Taking over the family business can be a perfectly respectable and fulfilling career choice. It just didn’t turn out to be the path that Jolique Möller chose.
Möller (’11 B.A.) chose instead to be a technology entrepreneur, co-founding one of Europe’s hippest companies, Influentials. Based in the Netherlands, Influentials uses proprietary software to connect internet bloggers with organizations seeking to get a message out to the world.
“We offer a software solution where influencers connect with paying brands – such as L’Oréal,” Möller said by phone from her office in Rotterdam, her hometown. “There are so many bloggers out there that want to connect with businesses, but they don’t know how.”
There is no cost for bloggers to sign up with Influentials, and thousands of them have. Most are in the Netherlands, Möller said, but roughly 600 have signed up from the United States despite a lack of any effort to attract them.
“Launching a company has been a bumpy ride, and I learn so much every day,” Möller said. “It would have been so easy for me to take over the family company, but I don’t think it would have been this much fun.”
The original plan was, in fact, for Möller to take over the family business from her father, who owns seven auto body shops around Rotterdam. That’s why she attended the International program at Northwood, which her father heard about at an industry gathering. After beginning her studies at a European university, Möller completed her international business degree at Northwood’s Florida campus.
“I would do it all over again,” she said of her Northwood experience. “It was quite intense. It was fun and nice, but hard. ...If I have kids, I would encourage them to do it.”
After graduating, Möller went to California for an interview with California-based automotive company, Tesla, but decided she would rather launch a startup company than work in the auto industry. Her choice was reinforced when she had a happenstance meeting with a talented software engineer who became her business partner.
“It’s the law of attraction. Once you want something, you focus on it, then you meet people who will help you get there,” Möller said. “It’s like you’re driving a car, and they are the dot on the horizon.”