Innovation

Trailblazing the Tech Terrain: Inside Thomas Jelle’s Journey from Startup to Global Success with MazeMap

Thomas Jelle Unveils MazeMap’s Rise & Entrepreneurial Insights – Exclusive Interview

In this insightful interview, we delve into the entrepreneurial journey of Thomas Jelle, CEO of MazeMap, a company revolutionizing indoor navigation services. Our host, Barry, from Temy, a leading software development company, engages Thomas in a candid conversation, unveiling the motivations and inspirations behind his successful career. 

Thomas, an inveterate entrepreneur, discusses his past ventures and his unique perspective on the corporate world. His reluctance for routine and a constant thirst for learning and innovation have been the driving forces in his career. MazeMap, Thomas’s latest venture, is born out of a desire to improve people’s experiences in navigating complex indoor environments like universities and hospitals. 

By following a student’s journey, Thomas and his team identified a crucial need for efficient indoor navigation, leading to the inception of MazeMap. This article presents an in-depth look at Thomas Jelle’s vision, his entrepreneurial spirit, and how MazeMap is addressing real-world challenges through innovative technology.

Thomas Jelle Unveils MazeMap's Rise & Entrepreneurial Insights - Exclusive Interview
Mapping a New Path: Thomas Jelle on Shifting from Routine to Revolutionizing Indoor Navigation

Thomas Jelle, the mastermind behind MazeMap, radiates a sense of restlessness that’s almost tangible, even over a podcast. As he chats with Barry, his words paint the picture of a man who’s always been a bit of a maverick, constantly seeking to ‘upgrade things and make a difference.’ His journey is a testimony to breaking free from the conventional 9-to-5 mold, a path he candidly admits might not have been the best fit for him. “I’ve started four companies before MazeMap,” he shares, his voice hinting at a mixture of pride and a relentless drive for improvement.

Diving deeper into his narrative, Thomas reveals the core of his entrepreneurial spirit. It’s not about chasing profits or fame; it’s about an insatiable hunger for learning and growth. Working regular jobs, he felt the stagnation creeping in, the excitement of new challenges fading away. This realization spurred him towards entrepreneurship, a realm where every day is a learning curve. “The fun thing about running your own company is that you always need to learn, you always need to improve every single day,” he says, encapsulating his philosophy in a nutshell.

But what about MazeMap? What inspired this specific venture? Thomas’s answer takes us back to 2012, to a project aimed at enhancing the university experience for new students. He recounts how following a student’s first week exposed a significant challenge – navigating the maze-like campus. This insight led to the birth of MazeMap, a tool designed to eliminate the stress and uncertainty of finding one’s way in complex indoor environments. “It’s about helping people find either rooms or resources,” Thomas explains. This simple yet powerful mission of MazeMap reflects Thomas’s vision of using technology to make everyday life a tad easier.

The fun thing about running your own company is that you always need to learn, you always need to improve every single day

Thomas, with a laid-back yet earnest tone, delves into the personal attributes that shape his leadership at MazeMap. His choice of words – ‘passion’, ‘resilience’, and ‘curiosity’ – isn’t just a random selection but a reflection of his journey. The conversation turns philosophical as he muses on the necessity of passion in entrepreneurship, especially in the tumultuous startup world. “Passion is starting companies usually takes a lot longer than what you think,” Thomas reflects, his voice a blend of experience and earnestness. This nugget of wisdom reveals the depth of his commitment and the drive that fuels his journey.

Thomas candidly addresses the rollercoaster of challenges that come with running a company. His approach isn’t one-size-fits-all; instead, it’s about tailoring solutions to the unique problems at hand. Whether it’s an organizational snag or a tech hiccup, Thomas emphasizes digging down to the root cause. “Trying to find the root cause of what is not working…and let’s see if we can change that,” he advises, his words resonating with pragmatic optimism. This pragmatic approach, coupled with his willingness to adapt and learn, showcases the flexibility crucial for any entrepreneur.

Reflecting on his biggest learning curve, Thomas touches on a universal truth many founders face – the product alone doesn’t guarantee success. He emphasizes the balance between product development, sales, marketing, and dealing with unforeseen challenges. “If you spend 10 million [on product development], you need to put aside 10 million for sales and marketing and 10 million for other things that happen,” he states, offering a rare glimpse into the strategic mind behind MazeMap. This balanced perspective, honed from years of experience, highlights the multifaceted nature of entrepreneurship.

Passion in starting companies usually takes a lot longer than what you think

From Startup to Scale-Up: Thomas Reflects on MazeMap’s Growth and Finding Balance

Reminiscing about the early days of MazeMap, Thomas likens his journey to parenting – a comparison that brings a smile and a nod of understanding from anyone who’s ever nurtured a dream from infancy to maturity. “Every stage of a company has its beauties and flaws,” he muses. Those initial years, marked by close-knit teamwork and rapid-fire decision-making, hold a special place in his heart. But as MazeMap grew, so did the complexity of managing a global team. This shift, he acknowledges, brought new challenges but also a broader impact – a trade-off Thomas views as essential for progress.

Diving into the concept of work-life balance, Thomas offers an honest glimpse into the life of an entrepreneur fully immersed in his passion. “Most of the time, it’s joy,” he says about his work. Yet, he doesn’t shy away from admitting the need for downtime. Whether it’s hitting the slopes, playing soccer, or spending quality time with family, Thomas understands the importance of stepping away to recharge. His approach to vacations is a blend of being present with loved ones while keeping a cautious eye on his business – a delicate balance that he admits he’s still perfecting.

When asked about his daily routine and guiding philosophies, Thomas reveals a shift from a night owl to embracing the quiet productivity of mornings, a change he attributes to maturing. His guiding philosophy is profound yet straightforward, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” This proverb resonates deeply with Thomas, reflecting his journey from solo entrepreneurship to leading a diverse team at MazeMap, acknowledging his impatience but also his appreciation for collaboration and shared success.

Most of the time, it’s joy

Speed, Creativity, and Growth: Thomas Shares His Philosophy on Leading MazeMap

Thomas Jelle, CEO of MazeMap, exudes an air of energy and determination as he discusses the ethos driving his company’s progress. He emphasizes the importance of speed in a startup’s growth, likening it to a race where being fast and nimble is key. “Especially when you’re young, being able to have speed in execution is parallel to being able to win in the long run,” Thomas asserts. This perspective is deeply ingrained in MazeMap’s culture, reflecting his belief that agility and swift action are vital in the competitive tech landscape.

Beyond his business acumen, Thomas shows a refreshing blend of positivity and gratitude, a mindset that transforms ‘must do’ tasks into ‘get to do’ opportunities. “I’m actually quite privileged to be able to do these things that I’m doing,” he shares, casting a new light on the daily grind. This shift from obligation to privilege speaks volumes about his approach to life and leadership. It’s not just about doing; it’s about appreciating the chance to make a difference, a trait that undoubtedly contributes to his success.

As the conversation shifts to the future, Thomas reveals his relentless drive for growth and innovation. He shares MazeMap’s ambitious goal – helping 1 billion users navigate complex spaces. This monumental vision isn’t just a business target; it’s a testament to his belief in the transformative power of technology. His recruitment philosophy, looking for individuals better than himself in their roles, underscores his commitment to excellence and continual improvement.

I’m actually quite privileged to be able to do these things that I’m doing

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