written by Christoph Schweiger
Thinking about launching a startup in the North of the Netherlands? Want to hear what’s happening on the ground from the people at the heart of it all?
make in the north We spoke to three different startups about their journey so far, the challenges they faced, and what advice they have for you!
what is your startup?
Sophia: Fia is a sustainable sanitary products company. Our first product, the Fear Cup, is a modern take on the menstrual cup. Eventually, we plan to sell more products related to the women’s cycle.
Rahul: We were founded with the vision of adding 5 million healthy years to our community within 5 years through digital lifestyle therapies. We were founded in 2018. I founded Ancora with a fellow medical student and my godfather who is the CEO. We asked: How can individuals take ownership of their health?
Richard: SG Papertronics is a tech startup founded in the North of the Netherlands on the back of research conducted at the University of Groningen (RUG). It was founded by two doctoral students. We want to democratize wet lab testing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This is accomplished with devices shipped to our customers and bespoke test pods that can be tailored to any industry.
What is your relationship with Groningen?
Sophia: I’m here to launch Phia in Europe. We wanted to start in Europe because Europe is a good market for our products.came here via Startup visa Worked with a facilitator focused on healthcare and sustainability. It was perfect.
Rahul: We are a company based in Groningen. Founded in Groningen and Launch Café were some of the organizations that initially supported us. The local university’s investment committee said he was one of the first investors in Ancora Health. It also receives grants and support from the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG). We also have important relationships in the region that help us grow through our networks and financial support.
Richard: My co-founder Maciej and I both studied at the University of Groningen. This will venture lab We met through one of the VentureLab weekends. Patents could be filed through the university to protect the intellectual property (IP) generated from that research and were linked to various support networks within Groningen. on campus, campus groningen When co-op community and connected through the wider community Founded in Groningen, make in the north, Bistert,especially INNOLAB community.All of our investors are regionally focused and our angel investment rounds are Ragventures When NOMMore. I found ecosystem Having become very wealthy and looking for ways to give back to Groningen’s entrepreneurial community, he recently served as a board member for Founded in Groningen.
How did you overcome your biggest challenges?
Sophia: It’s all about taking things step by step. Inevitably there will be problems that need to be fixed or pivoted. That’s what I’ve always done. If you run into problems along the way, find a solution and move forward.
Rahul: By listening to the market. Initially, our challenge was who would adopt our proposal. After learning that employers wanted us to provide employee benefits, we turned to B2B. Due to interest from governments and insurance companies, we are preparing to launch a public health program. The biggest challenge for preventative healthcare platforms is how to get enough users. who is going to pay for it? You need to look at your stakeholders, fine-tune your proposals, and address their needs.
Richard: Our biggest challenge is finding the right people. It’s important in any business, but especially for a startup, because you really want to make sure the people you hire early on are the core team and the best possible fit for the company you’re developing. , spends a lot of time on staff and the recruitment process.We were able to use our network and tools as make in the north I was able to find potential candidates and that was really helpful.
Do you have any advice for startups in your field?
Sophia: Test a lot! Find lots of testers, do research, and understand what your customers want from your target group. I have tested her Phia on over 100 women. With this, I found a way to improve the design. Ultimately, product quality and innovative features are paramount. Focus on making a really good product.
Rahul: Dream big! Think about how you can market the offer from the beginning. But build that proposition around who you serve. Personally, I’m in her 20s so I felt it was important to have a mentor and work with an experienced team. If you come to Groningen, identify your key stakeholders, which could be universities or medical centres.has several partners ecosystem.
Richard: Don’t give up. The first thing you should do is gather a strong team as soon as possible.Many people think they can do it alone. You’ll be wasting most of your time trying to do it solo. We have several successful entrepreneurs running small businesses and consultancies, and that’s fine. But if you want to build something big, there comes a time when you need someone else, even if you could do it yourself the first time. Consider what this team will look like. Otherwise, you will face growth barriers.
Dialogue has been edited for brevity and clarity.
https://northerntimes.nl/meet-3-startups-that-are-making-it-in-the-north/ Meet 3 successful startups in the north