FoundersFridays: meet Bibi Schmidt

Meet Bibi Schmidt, founder of Blue Feniks. Founded in 2020, this business has created an innovative software platform that helps to provide safe and inclusive work environments.

Founders Fridays is a new StartupAmsterdam initiative that highlights local entrepreneurs who help improving the local ecosystem. They invite founders to answer five questions and want want to shine a light on their ecosystem’s most inspirational stories and role models. They hope that by providing startup founders with a space to share their insights and experience, we’ll all learn and grow together.

This week they spoke to Bibi Schmidt, the founder of Blue Feniks. In this platform employees can use the company’s Safe at Work app to easily report incidents and dangerous situations, map needs and carry out workplace inspections. This allows managers to improve company culture.

How did your career journey lead to you founding Blue Feniks?

In Blue Feniks, many of my personal interests come together – from human behaviour to artificial intelligence. I’ve had a range of jobs from my university days. After getting my master’s degree, I worked for an innovation company and as an assistant in strategic marketing at a renowned business university; later, I was a business analyst for a tech investor and I also worked for several IT businesses.

Encounters with undesirable behaviour in the workplace triggered an interest to learn more about the causes and eventually to come up with a software product that can help address it. From personal experience, but also from many other examples, I realised that this problem is everywhere. One in six people suffer from the emotional and even physical consequences of unwanted behaviour at work. 

Often, problems such as bullying go unnoticed for a long period of time, all while causing a lot of damage to employees but also to organizations. Inappropriate behaviour or simply ignorance can cause so many problems. They can result in a lower productivity, depression, an increase in work-related accidents, burnout, even PTSD. Most people do not speak up about it. One in four eventually leave the company they work for because of these situations. It is therefore essential to identify and talk about issues as soon as possible.

For many organisations, their actual wealth lies in the knowledge, experience and skill of the employees, yet this seems to be under-appreciated. Out of this knowledge, Blue Feniks was born. I wanted to ensure the success of the most valuable part of a company: the people that work there.

Why did you choose Amsterdam to start and grow your business?

Blue Feniks develops tools that are very interesting for forward-thinking organizations. Amsterdam is known for organizations with a forward-looking approach. It has a great tech and innovation community. And a focus on diversity and inclusion. It is important for Blue Feniks to be able to start close to a forward-thinking city, after all short lines of communication ensure better and faster solutions.

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you ever received?

A good friend, who did his Ph.D. research in the area of behavioural economics, and was fascinated with the way people make decisions, gave me the advice to never make decisions based only on assumptions. This idea has helped me to be more open towards the world and is a great starting point for discovery and innovation.

When you start to accept you are not the fountain of all knowledge yourself, this creates space for learning. From this place, you go out into the world with the desire to discover the experiences of others. Explore other people’s wishes. Asking questions, listening and empathising are not just necessary to ensure that one’s opinions or decisions have a proper foundation. They are also foundations of good leadership.

Being open to someone else’s preferences enables inclusion. The human brain is by nature primed for fear. Our minds are always subconsciously busy with the question: “Are we safe here?” Allowing others to have an opinion, to be noticed and feel appreciated, to be able to contribute in a meaningful way, to have ownership. It all starts with listening and having an open mind.

Similarly, listening and being able to speak up are essential assets for teams to function properly. We all have a tendency to make assumptions, many of which are based on fear. Unfamiliarity and differences between people can lead to misunderstandings and frictions. Especially when there is no place for dialogue and constructive feedback. 

The most important advice: to empathise. It’s a mindset that is so helpful in life. Be it in innovation and design thinking or in the interactions with other people. Understanding begins with observing and listening.

Which were the local communities who were the most helpful to get you to where you are today?

I have had a lot of help from different groups of people, all highly regarded within their field. They include statisticians, psychologists, UX and UI designers, IT specialists and a number of professors in different areas. I also had a lot of support from experts specialized in starting and running complex businesses.

In addition, it was really great to participate in the accelerator programme from Women in AI. It’s made specifically for female innovators in the field of artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science. It’s always nice to be part of such an innovative community!

What’s a recent accomplishment you’re proud of?

I am very proud of the product we have developed. It is not just a reporting tool, but also a platform which gives you insights into the safety culture of an organization as well as the possibility to help improve it. 

One of our team members has a great track record in the field of IT and building complex ERP systems, both for small and large companies. This has helped us tremendously in building a high quality product which is also visually appealing and simple to use.

Bonus question – You’ve been selected to showcase at TNW2021 with StartupAmsterdam. What are you looking forward to the most about it?

I’m most looking forward about being able to present our product on a larger scale. The Safe at Work app is a simple tool that can have significant benefits: safer working environments, fewer production mistakes, fewer work-related incidents, higher efficiency and more workplace happiness. I really look forward to connecting with other innovators and the many intelligent minds that will attend TNW2021.

Read more about Founder Fridays on




Waar kan ik je mee van dienst zijn?

× Hoe kan ik je helpen?