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Name: Siebe van Mensfoort
What are you building, and who benefits most from it?
Simbeyond provides unprecedented software tools for the development of high-tech devices. The software replaces a large part of the costly and time-consuming experimental research and development (R&D) efforts with computer simulations. In other words, we enable our customers to create digital twins of device prototypes. Simbeyond’s unique approach allows them to test such prototypes even before making them. In this way, we help them to predict and improve device performance at significantly reduced R&D costs and with a much shorter time to market.
Our flagship product, Bumblebee, is a predictive software tool designed for use in the OLED industry. Think suppliers and manufacturers of state-of-the-art displays as used in TV, smartphone, automotive, VR/AR, and agricultural applications.
What is one of your startup’s most impressive accomplishments?
Since its founding in October 2015, Simbeyond has reached many important milestones, such as becoming a self-sustaining startup company, exceeding growth expectations in the first years after launch, and, most recently, completing its first financing round. However, I can safely say that one of our proudest moments was being able to sign one of the biggest industry leaders in Asia with a multi-year contract.
What has been the biggest challenge so far, and how did you overcome it?
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As with many other companies, some of our biggest challenges came from the COVID-19 pandemic. Reduced customer budgets were allocated to disrupting projects, and simulations were among those in some cases. However, I would say the biggest issue has come from being unable to reach out to our customers directly. We usually attend international conferences a lot and meet with potential customers on their premises. For two years, this was not possible, especially in our biggest market, Asia, and video calls couldn’t fully replace face-to-face contact.
Thankfully, some hurdles were removed in 2022, and we were able to travel again to the U.S., Europe, and South Korea. Unfortunately, we are not yet able to travel to China, but we have established a local team to be present for our customers.
What tool or app could you not live without and why?
A tool that I cannot live without is probably our Google Workspace suite, specifically Google Meet and Google Chat. Our team works in a hybrid mode, which allows us to be flexible with everyone in Simbeyond and with our customers. However, we firmly believe in being able to communicate and discuss relevant topics and developments for the company with each other on a regular basis, so when we are not in the office, we have virtual meetings and/or virtual chats.
What marketing strategies have worked for you?
One marketing strategy that has truly worked for us is a stable presence at industry events around the world. We have done both conference presentations and exhibition booths, which has not only helped us meet potential and current customers and cultivate relationships but also see what industry innovations there are and look at where the market is heading.
What’s the best specific piece of advice you have for other entrepreneurs?
One of the best pieces of advice I can offer is to listen to your customers and, wherever possible, work closely with them. Making your product stand out in a market is not an easy task, but if you pay attention to what your customers need, then you can really focus on solving their problems. In this way, you can create offerings that are truly customer-focused.
I can add that being an expert in what you do, especially if you are in a niche market (as Simbeyond is), your customers can trust you more easily, and you can build a relationship with them, so you can learn more about the issues they are facing and how you can help them.
What does your company’s trajectory look like over the next five years?
At Simbeyond, we believe that the development of high-tech materials and devices should not be a costly and time-consuming experimental R&D process. That is why we want to be the preferred supplier of simulation tools and domain knowledge to leading high-tech organizations in energy conversion/storage materials and systems.
Next to our OLED simulation tool, we will develop two new simulation tools that are adjacent to our current portfolio from a capabilities perspective. With these new offerings, we can address applications in two big and growing markets: nanolithography and batteries.
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