We find many times unexpected places when we never expect and lead us towards a successful business life. The same happened with Dirk Van Nievelt, co-founder of Denda. The online store of sustainable products in Chile and now with a presence in Mexico.
Drik's journey began at the age of 21 when he was looking for the meaning of his life but unexpectedly found a passion for business.
He says, " In 1998, I visited Asia, not for the business purpose, but to seek a spiritual path. I was studying the third or fourth year of Engineering at the Catholic University of Chile. I paused my studies, packed my bags, and went to look for a great martial art master of Asia."
Drik visited all of China, India, Tibet, and practically the entire continent, exploring the whole region, from Buddhism to Taoism. "I learned speaking the Chinese language while living in monasteries, speaking with monks. I toured all religions to find the meaning of my life only with a backpack, no internet nor cell phones."
The search for the meaning of life lasted ten years, during which he had to find ways to earn for living and continue traveling. " I learned manufacturing and exports for my expenditures. I bought things from India or China and would export them to Chile in a container. I earned $20,000 to $30,000 per load that lasted for two years. I spent money from 1998 to 2008, not thinking about being an entrepreneur," Dirk added.
"In 2008, I was disappointed because I was unable to find the truths I was looking for, and then I got to know about Carl Sagan and it changed my life completely. I saw that the most certain thing in life is science. And know more about science I need to become an entrepreneur to learn more deeply about the truths."
In the same year, Dirk took advantage of what he learned along the way and started a manufacturing business in China. On the other side, Felipe Parrague launched Denda in 2016. After three years, the current CEO of Denda invited Dirk to be the partner of the company, bringing his experiences in manufacturing and imports.
Dirk says, "In2019, Felipe invited me to be the partner in his project because of my special in manufacturing my own products. He told me, 'I need someone to be the co-founder, who is an expert in manufacturing to be on the right track, both in products and certifications that do not exist.'
Dirk and Felipe build a company in 2016, with the view of only manufacturing certified sustainable products. Later on, ENGIE Factory invested more than two million dollars in Denda for its expansion in Mexico.
The company, later on, collaborates with Rappi Mexico, not for home deliveries only but to make in-app purchases of Denda products too. " We want to expand Denda globally, so, we went to Silicon Valley. We are raising funds with ENGIE, Sudamerik, and with two other large venture capital in Chile to expand our business and sustainable products.," says Dirk.
There is no doubt that Dirk Van Nievelt's travel helped him in becoming a global entrepreneur.