CEO of investment group In Studio Ventures and Managing Partner (US Market) of Wannahaves, Danny Cortenraede is continuing to follow in his father and grandfather’s footsteps. Both being entrepreneurs, Danny was raised watching how successful companies get built and run. It was engraved in him from a young age, leading him to this very day. Having worked in the corporate world for ten years, he decided to leave that behind and embark on his own journey as an entrepreneur which led him to found and invest in a variety of companies! Handsome, smart, and innovative, Danny Cortenraede is embracing who he is and making moves!
Share with us how your childhood impacted where you are today. Your life and career choices. Was there someone who inspired you in particular?
My father and grandfather were both entrepreneurs. I grew up seeing what it takes to build successful companies. The hard work, dedication, long hours, passion, entrepreneurial mindset and big thinking. I was young when my grandfather passed away but I still feel a strong connection to him. My parents and family also compare me to him. He was a super driven person and a big thinker. Investing in real estate and building companies.
This has impacted my choices and desire to build my own companies.
Share with your professional journey up until now. What do you believe was the biggest steeping stone in your career? Biggest lesson learned?
I started my career in the corporate world. I worked 6 years for Vodafone, 2.5 years for Sony and 2 years for T-Mobile. I left my high paid corporate job to start my first company, Enterprise Media, a production company. We worked for Walt Disney, Disney Channel and clients like ABN-AMRO. After selling my first company I started NanoFixit together with an investor – I built the company in The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Then I went on to I co-found Wannahaves that includes 433 (now the biggest soccer community in the world with 55M followers and 5B views per month). We are working closely with Nike, adidas, Puma, Budweiser and athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba and Eden Hazard. I’ve built this company from scratch starting in Amsterdam and opened two offices in the states (NYC & LA).
My latest project is InStudio Ventures – a venture studio. We are building the next generation of media, tech and sports companies.
As a team of seasoned entrepreneurs, marketers, and designers we understand the principles and challenges of building a business in today’s world. Through our high involvement approach, we merge our expertise and experience with the founding teams. For us, investor partnerships go way beyond the numbers.
What has your experience as CEO of In Studio Ventures been like? Can you tell us more about the company?
InStudio Ventures, based in Los Angeles, combines start-up expansion expertise and private capital to conceive, cultivate, and scale next-generation media, tech, and sport companies.
Having built multiple companies myself, I have also had a lot of setbacks – just like all other entrepreneurs. There are a lot of great entrepreneurs in the world but more than 80% of them are failing. In today’s highly competitive marketplace it takes so much more than just a good product idea to become a successful business. 32% is failing because of the incorrect team, 28% poort market fit (idea), 14% no funding, 24% business (lacking business model, outcompeted) and 42% timing (no market need, product mistimed etc..) As the data shows there are many aspects that have an impact on success. A more holistic approach to the business is needed. That is where we come in with our venture studio.
Getting start-ups on the right track by testing and eliminating all assumptions on their customer, product, market and industry in 4 steps to create the ultimate value proposition for growth.
InStudio’s global team brings a proven track record of start-up expertise to discover, craft, test, validate, and scale next-generation business initiatives into highly-visible, highly-profitable market leaders. With our revolutionary venture studio model, we disrupt the conventional approach to VC funding, focusing more time and effort on developing innovative business models and maximizing traction in our partners’ market space.
What obstacles do you face and how do you overcome them?
As an entrepreneur and investor, I face obstacles on a daily basis. That is just how it is! The question is how do you react to these obstacles? It starts all with your mindset. I use those moments to learn and grow – what is the bigger picture? What is the thing that you really want to achieve? Keep that in mind and you can move mountains.
Besides this, I believe in having the right network and surrounding you with the right people. These people can give you valuable insights, people who have done this before and are not afraid of your relative “small” problem.
You are also the Managing Partner (US Market) of Wannahaves. How did that happen?
I’ve built Wannahaves from scratch.
As Managing Director and partner, I was the driving force behind the transition Wannahaves has made into a first-class global digital media agency. That includes 433 | the biggest soccer community in the world with 55M followers and 5B views per month.
My hands-on leadership approach enabled me to build our team from 1 to 40 talented employees who thrive in our fast-paced and collaborative work environment. I participated in the complete development of the company, from mission statement to business objectives and rebuilt Wannahaves into a digital media agency. I opened two offices in NYC & LA.
Working with brands like Nike, Adidas, Puma, Budweiser, Red Bull, Samsung, Marriott, Stock X, Intersport, Mindshare, and many more.
In your own words, what does the company represent? What does it mean to you?
Wannahaves is a digital agency that helps to activate brands through three primary services; content creation, media distribution, and social media. Wannahaves assists its business partners, in addition to our own brands of 433 and BALR., in creating the right content and distributing through our network (more than 60M followers).
What pushed you to change careers and invest in many different companies? What do you believe your true purpose is?
The biggest change was from my corporate job to entrepreneur. Now I am building businesses dealing with the things I love to do and I am passionate about: Sports, Tech, and Media combined with investing which is what I like the most. I mainly invest in startups & real estate. Helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams and creating a big impact in the Tech, Sports & Media industry is my mission. We are on the top of the industry with innovation and working with the biggest brands in the world.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently and why?
I worked for big corporate organizations for 10 years. I learned a lot here and I was ready to start my entrepreneurial career. My advice to the 20 years old dreamers is to try a lot of different things and get experience. What are the things you are interested in when you have leisure time? What do you like? That is where you start. Email, DM, call 750 people that are players in this niche and maye one or two will reply to you and that starts your career.
Tell us more about who you are when you aren’t working.
🙂 nice one… It is difficult for me to not work. I am always thinking about my next move or thing, because that is who I am. I want to grow, build things, achieve great things and I love what I do. On the weekends it is family time and we go out and do nice things with the family. And I try the block between 6 and 8 for the kids, dinner etc.. For me my family is super important and I want to see my kids growing up.
How do you see 2021 going? What do you believe is the true key to success?
2021 will be a great year! Last year was a challenging year for a lot of people but also an eye opener at the same time. We are in a new world and things have changed but also a lot of new opportunities. I am working on amazing projects that give me a lot of energy. We need more time before we can travel and go back to work etc.. So 2021 will be a year of transition also in the sports industry. The key to success are multiple things but I believe in mindset is super important, a positive attitude no matter what. Set high goals for yourself and keep on crushing them, every day! Start your day with three main objectives and get them done (say no to the rest), believe in yourself, have confidence, and just go for it! and never quite on these goals 😉 never.