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The story of ... Clevergig

A clever concept, a lot of perseverance and impressive growth. With his motto 'playing the long game' Michel Pilet is making great progress with his company clevergig (without a capital letter!) and has now secured his third business loan with October. October talked to Michel about his innovative SaaS (Software as a Service) product, freedom and autonomy in entrepreneurship and financing for growth.
  • business

    Activity area

    Business services

  • loan

    Loan purpose


  • amount

    Amount borrowed


  • duration

    Term of loan

    48 months

  • interests

    Interest rate


From employee to entrepreneur

“Entrepreneurship had a strong appeal to me since a young age. I come from an entrepreneurial family, my father had his own advertising agencies. I saw the ups and downs up close and for a long time I did not dare to start my own business. So my first jobs were with secure and large corporate companies, in marketing roles. That was fine but I was always drawn to being an entrepreneur. I wanted to invent something new myself, create something out of nothing. I was done showing up at the office every day and reporting to someone.”

“A year before I really got started, I made the decision to start my own business. At that point, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I was going to do. Two things were important. First, I love technology. I love devices and software that make life easy. I have a fascination for technology that makes new business models possible. In addition, I have a tremendous craving for freedom and autonomy, and want to decide who I work with and for. I wanted to come up with a solution and build something that could operate without me at some point. This craving for autonomy and freedom applies to many more people in the labor market, and the labor market itself is also changing. It’s becoming more and more flexible, people sometimes have multiple jobs and sources of income at the same time.”

Responding to the gig economy

“I set up an initial concept of clevergig, an online marketplace where you connect supply and demand of workers and company. Like, for example, the Dutch company Temper does in the hospitality industry. It is interesting to see how platforms create and automate new opportunities. By the way, the name clevergig is derived from the so-called gig economy; an economy in which people earn money with temporary work, short-term projects and assignments, or gigs. Like Uber does, for example. In the first year, I went looking for angel investors with my partner, who was building the product. At that time, we couldn’t lend money. In that first year we were also invited to participate in the startupbootcamp program. The experience we gained there enabled us to significantly change our business model. With clevergig, we now focus on a niche and provide planning software for temporary employment and placement agencies.”

“There are already many planning tools that focus on scheduling your own staff at one location. With clevergig you are dealing with 3 parties; the client, the contractor or temporary worker and the agency itself. You are dealing with all separate services and that requires different product solutions. For example, during the corona crisis, there was an awful lot of need for personnel for the Covid-19 test lanes in a short period of time. The help of temporary employment agencies, and therefore also clevergig, was needed for this. Temporary employees were able to respond quickly to new services via push notifications. But we also apply our product to other markets. For example, we are now helping a large hotel chain to create an internal flexpool between the different hotels.”

The 4-day work week

“One of our core values is freedom. Working remotely and hybrid working is the most normal thing for us, we already did before the corona crisis. We don’t pay attention to what time someone is at the office, and you don’t have to come to the office every day. You can sit at your laptop from home, with Slack and Zoom you can communicate perfectly. You come to the office to see and speak to colleagues. What is important is the output. It is also no longer appropriate to say that the your work is the most important. Everyone should have the opportunity to do side activities, to have multiple sources of income. And we simply put that in the employment contract as well. That’s why we all work 4 days. On Fridays everyone is off, and then has time to do other things.”

I believe in growing sustainably. Playing the long game is our motto. In everything we do. How we develop products and which customers we take on. That doesn’t mean we’re not ambitious, quite the contrary. In recent years, and even during the corona crisis, we have grown incredibly. This year too we want to grow by 100%. But we won’t do that at any cost. Sometimes you let opportunities pass you by for short-term gain because you know you’ll get more out of them in the long run.”

Financing that anticipates the business

“We were growing solidly since our start in 2016 and wanted to make additional investments. We have a SaaS product and were looking for a loan to further expand our team and our software. In fact, a large part of our team consists of developers and UX designers. This year we are expanding our team from 15 to 24 people. We looked at several options. With the traditional bank it turned out to be impossible to get a loan for recruiting staff or further development of software. Banks like to have collateral, while our capital is in the software and our people. So our company is not a good fit for a bank loan.”

“October understood our product and our challenges perfectly. They look at whether you can carry the debt with the revenue model you have now. And where many traditional financiers ask for a personal guarantee, October didn’t. That’s an important reason for choosing October. A condition of October is that the company must be profitable. And we have been profitable for the past three years. Last year we had a fantastic year. We now have three loans from October, the amounts were also getting higher and higher. From a loan of a few tens of thousands of euros, we went to a hundred thousand euro and then to a few hundred thousand euro. October saw that we were delivering on our growth promise and so the funding process was also speeding up. The combination of speed, understanding our SaaS model and the funding opportunities were a perfect fit for us. Without October, we wouldn’t have gotten to where we are today.