Adriaan Theys is a freelance innovation consultant who specialized in startup execution to help fast growing companies achieve results. He is also one of the MME programme coaches, already worked with startups from the first two support cycles and is excited to also be a part of the third round.
He was kind enough to answer some of our questions and we could learn what made him become a coach on this programme, what were the great achievements of his teams and what lessons did he also take with him from participating on MME.
Why is MME important and why did you decide to become a coach in this programme?
In the past years, it has been pretty hard to miss the fake news and challenges with inclusion. I was triggered to better understand why and how startups are solving these challenges and if possible to contribute to their adventure. Joining the MME program as a coach, is an opportunity to contribute to innovations in the media industry. The international network is an additional reason to join. Coaching startups from Turkey and Norway enhances an european mindset.
Which startups did you work with so far and what did you appreciate the most about them when you first got in touch?
Akilli Çeviri (Turkey)
Challenge: Improve accessibility of digital content for hearing and visually impaired individuals.
The founder is a professor at Eskişehir Osmangazi University. Passionate because they faced the problem with a deaf direct colleague at University. I appreciated their openness for the coaching, starting and ending every coaching call with a smile.
Challenge: Empowering journalists and news agencies to fight against misinformation and fake news.
They joined the program while finalizing a new investment round. Backboned by a US patent and two founders with a strong media & tech background. Ending a trajectory within a Norwegian accelerator, which proves it’s hard to find your way as a tech startup within the media industry. What I liked during the kick off with the team, was how clear they could describe what they needed to take the next steps.
Which aspects did you work on with the startups?
Both startups started from a technology perspective, commercializing the technology into euros is the challenge both face.
On the one hand I work on their pitch and their business model. Shaping their offering and go to market, identifying the ideal customer and forcing the startup to think about the business impact and how they communicate it to their customers and stakeholders.
On the other hand I try to leverage the MME network and get the startups connected within Belgium and the MME. A close connection with the program manager Clélia (VRT, Belgium) is really helpful to get the right media connections for the startup.
And the results? What did you achieve together?
The progress and results really lie in the hands of the startups and the MME program managers. They should get the credits.
For Akilli, it was the first time they’ve officially pitched in English towards investors and potential customers.
For Factiverse the cohort is still moving forward. Factiverse knows the media landscape in Norway, getting the international introductions to news agencies and journalists is their biggest goal they want to get out of the MME program.
In a few months, MME will start its final support cycle. Are you planning on being a coach in the third iteration as well?
I’m sure that MME programme also provided you with some learnings. Can you share something that has enriched you as a professional?
Although they are tech startups, the human factor behind the teams is what enriched my journey. Akilli on its own has already a purpose to make content accessible for hearing and visually impaired individuals. Marie Amelia from Factiverse intrigued me with her “Startup Migrants” side project. One day, I hope to have the opportunity to meet the founders in person.