What is Curi?
Curi is a platform where entrepreneurs can buy or sell their business themselves. The selling party creates a clear online profile in a series of steps. The buyer sees the companies for sale via the search function or with a created search profile.
Is there a match? Curi then puts the buyer and seller in direct contact with each other using an online chat. For example, the startup from Veenendaal is trying to make it easier for smaller entrepreneurs to get in touch with a replacement.
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Co-founder Steven Donselaar (39, photo above): ‘Take a standard takeover. At the table are business advisers, takeover advisers and accountants. It quickly costs tens of thousands of euros. Smaller entrepreneurs do not have that money, but are often looking for a takeover candidate. We will take care of that ‘.
Now there are several Dutch platforms that bring together supply and demand from companies for sale. However, Donselaar states that Curi is the only platform that focuses specifically on the smaller entrepreneur. ‘At our competitors, the small entrepreneur still has to pay hundreds of euros to put his business up for sale online. It’s still a lot of money for a company that in the end only gives ten thousand euros. ‘
Who is behind Curi?
Curi comes from the English curious, or also ‘curious about how things can be done differently and better’. In 2019, Donselaar and partner Mark Dekker (55) got the idea to take over an existing company. That search resulted in a lot of frustration. ‘When we finally found the perfect company, it turned out that it had not been for sale for six months. We searched further, there was no response from the seller or we had to have an expensive subscription to be able to contact us at all. It should be better, right? ‘
After several discussions with investors, entrepreneurs, accountants and M&A advisors, it turned out that Donselaar and Dekker were not the only entrepreneurs with this problem. Therefore, together with investors Gerrie and Evan Pierik, they decided to establish a new platform. The goal? Make the first steps in business acquisitions ‘easy, accessible and concrete’.
Donselaar is no stranger to entrepreneurial land. About eleven years ago, he created the car rental formula and franchise chain Autohopper. With more than 130 branches, it became one of the largest chains in the Netherlands. At the end of 2021, Donselaar sold the company to the Louwman Group, known for its importation of Toyota and Suzuki.
Who’s waiting for that?
On the sales side: the smaller entrepreneur who is retiring or ready for a new challenge. ‘Autohopper was my baby for twelve years, but one day I knew: In the next phase, this company no longer needs me. The same goes for many other entrepreneurs. In such a situation, a business can feel like a stone’s throw away. ‘
On the purchasing side: entrepreneurs with a growth ambition and private individuals with an entrepreneurial dream. ‘For successful entrepreneurs, a business acquisition can be a smart choice. By taking over existing customers and possibly staff, you can immediately start working with a running company and you can expand your customer base. Sometimes buyers are also private. They fantasize with a glass of wine in France about what it would be like to do business. Curi shows that one should not reinvent the wheel, because often the business that the person has in mind already exists. ‘
How far is Curi?
In 2021, the startup focused on developing the platform. This has been live since March 2022. The counter is now on 24 companies for sale. Donselaar calls this the ‘start-up phase’. “It has not really started yet. And it is also allowed, because we are still working on improving the platform every week, with customer surveys. Is everything as we want it to be? Then we open the marketing tap and focus fully on online Challenging, because we have to tempt our target audience already at the stage where the entrepreneur is still thinking about whether to sell or not. ‘
What is the revenue model?
So far, the platform is free for both buyer and seller, but that will soon change. ‘If we are completely satisfied in a few months, after the necessary customer surveys, we will charge a subscription fee of a few euros a month. We want to keep it available. ‘
Do you still need money?
New. The platform is built with the four entrepreneurs’ own money. According to Donselaar, there are sufficient own resources to finance the company in the long term.