Janneke Niessen
Co-Founder of Improve Digital

Q: What only other entrepreneurs understand?

A: That you are not crazy, just a passionate entrepreneur.

If you can see it, you can be it

I’ve always loved technology, and I’ve always wanted to become an entrepreneur. I seized the first opportunity to start my own business when I was 23, and even though it hasn’t always been easy, it’s the best decision I have ever made. Nothing beats building your own company. When I started Improve with Joelle, many people thought we were crazy – but I’m pleased to say we proved them wrong and are now an established name next to the big US players.

When others say one of my ideas is impossible to achieve, I always think…why? I focus on grabbing opportunities. Problems are there to be fixed. In addition to Improve, Joelle and I have started Inspiring Fifty, an initiative to make female role models in technology more visible and to show young women that a career in tech is both achievable and rewarding. Our ultimate aim is to address the gender imbalance in tech. As part of that initiative, I have also published a book for young girls called Project Prep.

Janneke Niessen, 39, lives in Breda and is a serial tech entrepreneur. She is co-founder and CIO of Improve Digital, the advanced monetization technology platform for publishers. She co-founded the company with Joelle Frijters in 2008, and has grown it to over 125 employees and more than 250 premium publishers. She has been named EY Entrepreneur of the Year and received other awards and nominations with Improve Digital.


This article was published in ‘the Hundert Vol. 8 – Female Startup Founders Europe’, May 2016.