Jeremy Raes | Co-founder & CEO
Jeremy has an inveterate passion for people with a passion. Neither the cleaner in the CIC Rotterdam, nor the CEO in the coffee queue is spared his interest if he catches the little ‘passion sparkle’ in their eyes. His interest in people and relentless passion for Lizard Global’s growth, makes him a true example for many.
Can you begin with a short introduction of yourself and your function within the company?
"I'm Jeremy, CEO of Lizard-Apps, now Lizard Global, Co-founder with Guido. My function within the company mainly consists of motivating and inspiring the Lizard team, because we would not be anywhere without this strong team. I see it as my job to be Lizard Global's best and foremost ambassador, to bring in new clients, and make sure that the team has everything they need in order to deliver the best results possible. In that sense, I'm more of a facilitator. As CEO of the company I aspire to give every individual within the team the space to learn, to grow and to create their own space inside the company. I want them to come to me and tell me how they envision Lizard Global growing more successful, instead of me telling them what to do."
How did the idea come up to start Lizard-Apps?
"I've always been passionate about entrepreneurship. Every starting company needs software, and as a software development company we can really create a difference for our clients. Often, what we do is at the heart of their operations, so it’s vital that we are successful. The beauty of Lizard Global is that we can help all these starting entrepreneurs with our fantastic team to build high-quality software for them. I like nothing more than sitting together with our clients and figure out how we can help them grow. We are only successful when our clients are successful. I like the entrepreneurial aspect of it and love to see our team grow, together with the company. At Lizard Global we are often more of a family or a close group of friends, proud and passionate about what we do. Everyone is happy to come to work in the morning, and that’s one of the greatest gifts for an entrepreneur."
What are the most treasured things you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
"One of the most noticeable things I’ve discovered is the importance of a close relationship between our team and our clients. I’m very proud that our very first customers are still our customers. At Lizard Global we highly value the relationship we have with our clients. They are always in the forefront, and especially when working together for a longer period, they also become our friends."
"We don’t just create a piece of software, deliver that to the client, and we’re done. We build long-lasting relationships, based on trust and a strong and successful collaboration. Lizard Global is growing together with our clients, and vice versa."
"At the same time we are a software development company and as everybody knows software evolves very fast. I think we can be very proud of the fact that our development team and CTO Guido are always on top of their game with the latest cutting-edge technologies, making our clients future-proof. That’s also very exciting to see: it’s bizarre to realize what is possible today that wasn’t possible three years ago. The entire team is committed to deliver the best results possible for our clients."
Are there things you secretly loathe about working at Lizard Global?
"I honestly can’t think of something I don’t like about working at Lizard Global. Starting as an entrepreneur, you have to be prepared for the fact that it's going to be a bumpy ride. You don’t create a startup because you want to think inside boxes. There’s so much space for creativity, and that also involves failure and bad days. But you need those failures to grow as a person and as a company. Every day I appreciate the fact that I have gotten the chance to work in a startup environment, to have this freedom of making mistakes. Feedback is a present, and it’s beautiful to watch your company and your team grow stronger every day. Of course, it’s a lot of work and sometimes a lot of stress. But stress is a good thing, it prepares your body for a challenge."
The company has changed and grown a lot during the past years. Where do you see yourself and the company in five years?
"I hope that we still have the same clients we currently have, and that we still have the opportunity to help them and their businesses grow bigger and better. At Lizard Global we do something special, we’re not just a software company. We create a unique bond with our clients while working with them, and we do everything to preserve that connection. We definitely like to keep that uniqueness within Lizard Global, no matter how much we grow in the coming years. Next to that, I’d love to welcome more people to the Lizard Family and expand our team with more amazing people with a passion and commitment for their job and the company. In terms of technology, we will stay on top of our game at all times, focusing on retaining our cutting-edge quality in order to give our clients the best of the best."
Did you ever expect to come this far?
"For every starting entrepreneur it’s a dream and ambition to reach the top. After all, what’s the use of starting a business if you don’t aim to achieve success? So naturally, the ambition was always there for me. It is fun to look back at how we started, and how all the pieces came together during our journey to where we are now. If I look at our current portfolio, all the things we have done, all the amazing clients we have collaborated with, the great team we have built over the years; it feels good. At the same time, I hope the best is yet to come."
"Am I proud of where we are now? Hell yes. Are we already where we want to be? No."
"An important part of being an entrepreneur is to always strive for more, and never settle for less. There’s always things to improve, and being aware of that keeps the company from stagnating. I don’t feel like we already deserve a rest, and I hope to feel like that for the rest of my life."
Do you have some technical advice for other entrepreneurs that just started a business?
"To keep it short: work with the right software company. Software can make or break your company. And value your team. In the end they are the people that have to do it."
What do you think makes the company unique? How does Lizard stand out from other IT-companies?
The three most important key aspects of Lizard Global for me are client relations, technology, and teamwork. As said before: Lizard Global is not like other software companies. We work together with our clients on an equal level and to be a part of their team instead of an external facilitator. We make sure we’re always up-to-date with the most recent technologies, to give our clients the best on the market. Next to that is the closeness and strength of our team. Not only is every single one of us passionate about our job and skilled at what we do, it’s the collaboration and intertwinement of these skills that makes the Lizard team so unique. I often use the analogy of playing within the Champions League. While assembling the perfect team, it’s not about the individual strengths and skills of the team players. As long as they can't play together, there’s no chance you even come close to winning. It would be a total mess.
"We build software that makes a difference. At Lizard Global you don’t pay for a service; you pay for an incredible team, skilled and passionate about what they create."
Are there specific plans or projects in the close future you’re looking forward to?
Currently we are working together with Delft University, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and the Hogeschool Rotterdam. I’d definitely like to continue to invest in those collaborations, as we learn a lot from them. I’m always looking forward to new partnerships, or launch events of our current clients. Not too long ago one of our clients, SKOON, officially launched their product, and there’s little more rewarding than to see how far your clients have come working together with Lizard Global.