Searching for a windmill in Google Streetview

Mid­-February this year, I joined the startup Vandebron as a copywriter, two months before its launch. The small team was working at full speed to meet the deadline for launching the world’s first online peer­2­peer energy marketplace. In joining I had little time to learn, so I figured out the things I didn’t fully understand about the energy market as I wrote them.

Upon launching, we were looking for new suppliers to sell their energy via our site.

A foodstore in Amsterdam seemed like a good partner for us, since their target audience matched ours. I
set out to find a farmer that supplied groceries to them, and could potentially supply electricity via us. I took the list from their website and googled all their farmers. Most of the time, it was very difficult to find the addresses, but going through various sites, such as the Chamber of Commerce, I found the location for each of them. Then, in Google Streetview, I virtually walked around the neighbourhood to see if one of them had a roof full of solar panels or a windmill on their land.

This way, I visited some fifty suppliers of food. All of them had big farms, one of them had a windmill too.

I could just see the windmill’s tip above the trees.

Via the Yellow Pages I found their phonenumber and gave them a call. Last month, I finally got to visit them, and now they’ve been added to our website, and they’re selling energy straight to consumers.

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Gerard & Monique on Vandebron
Gerard & Monique on Vandebron

Changing the world via Google Streetview
To me, this case is exemplary for working at a startup. Every day forces me to inventive. Nobody before, in the whole world, had to write about an online peer­2­peer energy marketplace and all its assets. There are no standardisations here: strategies and plannings are volatile and my job description is only a hint of what I actually do.

Copywriter aside, I’ve been a graphic designer, social media manager, journalist, photographer, relationship manager and accountant. I’ve folded invitations, lifted crates and decorated the pressroom. The whole team worked outside of their responsibilities in favour of the overal result. We’re not some huge corporate company where for every task, there is an employee.

The thing is, I don’t per se like folding invitations, yet it becomes very rewarding in the context of a startup, especially one where you’re working for a greater good.