startathlon, get a head start

Success lies further than a good
idea and enthusiasm

Sign up for the next Startathlon program

Why guess, when you can
start with knowledge

  • Congratulations, you are serving your first customers. What will be your next step?
  • At a certain point, your product vision has to crystallize. How and when do you make this happen?
  • You want loyal customers, but do you solve churn?
  • Preparing the channels for customer base scaling is key in this phase, how to develop these?
  • Is your technology stack robust and open enough to support further growth of your business?
The business model canvas

No need to guess

You need a valid business plan and go-to-market strategy.


Get a free brainstorm


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the 9th Startathlon

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The 7-step

Start here

Acceleration to success

Follow the 7-step Startathlon program and fill in the blanks.

You and your co-workers will be guided by mentors and investors during an intensive 7-step start-up accelerator program.
We’ll give you a head start with one-on-one training sessions, coaching and knowledge exchange.

Frederik Petre
Frederik Petre
Frederik Petre, Entrepreneur in Residence at Flanders Make
"Startathlon is a must for every (would be) entrepreneur! This go-to-market coaching trajectory helps you to shape your initial idea into a viable business. Much like a sculptor who starts with a slab of marble which, over time, with skill, passion, hard work and the right coaching is shaped into a piece of art!"
Peter De Ranter
Peter De Ranter
Peter De Ranter, Managing director at Tilroy
"Startathlon brought us a lot of inspirational moments. New insights into marketing approach, price settings and pitching our story made the sessions very valuable. It gave us a headstart in our roadmap for Tilroy."
Pascal Binard
Pascal Binard
Pascal Binard, Marlin
"Session after session, pitch after pitch, Startathlon helped us structure our thinking and present our business in a clearer manner. While listening to other participants, we learned much about ourselves and our own business. And we initiated business relationships that appear to be meant to last. BIG thanks to the Startathlon team."
Frank Berckmans
Frank Berckmans
Frank Berckmans, Account manager at Home Publishers
"We were flabbergasted at the creativity and technical know-how our colleagues presented, but soon found ourselves at ease, thanks to the mentors, the excellent atmosphere in which the program was run, and also the belief in our own project, however low-profile it seemed under the circumstances. Although we put our project on hold throughout the program, the ultimate go-to-market and following revenues have no doubt been sped up by our participation at Startathlon."
Karim Chadir
Karim Chadir
Karim Chadir, Home Automation for The Elderly
"Startathlon is a very good go-to-market training; sessions are well distributed in time and the content is very interesting and consistent with the reality on the ground. The mentors and the organizer were of high quality but also the group of trainees was coherent and curious. The group was interested in others' subjects and readily shared its feelings and experiences with others; thank you all"
Toon Timbermont
Toon Timbermont
Toon Timbermont, CEO and project manager Skryv
"Before following the Starthatlon program, we already knew the vision and ambition of Skryv. We had gathered a great technical team to build the software we needed. But we did not know how to pitch and sell. Startathlon helped us to prepare for prospects."
Katya Vladislaveva
Katya Vladislaveva
Katya Vladislaveva, Chief Data Scientist and CEO at
"Joining the Startathlon program has been one of the best investments I’ve made. I was struggling to make advanced predictive analytics look easy and attractive, not an easy task. The mentors and my fellow Startathloners really helped me with that. I learned a whole lot in a very short amount of time."
Alexander Prym
Alexander Prym
Alexander Prym is the founder of Mondays Like Sundays, a recruiting company that finds "hidden gem" candidates, still employed by other companies
"When I first saw the Startathlon program, I thought that it would only be interesting to me after the 3rd session. I have to admit I was wrong. It turned out that all the sessions had a perfect mix of theory and practice. The program is straight to the point and ready for direct implementation."
Inez Michiels
Inez Michiels
Inez Michiels is researcher, consultant and trainer at City of 8/Genetic Coding
"At first I thought it was too early to participate in the Startathlon program. At the time, my product was not quite there yet. Besides that, I was very impatient, and not very eager to take yet another step before building my product. Fortunately, the program turned out to be a great help, thanks to the interaction with experienced entrepreneurs and experts in different domains."

Success is never granted; success has to be earned.

