Leslie Cottenje
Co-Founder and CEO of Hello Customer, Belgium

Q: How do you relax?

A: A good book on my balcony with scenic countryside view relaxes me everytime

Growing a business means going beyond yourself

I’ve always been a busy bee with a huge need for independence. When I graduated, I quickly found a job as an online marketer at a top business school. Although I was always full of ideas, most of the time I hit brick walls.

During a trip that my partner, Joeri Pansaerts, and I took in 2010, we talked about dreams of creating our own digital agency. He was a developer who also felt trapped in his job. Without fully thinking things through, I quit my marketing job. Four months later, Joeri did the same and joined me. We started building applications and websites for businesses. Soon, we dreamt of bigger and better things – of a businesss that could grow beyond us. We needed to create a product.

In December 2014, alongside our new partner, Bram De Vos, we launched Hello Customer. We were all very excited about building a product that would make a difference in the world. When our advisor, Wim, invested €500,000 in us just a few months after, it gave me the most awesome feeling having someone believe in us. I am now grateful to be growing a company that inspires me every day.

Leslie Cottenje is the co-founder and CEO of Hello Customer. She is 31 years old and lives in Bruges, Belgium. Leslie holds a master’s degree in Linguistics. She founded her first company, a digital agency, at the age of 24. Together with two partners, she founded Hello Customer five years later. It now serves as an intelligent feedback platform providing insight into customer experience and satisfaction.


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