Converting a startup into a scaleup takes time, commitment and perseverance. You don’t achieve the level of professionalism required to achieve this kind of growth, by just stepping on the accelerator. Along this route, you as founder will be confronted with a whole avalanche of questions surrounding product-market fit, processes, organizational structures, stakeholder management and communication.

Startups who think they are the only ones facing difficult challenges, can rest assured. They are not alone. The coaches Pierre De Muelenaere (ex-IRIS), Davy Kestens (SparkCentral), Maarten Mac (shape and ex-Collibra) and Cédric Pierrard (Efficy) know the tricks of the trade, and no one knows the success factors of a growing technology company better than they do.

 

Perseverance

“We were convinced our first product would be a real game changer,” says Pierre De Muelenaere. Despite this, IRIS had to determine there was no market for this product. Yet he managed to turn IRIS into a publicly traded company that forms part of the Canon Group. “Throughout my career I have learned that you have to keep on giving your all. A product cannot become a success overnight. So yes, you will be faced with a lot of problems, but the words ‘giving up’ should not exist in your dictionary.”

“Within a few years, business was doing well because we had some major Belgian clients from the banking sector,” says Pierre De Muelenaere. “But in 2008, the crisis hammered the banking sector relentlessly and we were also forced to adjust our strategy. Finally, we took the ambitious step to look beyond our borders, and we focussed worldwide on smaller companies who were not active in the banking sector.”

 

Internal and external growth

“Early In my career I worked 24/7”, says Davy Kestens. “I imposed an obligation on myself, because I wanted to make a success of my company. I now know that’s actually the worst you can do. Gearing up is done much faster by surround yourself with the right people.”

In addition to internal growth through recruitment, external growth via sales, IPOs and acquisitions also represent an important step in the growth process. “The fact that I have taken over some companies in my career already, allows me to grow quickly”, says Cédric Pierrard. “But acquisitions also bring challenges. One of the biggest difficulties is to reconcile the different corporate cultures, and to align the expectations of the other entrepreneur, who usually remains on board, with your own.”

Cécile Jabaudon of MIC Brussels and myself have joined forces to develop this acceleration program. Our goal? Helping to transform growing digital and engineering start-ups towards real scale-ups, and thereby creating promising investment potential.

Marnix Housen, CEO of ICAB Incubator

 

Facing challenges

Amplitude+ was developed to provide a solution to all these challenges you as a growing startup are faced with. Because growing isn’t a breeze, Amplitude+ applies a phased approach which runs over a period of 18 months. “Speed is only useful if you take the right path,” said Cécile Jabaudon, Operational Director of the MIC Brussels. “That’s why we divided the program into three phases. Each stage is acceleration in itself and adds value to the growth trajectory of the participating start-up.”

The first two phases each lasts three months. During that time, the companies will develop a growth plan with concrete objectives. The three most promising companies will go through to the final stage, in which they will have a year to implement their plans. In addition, Amplitude+ was designed so you as a participating CEO or COO can both set and achieve goals, while continuing to run your company.

 

Registrations are now open

Are you a technological start-up from Brussels, or are you planning to establish yourself in Brussels? Do you have a strong team, a scalable product or service, and have you already realized your first income? Do you also have the ambition to achieve strong growth, and are you looking for some help in launching your company for a real growth spurt? Please send us your Amplitude+ application. You can register up to 30 January 2019. The finalists will be notified on 15 February, and the program will start in March 2019.

 

More information: www.amplitudeplus.be