Entrepreneur Henk Zeegers launches book on breakthrough innovation

Entrepreneur Henk Zeegers presented his book Start-Up or Start-App, why breakthrough startups often fail, at the Brainport Industries Campus today. Zeegers was co-initiator and Director of Rose, a startup that would revolutionise the healthcare sector with its care robot of the same name but was forced to stop in 2015 due to a lack of follow-up funding. Over the past three years, the entrepreneur from the Brainport region immersed himself in the question of what exactly went wrong with 'Rose', found parallels with other startups and could place these experiences in a business context. Brainport Industries Campus was the perfect place for the launch of the book, because it contains many cases from the Brainport environment, focuses on cooperation within ecosystems, and especially helps startups that are engaged in groundbreaking innovation.

Every year, there are about 200 new startups in the Netherlands. Only 5 to 10% of these grow into a successful company. So, it is not so easy to keep your head above water as a startup in the Netherlands. What is more, most startups are small companies that, although they come up with a successful new business model, technically just apply existing technology and not a lot more than that. Zeegers calls them Start-Apps (also referring to the apps these companies make in general). We only have a handful of genuine breakthrough startups that are engaged in new, groundbreaking innovation. And we should cherish them, Zeegers argues, because it is precisely these companies that make the biggest difference to our economic prosperity in the longer term.

Tips & tricks

In addition to recommendations to further improve support for breakthrough startups, Start-Up or Start-App helps startups and aspiring entrepreneurs to identify and bypass key pitfalls. Breakthrough startups often fail because of technological complexity or because the distance to the market is underestimated by entrepreneurs. The majority do not survive the so-called ‘Valley of Death’. Zeegers: “There are roughly three paths you can take to increase your chances of survival. In addition to looking for an investor, you can drive sales after the company has reached a certain value, or you can bring a first version of the product onto the market to generate cash for further development into an end product.” Zeegers covers the three models in his book.

The book is available for sale online via boekbestellen.nl, bol.com and the bookstore ‘Start-Up or Start-App: Why Breakthrough startups often fail’, ISBN 978-90-9032622-1.