In April 2021, Buccaneer Delft organized its first Investor Readiness Program (IRP) hosted by, Gridt a BOM Brabant Ventures spin-off. In this 10-week program hardware start-ups in the maritime and (offshore) energy sector prepare for an investement round. The program takes them back to the core of their business to reevaluate their customer profile and find out if their solution is indeed a fit with the customer problem, amongst others. This led to surprising, new insights and helped them sharpen their focus.
Hardware start-ups in the maritime and (offshore) energy sector face specific challenges when choosing and landing investors. Developing a prototype for example takes a long time which makes the risk for an investor higher than with for example software development. Buccaneer Delft identified this challenge and responded by initiating a program to help start-ups preparing themselves when attracting investors. We found an excellent partner in the Gridt, a BOM spin-off. Their IRP has an impressive track record the program is valuated with an 8,3. So with high expectations we started our first IRP, under the direction of Stephan Botz and together with five companies.
Let’s not beat around the bush: the program is quite intensive, requires the participants to interview potential customers and involves weekly homework. Much is expected of, during but also outside of the sessions, but in the end it’ll help to sharpen the company’s focus: “The IRP challenged a number of our underlying assumptions and in so doing helped us consolidate our value proposition and identify new market opportunities”.
The first five weeks of the program focusses on discovering and validating the customer problem, through interviews and market research, and to make sure the company solution fits to this problem. An interesting process which often leads to surprising results: “The interviews with potential customers combined with the coaching from the BOM IRP program really changed our perspective on why potential customers want our solution.”
All these new insights and information are processed in a business model canvas to form a solid basis for the company’s pitch. The next steps focus on the team, whether the activities of the team are in balance with the life phase, and the financing requirement and strategy.
As we were still dealing with some corona restrictions, the program was organized mostly online and progress was being tracked in an online dashboard. To make it more personal and add some interaction, at the start of the program each company was matched to a coach with who they had weekly meetings to support them along the process. The coach helped the companies to get interview introductions and provided feedback on homework assignments amongst others: “As much as we gained form the course itself, the coach appointed by Buccaneer was also an excellent help with very specific feedback and advice. A great complement to the program.”
Mid-June we held the last session in a live setting at Buccaneer Delft. We wrapped up the final session with some important lessons learned and key insights but also shared feedback about the program itself. Main take-aways were to make the program more interactive and connect with current news and events from the industry. And as we’re planning another program series later this year we’re definitely looking into how to incorporate this.
Are you interested in attending the next Buccaneer Investor Readiness Program? Then please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for more information.