Standing still is going backwards. Or change is the only constant. We hear these types of statements about the importance of innovation almost daily. But merely uttering them will not bring about that progress. Fortunately, there are plenty of entrepreneurs who put their money where their mouth is and consider it their mission to innovate and improve their sector. So are the following entrepreneurs who are currently in the accelerator program at Birdhouse. How do they try to make the world a little more beautiful every day? And what are they doing to stay ahead?
Filip Roose (Fit Things)
In 2016, Filip Roose founded Fit Things. The start-up produces Slimbox, a machine that makes it possible to produce cardboard shipping boxes to order. Where did the idea come from? Filip: “Out of frustration! How is it possible that we can almost take people to Mars, but can’t manage to use a stupid fitting box when sending goods? Then when you start thinking about it as a nerd, a technical and practical solution quickly emerges.”
Progress is important according to Filip: “There is enough evidence that the status quo is not good. It means going backwards. But in the meantime, the exponentially increasing population is putting an incredible strain on the world. I hope to be able to take a little bit of steam off that world boiler with our current and future innovations.”
“How is it possible that we can almost take people to Mars, but fail to use a stupid fitting box when we send goods?”
Although the idea for his start-up was easily conceived, entrepreneurship turned out to be less straightforward: “We’ve had some serious setbacks, but we got through them with blood, sweat, tears and a lot of savings. Now that we have our product-market fit, it is just a question of growing. But building the machines costs an awful lot of money. A wrong assessment in that area could mean death, so it has to be thought through in detail.”
Filip finds the necessary guidance at Birdhouse: “The mentors help me to maintain my focus. I am also challenged a lot and they regularly take me out of my comfort zone. I’ve been able to get a lot out of the program, more than I had dared to dream!
Nicholas De Nil (Bizzcontrol)
As a freelance finance consultant at several companies, Nicholas De Nil noticed that non-financial managers had little interest in complex number presentations. Yet he found a way to get them on board with his story: “By using the latest business intelligence technologies, I always succeeded in making the complex subject matter attractive. Some people even looked forward to the monthly financial meetings!”
This is how the idea was born for Bizzcontrol, a tool that transforms complex accounting data into visually attractive and understandable reports and analyses. Together with programmer Lode Cools and business developer Wim Hoornaert, both also co-founder, Nicholas has set the bar high: “We want to get the entire accountancy sector moving. It is clear that many accounting firms share our vision and realize that they need to adapt their services to remain relevant. Our tool helps them to do so.”