Interview | Bouke de Jong - Science & Technology officer

Bouke de Jong recently joined the Planet team as Science & Technology officer. Bouke has vast experience in scaling and manufacturing nutritional products in food and sustainable materials. Moreover, he brings a proven track record of working for both US startups and corporate entities. He will take responsibility on all activities within Planet that require technical and scaleup knowledge. 

We had a talk with him about his career and experience.

Why did you say yes to joining Planet

“Planet is an ideal community to enable growth of the next generation deep-tech companies focussed on health of our planet. While the Netherlands is known for its long history in biotechnology and entrepreneurship, being part of Planet enables me to be part of creating the future biotech landscape. I believe that my experience in the US, working in the San Fransisco start-up world as well as a large corporate environment, will allow me to contribute to further growth of an already strong community.”  

What inspired you to study Life science & Technology?

“This question sends me down memory lane. It’s over 20 years ago that I started LST. Real growth comes from Innovation and the study of biotechnology allows for doing good by learning about living systems and how we can use them to benefit health of humans, animals and our planet. Our world and our society faces a couple of serious challenges and real change comes through innovation. I remember LST as an educational program that is setting up new talent to change the world through science and entrepreneurship.”

How was your encounter with the business world?

“To me, the start-up scene in San Francisco was the place to be after my academical career. I could be part of an environment that is known for cutting edge science, accelerating innovation and finding solutions to create a more sustainable future. Bolt Threads, a sustainable material company, is a fantastic example about how company culture creates an environment in which innovation can accelerate and foster. At DSM it was fascinating to experience commercialization of innovative nutritional products from the perspective of an established company. When scaling and commercializing any product, both perspectives are important.”

What makes you all excited about supporting entrepreneurs?

“Deep-tech entrepreneurs are the people that will change the world in a good way. They find solutions to the most difficult problems and commercialize them. A diversity of challenges requires a diverse number of problem solvers. Facilitating their success by supporting them with the right tools and seeing them grow is fulfilling. Imagining a future with a diverse landscape of sustainability focussed companies is exciting.”

What is a piece of key advice that you’d like to share with every new founder?

“There is a lot that could be said. Here are a few shout-outs:
Just do it. Be bold! Embrace big ideas. Don’t stop believing in your own idea, regardless of what other people say. Embrace failing, learn and grow as a person. Listen well to your trusted few and take feedback to heart. Care about the people, be inclusive. Bring yourself to work. The glass is always half full.”