The interview was conducted with Melcher Frankema, Founder of IVWear, and Mireille Koster, interim financial at Fit Professionals of Finance.
Fit Professionals of Finance is a financial interim agency located in Groningen. The company’s goal is to be the leading financial interim agency in the North of the Netherlands. Fit Professionals wants to achieve and maintain this goal by knowing their finance professionals, clients and their specific challenges. Therefore, Fit Professionals conducts business from three core values: “Deskundig” (expert), “Betrokken” (involved) and “Vitaal”(vital). These values are deeply rooted in the company and Fit Professionals promotes them by helping the region to grow and develop, encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit and guiding (young) financials in their career as interim professionals.
Startups get the opportunity to hire (part-time) interim financials to further develop their business.
As a new business line, Fit Professionals assists entrepreneurs and start-ups in realizing their dreams. This is achieved by being their financial sparring partner, guiding their ideas and products into financial models or business cases, or even helping them to get their first investments. Fit Professionals offers financial expertise for entrepreneurs through a platform called VentureLab North. Startups get the opportunity to hire (part-time) interim financials to further develop their business. For the latter, Fit Professionals employs financial students in their final year of their bachelor’s or master’s studies, with the drive to work as an interim professional and the ambition to be the CFO of a startup.
The Risk Magazine set together with Mireille Koster, an interim financial at Fit Professionals, but also Master of Finance student at the University of Groningen, and Melcher Frankema, Founder of IVWear. IVWear is a Groningen-based startup that is founded by three students. The company works on a solution to overcome the stigma of the IV pole, an image that stands for sickness and dependence. A substantial group of people only need a single IV bag for their therapy but still have to use the big pole. This offers potential to bring about a major change. The founders also noticed that people who had to use an IV pole refrained to do exercise. But, “The more you move, the faster you get healthy”, Melcher points out, and therefore, the company’s aim is to mobilize patients. This motivates IVWear to introduce wearable IVs. Their portable infusion, the Ivy One, removes both the physical and mental barriers associated with the IV pole.
Currently, the founders are writing the business plan and improve the prototype. As the founders are experts in the medical and product-engineering field, but not in finance, they approached Fit Professionals for financial advice. Fit Professionals appointed Mireille as the interim financial for IVWear. Mireille works on a project basis and assists IVWear with their financials and elaborating the business plan.
Melcher describes the interview as very friendly and he noticed Mireille’s drive to work for IVWear.
From a startup perspective, the hiring process is quite easy. Melcher explains that the job requirements are thoroughly discussed with Fit Professionals. Fit Professionals then looks for suitable candidates and does a pre-selection. In IVWear’s case, Fit Professionals introduced Mireille after which an interview followed with Melcher. Melcher describes the interview as very friendly and he noticed Mireille’s drive to work for IVWear. He further states that as Mireille was proposed by Fit Professionals, therefore he trusted in her expertise.
Mireille likes to work in a startup connected to the healthcare sector. She also claims that being responsible for the financials adds much value to her education. At IVWear, she can use this responsibility to apply theoretical knowledge and gain experience by doing so. Although, working in a startup is much more a ‘learning by doing’ activity. Mireille says, “It’s a great opportunity to see the difference between business life and academia.” The difference, according to her, is mainly that in business you have to do everything yourself and dig for information needed. In academia, on the other hand, you always find support in books and articles provided by the professor. However, she can consult Fit Professionals if she faces any issues and needs advice.
Mireille enjoys the responsibility granted to her and she values the opportunity to be part of IVWear in a crucial development phase.
When speaking with Mireille and Melcher, the task distribution is clear. Mireille does everything related to historical costs, forecasts and scenarios, while Melcher promotes the product to investors and prospective partners. Melcher states that Mireille is in charge of the company’s financials and its business plan. Thus, she is busy collecting information and putting the puzzle together. “The investors require the financials to be spot-on,” Melcher stresses multiple times. Further, he underlines that Mireille adds lots of value to the company as she builds the financial framework. Mireille enjoys the responsibility granted to her and she values the opportunity to be part of IVWear in a crucial development phase. Especially, as her job is not from administrative nature, but rather long-term oriented. Moreover, as a Master student, Mireille likes the flexibility this job offers. She works at IVWear once a week and combines her work with her studies.
As you can see, Fit Professionals, IVWear and Mireille benefit from this unique consulting project. Fit Professionals is planning to expand its network of interim financial student consultants in the North of the Netherlands and therefore, you can check their website or LinkedIn regularly to find open positions.
Also, IVWear informed the Risk Magazine that they are looking for additional working students to reach their aim, mobilizing patients. So, keep your eyes open for new positions and kick-off your startup experience.