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15 October 2014
by Broos
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Final selection day debrief

Startupbootcamp HighTechXL - final selection day winners program 2

Startupbootcamp HighTechXL – final selection day winners program 2

We did it again!

After months of screening and selecting the best of the best and an intense couple of days, together with our 150+ mentor pool, we selected the 11 best high tech startups of the world for the second program of Startupbootcamp HighTechXL. The feedback from the selected startups today ranged from “absolutely amazing experience”  to “zero to hero in a weekend”. The startups came in on Saturday and we’ve been working on their pitches and assessing their team dynamics during the weekend. Pitches improved dramatically. Each and everyone managed to get their story told in exactly 3 minutes. Slides full of text transformed into impressive visuals supporting the presenter’s story.

The mentors were essential in this process and all startups, even those who did not make it to the 11 program participants received feedback that will impact the “strategic direction and future of their company”. That’s what we do it for, getting these companies off the ground.

Just like the startups, I’m totally impressed by the quality of the competition, the intensity of the days and the impact we’ve made on the lives we touched. It’s only the beginning of the acceleration and we’ll move mountains again to turn them into awesome life-changing companies. Since I’ve been responsible for the selection of the Dutch startups, I’m happy to see 5 out of the 11 selected teams are based in the Netherlands, but equally impressed by the foreign teams. It’s the combination that’s instrumental to the atmosphere in the program.

The actual program starts in 2 weeks, we expect them back on November 3. Although the team from the US said “hell NO, we’re staying”!

Exhausted but very, very happy with the result. You can read more about the finalists on the Startupbootcamp blog.

25 September 2014
by Broos
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Go home… energized and inspired

mentor table sessions

mentor table sessions

Today we organized the third pitch day for the season for the second Startupbootcamp HighTechXL selection period. 6 Amazing teams joined us and the atmosphere was positive, full of energy and a few nerves…. pitching takes a bit of courage. I had table sessions with 4 teams.

A few observations:

  • Focus brings a clear story. Find your niche and focus on that. No… a smaller niche. Even smaller… bingo. Your story to mentors and investors will benefit
  • Customers. You need them… NOW! “But my prototype is not ready”… Doesn’t matter, talk to them and get their feedback. Your story improves dramatically if you interacted with them.
  • Kudos for the teams that were ‘not ready’ and DID join the pitch day. You’ll get there, you got out of the building and did get that feedback that brings you closer to your focus.
  • Amazing mentors. The mentors were amazing again. It’s so awesome to experience the positive and constructive atmosphere. And the type of questions asked. Not the easy ones like ‘how much revenue do you currently have’ but the ones that require the deep understanding of the startup, the technology and the market. Read this article as I can’t explain it that well.
  • Dedication. I’m increasingly seeing dedication with the Dutch startups. More passion, more drive. The gap between some of the foreign teams and Dutch teams we’re talking to is closing.

The feedback we got from the teams was encouraging! We’re creating the right atmosphere. We consistently heard they had critical but constructive and positive feedback. All 6 teams left the room with more energy and full of ideas. And so did we!

Have a look at the below video for an impression on our pitch days:

2 May 2014
by Broos
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“Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” – Alan Watts

27 April 2014
by Broos
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Choice and happiness

Colours of HappinessI’ve been thinking about happiness a lot lately. Everybody is looking for the ‘secret’ to happiness. There is no secret and there is no single answer. So everyone needs to find it’s own road to happiness.

Choice and happiness

In general we believe that the more choice, the more freedom we have. But choice also has two negative effects. The first is paralysis, it’s difficult to choose at all. The second effect is that we are less satisfied with the result of the choice. Because it is so easy to imagine there is a better choice than the one we made.

But with all the options currently available we raise our expectations. We expect perfection and therefore our expectations will never be exceeded. And therefore the secret to happiness is realistic, modest expectations.

That’s today’s step on the road to continuing happiness.

Want to know more: watch Barry Schwartz TED talk.

26 April 2014
by Broos
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“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say “no” to almost everything.” – Warren Buffet

19 May 2013
by Broos
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Startupbootcamp launches High Tech accelerator program in Eindhoven

Since October 2012 we’ve been working very hard to make this happen and I’m really proud to announce that I’m part of the team that co-founded the Startupbootcamp HighTechXL program in Eindhoven!

The full press release:

Eindhoven, Netherlands, May 15th 2013 – Startupbootcamp announces the immediate opening of the Eindhoven Startupbootcamp High Tech XL (SBC HT) program as part of the successful international accelerator program. The Startupbootcamp High Tech program will be organized by Guus Frericks and Eric van den Eijnden (Dutch Expansion Capital-DEC) and Patrick Gabriëls (Ernst & Young). The program aims to attract and accelerate the best high tech startups from different parts of the world. Startupbootcamp High Tech has been set up in cooperation with Startupbootcamp Global founders Patrick de Zeeuw and Ruud Hendriks. High Tech Campus Eindhoven with its dynamic mix of over 100 startups, sme’s and multinational companies provides the perfect location to run the program.

