Dennis van Veggel talks about his company, career path and networking (Interview).


Dennis van Veggel started, as a young entrepreneur, TRAVIS Road Services. Read here his story about a self-developed innovative European platform for booking software for truck services.
Dear Dennis, thank you so much for answering our questions! We are very curious about your business and experiences. But first, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Dennis van Veggel, 47 years old and I live with my partner Maud and our 2 children Puk (4) and Saar (3) in Berkelenschot. I have a son named Sander (23) from a previous relationship.
Could you describe your study- and your career path? How did you get where you are now?
Since my early childhood, I was determined to become an entrepreneur. I (unfortunately) didn't find school and study interesting. I preferred to work on the trucks of an uncle who ran a transport company. When I was 15 I went without a diploma from the LTS (Lower technical school) to work full time at my uncle’s. After my military service, I immediately got my car- and truck driver's license and started working as a truck driver from the age of 19 until 21 for an international transport company. During the, often very, long journeys, I brooded on the possibility of starting my own company, where I wanted to focus on washing trucks on a mobile basis at the homes of the carriers. I saw the often long queues at truck washing companies and thought, there has to be another way... At the age of 21, I started my own mobile truck washing company which over the years has expanded into a company of approximately 30 employees who were mainly involved in washing trucks on location. Later in 2004 and in 2009, I took over two truck wash companies in Tilburg and I gained experience with running fixed car washes. In order to give the carriers better insight into their costs, to reduce their administrative flows, and to give them more control over frequency policy (so which driver can wash which vehicle when), I eventually set up TRAVIS Road Services.
Interesting! Can you tell us more about Travis Road Services? 
TRAVIS is an online marketplace for transporters and providers of various road services, such as truck wash, tank cleaning, truck repair, and truck parking.
TRAVIS facilitates through its online platform a network of more than 700 service companies in Europe. This way, carriers can purchase various services during their routes, which are periodically charged to the carriers via one collective invoice by TRAVIS. TRAVIS believes that more and more services along the way will “preferably be pre-booked” within the daily planning of a truck. Right now, it is still the driver or planner who books these services but in the close future, (autonomous) vehicle- and planning systems will do this fully automatically. TRAVIS develops its platform mainly on the basis of this vision. We make all data that we collect while finding, booking, and paying for a service, available in the dashboards of the customers and partners. Slowly but surely, TRAVIS will be able to predict which services will be purchased where and when. This information is of course very valuable for various parties. Our mission is to be the largest data-driven and online booking platform in Europe within 5 years, coupled with a network of 10,000 road service providers in various countries.
So when you started you were still quite young. We can believe you ran into some bumps as well. What was an important lesson you learned while having your own business?
I have learned many lessons (sometimes also very expensive ones). The most important to me are; Try to gather relevant people around yourself and only hire people from whom you can learn a lot. I sometimes jokingly say; only hire people who are smarter than you are! These people will be able to take you to the next level much faster. Secondly, I would also like to mention the importance of great perseverance. This has been indispensable for my company. More setbacks than successes will come your way. Despite all the setbacks and bumps, I have continued to strongly believe in the future success which has finally brought me where I am now.
What do you think is the value of networking when starting/having your own business?
I certainly believe in the value of a good network. I have also benefited a lot from it. As mentioned before; gathering relevant people around you is very important.
As you mentioned, having the right people around you is very important. Do you have any tips on how young entrepreneurs can connect and broaden their networks?
Make sure you get to know a lot of people. If you are an active entrepreneur and regularly make yourself be heard and seen, a valuable network will emerge quite easily by itself. It is important that you have a great passion for your profession/company. You radiate this and will automatically make potentially interested people enthusiastic.
As an entrepreneur, what is it that motivates and drives you?
The passion for my company, the urge to continue to lead the way in the market, and the achievement of beautiful “milestones” time after time, motivates me to reach that dot on the horizon. 
If you have to describe your life as an entrepreneur in one word, what would it be?
One big adventure!
TRAVIS is part of the DALI project (Project Data Science for Logistic Innovation) of which Midpoint Brabant is a co-initiator. This project is focused on collecting and using data in an efficient way to improve the logistic network. Can you tell us about the role of TRAVIS in this DALI project?
We are developing a new service. It concerns the truck parking service where we make company sites available for truck parking by linking these locations to our booking platform. This way, the carriers can book parking spots on their routes in advance, so that they are assured of a parking spot. Providers of such sites only have to register them within TRAVIS, so they can be booked in one fell swoop. Here, too, we bring supply and demand together and we settle the transactions. During this process, we generate a lot of data that we can share with other parties, among others, within the DALI project.
That sounds very interesting and valuable. When you look at TRAVIS, what are your future plans?
Our mission is to become the largest data-driven truckroad service provider!

Dear Dennis, thank you so much for answering our questions! It is very inspiring to read about your career path! We wish you all the best with your future plans and the DALI project.
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