It’s almost one year ago Timothy and I met at an organization called SINC, which encourages young students to connect and eventually start their own company. How we met, is not a coincidence. I asked Sebastian, the chairman, if there was an interesting person to meet that night. Sebastian introduced me to Timothy, who asked him the same question that night. We brainstormed for a couple of hours and decided to meet the next day. That was the beginning of Taglayer.
It all sounds very strange meeting a person for the first time and starting a company together the next day. For us it wasn’t that strange, it felt like we had known each other for months and that we complemented each other very well. Timothy is a visionary technology entrepreneur, who knows where the final destination of the ship is. I’m the captain of the ship, who needs to lead him through the stormy ocean. You will never get there if there is no destination. To get to the destination you need an excellent and realistic captain.
The first two weeks, we did nothing but brainstorming about the vision, mission and company culture of Taglayer. After these two weeks, Timothy went to the Web Summit conference in Dublin to do some extra research about the technology industry. That’s where he met an angel investor from the United States. The investor invited him to come to Silicon Valley, because 20-year-old tech entrepreneurs who were doing things like this need to live in Silicon Valley, the heart of the technology world.
Timothy came back from Dublin and told the story of the investor as a joke to our mentor Duke and I. Duke said this was very serious and almost obligated us to go to Silicon Valley. That same day, we booked our tickets and arrived in San Francisco two weeks later.
What we did in Silicon Valley was: research, defining the strategy, collecting feedback, networking, pitching for investors… To make a long story short, the most important lesson we learned from our Silicon Valley adventure, is that failure is a part of success. In Belgium most people are afraid to fail, in Silicon Valley we learned that without failure you are not able to become successful.
Coming back from Silicon Valley with a lot of feedback, information and a renewed strategy we found our first employee, Jan Willem, who is still working for us today. In that same week our team went from 2 to 5 people, two very motivated students from Rotterdam joined us. The vibe was there and everything went a lot faster than before.
Establishment of the company and winning our first award
The 29th of February we decided to establish our company officially. The team structure also changed around that period. We went from 5 to 3 persons again. The distance between Rotterdam and Antwerp in a fast changing company environment was not working the way we wanted it to be.
In the next months, our company became “most promising student enterprise of Antwerp”, a very nice reward for our hard work. We are not just an average company working from 9 to 5. On average our workweek consists of 80 work hours. Only the people who are passionate, hard-working and who want to achieve something in life are allowed to join our company.
The summer was a very strange period, from the stormy and fast changing weather we went to the silence of the summer holiday. The whole business world is not moving during this period. It was a very hard period for us as a company. A lot of frustrations occurred and we decided that the only option was to focus on the technical development of Taglayer.
World Publishing Expo, Vienna
Right after the summer holiday, we expanded our team to 6 people and made a lot of meetings with big companies to sell our product to.
That takes us to the part where we are now. It’s the 13th of October 2016 and Timothy and I are in Vienna, Austria. We’re here to do research and prospect potential clients in the international media industry at the World Publishing Expo.
It popped up to me that it was almost one year ago Timothy and I met and that’s why I wanted to look back to this amazing year. Starting a company is an amazing experience. You talk to people who have done amazing things in life. You learn all day and improve yourself and the people around you every day, again and again.
Thanks for the amazing year to everybody who was part of it!
Willem Drijver - Co-Founder and CEO of Taglayer
Written on October 20, 2016