#Heroes – Erwin Blomsma
We were recently selected for the Boost Me acceleration program, organised by Netwerk Ondernemen. Together with 10 other (co)founders of Belgian scale-ups, we gathered in Hubermont for a 3-day growth and strategy bootcamp.
That’s where we had the chance to meet Erwin Blomsma, a serial entrepreneur in life sciences, founder of Virovet. Erwin shared with u his story that inspired us a lot!
-1 - Choose your niche
He chose the niche of medicine for pets in which there was hardly any competition compared to medicine for humans. We strongly believe in niches too, that’s why we chose the niche of “fragmented retail” instead starting to fight the battle in “mass-retail”.
-2- Keep it simple
Erwin had a simple, but genius idea: use the learnings from medicine tests on animals to develop human medicine and apply these learnings to develop meds for pets. A new application from existing research. Our first thought was “why did no-one else come up with that yet”? A question we get asked very often too. It shows the strength of the idea. We believe that “keeping it simple” is more difficult than complicating things.
-3- Write your own story
There were no benchmarks available from competing products in Erwin’s niche, so he was forced to write his own story and focus on his own strengths. It’s only when the first license deals got signed that he was able to define a valorisation of the company. We experienced at Hashting too that it is not always easy, but we see it as an opportunity to set new standards for promotional efficiency.
-4- Get enough funding at the start
Based on his concept, Erwin got more than 8 million € funding at the start. That’s a hell lot of money to try to prove that his business model was viable! He explained how fund-raising is a “domino-effect” if you handle it in the right way. Lead investor > subsidies > banks > other investors > … We will take this into account in our next funding round.
-5- Involve all
Erwin has many stakeholders: investors, banks, personnel, universities, business partners, clients... He is continuously sharing with all of them the WHY of the company and involving them at every step. It’s a full-time job as CEO. This approach requires open and transparent communication, also when there is bad news to share. This is how he builds trust and is a true leader. We fundamentally believe that this is the right way!
Thank you, Erwin, for sharing your experience with us!
#Bart & #Karl
Picture (c) RV DOC