Koen Oosterbroek

[EN] Vida by Koen Oosterbroek

Kids, in the fall 2013, I met Vida – Nah just kidding – To open the “How I Met your Startup” Serie I have the honor to discuss with Koen Oosterbroek, founder of Vida App, which is a mobile app of Life Management. I asked him some question, hope you’ll enjoy this well-build app and its story.

Hi Koen! Could you introduce yourself in a few words.

Koen ~ 25 years old ~ living in Amsterdam.

Finishing up my last year as a bachelor student in ‘International Communication & Media”, I have several (entrepreneurial) projects going. From media design and entrepreneurship (Rockstart) to advertising to marketing , I’ve been active in several scenes.

My soul passion is to strive to make the biggest difference I can while I’m alive. Impact investing has my new-found focus. Next to that, I’m launching my new app called Vida.

What was the need when you begin to think about your app?

Life demands a lot of a young person these days. My life has been an example, and probably so is yours. We’re busy and ambitious; always wanting to get the most out of ourselves. Since the age of 12 my overly busy life has always been full music, sports, studies, parties, travels, and tons of cool projects. There are never enough hours in a day however. We’re crazy and we know it, and there are tons of us out there. We can literally feel time speeding up in a society that is demanding more and more.

The result? Many unrealised dreams, cluttered lives, and even more cluttered minds. Time to clean this mess up!

And how did you begin to build you app?

I wanted to make myself as most effective as possible so I decided to make a tool that did just that. Of course, there are to-do list apps out there but they hardly work, so I started to sketch my own system.

App design brainstorming
The idea I had in mind was nothing like what’s in the App Store right now

At first I didn’t even think of building an app but I just made drawings on paper and in Photoshop. One of the designs that helped me post resembled a pie-chart. It allowed to balance life and answer the question of “What is really important to you? Your family? Your career? Your hobbies? A project you’re working on?“.

Yet soon, I found out that life changes (a lot). And that having this overview of life didn’t really identify goals and aims.

One of my early pie-charts I had printed out and stuck to my wall.
One of my early pie-charts I had printed out and stuck to my wall.

Because of this, I added goals in order to give answer to the question of “What do you want to achieve in life”? When these goals were written down, I broke them down into single small chunks of steps that lead to success, and connected them to the system above. This system later became Vida.

The goal of creating life’s ultimate mobile assistant just didn’t go out of my head so I decided to go for it. I had no other choice. I thought “Why isn’t there an app out there that does this?” To me it was crazy that there was a world with an abundance of to-do lists, but no mobile tool that would really allow people to make their own life more efficient and effective. I wanted to create something that when people would wake up in the morning, they could immediately see exactly what they could do to be most effective at that moment, in line with the goals they had set the days before.

Here we are, Vida is born! You started to build it here, right?

After countless months of drawing. Not paying attention to my classes and traveling, my mind dazed off to the land of imagination.

I envisioned and brought onto paper how Vida (then, called “Life App”) should look like. As my friends went to parties, played videogames and watched TV, I was working. ‘LifeApp’ wasn’t so much something that I wanted to make; It was something I needed to make. This idea was a monster existing in my mind that I really couldn’t get away from. It popped up everywhere even at the worst times: under the shower, in my car, when completely intoxicated and out of my mind, and at 4 in the morning while half asleep. Pen and paper became my best friend as these ideas tend to disappear quickly with my cluttered life and bad memory.

Early sketches of “Life App”
Early sketches of “Life App”

The process soon become not weeks, but months, and then a year, than two years. I was meeting with countless developers and discovered that my project was way over budget. Also I was iterating on points in the design that didn’t need iteration, and made countless mistakes. With no experience in mobile apps, developing, marketing, or entrepreneurship it has been quite the experience.

I hired a Chinese developer but the process was horribly slow. By luck, I ran into Ignacio, an Argentian developer who was couchsurfing at my student home one night. We started talking about life and he told me about his great apps called ‘TrueMaps’. He took over development and, together, we have been realizing Vida for over half a year. Without him, Vida might have never seen the daylight.

So, Koen, what’s coming next now Vida hit the stores?

In front of us lies an enormous road of PR work and growth-hacking. And none of this can be done without the help of great friends and friendly strangers. Right now it’s a matter of getting visibility for Vida, through blogs like these.

We’re aiming to get at least a couple of thousand of users in the beginning of next year, and we’re inviting anyone to help shape this great tool.

It is the ultimate goal to make Vida become life’s ultimate assistant, so we have quite some work ahead of us. Care to help out? We hope to welcome you on board.


Thanks Koen for your time, I really enjoy to have the opportunity to exchange with you, I look forward to meet you soon in Netherlands – and meet the rest of the Vida team!


Koen Oosterbroek is the founder of Vida. Are you an extra-ordinarily busy person as well? Try Vida yourself for free on iPhone, and add more more clarity to your daily life!

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