Your success depends on your team

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21 March 2017

Column by Maurice Beckand Verwee , founder of Crosspring, investor in ICT startups

An inventor going it alone is a risk. Let’s put it more strongly: we’re not interested in investing in one-man bands. It’s essential that you gather a team around you, or you simply won’t make it. To succeed, you always need people who are knowledgeable about sales, design and programming. This means at least two more people are needed to form a strong team.

Next, you need to have the courage to talk about your invention. The best thing to do is to get active within all your networks, and to discuss your invention with these. They will provide feedback, spread your idea and possibly connect you with relevant parties, from customers to distributors. This is the stage at which you find out whether your idea is as brilliant as you thought: it simply won’t happen sooner. There’s no need to fear that you’re giving your idea away for free: just be careful not to disclose the exact technical details of your invention. Of course, you can ask a patent attorney what exactly you can and cannot share.

Once you’ve made it through the initial phase, you’re likely to be faced with your first setbacks: customers dropping out or funding causing you a headache. Again, you’ll need a team around you to help you through these times. And you will make it, as long as you keep focusing on that goal on the horizon and have sufficient information to support the viability of your invention. You need courage to ignore negative signals!

I’m fascinated by the entire process, from idea to business: the energy generated during this process is simply fantastic. Of course, you’ll make mistakes, but that’s exactly when you will learn the most. This should be the mentality adopted by all inventors: if at first you don’t succeed, simply try again. Still, we don’t seem to be quite there yet in the Netherlands!