Traditionally, when the days grow shorter and the lovely smell of hot chocolate leaves the kitchen, it’s time to reflect and look back. It’s been two years since the start of Zure Belgium, and during that time we’ve learned a lot.
Compared to the Nordic market, the Belgian market is still in the early phase of Azure PaaS and cloud adoption in general. Most Belgian companies are still in the consideration phase of moving workloads to the cloud, while the primary focus for them is still on IaaS lift-and-shift migrations. For Zure, it was important to have a Belgian presence on the market before cloud boomed like it did in the Nordics.
Founding the company
Let’s jump back in time to 2019, where Sakari, Sami, and Glenn began talking about the potential of a Belgian branch. At that time, it was still just an idea, but an idea with promise. A few months later, Pieter got involved as well, and following extensive talks with Sakari, Sami, and a great bunch of people in Finland, we decided to take up the challenge and founded Zure Belgium in early 2020.
We decided to set up an office in Ghent, as it’s in the center of Flanders — the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium. The office in itself didn’t really look like much, but at least we got one! And in combination with a co-working lounge where we could host meetings and invite people over, this was more than enough. We were genuinely and terribly excited to start!
During the first few months of the company, we decided to focus on our partnership with Microsoft. We spent quite some time in and around Microsoft’s offices, explaining our strengths and demonstrating our potential.
We met lots of wonderful people and got some nice feedback. In the meantime, we landed some work, making our very first money, and were talking with potential clients. Our start looked really promising.
Houston, we’ve a problem
And then… we all know what happened.
As meetings went fully virtual and people were confined to working from home, many companies decided to postpone projects, and PoC’s… budgets got frozen. This was a sensible thing to do at the time for them, but not so convenient for our plans.
Meetings and projects got canceled and businesses went into safe mode. This gave us something to worry about, straight from the start so we figured we needed to change things a bit and focus more on sales from the get-go.
During that time we drew a lot of strength from weekly sync meetings with our Finnish friends where we talked about things we were struggling with, our feelings, and what was on our minds. These weekly interactions were something we deeply enjoyed and appreciated!
As our business shrank we decided to focus on what we do best: using our skills to create demos to showcase various Azure PaaS services. Shortly after, in April 2020, we landed our first long-term client, which gave us the necessary financial breathing room and ease of mind.
Wrapping up the first year
After summer, we landed a second long-term client, and next to strategically implement our sales approach, we decided it was time to take the next step for Zure Belgium. We started interviewing people with the potential to join us but unfortunately, at that time, we couldn’t find the perfect match.
The year-end brought us stability and time to think ahead. Thanks to our customers’ trust, we managed to extend and renew existing contracts. In the meantime, we had time to think about our future and focus more on our sales and recruitment pipelines.
Financially, we managed to finish our first year with a profit on the books, something no one had expected us to do, but we were very keen on showing we valued the trust that had been put in us. It also showed our intent to make the company financially sound and healthy from the get-go.
Growing the company
The first part of 2021 was filled with project work, maybe even a bit too much…
We landed a project that was far too big for us to handle. So we called upon our Finnish friends to help us and jointly deliver the project. We were literally blown away by the drive, quality, and passion the joint team delivered. Once again confirming we made the right call with Zure.
Fast-forward to summer 2021, when we were extremely fortunate that Maxim Braekman decided to join us. He ticked all our boxes, and we were confident his experience will allow us to grow further as he’ll have a valuable role to fulfill in Zure Belgium: mentoring our new people, helping to set out the technical guidelines, and delivering quality service and projects to customers.
Since 2021 is almost wrapped up and we’re moving to a new and bigger office, this makes us believe that we’ve built a solid foundation over the past two years – something solid enough to support our aspiring growth and help us to keep on doing what we believe in with the right values and standards.
Looking ahead to ’22 and beyond
We care deeply about our future and, as such, it’s important for us to take care of the people we would like to see joining Zure Belgium someday: People who are experienced in Azure PaaS and project work; people who take pride in their work; who care about quality; and last but not least, people who care about their colleagues.
Even though a young start-up, it would be convenient to focus on junior profiles, instead we want to focus on seniority, quality, and autonomy from the start.
We’re aware experience comes – quite literally – at a cost. But we’re determined to find the right people, with the right attitude and mindset, even if this takes a while. We don’t compromise when it comes to finding the right people. For us, it’s important to make Zure Belgium a place where people not only love to work, but also love to chill!
If the description suits you, or you’re curious to know more, please have a look at our Azure Developer / Architect job description. Feel free to leave us a message, and we’ll reach out to you soon. Let’s have a chat about Zure and our values!
In this day and age, finding the right people is not easy, but we’re dedicated to growing our team with people that are great workmates, who stand up for each other, and are capable to deliver quality service and projects to our customers… and most importantly to ROAR at challenge!!
Thank you for reading!
Glenn & Pieter