Have you ever seen an induction plate that was actually super nice to look at? Makus sells exactly that. Founded in 2018, Makus Kitchen is developing uniquely designed induction cooktops. We spoke to Merel Phillipart, founder of Makus about the choices that led to the successful round.
Stylish and sustainable cooktops
Standard cooktops are often black, basic and not much to look at. But Makus wanted the kitchen to become a stylish extension of the living room. So, they started making cooktops in different shapes and designs.
“When we started in 2018, we still had to seduce people to switch to induction cooktops, but not anymore. Many are already switching”. By law, announced in 2019, all Dutch households should be natural gas free before 2050 which is quite a big strategic challenge. Of course, cooktops are only a small part, but a very emotional part, that is why it should be a starting point.
A step towards external financing
An organic growth route has been always preferred, and luckily, Makus was able to bootstrap for quite a while. But at the same time, to really make the next step, an investment was needed. They realised it around last summer and started by sharpening their positioning and drawing up documentation.
Usually, you meet possible external investors through your network. That is exactly how Merel started chatting with investors. With one angel it went very far. “But the deal didn’t feel comfortable, it was out of my comfort zone”, says Merel. She also considered an innovation loan but the high interest rates and the unfavorable repayment terms for startups on such a loan made it a less interesting option.
You often hear from founders that fundraising is a fulltime job. But you also have other things to do to ensure your business is running and growing whilst you are fundraising. “I want to go fast, yet I also want to take enough care for Makus”, says Merel. It’s always finding the right balance.
“I heard about StartupRoulette at the end of 2021 from Sandra van Beest, founder of The Social Handshake. At the time we met I had mixed feelings about the offer we didn’t go for. But, bottom line I was happy that we did not proceed with it. I wanted to see if StartupRoulette could help me finding the right partner(s). I didn’t have to pay anything upfront, so I could just see what investors Golden Egg Check could find for me”, says Merel. StartupRoulette makes it easy to discover and connect with potential investors outside of your network that you would not be able to find on your own.
The only edition Makus participated in, they were matched with Horizon Flevoland and felt an immediate connection. The session took only 20 minutes and afterwards they both felt that they should continue the conversation. “It went pretty quickly and it felt very comfortable, honest and professional from the beginning”, says Merel.
Under time pressure
Patience is rewarded! “Sometimes you feel that you are doing the right thing but you don’t know. Eventually, the right match with Horizon did come along”. During the process Merel was pregnant and it became clear that they wouldn’t finish the deal before her due date. And even if they would’ve made it, it felt strange to sign the deal and then be absent for 4 months.
After discussing this, a term sheet was made before summer, with the help of one of our Golden Egg Check’ers, Thomas. When Merel returned from her maternity leave in November, the deal was signed and the investment was made final.
What the future will bring for Makus isn’t set in stone, they will probably want to fundraise again to fuel their growth. Merel: “StartupRoulette took much work out of my hands. Would love to participate again for my next round.”
We’re happy that we were able to help Makus raise an investment with StartupRoulette. Hopefully it is also an inspiration to other fundraising founders, you are one connection away from closing your round.