The digitization wave is just beginning for SMEs

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The Digitization wave is just beginning for SMEs

The digitization wave is just beginning for SMEs

Jul. 1st, 2024

In just three years, Vertuoza grew from 3 to 85 employees. Last year, the producer of innovative software for construction companies was named Scale-up of the Year. "It is well-positioned to take advantage of the significant digitization wave that is coming for European SMEs," says Filip Van Innis from Fortino Capital.

How does Vertuoza's software help SMEs in the construction sector grow faster?

Dominique Pellegrino (CEO Vertuoza): "We have designed a Software as a Service (SaaS) tool that allows construction companies to digitize all their administrative and commercial processes in an accessible way and optimize their construction sites as much as possible. The software includes features for quotation and invoice management, construction planning, intervention management, inventory management, site follow-up, and financial management. Additionally, it offers detailed statistics and reports for better insight and optimization. This all-in-one solution helps construction companies work more efficiently and streamline their processes. In a sector that is not yet highly digitized, we make a difference with accessible and comprehensive software."

Dominique Pellegrino, CEO Vertuoza

How do you, as a technology company, find new customers in a hard-to-reach and conservative SME market?

Dominique Pellegrino: "It is an exceptionally large and highly fragmented sector, with about 75,000 companies in Belgium alone. In 95 percent of cases, these are SMEs with fewer than 100 employees. To win them over, we actively approach business leaders, including via social media. We are very active in this ourselves, and this strategy pays off. We receive an average of 1,200 demo requests per month. This way, we have systematically worked on our visibility and brand awareness in recent years. We started in French-speaking markets such as Wallonia, Brussels, France, and Switzerland, and since this year, we have also been active in Flanders and the Netherlands."


Successfully staying ahead in a rapidly changing and evolving sector is likely not easy for a small scale-up?

Filip Van Innis (Fortino Capital): "The barrier to starting a software company is getting lower and lower. Recent developments in AI are accelerating this trend. But the key question is: how do you differentiate yourself from the competition? Software companies must focus not only on their technology or product—which remains essential—but also on how they market it efficiently. You need to structurally scale up to generate a flywheel effect. Once the flywheel is spinning, it seems obvious, but it's hard work to get all processes to mesh perfectly as you continuously grow."

Filip Van Innis, Partner at Fortino

What makes an investor more than just a financier? And what role has Fortino already played in your spectacular growth?

Dominique Pellegrino: "An investor brings money. You might sometimes forget that their primary goal is to create value by investing capital wisely. Additionally, with Fortino, we can rely on extensive expertise in software. They provide us with many benchmarks and use their analytical power to ask the right questions. We are in the trenches every day; investors help us take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Fortino helps us keep our ambition to maintain European leadership in our segment in sight. They also provide insights from other investments, such as the Luxembourg company Salonkee, which offers software for hair salons and has gained a significant market share in Belgium. You can draw many parallels with us."

Filip Van Innis:"We believe we are on the cusp of a major digitization wave for SMEs. Many young startups have grown up with smartphones in hand. They will no longer manage their business on paper or in Excel. Regulations are also pushing companies more towards digital operations, such as e-invoicing regulations. Vertuoza and Salonkee are excellent examples of helping under-digitized markets innovate with an outstanding all-in-one product. Our role is to support them as best as possible. To do this, we gladly use our network, but we also help, for example, in the search for talent. Often, the bottleneck for growth is not the money itself but finding the right people to make growth happen."


Based on article in De Tijd

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