Participating in Startupbootcamp is starting to pay off for 24sessions. The Dutch startup is one out of ten nominees for the DigitalTop50 Awards, in the category “best European B2B startup”. The Awards is an initiative of none other than Google, McKinsey, and Rocketinternet. The winner will be announced at the Slush Conference that will be held in Helsinki on November 30th and December 1st. How do you boost your startup up to such a high level?
24sessions: from marketplace to Software as a Service
Some questions cannot be answered by Google. Sometimes, you need a personal advisor to help you out. Finding the right person, making an appointment and actually meeting this person, can be a long and frustrating proces. That is where 24 sessions comes in. This company created an online space where companies can search for the expert they need, and directly make an appointment in the form of a live video-chat. The original idea was to build a marketplace, but it soon became clear that the clients were looking for something different.
How to let go of your idea
If you want to keep something, you have to be able to let it go. That is a golden rule in life, and it certainly applies to developing startup ideas as well. Sticking to an original idea is maybe the most common pitfall of starting entrepreneurs. 24sessions started as a marketplace, but quickly after switched to the SaaS (Software as a Service) model, as this turned out to be the service that customers were looking for.
CEO and co-founder Rutger Teunissen: “Making the switch was difficult. You like to see your original idea succeed. In our case, customers approached us and asked for a software solution. That’s why we choose to step back from our original plan, and offer the customers what they needed”. By letting go of their original idea, 24sessions was able to keep the company and be a succesful startup.
Before the start of the Startup Bootcamp programme, 24sessions already decided to make the switch to SaaS. “Startupbootcamp helped us making that switch. We weren’t quite sure which sectors would be our point of focus, our approach was very broad. Eventually we chose to focus on financial services. From there on we can later expand to other sectors.”
Set aside personal needs
Teunissen emphasises that it is important to put aside personal needs, and instead listen to the customers: “It is tempting to follow your own ideas, but eventually it is all about the customer’s demand. We had tons of conversations with different organisations, to find out what are their needs, and how can we fulfill those”.
An insiders’ secret
A nomination for this prestigious award is something most startups can only dream of. Let alone an award by powerhouse names like Google and Rocket Internet. You might ask yourself how you can boost your startup to such a high rank. The secret lies in adjusting your product to the customer’s desire: “instead of implementing the ideas that we really liked, we choose to adjust our product to the desires and wishes of the customers. That might sound cliché, but this is the secret”.