Alumni in the spotlight: Azumuta

In recent years, Scaleup Flanders has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs. Batist Leman, founder of the Ghent company Azumuta, is one of them.
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Thomas Smolders
Thomas Smolders

In recent years, Scaleup Flanders has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs. Batist Leman, founder of the Ghent company Azumuta, is one of them.

Few Flemish scaleups have such an original name as Azumuta, Gents for "so should that" and Japanese for "I started. This platform supports operators in factories through digital work instructions that are automatically adapted according to the situation and operator. For example, people with little experience are shown more information. 'We believe that the factory is as strong as the people who work in it,' says founder Batist Leman. 'When it comes to automation, we often think of machines, but we forget the human component.'

Azumuta gives operators more independence and allows companies to be more responsive to competency management, which is important for passing on knowledge and smooth onboarding. Customers include Atlas Copco and Umicore.

Tailored support for scaleups

'We started in 2016 at the request of a factory that makes seats for Volvo Cars. I felt there was a scalable application in that solution, after which I decided to make it a separate digital product," Leman says. 

‍Hedid that by joining the imec.istart incubator, but once he graduated, Azumuta entered "the real world." "We struggled with growth issues and wanted to bring more structure to the company, because in the beginning everyone does a little bit of everything. As a member of various networks and alumni associations, we ended up at Scaleup Flanders. As a scaleup, it's very important to be part of that fabric of entrepreneurs, so you can be helped smoothly.

Scaleup Vlaanderen Ignite

At Scaleup Flanders, Azumuta attended the Ignite sessions, a six-month group coaching with up to 10 other scaleups. Every month, the group meets to attend keynotes and workshops. "The talk by Tom Dejonghe, who is working as Product Manager at Collibra, helped us very much to organize our product team better. In the early years of Azumuta, we knew all the customers personally, but at some point that is no longer tenable. By attending that session, we can classify and follow up incoming inquiries much better.'

That you attend the Ignite sessions with other entrepreneurs is something Leman sees as an advantage. "You're all in a similar situation and facing the same problems, so you can discuss them together. For example, we were able to discuss with others how they approach their work-at-home policies. You attend those sessions, but it's much more than just that. Afterwards you keep in touch, and if you have a question you know who to turn to.'

One Million Club

Since Azumuta had an investment round of 2.8 million euros in September 2023, the scaleup has been part of the One Million Club. That informal network meets regularly for keynotes by entrepreneurs who have gone before them. "I went to sessions at Deliverect and Lighthouse, the former OTA Insight, among others. The latter in particular was very interesting. I had obviously seen their name pass by, but found it very inspiring to hear how to build such a successful company in Belgium. From the keynote by co-founder Matthias Geeroms, I got a lot of relevant information about their SDRs, which we can apply at Azumuta.'

Batist also attended the breakfast session at Teamleader, which led to an interesting meeting. At that One Million Club, I met Jeroen De Wit, whom I subsequently asked to serve on our advisory board. I can advise every entrepreneur to set up such a council, because it's very useful. Besides Jeroen, Tim Vandecasteele from Silverfin, Ewout Meyns from PieSync and Mattias Putman, also from PieSync, sit on Azumuta's. We prepare some questions every quarter, which we submit to them so we discuss them together. These can be technical problems or issues at the HR level, but equally questions around pricing or contracts.'

That way, Azumuta can scale without making avoidable mistakes. Batist: "There are now 20 of us, and we have won some great projects that allow us to grow faster and faster. We are expanding mainly in Europe, but are also working with a number of U.S. companies. Being able to recruit quickly enough is our biggest challenge, and because everyone is fishing in the same pond it is not easy to find good people. Nevertheless, I am sure we will succeed.

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