Brian Chesky & Bas van der Werf

For 15 years now, IQONIC, the incubator of Tilburg University, has been guiding starting entrepreneurs to the top. With advice, coaching, a workplace and funding, they have helped many success stories become reality. In this series of short articles, we let entrepreneurs from the incubator react to famous statements by well-known entrepreneurs: do they think the same, what drives them, and where do the entrepreneurs stand in direct opposition to each other? You can read it here!

Brian Chesky (Airbnb) & Bas van der Werf (HalloLex)


Brian who?

Chesky. The name may not ring a bell, but the company he founded does. Brian is a businessman and industrial designer. He is the co-founder and CEO of the peer-to-peer lodging service Airbnb.

Why he is successful:

Worked incredibly hard, stayed frugal and subsidised marketing costs at the start of the business, took small but consistent steps, and personally tested his product and service. Additionally, Airbnb solved a problem in the rental industry.

Famous quote:

"Never assume you can't do something. Push yourself to redefine the boundaries."

Who is Bas?

Bas van der Werf is the founder and director of HalloLex. Bas started at Tilburg University in 2015 and studied until 2020. He started his company WEMEB in 2017, and the investment fund in 2018. HalloLex, founded in 2019, helps entrepreneurs easily obtain legal documents such as contracts, AVG agreements and general terms and conditions. In early April 2022, the company was added to the Legal Tech Map 2022. This map contains the most relevant legal tech companies in the Netherlands. The company also received an investment of €500,000 in April 2022. Bas: "With the investment we received, we want to make our services better and more accessible. We will also focus even more emphatically on automation, in particular Software-as-a-Service."

More about Bas? Visit:

Bas, do you identify yourself with the quote of Brian Chesky?

I certainly agree with Brian Chesky's quote! When you start your own business you are expected to be able to do a bit of everything. I think that challenge is often a limiting factor in starting a business, while in my view it doesn't have to be and it can bring a lot of good things in addition to the learning goals!

How do you use the quote or your interpretation of it in your entrepreneurship?

I once started an investment fund in cryptos while having zero understanding of bitcoin or any other digital currency. Same with HalloLex. I had an idea to make legal services accessible to startups and freelancers but had zero legal experience myself. Nevertheless, that did not stop me from starting up and dealing with the initial threshold in a creative way. The funny thing is that approaching the legal profession from a different angle works really well!

What success did that bring?

Every day, you are still confronted with things you do not like, things you are not very good at or things you have no knowledge of or experience with. The challenge of being an entrepreneur is to solve all these things in the most effective and efficient way possible and to continue.

Name one thing that has always stuck with you from your time at IQONIC.

The incubator has provided me with a start-up network and enabled me to start my first office there. We still spar with other entrepreneurs within the entrepreneurial center on a daily basis. In addition, the connection with the incubator has even led me to start a Venture Builder with Sander Berendsen (SB-Supply) from where we initiate fun projects together or participate in early stage startups.

IQONIC – represents and supports all aspects of entrepreneurship within Tilburg University. They help students, alumni, academics and employees of Tilburg University to further develop their entrepreneurial mindset, so that they can make a difference in society. IQONIC does this by stimulating and supporting creativity and innovation.

Did you know that: The extensive network of coaches, mentors and specialists at IQONIC can help you with questions about IP, legal issues, grants, funding, accountancy, housing or your team composition? To see where they can support you in entrepreneurship, visit