Filip Maertens

As a dog-owner, a rally driver and a solo climber, I have an issue with being OK to fail

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Nowadays it seems to be “à la mode” to openly state that’s it OK to fail. But let’s be very careful about what message we try to convey with this, shall we?  Oh, for the people that are attending the first FailCon 2012 this year, don’t expect a pat on the back if you’ve failed.

Bottom line is, I think that’s a steaming pile of horse-crap. And I allowed to state this, because I have shut down a company once before. And let me tell you this: It sucked. Bigtime. Read More

Focus. Focus. Focus.

In my startup, Argus Labs, I think there has not been a single word as popular as the word “focus” in the past few weeks. It drove me nuts, and I also have never been so close to a mental meltdown. Speaking to other entrepreneurs, I have always been fully aware of the importance of focus, yet I forgot to practice it myself in this case. The result was a half-way decent alpha version of an app after six months and no traction. The monstrous number of features we were building were simply too confusing for a user. Ouch. Read More

Hey, that was my idea!

This is my shortest blog post, ever, and should actually be a tweet, but I really needed a blog-post that I can refer to every time I hear someone yell out “Hey, that was my idea!” and gives you a look as if the whole world has turned against the poor guy, and spies are lying in wait to steal his next bright idea. If you’re such a guy, let me tell you no one cares about your idea. The only thing that counts is your speed of execution. Read More

Dating your ideal co-founder

Finding your ideal co-founder, is something that I value to have a greater importance than your product, your market or investors. The ideal founding team would be two people, that know each other by working together for at least a few years, respect each other, and complement each other. Ideally, one knows how to build the product and the other knows how to sell it. However, it seems to me, that finding your ideal co-founder is often a struggle. Read More

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Startup Darwinism

Although the title of this post makes reference to a pretty darn good movie (IMDB here), I also quoted it as a closing line to an e-mail I wrote to my CFO (well, my former CFO) while we were debating the fundraising strategy. My CFO was an analytical guy. Intelligent. Respected. Articulate. Sharp. I expected him to take the lead in my fundraising and have him closing my first round, while I could continue to focus on the development of the product. Seemed like a good idea, right? Read More

Building and selling a decent investor pitchdeck

I’ve been building pitch-decks for the better part of the past two years. Not only for my own startup, but also for fellow-enterpreneurs who pitched me, and on behalf of angel investors who wanted me to evaluate investment projects. I’ve created a heap of crap ones myself, but also built pitch-decks that actually raised money. So if you find yourself in the situation where you’re looking to build a decent pitch deck, I will share you some of my experiences based on some successful pitch-decks I’ve created or seen from others. Read More

If you’re going through hell…

Reading about entrepreneurs and founders is often reading about their bold moves, grit, grandeur and successes. However these may hold valuable lessons, there is a darker side to entrepreneurship I’m sure every founder relates to.  Anxiety attacks, feeling depressed after your pitch bombed, self-doubt, feeling emotionally isolated from your dearest and nearest, and a continuous psychological bombardment of opinions that exhaust you. I’m sure you’ve been in this place, and I just wanted to share this post with you if you’re still in this place. Read More

It’s the time of the year: let’s go fundraising

I don’t know what it is, but each time when I start fundraising, it’s always just before summertime. I don’t know why, but I’m inherently bad at timing these things. Perhaps it’s because good ideas and viable businesses don’t always follow a predefined time-schedule :-) For my startup Argus Labs, I’m about to take another strategy, where I’ll be pitching to a host of investors in Europe, Middle East and Asia with an appetite for high-potential early-stage market entrants. I’ll be keeping you all posted how things work out with a regular update of my blog in a more intimate category called “Warstories”. Read More

My thoughts on consulting firm valuation

End of last year I had been contemplating about acquiring a consulting company.  I had won a major contract in France, which I needed to secure by demonstrating delivery capabilities across Europe. As my company was too small, I needed expansion or I lost my exclusivity over Benelux and France. I talked with Big Four firms (but I lost interest, simply because I consistently failed to see what added value they could bring, and how I was already being smacked down into political backtalk even before a first meeting occurred), but also I talked to local boutique firms. Read More