Cycling was always in my life but it was more a means of transportation to school and around town rather than really something I was interested in as a sports tool.
What brought me into the sport of cycling and into the cycling business was literally an accident (or better two). I was obsessed about volleyball but when I was 18 years old I had several injuries that forced me to stop playing. And that’s how I got into mountain bike racing.
A few years later, I was studying at university and needed money. Looking for a job, I saw an ad from Cannondale Switzerland looking for a full-time secretary. As I was racing on a Cannondale and I loved the brand, I called them to say that I am not a secretary and that I cannot work full-time but I would love to work for them.
Soon I started to work for them as a part-time secretary. As the business was growing rapidly we hired finally a real secretary and I started to work as a sales rep. When I finished my studies, I moved to the Netherlands to work full-time for Cannondale Europe. After that I worked for Scott Europe for four years, in both sales and marketing positions.
My real cycling adventure started in 2001 when I became the CEO of BMC. I took that job without even seeing the company and the people. On my first real working day I realized what I had done: This company was a complete mess. Back then it did like USD 2.5 Million turnover and the loss was roughly the same amount…
But on the other hand I could build up a brand from scratch with all the freedom that I needed. After seven years of growing BMC from a small Swiss company to an international player, I started to realize that it was slowly becoming more like a job for me rather than a mission.
It became political, administrative and slow… I had to make a cut and let my baby go. It was a year full of changes both in business and my private life, which back then was quite tough. Looking at it right now, it was one of the best years in my life. I learned more about myself and where I wanted to go than in all the rest of my life.
After just riding my bike for a couple of months in a couple of exotic places in this world I started to work for Cervélo as their international sales director and that’s how I met Gerard.
After four years at Cervélo, I just felt that personally I had to make a change again. I decided to leave the company not really knowing what I wanted to do next.
I worked on some projects for other bike companies when one day my “former boss” Gerard called me up and told me about his little new project. I still had this dream of building up my own company one day.
Gerard is somebody I have great respect for. We have completely different skill sets and that’s what fascinated me most about doing something together. I think we have an ideal combination of knowledge and network.
We are both very passionate about what we do and cycling is an integral part of our lives. With OPEN we can realize our visions without any of the compromises we had in our previous adventures.