GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

August 7, 2012

Rockport '08 grad launches global business

Rockport 2008 grad launches global business

By Marjorie Nesin
Staff Writer

---- — ROCKPORT — It was in 2008 that Florian Roell graduated from Rockport High School and headed off to business school in his birth country, Holland.

Roell hoped to create his own start-up business after school, and months after his June 2012 college graduation, Roell has co-founded an international internet business — and even has an app.

”I kind of thought I could just start something,” Roell said. “That was the plan.”

That plan has already yielded a business Roell estimates to be worth about $100,000. Roell co-founded Readmore, a digital magazine creation website, with classmate Mick Niepoth. Users can access Readmore at readmoremag.com or as an Apple application in order to digitally publish their own magazine content, free of charge.

Roell and Niepoth hatched their plan for the business as a brainstormed idea for a class project in 2011. The two knew they wanted to incorporate the newly popular iPad tablet into their business plan, as well as capture an audience of readers.

The two entreprenuers won an award for the best student-run company in 2010-2011 school year at Nyenrode New Business School Amsterdam, a year before graduation. And, after multiple, competitive presentation rounds at the school, Roell and Niepoth received a $65,000 subsidy for Readmore from the European Space Agency, an onlooker in the competition.

“During the presentations, we were never sure if we were going to make it to the next round, but I guess we always believed in it (the business),” Roell said.

Users, as well as Roell and his crew — the co-founders have hired a programmer and are looking for a salesperson — profit from advertisements that are aimed at magazine readers. A global positioning device locates the reader of a given magazine, created on Readmore’s pre-made templates, and displays advertisements that are pertinent to the individual reader. The global positioning device used in the advertisements helped qualify the company for the European Space Agency’s subsidy.

Most of Readmore’s users are based in the United Kingdom and Holland, according to Roell, though Rockport High School rolls out its monthly newsletters on the software, too.

“It’s focused on the UK and Amsterdam right now, but people are using it internationally,” Roell said.

Roell said he participated in Rockport High School’s DECA national business program, led by Scott Larsen, and Larsen helped set the school up with Readmore.

Roell encourages students in Rockport schools who may be inspired by his achievements to follow in his footsteps and advance their own ideas.

”It’s cool if people can learn from it and start doing their own thing too, because it can really work out,” Roell said. “Take the initiative, just start something.”

Roell spent the last two weeks in Rockport and flew back to Holland Monday. Roell visited friends and family, hung out on the beach and fished, he said.

It was nice to visit in Rockport, Roell said, but there will be a lot of work to do when he returns to Holland. It will be Niepoth’s turn for a vacation, and Roell will be covering for him as well as keeping his eye on the award for Student entrepreneur of the Year 2012, in which he is a finalist among five other competitors.

Roell said he still has time to be a 22-year-old on weekends and vacations — but his weekdays “compared to the year before,” he admits, “are a lot more serious.”

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at mnesin@gloucestertimes.com.