We talked to Siebe van Mensfoort about how Simbeyond accelerates development of advanced materials and high-tech devices as used in state-of-the-art display, lighting and signage applications and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Siebe van Mensfoort: Thank you for asking! My family and I are doing well! There have been some adjustments with working from home, but we have been slowly getting on track.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Simbeyond.
Siebe van Mensfoort: Simbeyond was founded in 2015 together with my collaborator Harm van Eersel. We are providing advanced simulation software that predicts the performance of nanotechnology-based materials and devices, such as OLED displays. I have a PhD in Applied Physics from Philips Research in OLEDs, and my professional experience prior to founding Simbeyond includes jobs in management consultancy and Business Development positions.
How does Simbeyond innovate?
Siebe van Mensfoort: High-tech companies are currently facing big challenges when it comes to the development of new advanced materials and devices. Research and Development departments are typically using a trial-and-error approach on many prototypes to develop the future of high-tech. This is very time-consuming and costly. Simbeyond’s simulation software makes it possible to replace significant parts of this conventional experiment-driven R&D with computer simulations, thereby reducing time-to-market by 40% and R&D costs by 60%.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Siebe van Mensfoort: The pandemic has reduced customers’ budgets, which were allocated to disrupting projects, and simulations were one of those in some cases. However, I would say the strongest effect has come from the issues indirectly reaching out to our customers. We usually attend international conferences a lot and meet with potential customers at their premises. This is currently not possible, and unfortunately, video calls cannot fully replace face-to-face contact. Nevertheless, we have been able to increase our revenues and gross margin in 2020 compared to 2019, which is a great achievement of the team.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Siebe van Mensfoort: We had to adapt to a new way of working and reaching out to customers. We are now joining online events to reach out to potential customers. In the meanwhile, we have adapted our offers to better fulfil customer needs remotely. In addition to the virtual events we are joining, such as the CES 2021, we started to organize online demonstrations for our customers.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Siebe van Mensfoort: As our main market is located in Asia, we were on the lookout for a grant to help us reach our potential customers there. We have benefited from a grant from the Dutch government in order to perform demonstration sessions in China. This is a great opportunity for us to present our products with the help of our local agents.
Your final thoughts?
Siebe van Mensfoort: 2021 will be a year filled with new product developments and releases for Simbeyond. We are also always looking for new and innovative ways to reach our potential customers considering the current situation, but I am sure that with our strong team we will succeed. I am looking forward to all the opportunities this year will offer.
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