In Winter 2023, ERA Global welcomed three fast-growing Belgian startups to NYC through the Scaleup Vlaanderen B2B Sales Accelerator Program, a four-week program focused on B2B sales in the US. The teams had already proven product market fit and strong traction in their home and global markets, and all entered the program with plans to expand to the US market. The program was hosted in partnership with imec, a world-leading R&D and innovation hub in Belgium, and VLAIO, the government agency Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Venture Partners Catalina Daniels and Chantal Tjong were an integral part of building and managing this specialized B2B sales program.
The four-week accelerator program included US B2B sales workshops, covering topics from lead generation to customer success in the US. Belgian founders and sales executives with extensive experience in the US joined speaker sessions to share their experiences selling, fundraising, and operating in the US market. Interactive sessions with the ERA Global team included customer pitch practice sessions, mock sales demos, and group discussions on US go-to-market strategies, pricing, and industry verticals. Additional workshops included incorporation in the US and fundraising from US investors.
The first two weeks were held virtually in January. After a brief hiatus to allow for preparation for sales meetings with clients in the US, all three teams came to NYC for the two-week in-person program.
While in the US, the participants worked at the ERA office and attended workshops and group sessions in person, met customers and ERA mentors in NYC, and expanded their networks by traveling to Philadelphia and Boston. The teams also met with Flemish government officials in trade, science, and technology at the Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT) NYC office. Venture Partners Catalina and Chantal held numerous whiteboard meetings with all of the founders, as well.
By virtue of the in-person hands-on sessions on adjusting, refining, and streamlining their pitches, all companies directly applied their learnings in their US sales meetings. The teams shared unanimous feedback that they saw immediate effects with each meeting and that they felt more confident in bringing their meetings to a successful end.
At the program’s conclusion, companies presented their sales pitches to an audience of stakeholders, potential customers, and esteemed guests including the Consul General of Belgium, the FIT office, and a judging panel, comprised of ERA Operating Partner Perry Solomon and Managing Director of the Accelerator Program, Brian Hecht. The panel engaged the founders in a brief Q&A after each pitch. At the end of the event, they decided upon the best pitch for the event. The panel awarded the prize to Techwolf COO, Mikael Wornoo.
Each company was able to accomplish its goals for the program, such as: creating a US go-to-market strategy, better understanding the US market for each vertical, determining their specific verticals, and determining the correct product pricing for the US market. At the conclusion of the program, the founders shared that their entry to the US market was profoundly accelerated; they would be back in the US soon to open offices and hire their US teams, and they were able to optimize their B2B sales strategies and action plans for the US market.
The participating startups are listed below:
Team n Time is SaaS platform that uses patient and staff data to unlock the hidden care capacity in hospitals to increase staff retention, cut costs, and improve patient care.
Techwolf is an enterprise AI platform that automates & scales employee skills assessment, which provide the insights that business leaders need to make flexible strategic talent plans and decisions, find talent, and close skill gaps.
Yields.io is a SaaS platform that automates and standardizes model risk management.