Flinc is the connecting link between innovative startups and financiers. That makes one curious about their approach, because: which entrepreneurs qualify? And who determines the feasibility of a product or service? In order to uncover potential in the best possible way, Flinc will start a new investor readiness program after the summer.
A major strength of Flinc lies in knowledge of the financial landscape and its extensive network of investors. 'We can successfully connect entrepreneurs with the right parties because we know what they need to do so,' says coordinator Ellen Ploeger. 'That's why we provide young companies with substantive assistance in sharpening plans and funding strategy. Our biggest challenge is to determine which startups we do see doing it. No matter how much knowledge and experience we have in house, when it comes to innovative concepts, even we don't have all the wisdom. Always buzzing in the back of our minds is the question: who are we to determine whether or not a concept can become a success? That realization keeps us on our toes.'
Flinc's focus is on startups with disruptive ideas along the lines of Airbnb and Uber. Most entrepreneurs who come knocking have developed innovative technology. Although sometimes it also concerns creative business models or promising niches. Ellen: "We primarily look at scalable concepts. Moreover, we can only be of service when a startup is already making some turnover or expects to do so in the short term. The funding request usually concerns working capital for the further development of a product or service, expansion of the team or solid marketing. In short, a push for that last crucial jump to the market.'
'When we guide innovative startups, we help raise their business case from a tidy 7 to a 9, increasing their chances of receiving funding. To determine whether they qualify for an advisory process with Flinc, we assess their plans for technical, commercial and financial feasibility. Sometimes the young companies have homework to do first. It also happens that a team is not yet complete; they may need a good IT professional or a visionary. In those cases, we connect the entrepreneur with the NOM network to see if they can find reinforcement there.'
Earlier in the picture
If Flinc is convinced of the feasibility on all fronts, then a counseling process begins. 'Finding a financier in this fundamental phase can only be done right once, so we help entrepreneurs to be well prepared,' Ellen explains. 'So far, we have been guiding startups through one-on-one advice and ad hoc master classes. This is a 32-hour service package, and when a business case is completely investor-ready, we make contact with suitable investors in our network. This is where things are about to change: after the summer we will start a new program in which we involve potential financiers right away.
The pilot of the new investor readiness program is being run following successful editions at BOM, NOM's Brabant counterpart. We are inspired by their approach, because it proves effective in realizing growth ambitions. Together, we will go through an intensive twelve-week process, during which the companies will validate their business case in a very pragmatic way and will be fed valuable basic knowledge. Uniquely, we also involve investors in the program so that they can see the entrepreneurs act and provide feedback. This contributes to confidence, which increases the likelihood of funding after this process.'
Even better matching
'The end goal is an investor-ready business plan and of course we aim for successful outcomes,' says Ellen. But if it turns out not to be possible for a startup, then it is profitable to get that clear as soon as possible. Through this program we help promising startups to come to the table well prepared with potential financiers, while entrepreneurs with a 'no go' can focus on other directions with a backpack full of learning points. In short, this program is going to help us separate the wheat from the chaff, but above all to bring the existing potential to the surface as much as possible. So that we can match even better with suitable financiers.'
As an independent part of NOM, Flinc is a gateway to funding for innovative startups in the Northern Netherlands.
Check out the 2018 NOM Annual Report for recent results.