I’ve seen it multiple times — companies are post-P/M fit, and suddenly the amount of generated leads decline or the marketing engine sputters. But did it ever really work? Because however neglected, the fact is there were higher priority areas to solve. But the truth is that this issue should be on the top of your TO-DO list as founder because it is ‘urgent and important’ to map it on the Eisenhower matrix.

In this article, I will lay out:

1. Why a lot of lead generation engines are sputtering

2. Why this is so important to crack

3. What…


I typically don’t have extreme positions on things but I seriously doubt the effectiveness of NDA’s in venture capital. My general advice to startup CEO’s is not to ask a VC to sign one and just don’t share confidential information before you engage deeper (Due Diligence). Venture capital is a business of trust and if you as a startup CEO wants our money they have to start trusting us…. If you don’t trust us then you should do your homework and check references.

As a VC you have everything to lose if you’re known as a party that cannot be…


Throughout my life, I’ve had the opportunity to witness a few 10x engineers — both early in life and also while running my own company. It was initially my perception that a Rockstar engineer was doing 80% of all the work anyway. So, in essence, following the Pareto rule, I needed to change my perception about this. However, the statement below stands true (for me):

If you have a 10x engineer as part of your initial engineer team, cut from the right stuff, I strongly believe it significantly increases the odds of your startup’s success.

Concluding that Rockstar engineers do…


A recent Tweet / LinkedIn post where I used the term AI sobering caught some attention and a request for more details on my thoughts and research. The term ‘sobering’ makes a direct link to the fact that there is apparently a discrepancy between the desired outcome of AI and the actual/perceived outcome.

I started using this term based on the research I’ve done in the last 18 months within Smartfin Capital. …


Smartfin Capital, the investment group built around Jurgen Ingels, launches a second fund. With a capital of 150 million euro, double as much as the initial fund, it will be solid enough to support larger participations.

Last year, Jurgen Ingels already noticed that the pull of the first Smartfin Capital became too limited. The required capital to participate in ventures has increased over the years. This shows in some numbers that Jurgen brings up: “An A-series funding of a European startup figured an average of 3,2 million euro in 2014, whereas this has grown to 6,4 million today. For a…


I was asked as opening keynote speaker on the Big Squeeze; The Tech Startup Day. It is the key event in Belgium on time squeezing for startups, scale-ups, corporates and investors. I had to talk and give my opinion on two topics: Is an exit the goal of every startup? And when do you know when to sell?

Here are my slides: https://www.slideshare.net/bertbaeck/an-exit-a-goal-on-itself

Is exit the goal of every startup?

No absolutely not however in general there are about three ways to create shareholder value:

  • By dividends based on realised profits
  • Trade Sale / Exit / M&A
  • IPO

The destination of your company is mainly decided…


By Bert Baeck (Entrepreneur and ex-CEO TrendMiner) and Pieter Capiau (Partner @ CRESCO law).

This article is triggered by a keynote at SaaStr this year by Ryan Smith, CEO and founder of Qualtrics who recently sold his company to SAP for 8B$. A holding by Ryan Smith (CEO) and his brother, and their father, held 48% of the company up until the acquisition. During his SaaStr talk Smith indicated the importance of good cap table management. …


The Software-as-a-Service market is growing exponentially. The Forbes Cloud 100 List alone is valued at $175+ billion. Ambitious start-ups and scale-ups are flooding the market in the hopes of becoming the next SaaS unicorn. Do they have what it takes?

After the rollercoaster ride that was founding, building and selling my company TrendMiner, it was time to take in the latest industry insights during the SaaStr conference 2019 in San Jose / San Francisco Bay Area. The talks and meetings mostly validated my own experience with successfully scaling a SaaS business: Dream big, create value and do it better.

If…


Don’t let Venture Capital be the bottleneck of your scale-up, neither the goal in itself.

Belgian scale-ups cannot compete with the over capitalised American scale-ups. According to a local financial magazine this would have been the reason why TrendMiner was sold earlier this year to the German public trading SoftwareAG. The true reasoning behind this is in fact quite the opposite; the acquisition of TrendMiner secures our global product and market leadership. This also keeps the employment plans and know-how local. Pushing rocks uphill is never the best long term strategy. …

Bert Baeck

Serial Entrepreneur & VC. Knowledge domains: AI, ML, Data Quality, Low Code AI, Data Engineering, Big Data and IoT.

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