around with our roommates, study friends, and people in the library – basically everyone we knew – instead of actually studying. But although it took us a lot of time to check in with everyone, we realized we were super lucky to have all these social contacts. Imagine having a smaller network or feeling less comfortable with asking others for help. This made us argue about how it was unfair that not everyone had those same resources, and dream of leveraging the power of the internet and crowdsourcing to make it easier for people taking the same classes to help one another by exchanging notes. The idea of Studocu was born! We walked all over campus with a hard drive asking people to contribute to the project, and of course, everyone we spoke to was super enthusiastic. A week or so later we’d hosted a few thousand-course notes online for free and the website exploded with traffic.


What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
I really like that we have bootstrapped our business, I think this is the best thing you can do as a founder. It learns 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 in taking bets. I know a lot of the bets will fail, but some will become great successes. Furthermore, trying to delegate tasks rather than keep doing a lot of things yourself, is something any start-up founder will tell themselves after they experienced it.
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