Hi Nick, you are the Head of Business Development at xyzt.ai, a big location data visual analytics platform. Can you tell me something more about your responsibilities at xyzt.ai and what ‘business development’ means in a high-tech company?
As the name says, I’m developing (new) business. We all know that in a startup everybody does everything. We try to help each other whenever needed because we are still a small team. Within business development, my principal tasks are strategy and sales which makes it very challenging! By strategy I mean, together with Bart (Founder & CTO, xyzt.ai) and Lida (Founder & CEO, xyzt.ai), coming up with approaches that can lead xyzt.ai to a successful future via business development. For example, which verticals to focus on, which customers to go after, pricing, … those are the kind of questions I ask myself regularly. When it comes to sales, I look after direct customers, but also the resellers and partners. It doesn’t need to be a surprise that there is lot of pressure on sales in a startup, but I like the challenge!
How did you end up working for xyzt.ai?
It’s a funny story. For those who don’t know yet, Lida is my aunt. I worked with her the first time as a student when I was 16 years old. Back then we already kind of decided that when the opportunity arises and the time is right, we would work together again. After meeting Bart last year and seeing what an amazing SaaS product they created together, three months ago the time was right to join them. So very happy to be part of this adventure!
Why do you want to work for xyzt.ai? What makes this company stand out to you?
As already mentioned, Lida is my aunt so let’s say my decision is partially emotional. Also, I have seen the platform in the early days and was immediately convinced I wanted to be part of this story. The strength of this company to me are the people, and I have a connection with a lot of them. I know Lida since I was born; got to know Bart very well on a short notice; worked together with Joe (Director of Marketing & Partnerships, xyzt.ai) in a previous company; so it feels very natural to be here. The fact that I have the opportunity to learn from all of them, including Robin (Head of Software Engineering, xyzt.ai) and Mykyta (Front End Developer, xyzt.ai), who develop the xyzt.ai platform together with Bart, makes it a great experience for me.
As a young tech startup, what are some of the biggest challenges the company experiences to develop in the industry?
I think the biggest challenge for us is to find our spot in the industry. There are already some big players out there, however, I’m convinced there still is a space left unfilled where we can provide a state-of-the-art solution. Also, we don’t have a lot of resources, so it’s quite a challenge to determine where to allocate them to.
“I’m convinced that one of the biggest advantages a start-up has, is the ability to react fast and change course whenever needed.”Nick De Beer, Head of Business Development at xyzt.ai.
What do you believe is crucial for someone to be successful leading the business development for a tech startup?
There is this word I like and use a lot when it comes to start-ups: Agility! I’m convinced that one of the biggest advantages a start-up has, is the ability to react fast and change course whenever needed. Especially in business development. This is very important as you want to sell as much as possible. I also believe being creative when it comes to finding solutions with customers is very useful as we often need to tweak our platform a bit to make it fit for the customer.
What are some of the things you enjoy doing most at xyzt.ai and why?
As a salesperson, it shouldn’t surprise you that I love to attend events and meet our prospects face-to-face. We had the chance to do so over the past months, which I enjoyed a lot! I can also enjoy a good talk about the capabilities of the platform with Bart.
It’s always nice to end these interviews with something more about you, Nick. What are you passionate about outside of work?
Let’s say there are 3 things I like spending time on when not at work. The first one is definitely a good game of golf. The second would be dining (and a good glass of wine) with friends. I can also appreciate some time on the couch watching a documentary, but unfortunately I don’t have a lot of time for that anymore.
If you could only listen to one music album for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
That’s by far the hardest question of them all as I listen to music all the time. I was born in the 90’s but also appreciate music from the 70’s and 80’s. Is it ok if we consider my entire iTunes library an album?