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As a machine builder, suppose you need complex parts quickly for which you have the designs but must be produced elsewhere. You send requests for quotations to a series of subcontractors in the hope that you can get on with your production process quickly. What you need at such a time is a supplier who not only quickly calculates what it will cost but also does so very precisely and, what’s more, can start working on it immediately. In the high-tech world of high mix and low volume, however, this is not yet a matter of course, if only because of a dire shortage of people who can make such a calculation. The result: the machine builder has to wait (too) long for the quotations and the supplier misses out on orders.

Why should you read this?

The digitization of SMEs could still use a push. It is logical that The Quotation Factory, the start-up that is working on this, is full of investors’ attention.

Wim Dijkgraaf
Wim Dijkgraaf

To eliminate both problems, Wim Dijkgraaf came up with an ingenious solution in 2019: a calculation tool that can calculate super-fast exactly what the composition of the desired part is, which subparts are needed for it, when it can be taken into production and, of course, what it should cost. Meanwhile, the idea has been transformed into a company; today, some fifteen people work at The Quotation Factory, taking care of a rapidly growing customer base.

Rapidly growing

Cfo Luc Versmissen explains what ‘rapidly growing’ means to Quotation Factory. “We now have over fifty subscriptions for our calculation software. We aim to serve 150 customers.” Versmissen says that the Quotation Factory’s main product allows SMEs to speed up their quotation process by a factor of ten. “That speed is very important because faster quotations mean better machine utilization. It literally leads to growth. There are more factors influencing that, but we see the relationship very strongly. In a competitive market, that’s essential.”

Another advantage of the calculation software is that it generates savings for personnel. Versmissen: “The metal industry fails to find enough people to do those calculations. So our software helps these companies solve a double problem: lack of personnel and better calculations. This gives these departments more air to do their work so they can focus more on customer contact and growth. In doing so, it also helps that you don’t have to be as highly trained for a perfect result – it all works that easily.”


Luc Versmissen
Luc Versmissen

The Quotation Factory runs on a subscription structure provided via the cloud. Onboarding usually takes about four days, which includes setting up all the specifications and links to the local infrastructure. “Once that’s all in place, they can use it themselves. Our experience so far is that it quickly pays off for medium-sized companies with an estimating department of, say, two or three people.”

It gets even more interesting when the software is used not only for calculation but also for production planning. Versmissen: “Based on AI, our software can completely dissect the desired product from a digital drawing and then translate it into a ‘bill of materials’ and production planning. We can thus visualize each component separately. So, you skip the quotation step, which makes for an even more efficient working method. We also offer a self-service portal allowing our customers to place their orders directly.


The success of Dijkgraaf’s company has now attracted investors’ interest. In addition to two informal parties from the industry, the Brabant Development Company (BOM) is of particular interest. After 750,000 euros from the BOM had already been allocated to The Quotation Company in 2021, a similar amount was added late last year. For investment manager Remie Bastiaansen, it is proof of confidence in the fast-growing company from Eindhoven. “First of all, we are enormously impressed with the mathematical brain behind this software. That gives confidence in the product’s strength and the team behind it. Moreover, with our support, we not only help the company itself, but also all their potential customers. This product is crucial for the digitization of SMEs in the complete manufacturing industry. This sector is still a bit behind in digitalization, so initiatives like that of The Quotation Factory are more than welcome. It helps SMEs become more efficient and solves problems in the labor market.”

The BOM helps The Quotation Factory with money, and Bastiaansen joins the team for strategy discussions in a monthly meeting. In this way, he and the management could also decide to put the focus on internationalization on hold for a while. Versmissen: “We are now opting, first and foremost, to broaden our services for the entire chain in the Netherlands. Think of the surface treatment and machining market.”


Notably, Rabobank joined in in the wake of the BOM. “In general, banks are reluctant to provide loans at this stage of development,” explains Startup and scale-up banker Michel Ziekman. “However, from Rabobank’s prominent role in the ecosystem around startups and scale-ups, we are looking at financing opportunities at promising early-stage innovative companies like The Quotation Factory.” The rapid growth that can lead to the company being cash flow-positive in the short term obviously helps. “But even more important is the confidence we have in the management. Here is a team with technical qualities and the right vision for development. The resulting product is the best proof of this. All in all, sufficient reasons to make financing available now.”


This story is the result of a collaboration between BOM and our editorial team. Innovation Origins is an independent journalism platform that carefully chooses its partners and only cooperates with companies and institutions that share our mission: spreading the story of innovation. This way we can offer our readers valuable stories that are created according to journalistic guidelines. Want to know more about how Innovation Origins works with other companies? Click here