The mentor driven program will be run by an enthusiastic and experienced team of high tech entrepreneurs. Together with Amazon Web Services, SBC HT will organize open pitch days in various cities across the globe, promoting the program and hunting for the best startups to participate in the Eindhoven program. In the next three years the team aims to screen more than 1.200 applications and launch and accelerate over 30 new startups, expecting 70% of the participating teams coming from abroad.

Guus Frericks, co-founder Startupbootcamp High Tech XL, said: “At DEC we support innovative companies in different parts of their lifecycle by providing access to finance, international networks and hands on support. We are very excited to run the highly successful Startupbootcamp startup accelerator program in Eindhoven with a specific focus on high tech where we can simultaneously accelerate ten high profile startups per program. It’s the fastest way to bring great teams and ideas to the next level, contributing to the innovative power in the region. If you want to start and grow a great high tech company, Eindhoven definitely is your best option.”

Startupbootcamp High Tech XL is all about networking and being part of an international startup ecosystem that will help participating startups do more, faster. Patrick Gabriëls, partner Ernst & Young one of the founding partners of Startupbootcamp High Tech, adds: “We are very excited that with this Startupbootcamp High Tech program we can contribute to strengthening the entrepreneurial climate in the region. We want to attract international entrepreneurial and engineering talent to accelerate and root their startups in this powerful international high tech ecosystem with a local touch.”

Patrick de Zeeuw, co-founder of Startupbootcamp Global is very excited about the Program launch   in Eindhoven: “Eindhoven is my home town and has been the European capital of high tech for over 25 years. It has recently been voted as “Smartest region” around the world by the Intelligent Community Forum ICF in New York. In 2012 Eindhoven was voted by Fortune as one of seven best new global cities for startups. These statements prove the potential of a Startupbootcamp program with High Tech focus in Eindhoven. Since Guus approached me mid 2012 we have been having very constructive meetings on launching a High Tech focused program in Eindhoven.

As we always say to our startups; “it’s all about the team”. We feel we have found a great local team with the same passion and know how we have about startups for Startupbootcamp Global to partner up with.”

The Eindhoven region, dubbed ‘Brainport’ represents an unequalled high tech ecosystem that is perfectly equipped to support and grow high tech companies. Cornerstone in Brainport is High Tech Campus Eindhoven. This one-square-kilometer area of the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven is home to more than 100 companies and institutes (among which global players such as ASML, Philips, NXP, IBM and Intel) and some 8000 researchers, developers and entrepreneurs, which churn out around 50% of all Dutch patent applications. Bert-Jan Woertman, business development manager High Tech Campus Eindhoven said: “We are very happy to participate in Startupbootcamp, providing the program with office space and embedding it in our undoubtedly inspiring and vibrant high tech ecosystem”

The hyper intensive program will open for applications at May 15th 2013. http://www.startupbootcamp.org/programs/hightechxl.html

13 October 2012
by Broos
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The dead business model of physical bookstores

The first time I entered a book store after I bought my iPad I realized the current business model of physical book stores is dead. It’s like walking into a museum and realizing you’re witnessing something that won’t be there in a few years time. In a time where tablets and eReaders are becoming a real alternative to physical books even for the baby boom generation the clock is ticking for book stores like Barnes & Noble and Selexyz (in the Netherlands).

Selexyz Maastricht

Selexyz Maastricht – (c) by Generaal Gibson

And still I’m pulled towards browsing book stores. While shopping locally I take a stroll towards the book store and during my frequent travels I always pop into one. And there are some amazing book stores around the world! So I love the atmosphere and when I walk out I’m inspired. While Amazon offers suggestions, it doesn’t inspire me. There is something about holding a book, flipping its pages and loving the design.

So it’s time to come up with a viable future proof business model for a book store. Selling your own eRearder will add another revenue stream to the declining physical book sales but for smaller independent chains that is not an option and competing with the likes of Apple and Amazon is a red ocean strategy. No, physical book stores need to get connected. They have to embrace the Connected Business Model.

Each and every item they sell needs to be linked to an online store or mobile app. By scanning a QR code or by touching an RFID tag using their mobile phone equipped with near field communication the item could be saved immediately in the shopping cart of the online store. For each item the shopper can then choose to have it delivered as an eBook for their Kindle, Nook or Sony reader, as a PDF file for reading on their iPad or have the physical book delivered at home. They can pay all at the same time (maybe even in store) and enjoy their book when they arrive home.

Of course the above is just the beginning of a completely new business model, where small independent stores could work together with a shared website/app and the store itself can be geared even more towards the experience by including a café, small library where you can borrow books and organize small scale events. There is plenty of opportunity but as always, it’s easier to stick to your current business model and get out of business (as happened to the Selexyz chain in the Netherlands) than to innovate your way into a new sustainable business model! Feel free to let me know if you want to work out the business model in more detail for your store!

Broos