[32] Summer School: Catalyst heads to Europe

by Megan Burns, Director - Catalyst

Growing up, my summers were filled with summer reading lists, travel adventures and meetups with friends- both old and new. My Azafran Catalyst Summer 2022 is reflecting these activities of my youth.


Each week our team consumes hundreds of industry related articles, podcasts and newsletters. In addition to our avid daily reading, Azafran has a monthly bookclub. In May, our featured reading was Adam Grant’s Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know.


This powerful discussion topic was an invitation for our team to explore letting go of knowledge and opinions that are no longer serving us. Grant argues that our tendency to cling to our beliefs is ineffective. The world is always changing, and if we are not willing to change with it, we will fall behind. A relevant discussion and helpful reminder as we research to invest in applied, deep technologies solutions. And a global reminder as I prepared to travel to Europe in June with an open mind.


Gaining international perspectives and insights are instrumental to the success of Catalyst as fifty percent of Azafran’s focus is on European underserved technology firms. We live the motto, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others’. Preparing to travel to Europe to meet with entrepreneurs, partners and strategics, I’m reminded of this African Proverb.


First stop, Ireland. I had the opportunity to meet with CEO and business owner Mark Smillie. Mark animatedly shared his entrepreneurial journey and launch of Locatible. A leader in asset tracking software IoT inventory management and analytical solutions, Locatible has experienced tremendous growth and successes in the past few years. Curious, I inquired of what business tools and resources Mark might have leveraged that may have contributed to his company's growth.


His response: Locatible is one of thousand’s of companies who receive support from Enterprise Ireland. A government organization who in partnership works with Irish enterprises to help them start, grow, innovate and win export sales in global markets. In this way, they support sustainable economic growth, regional development and secure employment.


In a later conversation, Enterprise Ireland’s Head of Funding and Scaling Solutions, Tom Early, shared details about their mission, focus, resources and services. Tom has been involved with Enterprise since 2008 and with many successes they continue to support scaling companies. We look forward to nurturing this relationship and supporting the growth of Irish based start-ups.


Next stop Stockholm! Sweden is known for being the most successful fin-tech place of origin in the world and home to 12id, a multi-authentication solution to issue digital identities and identify end-users uniquely. They provide an all-in-one mobile solution for digital authentication, login and electronic signing, within a value-adding ecosystem. With a revolutionary business model, regulation data issues and restricted scalability becoming obsolete, we anticipate great impact and success from this notable firm.


Over an enjoyable lunch and lively conversation with 12id’s founder and CEO Henrik Ringstrom, he shared his professional experience and fascinating transition to an entrepreneur. This transitional journey started when Henrik left his corporate job to join Antler. a supportive and global founder community. It was here that Henrik met 12id’d co-founder Syed Awais Ahmad. We look forward to exploring the organization of Antler and how the Azafran network may be able to work together to support technology founders.


Heading to Amsterdam allowed me to catch up with Mark Hulshof. I was introduced to Mark a year ago and was excited to finally meet in person. Mark and Jesse Mejjers co-founded Triggre, a no-code visual software builder and the easiest way to make software yourself. Triggre is on a mission to make organizations agile again.


A good example of this is the recent success case study from NCR. Here they shared how they built a global inbound and outbound parts logistics routing platform. With Triggre, NCR can consolidate purchase orders for shipping, determining the best and cheapest possible shipping option. NCR uses the platform for its global suppliers in 4 distribution centers in EMEA, Asia, and the Americas.


NCR’s case study made me think of my conversation with Mark from Irish based Locatible who shared with me Enterprise Ireland, which prompted me to think of a 12id introduction to Antler. In turn, I asked Mark what organizations were instrumental to Triggre. He shared that they receive a subsidy from Netherlands Enterprise Agency through WBSO, a vehicle providing tax credit to companies for their research and development. Together these organizations demonstrate the strength of building the Catalyst which validates our strategy: to support our community with our Azafran network.


Full circle back to our summer reading Think Again, Adam Grant says ‘If we create networks with the sole intention of getting something, we won't succeed. We can't pursue the benefits of networks; the benefits ensue from investments in meaningful activities and relationships.’ As highlighted in a past Catalyst article, Power of Networking: Abundance and Community, we are living our Azafran principles of abundance.


Catalyst Summer Travel Tips:

  • 3D Light Blocking Eye Mask-Recently shared by Seth Godin in 5 Bullet Friday

  • Must have–noise canceling headset!! Check out Tech Radar’s best of noise-canceling headphone of 2022

  • Layer, Layer, layer! A vest, scarf or wrap are all great layering pieces and also can serve as a pillow

  • Busy lifestyle-take time, onboard entertainment music, podcast

  • Avoid checking luggage at all costs

  • Airport Security, Global entry (includes TSA precheck), Clear, Fast Track. Any and all resources to get you through those security lines!