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Ten steps from start-up to unicorn

Martijn Moerkerk, Partner Strategy and Mergers and acquisitions at Boer & Croon, and Dr Killian J McCarthy, Associate Professor of Strategy at Radboud University at Nijmegen School of Management, explain the principles that will increase your chances of becoming the Netherlands' next unicorn.

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Properties of unicorns

Unicorns - start-ups with a valuation of €1 billion or more - are rare. Of the 10,000 or so start-ups in the Netherlands worth more than €1 million, only two dozen are classified as unicorns or near-unicorns. How can you transform a start-up into a unicorn? Research shows that unicorns share the following characteristics.

A great idea
Unicorns are based on disruptive, scalable ideas with the potential to attract significant investment and capture a large market share.

Validate the market
Unicorns don't just rely on their great ideas. They also conduct thorough market research, gather feedback, and test their concepts through prototypes, pilot programs, or minimum viable products (MVPs). This rigorous process is crucial for validating demand and gaining traction in the market.

Get the right people

Unicorns have talented employees with diverse skills and passion. They foster a culture of innovation, agility and excellence.

Have a scalable business model

Unicorns are designed for rapid growth and use technology to automate processes and promote efficiency.

Focus on the customer
Unicorns are designed for rapid growth and use technology to automate processes and drive efficiency.

Find friends
Unicorns are experts at forging partnerships with industry leaders, investors, suppliers and distribution channels to accelerate growth.

Invest in image

Unicorns invest heavily in marketing, sales and customer acquisition, with ambitious but achievable milestones.

Follow the money

Unicorns raise capital from venture capitalists, angel investors or strategic partners to fund their expansion.

Be agile

Unicorns raise capital from venture capitalists, angel investors or strategic partners to fund their expansion.

Keep an eye on the prize

Unicorns take a long-term view and focus on building sustainable value rather than short-term profits.


Kansen

De kansen zijn natuurlijk tegen je: onderzoek suggereert dat ongeveer 90% van de start-ups faalt, terwijl slechts zo'n 2% unicorn wordt. Door deze principes te volgen en vrienden te vinden met de nodige kennis om je op het juiste moment op de juiste manier te schalen, kun je je kansen vergroten om de volgende unicorn van Nederland te worden.