Building an international scaleup in just 4 years, what does it entail?

You probably have read about small companies raising growth capital, trying to conquer the world. One headline after another about the pace at which this happens and the successes that come with it. But how do you do that? And is it really that easy?

Seenons was registered as a company on 21 November 2019 with the mission: ‘Together for a waste-free world’. The necessity was clear; the environment cannot cope any longer, resources are becoming scarcer and geopolitics are making them less accessible. In the long term, it is therefore a bitter necessity to reuse for both the environment and the economy.

To make this possible, you need to collaborate. The "world" is quite a big place after all. Additionally, we all create waste, so we need everyone to change this system. That is why Seenons is a tech company that connects all parties in the waste chain, from the disposer, to the transporter, to the processor, to the producer.

When Seenons started, no one knew us. We needed a "launching customer". After the necessary conversations, we found one: my own soccer club. The idea caught on, and soon we even got the attention of the KNVB to scale up.

Just when it seemed like we could really start, Corona struck. All football clubs had to close… Should we stop then?

But then we realized that despite everything being closed, there was still a lot of waste. The frenzy for home improvement struck and the streets were filled with household waste. In addition, e-commerce companies had more waste than ever. In short; the problem was certainly not solved.

We learned that large organizations produce the most waste and at the same time experience the most complexity in reducing their waste. That’s when we realized that this market should have our focus. It's incredibly complicated when you have a value chain through multiple countries, where you have to work with many different transporters and processors to dispose your waste. Rules differ per country, but the ambitions are generally similar. 

Almost all companies want to reduce their waste, lower their costs, and reduce their CO2 emissions.

It was also during this time that we learned from experienced entrepreneurs that you can't be good in 10 things at once. When you want to build a scalable business, focus is the most important thing, eventhough it seems that everything related to waste is in "focus”. We experienced ourselves that we had to choose between SMEs, large enterprises, and municipal waste. We couldn't just deploy our people everywhere at once and we received much more demand for our product than we could handle. Therefore we had to make a very difficult decision: we had to stop serving some of our first SME customers, creating room for our international expansion.

We completed this transition last summer. As we stopped with our SME customers, we added large international customers to our client portfolio. That choice turned out to be the right one, because the amount of waste we can now reduce is much greater. With this step, we are now active in 5 countries; NL, BE, LU, DE, and FR.

This was obviously not an easy journey, which came down to hard work and a lot of perseverance. We have grown from 4 to 80 people in a short time, with nationalities from all over Europe. This brought up all sorts of organizational issues, because if you grow quickly, you also have to regularly adjust your organizational structure. Now that we have achieved the largest growth in people and our processes are becoming increasingly scalable, we see that we are ready for another major growth spurt in customers. We also see that our product is delivering increasingly better results for the sustainability ambitions of our customers, which is what it's all about after all.

‘We want to become the leading circular platform in Europe and we are working hard to achieve this.’

We want to become the leading circular platform in Europe and we are working hard to achieve this. The necessary challenges are waiting for us in this next phase, but we feel confident because we are surrounded by experienced entrepreneurs who have done this before. In addition, we have a strong team that understands that you need to be flexible to reach your goal. We can't wait to deploy our platform on a full scale, to bring our ambition of a world without waste ever closer!

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