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Scaling up: The Sky Is The Limit?


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Down to earth advice to avoid crashing your scale-up. This presentation was given by Toon Vanagt on the Tech Startup Day in Brussels on 18/02/2016. Cautionary tale to not scale-up before your startup has reached true product/market fit.

Published in: Business

Scaling up: The Sky Is The Limit?

  1. 1. Scaling up: the sky is the limit? Down to earth advice to avoid crashing your scale-up Toon Vanagt - @Toon Co-founder,,
  2. 2. The degree to which a product satisfies a strong market demand… Validate product/market fit
  3. 3. 1999: founders Raised and “burned” > 4M€ in next 3 years
  4. 4. •  Timing is everything (first bubble) •  Tiny % of a huge market seems solid ground for business plan, but is very hard to reach •  Cash is more important than your mother! •  Cultural & legal aspects matter & differ accross Europe too Lessons
  5. 5. •  Burned 4.000.000 EUR of VC money to build a 1.850.000 EUR turnover business… •  Chicken-Egg dilemma when you need to build 2 sided markets. •  Off-line marketing is a very expensive way to convert on-line leads •  Human ressources are a crucial bottle neck, but also your core asset •  Unfocussed: lots of money in the bank makes it very hard to kill your darlings, cut fancy features and skip your fancy wishlist More expensive lessons
  6. 6. Premature scaling? Stresses startup’s ability to execute
  7. 7. That scale up button I will not hit Before I reach product market fit
  8. 8. •  Eyeballs •  Visitors •  Retweets •  Likes •  Exposure •  Downloads Don’t get blinded by vanity metrics
  9. 9. Focus on revenues
  10. 10. Retention & repeat usage metrics matter •  Active users •  Engagement •  Customers •  MRR •  CAC •  Churn •  Marketing & process automation
  11. 11. It takes hard work & lots of capital to ‘squeeze’ those leads UP in order to attract, win & keep customers! Gravity does not apply to your sales funnel!
  12. 12. •  Continuous Incremental product/market fit
  13. 13. Business data Annual account summary Graphics say more than a thousand numbers
  14. 14. Business data Notify on changes & find similar prospects based on company age, location, size and industry Notify on changes in customer data
  15. 15. Full-Text search Across  2 501 818 company publications Filtered search Entity recognition 30% “StartMeUp” discount*
  16. 16. The sky is not the limit. Your imagination is. @Toon