Wayra meets Jeroen Kemperman
We interview the co-founder of Treeveo
My background is kind of funny. I started out in IT because I did a Masters in Information Science in Amsterdam but then I want to go to corporate strategy. I did that several years: two years in the Netherlands and then three years in Paris. Then I realized a guy with IT background doing strategy I was lacking a lot of knowledge. So I decided to do an MBA and I came here to Barcelona to IESE Business School and now after the MBA I’m doing Treeveo. It all comes back together. I’m doing IT because we are a web-based applications that it’s what we are developing but I am also doing business because we are actually serving strategy department that I used to work at.
How Treeveo started?
I was managing a huge project and I was wasting a lot of my time on data crunching, PowerPoint presentations and being on the phone with people to find out what was really going on. For this project, we had a big consultancy firm that gave us a tool to work with this at work this project and to manage it better and to come around all these problems but this tool is so bad that I said to myself: “if a big top consultancy firm can get away with selling the tool it is so bad, and it’s not even doing the job, we can do something better.” During my MBA I built a prototype and during the summer internship, that’s also when I met Paulo. We were both working at the same start-up during the summer and he was constantly helping me with all my programming issues and also we were talking about basis of trigger behind it and I realized that Paulo is one of the first people that I met that was a “coder” but also understood business. We decided to team up during the last quarter of 2012 and that’s when we got HP to partner with us.
When was the first time you said: “this could work”?
The first time I thought Treeveo could work was when I showed it to someone. I built a PowerPoint slide deck showing how we would go through the application and I sat down with a potential investor. I showed it to him, I showed the entire idea to him at not even having a business model behind it, just showing how will go through application. I looked him in the eyes and I so: “so, what do you think?”. And he said: “You should develop this. You should work this.” It was this moment when an investor, someone I have respect for said that this was a good idea as well I really sort was convinced we should go for this.
What problems does Treeveo solve?
The problems that Treeveo solves come from that Project I was doing before I came to do the MBA. When I was working in Corporate Strategy, I managed this huge Project where I was checking 150 roadmaps in five countries in several corporate entities. I run into a number from Treeveo’s now already solving. First, you have to do a lot of data consolidation: I was receiving figures from a lot of sources and a number of different ways: excel, word, PowerPoint, email, and I had then to crunch everything and make one final figure for the management. Already, Treeveo is doing this for me and takes in all the information and gives me the final figure. Second challenge that Treeveo is solving is that in my project I have to spend a lot of time in PowerPoint to make these really nice slides for the CEO. Right now, Treeveo’s already doing this for me because it gives me a number of different dashboards that I can just taken drop straight into my PowerPoint presentation. Another problem Treeveo is solving is that I had to go through a lot of data to discover those issues among the 150 I was tracking that there were actually in need of my attention: the ones that were risking to go really below target or the ones that had the potential to get us a lot more money. Now, in Treeveo, I don’t have to scroll through Excel sheets anymore because the system calculates for you which initatives needs your attention. This way, for example, HP was able to discover several millions of initiatives that otherwise had been lost.
Which market is Treeveo focused on?
The first one are the big companies: companies like HP, intel, Apple or even our own Telefonica. They have people running huge strategic projects that could be really benefiting of Treeveo. Company’s Directors, Business Unit Directors, Functional Directors, or managers of big teams. Our second silos are consulting firms that right now most of them don’t have a costumer-facing solution to run strategic projects. We offer them a white label package where they can scan them brand Treeveo as a though it were their own and offer to their final clients as their own strategy management solution. This market together, we value at 8 billion dollars because it consists of SaaS, project management and management consultant spent. If you put those three together you get a market of around 8 billion dollars and 11% growth.
What are the main challenges for Treeveo?
Treeveo’s challenges in the short term are twofold. Firstly, we need to get to first revenues; secondly, we need to close our seed round. To get the first revenue we are already starting negotiations with several potential clients so this should be happening in 2013. For the seed round, we are looking to raise 250K. Before, we have raised 100 but we are looking for a 150K more. This we’re doing by means by all saints round. This is something new in Spain. What does it mean? We’re asking 6 smaller investors to come in with smaller amounts rather than one big investor. This gives us a number of advantages. It allows us to benefit of the expertise that comes with a bigger group of investors but it also to cast a wider net and talk to more people.
Why did you choose Wayra?
Wayra was the perfect fit for us. We were very early stage and we were trying to figure out what Treeveo was because we had some positive feedback and we need to develop it much further. Besides, we were closing a seed round and Wayra was also participating in that. However, Wayra’s benefits have far exceeded our expectations. Firstly, they provided us with mentors that have helped us with our investment round, helping us with our documents, helping us with our internal business processes and business model. Secondly, they have provided the resources like Pedro Olivares, one of the actors that’s helping us with our pitch and also the story behind Treeveo. Thirdly, they are helping us with physical office space which of course in Telefonica is really nice place to be. But even further: in Wayra, you are surrounded by other startups that really create an environment of achievement. You want to achieve, you want to grow together with the other startups. That’s something I cannot imagine you having done sitting in a small office somewhere just the two of us: me and my co-founder. What you have in Wayra is the constant challenge to improve yourself into and to really take your company to the next level.
Whatever you plan, if you plan a month for something or a year, double it. Plan takes twice as much as what you really think. Anything you want to do: fundraising give your company a status, getting a client, and maybe even your development roadmap, everything takes twice as long on average as what you think it will take. That’s the best advice I got. Right now, actually, after three months, I might just trying to implement this. I started not doing this but now I am starting to implement it.