Our Founder Marian Spier

Founder Marian Spier

As one of the leading female social entrepreneurs in the Netherlands,
Marian Spier is passionate about creating positive social change and seeing women excel in
business. In 2018 she was awarded an EU Business Angel Award for her work with the TedxAmsterdamWomen StartUp Awards. The award is given to a woman who positively impacted the Early Stage Investment arena.
It’s awarded to women who are inspiring role models — who have pushed for inclusivity, female empowerment, innovation, and diversity. 

Marian seeks to continue her work and passion by launching FEM-START to build a sustainable environment for women-led startups in the Netherlands and throughout the world.


Webby Awards, 2012
Cannes Lion Awards, 2012
Lean In EU Women Business Angels: Best Newcomer Award 2018
Nominee Black Achievement Awards, 2018
Inspiring Fifty: 50 Women in Tech NL, 2013, 2017 and 2019

Sandra van der Pal has worked with Marian for years as a volunteer at the Startup Awards of TEDxAmsterdamWomen, where they found each other in their passion for female entrepreneurship. In her role as Innovation Acceleration Manager, she has years of experience in leading and training social startups throughout the world. She has contributed to setting up an accelerator program and hub in South-Africa for social startups. 

At present, Sandra is active at The Next Web as a Senior Manager Open Innovation.

Co-Founder & CFO

Simone van Bijsterveldt

Simone van Bijsterveldt is an experienced CFO and has helped countless companies with organising their financial structure and strategy. Ranging from experience with Dutch Charity Lotteries to Media Monks to the absolute beginning of start-ups, Simone has worked with people and organisations from all walks of life. Simone has a passion for finances, culture and people. She’s a member of the supervisory board of the Dutch Film Fund and TivoliVredenburg as well as the chair of the audit committee.

As a woman in the c-suite, Simone has always strived to be a strong teamplayer that uplifts others. By joining FEM-START Simone combines her passion and expertise; creating change for others by utilizing her experience and knowledge.

Based in The Hague, the Netherlands
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