NOM is taking a stake in the Leeuwarden-based company Ayold. With an investment of 100,000 euros, Ayold can further develop and expand its platform for all kinds of coating. Remarkably, Ayold experienced meteoric growth from its founding year of 2014, yet recently made a significant change in direction. Focus is now entirely on the Dutch market. Thereby, the business market will be served through the portal coating.nl and the private market through the portal verflaag.nl.
The coating industry is traditional and conservative. Ayold wants to break this by creating a unique and innovative online platform. From the company's inception in 2014, growth has been impressive. The portal for the coatings industry was on the rise and a far-reaching partnership with Akzo Nobel, plus Ayold's global ambitions caught the imagination. However, entrepreneur Vincent Walstra then learned the lesson that going too big too soon does not work and that while a broad global online strategy generates many leads, those flows are difficult to manage remotely and very often do not lead to a concrete deal. Therefore, the focus was recently shifted to the Netherlands and even another unique selling point was chosen. "We knew that our website runs well and is basically a data goldmine when it comes to coating. But the business market - especially the large mid-market segment - needed advice and, above all, fast and optimal service. So we made the offline component in our sales funnel much more important."
The revenue model: any party who needs a special coating for an area from about one hundred square meters can find a wealth of information on the website coating.nl, as well as submit a project directly. This customer is then called by Ayold and within a short time Ayold then offers up to 3 quotes from so-called "applicators" (coating specialists, think painting companies, ed.).
Walstra: "So then we have already carried out an extensive inventory of all kinds of criteria, so the customer saves a lot of time and can fully rely on the options we present him or her with. It often involves special coating; for floors, ceilings, walls and often with very specific requirements. This sometimes involves investments ranging from 25,000 to sometimes several hundred thousand euros. In that segment we want to be the party that adds value with a distinctive service.
NOM's investment is characterized as so-called early phase funding. Knowledge and capital in a mostly risky phase. "The investment may seem a relatively modest amount in investment circles," states Walstra, "but for us it is important money, with which we particularly want to strengthen our team and conquer the Netherlands. In total, all investments in our portals now come to a total of one million euros anyway."
Investment Manager Jens Ruesink of NOM is positive. "The business segments that Ayold now wants to serve with coating.nl look promising. But we also find the scalability of the concept interesting. The portal can also be scaled up to other countries in the future. People at Ayold know a lot about online marketing and the portal already functions well as a basis for mediation Furthermore, we see the company as a nice addition to the IT cluster in the Northern Netherlands."
Entrepreneur Vincent Walstra does not want to venture into sales forecasts and profit expectations at this time. "We have started virtually from scratch to build something. In the past we sometimes let our own ambitions drive us crazy. Of course we dream of great international success, but first we want to prove whether our proposition actually works. We've said to ourselves: break even in early 2020; then we'll set the next dot on the horizon."
You can read more on Ayold's website, the portal coating.co.uk (business market) or paintcoating.co.uk (private market).