Hello, I'm Willem Van Lancker, an entrepreneur & investor living in New York.
I build companies, products, and brands on the internet.
Oyster (acquired by Google)
In 2012, I co-founded Oyster, where we launched the first Netflix-for-books service — unlimited access to more than 1 million books for $10 a month. I was the Chief Product Officer and was the company's sole designer for our first year through launch.
Building a business was tremendously rewarding. Our team led the way in mobile reading, discovery, and built a brand that celebrated the very best of books. We also launched an editorial magazine called the Oyster Review and ran several service projects supporting reading education. I talked to the Wall Street Journal and The Verge about our products.
After 3 years of building the company and growing the business, Google bought Oyster to accelerate Google Play's efforts in their books business.
While at Google, I oversaw the Books business and design teams across Google Play. During that time I led the creation and launch of Google Play Audiobooks, directed a complete redesign of our apps on iOS and Android, and worked to double Books’ global revenue.
I also still do some work in branding and graphic design — which I started my career in and studied at RISD.
Before starting Oyster, I was a lead product designer at Google Maps, where I worked on a complete overhaul of our web product and the launch of Google Maps for iOS, an app people were really happy to get back on their iPhones. Fast Company awarded the app with an Innovation by Design Award and TechCrunch gave us a Crunchie for Best Mobile App.
I started my career as a designer at IDEO, Apple, and Adidas.
At Rhode Island School of Design I studied graphic design.