InnoFour 15 years

15 years ago, on June 12, 2008, Peter Bakker, Jaap Schuurman, Rick Stroot and Bas Hassink founded InnoFour. 


They already knew each other through Mentor Graphics, and in 2008 they got the opportunity to start together their own company as a partner of Mentor Graphics in the Benelux. By working hard together in the first years, in 2010 they were given the opportunity to expand their company to Scandinavia.


How do the Four friends look back on this? They tell that in this interview.

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Congratulations on your anniversary guys! How did you come up with the idea to set up InnoFour?
Peter: 15 years ago a number of things came together. At that time Bas and I were already working for a distribution company, where we distributed Mentor Graphics products. Circumstances gave us the chance and opportunity to set up our own company. Beside Bas and myself, Rick and Jaap were also available and we basically sat together for 1 hour. We had the idea and we said to each other: okay let’s do it.

How would you describe the company? What does the corporate culture look like?
Jaap: InnoFour provides software, consultancy and training for companies to achieve their challenges. 
Peter: Personally I would describe the company as an informal company, both internally and externally. We don’t use our titles like CEO or CFO. We as the management team and founders work with our employees to ensure we can help our customers in the best possible way.

What is InnoFour’s core value? What objectives does InnoFour pursue?
Bas: Our core value is to make our customers successful in the Design of Products with electronic content and also our flexibility and ability to quickly respond to our customers.
Peter: I think the most important goal is to make our customers happy. We all believe that customer satisfaction is very important.

What were your ambitions 15 years ago? What has become of those ambitions?
Rick: Our ambitions were to establish a name in the Electronics Development Industry across the region where we operate: Benelux and Scandinavia. I think InnoFour has become the company to go to when you have questions about electronic development. We are not only a partner for providing tools, but also a partner or spokesperson to exchange ideas in that direction.
Bas: I would never have seen me as a business owner. But that’s how we came together. Working hard to add value to our customers and ensure that they are successful.

What challenges have you or InnoFour overcome the past years?
Rick: We started in 2008 and the year 2009 was a year of recession. Fortunately this has not affected us. Many acquisitions and changes have taken place in our industry, but we have remained a constant factor. We were even able to go through one of the bigger ones, which was the acquisition of Mentor Graphics, one of our key suppliers, by Siemens Digital Industries. And also I think more recently covid, but fortunately we have a broad focus on many different industries, some struggled while others just grew during that period. We’ve seen some other challenges, but we’ve overcome those as well.
Jaap: Sometimes it’s very difficult to grow customers and then have to leave them due to the fact that they are acquired e.g. by another company or becoming a direct account.

What is your greatest passion?
Rick: My biggest passion is my work. I’ve turned my hobby into my job. 
Jaap: My greatest passion lies in finding satisfaction through the fulfilling nature of my work.
Peter: I’m a technically driven guy which means that I like new technical innovations. 
Bas: My greatest personal passions are playing soccer and camping with the family.

What changes or innovations are you most excited about?
Jaap: What gets me excited is that customers can achieve higher productivity or efficiency, or they can raise the bar and get a higher quality of their products.
Rick: Being in a technology industry we see a lot of different types of technology. My personal interest is in the medical industry: here more and more new devices come into play on a daily basis, to help people support them in their medical situation. 

What were the highs and lows?
Peter: During these 15 years we have grown gradually, which means that year after year we’re doing what our vendors expect of us. And a highlight for me personally, that we have customers that we really build from almost zero to a certain value. So we’re helping them to grow. But as a partner of large vendors, it’s a low point that, when one of our customers is getting too big, these vendors take over that business. But that means also that we again have room to find new customers, new challenges, and that’s what we’re going for.
Jaap: What I really enjoy looking back at the 15 years is how we started with the four of us, how that went and how we grew the team with more people. And I’m looking forward to growing it even more. For me that’s a very positive thing. 

Where does InnoFour’s strength lie?
Rick: InnoFour’s strength really lies in the size of our company. We are not a large company unlike many of our vendors, and that gives us the flexibility to move with our customer. We can quickly adopt. And we can also quickly adopt new products introduced by our vendors. We pick them up, learn them and give the knowledge and information to our customers. That’s our strength: dynamics and flexibility.
Bas: Flexibility, properly responding to the needs of our customers, is a strength in my opinion.
Peter: My believe is that the strength of InnoFour is the personal relationships, both externally and internally.

Do you have some anecdotes from the past 15 years
Rick: As a small family style business we’ve always enjoyed corporate events, for example celebrating InnoFour’s 5th anniversary with a scenic boat trip / sailing trip in the Kattegat, between Malmö and Copenhagen. The weather was beautiful but unfortunately the wind was not present so sailing was not possible. And at the 10th  anniversary we went to Ljubljana with the whole team. We also visited the Lake Bled district.
Bas: events with customers and one of the vendors: cycling in San Francisco. 

Where will InnoFour be in 15 years?
Bas: I hope that we’ve grown our organization and we’re still doing the same kind of things we do today in in our current industries.
Jaap: That’s a tough question. When I look back on 15 years a lot has changed, especially in our industry. 2 or 3 years is still far away. But I think a lot will change and we have to adopt to those changes. But where it will land, I don’t know. So the outlook for 4 or 5 years is much easier to do than 15 years. 

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