Koen Munneke (born February 4, 1984) is a 500 Startups Alumni who launched two startups throughout his 9-year career. Since graduating from Seoul National University, he has pursued his professional goals in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, and Silicon Valley. In 2016, he launched Intrinsik, the leading order management application for bespoke medical devices. Munneke is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Intrinsik, where he has raised over USD1M of funding while supporting sales and recruitment teams.
Intrinsik is a B2B SaaS company in the digital health space. With offices in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, and Amsterdam it makes the fulfillment of bespoke medical devices look easy.
In an exclusive interview with AsiaTechDaily, Koen Munneke says:
Understand where people are coming from instead of telling them where they are and respect any person who tries hard to be better.
Startups fail and don’t understand the importance of Marketing because they think that they don’t need it. They fail their marketing attempts because they don’t know how to do it. Marketing is supposed to tell the world about your business, yet no one understands what marketing does. Because of how broad the function can be, many people have exposure to a specific tactic of marketing and decide “that’s what marketing is” without realizing that what works for one type of business won’t work for another. One wrong step can lead to failure. They may know about marketing but not necessary that they may have complete and correct knowledge. Proper research of the market, knowing the demand for your product or services, and knowing your target audience will help you do the right marketing activities for your business.
Read on to know more about Koen Munneke and his journey.
Please tell me about your personal background and What motivated you to get started with your company?
Koen Munneke: Koen is the CEO & Founder of Intrinsik. Over a 9 year period, he has built startups in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Europe, and Silicon Valley. Through his first company – funded by 500 Startups – he developed an in-depth understanding of (digital) manufacturing processes. By combining this experience with a rich network of healthcare professionals, the idea of Intrinsik was born. Based on the input of our advisors (and eventually paying customers, we set out to make the manufacturing process of bespoke medical devices (i.e., crowns, bridges, dentures, etc.) seamless. Today, Intrinsik has offices in Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, and Amsterdam, with customers in North America, Europe, and APAC.
What is your current main product, and can you share any previous product pivot story to the current product?
Koen Munneke: We have built a SaaS platform that helps clinicians and producers to share, create, and fulfill orders together seamlessly. We initially started in the orthopedic space, where we used AR / 3D scanning technology in combination with our iPad-based application to streamline the process of ordering medical products. In order to manage these orders, we built a portal for producers, which subsequently got introduced in the dental fundraising.
How much money have you raised in total so far? When was the recent funding round?
Koen Munneke: Intrinsik has raised over USD 1M to date from Angels, an Angel group, and Silicon Valley Seed VC. Our last funding was successfully raised in 2020.
What were the internal decision processes in determining when to begin fundraising, and what were the logistics for this? And how many investors have you met so far and how did you meet these investors, and which channels worked best for you?
Koen Munneke: Key stakeholders in the companies discussed our shared growth ambitions. In relation to the capital requirements for these targets, we decided to start fundraising. In preparation for this fundraising, we (continually) updated our pitch (10-15 pages) and projections for the upcoming 3 years. The latter covered both future hires and projected revenue based on several growth scenarios in order to show break-even and other metrics.
What are the biggest challenges and obstacles that you have faced in the process of fundraising? If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
Koen Munneke: The biggest challenge for any startup is telling a clear story that anyone is able to digest. Moreover, most companies (ours included) struggled a lot to raise in a niche industry without any initial traction. When you raise capital in an industry that most people don’t know that well, cash is the only proof that it makes sense. It might sound cheeky, but I’m not sure if we should have done anything differently.
What are your milestones for the next round? And what are your goals for the future?
Koen Munneke: Scale our business further in Europe and APAC while further bolstering technology in line with the needs of our customers.
How have you attracted users, and with what strategy have you grown your company from the start to now?
Koen Munneke: We started with our blog, and we are also exploring the social media platform for extensive reach. At the moment, we are publishing actively on LinkedIn as well as other social media platforms, for instance, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. We have been sharing much information about technology, company culture, product updates, and many more that are relevant to our target audience.
Which has been the best marketing software tool for the growth of your startup, and why?
Koen Munneke: As we all know that one of the best ways to grow our business is through organic traffic. The more, the better, and with that, we have been using Google Analytics to learn more about our visitors and target audience. As a small business owner, this data teaches us about the way people are finding and interacting with our website. For Intrinsik, this is one of the best online marketing tools that can help us accelerate the growth of our business and tweak our digital marketing strategy.
What do most startups get wrong about marketing in general?
Koen Munneke: Startups fail and don’t understand the importance of Marketing because they think that they don’t need it. They fail their marketing attempts because they don’t know how to do it. Marketing is supposed to tell the world about your business, yet no one understands what marketing does. Because of how broad the function can be, many people have exposure to a specific tactic of marketing and decide “that’s what marketing is” without realizing that what works for one type of business won’t work for another. One wrong step can lead to failure. They may know about marketing but not necessary that they may have complete and correct knowledge. Proper research of the market, knowing the demand for your product or services, and knowing your target audience will help you do the right marketing activities for your business.
How do you plan to expand globally?
Koen Munneke: Work with local distribution partners until a market shows critical opportunity and subsequently venture into markets directly.
What are the most common mistakes companies make with global expansion?
Koen Munneke: It is trying to go into huge attractive markets without the right firepower. You don’t just show up in a new market and realistically expect that they will be like, “OMG, SO HAPPY YOU ARE HERE!”.
How do you handle this COVID-19 outbreak situation for your company’s survival in the future?
Koen Munneke: Remain agile and focus on the key components that make our company great. Stay focused on building what our customers need, focus on our company culture, attract the best talent to meet the requirements that our customers bring to us.
What are the most common mistakes founders make when they start a company?
Koen Munneke: They think they know better than their customers and are about to change the world. Instead of running the marathon towards improvement with their customers, they are standing at the finish line screaming why their future partners aren’t “visionaries” or “disruptors.”
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? And What advice do you have for someone who is interested in doing similar things like yours or in a similar direction?
Koen Munneke: However hard it can be, find good people and listen to them. Always ask if whatever you respond with makes sense.
What are the top-three books or movies (TV series) that changed your life and why?
Koen Munneke: I have no idea, but these are some good reads:
- The Black Swan – Taleb
- Man’s Search for Meaning – Frankl
- Demand Side Sales 101 – Moesta
How do you keep yourself motivated every day?
- The process of problem-solving
- My team
- My customers
- My cat
What are the top-three life Lessons that you want your (future) sons and daughters to know?
- Understand where people are coming from instead of telling them where they are
- Accepting you could be wrong is an opportunity to “become” right
- Respect any person who tries hard to be better
What would you like to be remembered for?
Koen Munneke: For trying really hard to be a better person/son/brother/co-worker/founder.
You can follow Koen Munneke here.
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