mic.brussels Case – OUAT!
Since 2015 the Brussels-based startup OUAT! has been a reliable tech partner for national and international companies in the life science industry. In no time, the founders have transformed a promising idea into a successful company with a strategy that captivates biotech giants and allows them to take a huge leap forward in their digital transformation. This evolution has notably been made possible thanks to the programs and trainings of MIC Brussels and the ecosystem of the accelerator of which it is now part. OUAT! has now achieved full speed in their scaling-up.
The duo Nicolas Vertommen and Matthieu Egloff had been working together in the biotech sector for seven years when in 2015 they decided to found OUAT! and sail their own course. With the HakoBio virtual simulation platform, OUAT! now enables life science professionals to easily create the digital twin of a biotech environment or process. Thanks to technologies such as virtual and mixed realities, they can navigate inside their plant to simulate or visualize processes and to test the environment before it’s even built, thus saving a lot of expenses in the process. This is how OUAT! helps biotech companies to simplify their activities, gain insights and take steps in their digital transformation, from planning to operations, training and maintenance.
Added value for the customer
A year after OUAT! was founded, Nicolas and Matthieu enrolled in the MIC Brussels acceleration program. They had a solution and a customer but also a number of questions. “How can we build a business around our idea? How can we reach the market? How can we highlight our value proposition? For six months we could count on continuous support and the expertise of experienced coaches. One by one these questions were answered. As a young entrepreneur, you think you can handle everything and you come up with the most complex solutions but at the end of the day, you often don’t know where to start. MIC Brussels has taught us to keep it simple, to focus on the stuff that’s important and creates added value for the customer.”
Together with MIC, they created a vision around the solution and developed the required maturity to introduce their solution to the major biotech players on the market. “In six months we had achieved what would have taken us two to three years on our own. We chose to realize our philosophy and not to involve investors. Rather than invest millions upfront, we validated the market need and developed only on the basis of firm orders. We are proud of this achievement as we live in an era where digital companies often rely on big money first without having really validated their idea and the market.”
From trainee to teammate
Over the years OUAT! has continued to grow as Nicolas and Mathieu welcomed more colleagues to the team. Today this team counts fifteen experts. As OUAT! has also been participating in the MIC Brussels internship program for some time now, the startup also welcomes two to three trainees per year who are selected and trained by the MIC Brussels pool of coaches. “An internship only takes four months, but thanks to prior training, the trainees can immediately provide an added value to our projects and the development of our technology. In addition, we save a lot on our wage cost, which is of course interesting for young companies like ours.”
But there’s more. After their internship the last two interns who worked for OUAT! officially joined the team. “It’s extremely difficult to find the right people in our sector. This is the ultimate proof of the quality of the internship program and the training that the interns receive in advance,” says Matthieu.
Time to grow
In the past OUAT! has benefited from various sales trainings offered by the MIC and up to this day they make regular use of the facilities of the accelerator, for example for customer meetings. Currently, the Brussels-based tech startup is going through the Amplitude+ program jointly organized by MIC Brussels and the Brussels-based incubator ICAB. “MIC Brussels knows that the scale-up phase often is a long process. That’s why together with ICAB it has launched Amplitude+, a new accelerator program that helps startups grow into scale-ups with promising investment prospects during a period of 18 months. We are assisted by high-profile experts in various fields that you rely on depending on your specific needs. The insights that we have gained during this crucial phase in our growth are priceless.”
The next steps for OUAT! are clear. “Our goals through Amplitude+ are to reach financial growth through a multichannel (public and private) investment plan to pursue the development of our platform, to continue to grow our team in terms of developers and sales and to accelerate the development of our business through both technical and commercial partnerships. We are also looking to transition from a service to product offering in order to accelerate our sales cycle and increase our revenue. To do so we will be supported during Amplitude+ by an advisory board with experts in various areas and coaches taking part in regular meetings on selected topics depending on our objectives.”
MIC Brussels plays a key role in the capital in terms of digital and technology. It brings together subject-area experts, tech startups, the market and the Brussels Region in a powerful ecosystem. “Our capital city has a lot to offer and as a Brussels startup, we are proud of it. Many companies outsource or attract expertise from outside. Sales training, acceleration programs, the internship program … MIC Brussels is a one-stop shop that supports promising Brussels tech startups and fulfils their ambitious growth expectations. Their new slogan is #TheFutureLivesInBrussels and we ourselves together with MIC Brussels believe that OUAT! will be part of that future. Their programs have played a crucial role in the growth of OUAT! and I’m sure they will continue to do so in the years to come,” concludes Nicolas.
#TheFutureLivesinBrussels by the MIC Brussels. This is a series of curated articles written by experts and partners of the ICT sector and entrepreneurial community. It’s a way for them to communicate their insights on specific topics and share their ideas for a better future in Brussels. If you want to be part of it, get in touch with us!