Y1 Memo

By Pieterjan Bouten, 1st of March 2024

After a year of building under the radar, the time has come to launch and share our progress and ambition with the world. Today we are officially launching Entourage, a Venture Studio and early stage VC combined.

Entourage’s mission is to bolster the next generation of European SaaS founders. 

We’ve raised $30 million from an impressive collection of accomplished software entrepreneurs and family offices. The funding will be used to create and invest, combining a vetted approach to building new software companies with ‘Entourage Studio’ and a targeted early-stage investment strategy that will enable ‘Entourage Capital’ to back the most ambitious European SaaS founders.

In The Pocket, led by Jeroen Lemaire, is the long-term partner and most important backer of our Studio. With a stellar team of more than 200 specialists skilled in every dimension of digital product creation they give us the bandwidth to move quickly and be flexible when building and exploring Studio ideas.

Why Now? 

We want to build and fund the next generation of B2B-focused SaaS businesses with a focus on innovative products and services that drive growth and transformation in the enterprise category. 

There are profound transformations taking place. Businesses have to respond quicker than ever before to innovation, and there has never been a bigger opportunity to unlock that value.

While certain waves of innovation are fueled by the fear of missing out, generative AI triggers us all into a forward thinking motion. We embrace new realities for the end user and for their customers. Instead of talking the language of beliefs or bets, we can speak the language of users and their needs. A good place to be for a hands-on B2B SaaS team like ourselves.

Technology has its most profound effect when it disappears and becomes magic. B2B SaaS has never been in a better place to disrupt traditional businesses and launch new ecosystems.

Why Us? 

Entourage will be exclusively run by seasoned entrepreneurs and operators. Personally I have my experience co-founding and leading Showpad as its CEO from 0 to close to $100M ARR. Next to that I have learned some valuable lessons angel investing in 30+ leading B2B software scale-ups such as Spendesk, Silverfin (acquired by Visma), Deselect, Swan, Growblocks and Bitmovin.

I couldn’t be more excited to have Maarten Mortier & Evert Beeckman as co-founders and partners respectively for Entourage Studio and Entourage Capital.  

Maarten was one of the first hires at In The Pocket and later joined Showpad serving for over 5 years as its CTO during its hyper growth phase. More recently Maarten has been involved with Robovision, Henchman and has been acting as a mentor and advisor to many entrepreneurs in the tech ecosystem. Maarten effortlessly combines technical and product brilliance with a keen eye for talent and insights in company building, GTM and forging strong teams.

Evert earned his stripes at Bain after which he decided it was time to dive into the trenches of a fast growing scale up. He joined Showpad as my Chief of Staff back in 2019 and was closely involved in leading many strategic projects. He gained valuable early stage investor experience as a driving force at Syndicate One, while supporting me in several of my angel investments. Evert is intelligent, has an incredible work ethic, is data driven and is always asking the right questions.

Next to that we’ve also attracted our first talented Studio Associate: Jelle Baats, former CEO of Bonsai. With his relentless energy and drive Jelle has been working alongside the founders of our first Studio company Tekst.com, collaborating with the team on GTM strategy and execution.

Meet our entourage 

Europe is in an exciting phase for early-stage investing. There’s a ton of successful European SaaS entrepreneurs who have built major companies and are now ready to pay it forward to the next generation of founders.

Entourage is backed by a list of storied B2B SaaS scale-up founders, including Jason Lemkin (Saastr), Louis Jonckheere & Peter Minne (Showpad), Stijn Christiaens (Collibra), Jan Hollez and Zhong Xu (Deliverect), Joris Van Der Gucht & Tim Vandecasteele (Silverfin), Matthias Geeroms (Lighthouse), Ewout Meyns & Mattias Putman (Piesync, acquired by HubSpot), Gregory Blondeau (Proxyclick, acquired by Thoma Bravo), Jeremy Le Van (Sunrise, acquired by  Microsoft), Jeroen De Wit  (Teamleader), Michiel Bearelle (Officient, acquired by Exact), and Piet Maes (Sofico).  

Last but not least I mentioned Jeroen and In The Pocket in the introduction. While Entourage and In The Pocket operate independently, they will build on each other for expertise and network.  In The Pocket is the home for talented digital professionals to create products and platforms for companies such as Engie, TP Vision, Colruyt, Payconiq and Daikin. Entourage will become a home for entrepreneurs to build businesses. Showpad actually spun off from In The Pocket back in 2011, so in many ways having In the Pocket as a partner of Entourage is going full circle.

In the studio right now: tekst.com 

The first company in Entourage Studio is tekst.com, an AI platform to automate support and back-office for big enterprises. Wouter Janssen and Tiebe Parmentier founded the company after graduating from university. They decided to team up with Entourage and made significant progress building out their team, enhancing their product and signing enterprise customers like Becton Dickinson, Milcobel, Asteria and Securex. Wouter and Tiebe are setting an impossibly high benchmark for all future endeavours. 

With Entourage Studio we aim to build multiple high-growth B2B SaaS companies from scratch over the next couple of years. We have thought hard about how we can be the most constructive and founder friendly partner, respecting the future proofness of the cap table as well as the independence of ambitious founders. At Entourage founders will always be in the lead and in control. There is no single code to crack here, but we feel we have certainly cracked the mindset. 

First investments: Aikido, Henchman, NineID

On the investment side, Entourage Capital launches with 3 high-growth B2B SaaS companies in its portfolio: Aikido, Henchman and NineID. 

Aikido (cybersecurity) founded by Willem Delbare together with former Showpadder Roeland Delrue has recently raised a €5 million follow-on round from Notion Capital and Connect Ventures, whilst Henchman (legaltech) and NineID (access control & contractor management) are making waves in their industries by building superior products, recruiting stellar teams and achieving significant traction. 

What's next?

As an investor our sweet spot is early, ranging from seed to Series A. We like to see a strong founding team with initial traction and promising growth figures. The Entourage team brings a significant amount of first-hand company building & scaling experience to the table. We like to be “the founder turned VC” on the cap table.

The most important thing we do every day is engaging with ambitious founders and exceptional talent. Our studio’s goal is to launch three to five companies in the next couple of years. Next to that we target to invest in 12-15 companies.

We are looking forward to growing our team (check out our jobs, we are hiring!) and to becoming resourceful in accelerating our own timeline. Modern technology will be an ally for us, to identify the right opportunities, automate processes, and to build prototypes into full-fledged products.

In some ways Entourage is a big experiment yet we are confident that by being curious, staying true to our values and putting founders first we will hit the landmarks we need and will be able to pivot around the challenges that will come our way.  We are ready to share the startup sweat with our portfolio companies, and relish in the anticipation of building new businesses and supporting great entrepreneurs and teams on their way to glory.

Let’s make it happen.
Time to Build!