- Co-founder and CEO of Soda.
- Lives and works in Brussels, 31 years old.
- Likes data technology, challenges, developing unique projects.
When you meet Maarten Masschelein, the co-founder and CEO of Soda, the first word that comes to mind is data, in particular big data, the new black gold of our economy. There is another keyword to his approach, however: focus. It is his firm belief that the main thing is to pursue your goals and say no to anything that may force you to deviate from your path.
A job at the heart of innovation
“At Soda, we are all about innovation” says Maarten. “We help big tech companies to improve their data quality. We propose or develop solutions that do not exist yet, which means that we are engaged in a permanent process of innovation, in close collaboration with our customers and prospects.”
The start-up works with Expedia, one of the leading online travel agencies. The company’s main algorithm determines product prices, relying on 200 data sources in real-time. Errors regularly occur in the data delivery. Soda helps the company to identify and correct these problems.
The data and their analyses must be exact as an error can have a big impact on the company’s turnover or reputation. In addition to the technological aspect, our solutions also cover the business side of things.
Project in the spotlight
Since mid-January 2019, Soda has added HBO, a major American media production company, to its prospect portfolio. Soda is helping the company to use the data of its online programmes to better serve its customer base. “It’s quite exciting. We suggest solutions and test them directly with HBO on a weekly basis. This is a great opportunity for Soda because HBO is an amazing brand that can really help us position ourselves on the market.”
Brussels, City of Innovators
For Maarten, Brussels was the obvious choice for Soda.
“Brussels is the perfect international city for a company like ours. Just two hours from Paris, Amsterdam and London and eight hours from New York. The Brussels-Capital Region also provides a lot of support for innovation and export, which is definitely an asset for any start-up.”
Maarten studied IT and commercial sciences. He spent seven years working for Collibra, a Brussels-based tech company, specialising in data governance. After two years in New York, he returned to Brussels in January 2018, establishing Soda in April of that year. Tom Baeyens, an experienced IT engineer, joined him as co-founder at the end of May 2018.
Although Maarten has only one tip for Brussels innovators, it definitely is a very valuable one: think on an international scale from the get-go. “While the quality of research in our country is exceptional, our client base is international.”
According to the Harvard Business Review, in 2016, bad data quality cost the US economy $3 trillion.