We can give you a list of arguments why you should participate in our accelerator. In fact, we already did! But how do the start-ups experience the programme? We asked Toine Habets (Bubbly-Doo), Thomas Hysselinckx (Cashplannr), Michiel Valee (Dockflow) and Kevin Ringoot (JustBite), all participants in the current cohort.
Bubbly-Doo: more clout as a student-entrepreneur
When founders Toine Habets and Grégory Goossens of Bubbly-Doo joined Birdhouse, they had a concrete goal in mind: “We had been planning to enter the German marketfor some time,” says Toine. “Now we’re doing that effectively!”
The entire team of the start-up, including the founders themselves, are currently still studying. “As a student entrepreneur, sometimes they don’t take you as seriously. But now that we’re at Birdhouse, we find that we have much more clout. We are now no ordinary start-up, but a Birdhouse start-up! That certainly has added value. That already applies to the fact that you get through the selection and that you get that guidance. These are the different facets that show: you’re worth it!
“We are now no ordinary start-up, but a Birdhouse start-up!”
The start-up experiences a lot of support within Birdhouse: “Our mentors, Bart Van Den Eynde and Harry Demey, are extremely important to us. They have a lot of experience in the field of marketing and business in general. The conversations with them really help us in the right direction.”
Cashplannr: playing ping-pong with fellow entrepreneurs
At the start of the program, Thomas Hysselinckx of Cashplannr had the plan to quickly launch his MVP. But after discussions with the mentors it turned out that it was better to take a step back first.
“The mentors really challanged me,” Thomas says. “One of the big questions was: who is your customer going to be? Who are you going to work for? I realised pretty quickly that I couldn’t give an unambiguous answer to that. Based on their advice, I ended up talking to quite a few potential users. That led to some interesting insights, which have now put me on the right track.”
“The forum sessions have clarified some issues tremendously.”
Thomas drew a lot of inspiration from the various events, including the forum sessions: “I had been needing these for a long time, to be able to play ping-pong with fellow entrepreneurs in confidence. A lot of concrete experiences and tips were exchanged. That clarified some things for me tremendously.”
“What I also think is really cool is the culture within Birdhouse,” Thomas concludes. “There is a good atmosphere within the team and all noses are in the right direction. You can also feel free to share your opinion there. For example, I thought that the community feeling within the cohort could be stirred up a bit more. This feedback is used effectively. That’s really top notch!”
Dockflow: waking up the mentors
Michiel Valee, Pauline Van Ostaeyen and Troy Muyshondt from Dockflow wanted to work on their marketing and sales at Birdhouse. Michiel: “All three of us had no experience in this as a founder. That’s why we thought it would be good to fine-tune it with the help of experienced people.”
“The mentors did a really good job of waking us up,” Michiel continued. “We already had an idea of what our sales and marketing should look like, including using Hubspot and Google Analytics. But it turned out we needed a lot more than we had anticipated. So that definitely helped.”
“The mentors did a really good job of waking us up.”
The components of the accelerator program, including a series of Focus Days on topics such as marketing, sales and finance, follow each other in quick succession. “That’s tough on the schedule, but that does make you have to move forward. They are also always good speakers at the events. There’s real work put into that and there’s a clear line in it.”
JustBite: give up the job
At the time of registration Kevin Ringoot still had a full-time job. JustBite was a secondary activity. Kevin: “I had promised Jan-Willem (Callebaut, founder Birdhouse, nvr.) that I would quit my job if I stepped into the trajectory. That was the first step I had to take to start growing fast. And I did!”
Thanks to Birdhouse, Kevin is immersing himself in all facets of entrepreneurship: “The sessions around the different topics have made me a different person. I really feel like I’ve been introduced to all parts of being an entrepreneur and I broadly know how to take it forward now.”
“The sessions around the different topics have made me a different person.”
“What has also helped me tremendously are the sounding boards at Birdhouse,” Kevin continues. “I get a lot out of the conversations with my mentors. When I ask them an open question, I get very concrete feedback. They also give confirmation whether things are going in the right direction. That gives confidence and a good feeling to keep going full steam ahead!”
Finally, Kevin has a lot to learn from the network support that Birdhouse offers: “For example, I now need sales and strategy support. You only have to call and it comes. I’ll soon be speaking to two candidates who were put forward by Birdhouse. For me, this is where the strength of the programme really lies.”
Also ready to grow?
Register for the next cohort of our accelerator program starting in August 2020!