- 1964: Born in Amstelveen (Netherlands)
- 1990: After studying economics, Michiel Muller joins the oil company Esso/ExxonMobil
- 2001: He co-founded his first company, the petrol station chain Tango
- 2004: He sells Tango and founds roadside assistance company Route Mobiel
- 2015: Co-founded Picnic
He gave up a planned career, lofty titles, and a comfortable salary to start from scratch. Nothing predestined Michiel Muller to found food e-commerce site Picnic in 2015. The 58-year-old Dutchman with a calm tone and mischievous look began his career in the 1990s after studying economics in the oil industry. He spent eleven years at Esso and ExxonMobil, partly in France from 1995. The opportunity to improve his French, which he speaks fluently.
The years go by, the responsibility grows, but Michiel Muller is not quite satisfied yet. “Esso is a fantastic company with great career opportunities and problems to solve. But I missed the dynamic of entrepreneurship and the feeling of working for myself, he recalls. If I stayed five more years, it would be harder to leave.” During that decade, he acquired a belief that foreshadowed his entrepreneurial career. “Sometimes large, established companies that make money and enjoy large market shares forget to innovate. This gives newcomers a chance to find a place. »
From tango to picnic
Michiel Muller left Esso in 2001. For his first entrepreneurial foray, he stayed in the industry where he had his first experience. With a partner, he launched the Tango gas station chain. A few years later, the company generates annual sales of 350 million euros. It was sold to Kuwait Petroleum, a public structure that manages Kuwait’s oil interests. In 2004, Michiel Muller switched from the tank to the wheel: he founded a roadside assistance company, Route Mobiel, which broke the monopoly of ANVB, the lobby and road service provider for the Dutch car industry. In 2006, Route Mobil was bought by a Dutch insurer. New branch change in 2008 with the start of a real estate sales page, which he will lead until 2011.
In 2015, after consulting other companies for a number of years, Michiel Muller was approached by two engineers with a simple question: “Why is the grocery store, which is as big as all other hypermarkets put together, not online yet? Michiel Muller took the opportunity. Seven years later, Picnic is generating sales of more than one billion euros in three countries.
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