Top Entrepreneur Finalist: Thierry Schellenbach
Co-Founder and CEO | Stream, Boulder
After starting and selling Fashiolista, an early-moving social network in his native Netherlands, Schellenbach, 35, brought his next startup, Stream, to Techstars in New York in 2016 and subsequently moved the headquarters to Boulder, while maintaining an office in Amsterdam.
The company began providing a platform for online activity feeds to such customers as Soundcloud, but truly took off during the pandemic with infrastructure for live chats. “We started providing chat for education, we started providing chat for health care and telemedicine,” Schellenbach says. “Live events and concerts all moved online. Some of our traditional customers struggled, but then this whole new segment picked up online and it really accelerated our growth.”
The chat products, released in 2019, grew by a whopping 625 percent in 2020 and 100 percent in 2021. Now 150 employees after hiring 60 in 2021, Stream has closed on $58 million in venture capital to date, about 90 percent of it since the introduction of chat products.
Schellenbach says he waited to pursue funding until the time was right. “You need to understand when to accelerate and when not to,” he says. “We waited until the numbers looked good before we poured, so to speak, oil on the fire.”
With the funding in place, the company plans to hire another 100 employees in 2022, and its locations in the U.S. and Europe have proven helpful in that regard. “It turns out a lot of people would like to move to Amsterdam or Colorado,” Schellenbach laughs.
From Amsterdam to Boulder and Techstars in-between, Stream has raised over $58.25 million to build Chat Messaging & Activity Feed infrastructure, with best-in-class support.