From 'start-up' to 'scale-up'

The Challenge

Zivver provides the comfort of safe communication to industries with high security and compliance requirements. The company provides organisations with secure communication tools that enable staff to get their jobs done with increased productivity, higher customer intimacy, lower costs and reduced reputational risk, avoiding fines by authorities.

Zivver enjoys outstanding success in its home market, employing over 120 staff, achieving €12m ARR with 4,500 customers and attracting total funding of €20M to date. The company operates in the high growth global cybersecurity market that is expected to exceed $60B in spending in 2021.

Currently, Zivver is at an inflection point as it seeks to replicate the successes at home in international markets, and continue its growth and drive shareholder value. The business has been working on penetrating the German market and has made a major investment in the UK.

Scaling any business internationally has a number of major challenges, from hiring and retaining the right people, developing the right product, creating the best market strategies and executing commercial plans to bring in revenue. Zivver’s success in the Netherlands provides a solid foundation for international expansion, however, the business is in a ‘start up’ rather than a ‘scale up’ mode in new markets so it will need to evolve.

Quick Facts

  • Founding year: 2015
  • % women in C-level: 1-25%
  • Industry: IT & Security
  • Total Funding: >10m EUR
  • Expansion priorities: Feasibility, product, channel
  • Offices + HQ: Amsterdam, Berlin, UK

The Approach

Lessons from Compass

Managing inclusion

Company culture and communication is critical to consider when expanding and binding everyone together to achieve a common goal. Driving cross-functional teams is more important than ever in a remote working model, and Zivver has a UK business that needs inclusion and direction.

Develop your customer personas across geographies

Developing customer and buying personas across verticals and geographies is essential to understanding product-market fit. Asking the who, why and how questions about customer engagement are the basis of a successful go-to-market strategy.  Zivver is building a development priority list driven from data points gathered by market, analysis, competition and customer research.


What I can say from the back of our experience is that you need to be willing to rethink everything, including your business model. Do not assume that just because something works in Holland it would work in the UK or wherever else.

There are significant differences between markets and the jump into your next market will be a bigger jump than you think. To be able to do well, you will probably need to bring in someone on a leadership level who is local to the market.

What added the most value for me was the fact that individual leaders in my team were able to take a look at their part of the business, get input from advisers and receive a collective overview. That collective understanding of the challenges we face as a company is very valuable.

Wouter Klinkhamer

The Results

Before vs after the programme

Compass has helped my leadership team to see the complexity of going abroad and that it takes a different mindset. For me, as a CEO, I get exposure to everything but for each of my leadership team, they can easily become more domestic-focused. Compass helped them realise that going international is not a silo issue and the whole team needs to be involved. The fact that something resonated in Holland doesn’t mean it will resonate abroad.

Next steps

We now have a CTO in place who is based in the UK and that’s 50% of our leadership in the UK. We will now prioritise on getting our structure and focus right, making sure our leadership team are working together in synergy for the next 6 months and see where that gets us.

New Market Entry, Sales Acceleration

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