The Antwerp software company Prosteps wants to grow internationally via their SaaS-based retail platform, but does not have the necessary know-how in-house. An external advisory board has been set up together with Peter Verhasselt from Sirris that will provide support over the next two years with the international upscaling of their new SaaS product Tilroy. Prosteps specialises in business applications for the retail sector. The company works mainly within the context of ERP solutions for retail chains. With Tilroy, its latest online omni-channel checkout system, the company wants to take the step from being a project-oriented organisation, to becoming a SaaS product company. Since this concerns adopting an innovative, disruptive business model, including a corresponding go-to-market strategy that differs greatly from the more familiar project business, this ambitious company will be assisted by an advisory board during the upscaling process.
Growth through SaaS
Prosteps already has customers operating large international retail chains, including AS Adventure. The company is managed by Peter De Ranter and Liesbeth Harts and employs more than thirty people. The company recently developed the Tilroy retail checkout system available on a SaaS platform. Tilroy combines the real-time data access of SaaS, with the robustness and extended functionality of traditional checkout software. After participating in Sirris's Startathlon acceleration programme, it was clear to management that the future of the company lay in the territory of SaaS: the company's ambition is not only to take a pioneering position in retail SaaS events, but also to expand globally, which is possible thanks to the borderless nature of SaaS.
However, in order to achieve this, a number of 'blind spots' had to be removed. Therefore in collaboration with Sirris it was decided to set up an advisory board consisting of various, specifically selected profiles who meet up eight times a year over a period of two years to prepare the company for the next step.
In order to obtain the appropriate composition for the advisory board, Omar Mohout and Peter Verhasselt from Sirris devised the MyAdvisoryBoard methodology, based on technology growth companies, which has already been successfully implemented at scores of companies. A short-list of possible candidates was drawn up based on Prosteps' needs and ambitions. Following the initial introductions, the advisory board officially came together for the first time at the start of the summer. MyAdvisoryBoard also provides structure to the sessions based on a triple agenda involving growth indicators, operational bottlenecks and innovative levers.
Composition of the advisory board
The advisory board includes Katrien Maes because of her extensive knowledge and experience in the area of international retailing, including her position as Country Manager Benelux at Esprit and S. Oliver. Alex Driesen is another advisory board member who, among other things, is a startup expert and a limited partner at venture capitalist Volta Ventures. As Senior Vice-President, Alex was involved in creating international growth at Zetes, a global player in systems for the automatic identification of people and goods. The third member is Jan Vermeesch, responsible for sales and business development at German growth company Movilizer, involved in digitalizing Field Operations. Among other things, Jan brings to the advisory board his depth of knowledge about international business development and also marketing communications within complex B2B environments.
The aim of the advisory board concerns the international upscaling of the Tilroy SaaS checkout system. Tilroy is currently used by thirty different customers in Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK. The company's target is to have a thousand shops and chains internationally using the system within two years.
Would you like to find out more about the successful methodology used by Sirris to set up an advisory board? Contact Peter Verhasselt.
Source: Sirris Blog (Peter Verhasselt)