But luckily, you can minimize the risks. Draw lessons from historical failures, and flops that were turned into a success story

Companies who succeeded

Companies who didn’t succeed

So, should you ask people what they want before developing a new product? Not really, no.
Henry Ford was right: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses”. Remember that!

Conclusion? To succeed, having technology is great, having a full strategy is better.
There is no business without customers, a monetization model, and a go-to-market path.

Creating a good business plan is easier said than done, because each case is different, and there are a lot of uncertainties involved for every project. That is exactly why we created our Startathlon program.


Startathlon: the 7-step program

the 7-step program

During the Startathlon program you can carry on developing your business. You get all the information you need during a combination of training sessions, one-on-one coaching and exchange with other innovative companies. In between workshops you can apply what you have learned. You'll get feedback and help from our mentors and your peers. We know your business is unique. We are more than happy to look for answers for the specific challenges in your field.

Validation of the Problem-Solution fit
Your product won't sell if it doesn't respond to necessity or desire.
Are you building the right product?
Will it really improve the lives of your customers?
Is your major product feature solving the identified problem?
Do customers think it's a must have?
Are there any barriers to adoption?
  • Customer development
  • Running Lean
  • Customer interviews
Go-to-market design
You can't create a viable business without customers.
How will you market & sell, generate leads and close deals?
Do you have a clear path to your customers?
Is your communication adjusted to your target audience?
  • Online Lead generation
  • Sales funnel design
  • Landing page design
Go-to-market communication
Talk the talk, but don't forget to convert the talk into sales.
Do you have a good communication pyramid?
Is your message clear?
Do you have sufficient online conversion?
Which tools do you use for your communication and conversion?
  • Communication and branding
  • Online marketing tools
  • Pitching design
Go-to-market execution
If your sales strategy is not efficient, scaling of your business will not happen.
Is each sell a time-consuming effort with a lot of involvement of the entrepreneurs themselves?
Do you know your focus customer segments?
Do you know how to reach them?
Do you have the right tools?
  • Content marketing
  • SaaS stack
Pricing, revenu & cost modeling
A business without profit is risky business.
Are you making money?
Have you found revenue streams?
Did you determine and validate pricing that will be accepted by your customers?
Is your revenue model viable?
  • Pricing
  • SaaS Business models
Prepare for scaling
Tackle your growing pains.
Are your team and contractors working in an aligned way?
Is your venture prepared for growth?
  • Face2face mentor session
Get funding and partners
No money, no acceleration.
Do you have enough resources to build your business?
Did you find the right partners and investors?
Is your communication clear enough for the different partners?
  • Venture valuation
  • The VC view
  • Basic Financial SaaS parameters
Each workshop is led by a moderator and an external expert. Our experts are not theoretical people – they have proven themselves, each in their own domain. They share their knowhow with other entrepreneurs.
All sessions are in English.

Meet our experts

Sirris teamed up with the brightest experts and entrepreneurs in Belgium.
Sirris is a not-for-profit, industry-owned knowledge center founded by Agoria, the federation of the Belgian technology industry.

Our team

Omar Mohout

Omar Mohout

is a serial entrepreneur.
After he sold his last company, he stavrted to help out European companies with a go-to-market strategy for Europe and the Middle East. He’s also professor of entrepreneurship at the Antwerp Management School.

Thomas Cleenewerck

Thomas Cleenewerck

is a scientific entrepreneur. He’s always looking for new key concepts to turn them into a commercial succes. He runs several SaaS companies in markets with high and very diverse customer needs. He’s an expert in finding the best fit between maximum customer service, minimal products and lean business models.

Dirk Creado

Dirk Creado

is venture capital consultant. He has founded and supported several companies and projects for over 15 years.

Vladimir Blagojevic

Vladimir Blagojevic

is entrepreneur, lean startup adviser, blogger and organizer of Lean Startup Circle Brussels. He started as a software developer.

Nick Boucart

Nick Boucart

is software engineer, web & cloud computing adviser, and co-author of The Art of Software Innovation.

Jo Martens

Jo Martens

is online communication, strategic positioning & team dynamics

Peter Verhasselt

Peter Verhasselt

is engineer, jurist and strategist with a large network in the Belgian high tech industry. Peter started the Mistral program at Sirris. This program guided more than 70 companies in the search for the right technology strategy.


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to our experts

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Sign up for the next startathlon program