Martijn Arets is an international expert in the field of scalable online platforms, like Airbnb (sharing economy), Kickstarter (crowdfunding), and Uber (‘gig’ economy). These are all examples of young companies that entered the market from outside the industry to become strong international players within a few years. Not by building and owning everything themselves, but by facilitating others in making transactions with one another directly.

His fascination with the transition to a platform economy emerged when he was able to successfully complete the world’s first equity crowdfunding campaign in 2011. In doing so, he discovered the platform economy’s potential, but also its drawbacks which need to be resolved in order to reach the economy’s full potential and establish a sustainable model.

Fueled by his curiosity, Martijn has been globetrotting for the last three years to learn about the emergence of scalable online platforms, understand their dynamics, and chart their development. He has engaged in over 300 conversations about these developments with businessmen and experts from over 13 countries, and still makes an average of 12 knowledge-acquisition expeditions abroad each year.

He shares his insights, analyses, and thoughts through articles, videos, and books, as well as through presentations at (international) congresses. He also supports (corporate) organizations and governments that want to understand and access this ‘new’ world. As a freelancer, he often takes part himself in innovation trajectories, both with corporations and start-ups.

Martijn’s background is in marketing and branding, and he has written the books ‘Brand Expedition, a journey visiting Europe’s most inspiring brands’, ‘Crowdfunding, beyond the hype’ and ‘Crowdfunding for Dummies’. Currently, he is working on two more books about new leadership and the rise and future of the collaborative economy. Martijn was elected ‘Entrepreneur of the year 2011’ by Sprout, and has represented the Netherlands as one of the ’40 Young Potential European Leaders under 40’ since 2014.

The beginning of Crowd Expedition phase 2: Platform cooperatives and inclusiveness through platforms

In 2012, I started my Expedition into the platform economy. Embarking with the conviction that the rise of the platform economy would influence every sector within the next 10 years, I took it on me to discover and describe the landscape, to analyze the dilemmas, and to figure out future scenarios. The expedition’s key question […]

sharing economy

Check: This is how the expectations about the sharing economy in 2016 turned out

As an entrepreneur you’re looking ahead, yet you also reflect on past events to learn to analyse what has happened, and to adapt your strategy accordingly. When entrepreneurs reflect, why do experts hardly ever follow their example? I’m taking the challenge by reviewing my ‘5 predictions about the Dutch sharing economy in 2016’. 1. ‘Traditional’ […]

How Estonia became the most digital country in the world.

Agile processes, Minimal Viable Product, speeding up and embracing uncertainty. These are the words you mostly hear in IT-company’s offices, but this time they’re uttered by Estonian government officials. The government of Estonia is very digitally engaged and open. Late 2014 they made their country available for the rest of the world. The government wants […]