Marcel Boekhoorn’s heart lies with high tech innovation. Personal interest in high tech companies was the absolute trigger to buy the High Tech Campus in 2012. As the owner of Ramphastos Investments, he sees the Campus as a long-term investment and deliberately enables the management to participate in the company’s further development.
At Ramphastos, Boekhoorn does not look for specific sectors but for innovative companies with global potential. “Enterprises must have a unique competitive position through to a product or service, a patent or a market leader position. Next to that they must show growth potential: buy & build, innovation, new markets, partnerships. In addition, they have to respond to a strong underlying trend, such as the ageing population, privacy & security, out-of-home or e-business.” Identifying the opportunities in these kind of enterprises differs on a case by case basis, Boekhoorn says. “Is it a growth company, does it offer potential, is it a game changer? Or is it perhaps more of a makeshift enterprise to which you have to add things to improve it?”
“Monthly, about 200 deals are submitted to us”
Not all entrepreneurs who ask for a meeting with Boekhoorn, turn out to have the same potential. “Monthly, about 200 deals are submitted to us. Then we make a selection. I expect the entrepreneurs to be able to tell their story quickly and in plain Dutch. I am very much in favour of the KISS method: Keep It Simple, Stupid. No bulky business plans, but a strong basic story on just one sheet of paper. If they can’t do that, I’m done after 5 minutes. Out of pure courtesy, I pour them a cup of coffee, but by that time I have already taken my decision.”
Boekhoorn calls himself an ‘entrepreneur-investor’. “I never see investment separate from entrepreneurship. In this context, the most important issue is the right kind of management. I always say: If the guy is good, I’ll make sure the industrial building he needs will be good! You can keep investing loads of money in a company, but if the management is not right, you’re only wasting your time. I like to operate as a people’s manager. Of course, I carefully examine the underlying figures and trends that enable a company to become better and bigger for the longer term. But just as important, we need creativity and guts because these character traits are essential if you really want to make the difference for the future of such an enterprise. You have to come up with something that no-one else has come up with yet, and you have to realise it as well.”
“Don’t get distracted by the spur of the moment. Stay firm.”
Subsequently, an entrepreneur needs to focus. “Choose your strategy and stick to it. Next to intuition and creativity, you can’t do without perseverance. Don’t get distracted by the spur of the moment. Stay firm. And always make sure that you have sufficient reserves to finance your growth. This will keep you flexible and ready to start up new things. I join an operation to do business, preferably for the long term, which means that you have to be able to lay solid foundations to make sure that you can successfully continue building on them for a long time.”
Boekhoorn uses the same strategy for the High tech Campus. “For example, we have decided to encourage and facilitate start-up activities here. We do this with, among other things, multi-tenant business buildings and accelerator programs like HighTechXL. This appeals to an interesting target group and it contributes to the overall atmosphere. We all know that there are promising businesses among the young innovative companies. If they are successful, so are we!”
This is an adaptation of the interview High tech Campus had with Marcel Boekhoorn. Here’s the original.
Picture (c) Maurits Giesen / Quote