Meet the Members: Yannick

As our COO Yannick celebrates 5 years at Labforward, he reflects on our company culture, how we plan to achieve long-term objectives and what he’s looking forward to in the future.

Tell us about yourself? 

I’m originally from Belgium, and now I live in Berlin with my wife and two kids. We have quite the international mix at home – we speak French, Russian, English and German between ourselves. After starting my career at Groupon in London, I moved to Berlin in 2012 for a career opportunity at their international HQ. I thought it would be a one-year adventure and then I’d move back to London. I’ve now been living in Berlin for nearly 10 years, working on various high-growth companies, and I still enjoy it every day. The city offers everything that I find important in terms of living standards: exciting career opportunities, affordable cost of living (I know, it’s not THAT cheap anymore but we’re still ranking pretty well compared to other major European cities), an international and open-minded community, and enough to do and explore in the city & surroundings for all ages.

I studied a mixture of finance, economics and international management at various universities in the United Kingdom and the United States. I genuinely do not remember how or why I picked this direction – in high school I actually focused more on biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics. I’m glad it worked out that way though since I enjoy working on business challenges and eventually found my way back to the scientific world through Labforward. I enjoy team sports, Nintendo video games and reading fiction. Lately I’ve been making my way through books from classic science fiction writers that I somehow never read before, starting with Frank Herbert, Isaac Asimov and Stanislav Lem. Last year I had a phase when I would mostly read books related to Greek mythology, so what I read varies significantly from time to time.

Why did you join Labforward? 

Joining Labforward was the right choice for me because it combines some of the most challenging and interesting topics (Software-as-a-Service, scientific data, digital transformation, Internet-of-Things) with a really impactful mission: supporting scientists in making groundbreaking discoveries. It motivates me greatly when I talk to our customers about the research they do – each one of them is improving the world one step at a time.

Prior to Labforward I was working on three B2C marketplace startups, which was very interesting and had a lot of operational challenges due to the nature of that business model. Switching to a SaaS company required some adjustment in the beginning, as the challenges are very different. I like it a lot though, and I’ve learned a lot about software development in the last few years through my colleagues. Since Labforward started offering a personal development budget for every employee, I’ve been using mine to take computer science classes to deepen my understanding of the fundamentals.

What is your main role?

I started as the CCO (Chief Commercial Officer) in 2017 when the company was still called Labfolder GmbH, so my original focus was on sales and marketing. Since we did not have a lot of funding back then, we focused on organic marketing and inbound sales, which helped us grow tremendously with a very low lead generation budget. I’m still very proud of the way we went from position 70 to position 1 for our keywords on Google within 9 months, as this gave us a sustainable pipeline that contributed to our first €1M in annual revenue and a financing round.

As the company grew and became a multi-product company called Labforward, we did a bit of re-organizing within the management team and I went back to my roots in Operations by taking on the COO role. It’s a broad role where I am playing the counterpart role to my co-Managing Director & CEO, Simon Bungers. Whereas Simon is primarily responsible for formulating longer-term vision and business strategies, my first responsibility is to make sure that our team is set up for executing on that vision and strategy. This includes various duties such as overseeing our hiring roadmap and standards, HR policies, budgeting, business processes, as well as performance management.

What excites you about your job?

There are too many to name, so I’ll try to limit my list to only 3 items:

1.) I’m absolutely in awe of the team we’ve built over the last years, and the results we’ve managed to achieve together. Everyone is super smart, creative, hardworking, and fun to work with. I especially enjoy seeing how people develop professionally over the course of their Labforward career and beyond.
2.) It took us some time and effort, but I believe we managed to build a really healthy working culture, which makes me proud and happy to work here. For example, our employees consistently report that they feel very comfortable giving opinions and feedback to their manager (with an average score of 9.35 out of 10 in our last survey). This feels natural and obvious to us now, but as someone who has worked in different types of work environments, I know this is not something you should take for granted, and we must keep investing into our company culture and practices every single day.
3.) Because we work at the intersection of science and technology, I get to learn something new every single day. I especially enjoy our internal knowledge sharing sessions on Fridays, during which employees and external guests present on a variety of interesting topics. In the last year we learned about work topics such as DevOps, Data Standards, Keyboard Shortcuts, Search Engine Optimization, and Design, but also about cultural topics which are important to our employees, such as Lunar New Year and Aruba.

Where do you see the company in 2 years?

Onwards and upwards of course! I guess there are a few perspectives I could specify further:

From the product perspective, I see us seamlessly connecting all the important steps of the laboratory workflow, allowing scientists to focus on what they do best: making groundbreaking discoveries and delivering high quality products.

From the growth perspective, I see us becoming one of the key technology innovators in the biopharmaceutical space, both for R&D and QC laboratories. Our technology is already being adopted by the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world to set new best practices and operational standards, and over the coming years they will see increasing ROI on their technology investment. A digital revolution is necessary in the biopharma space, and Labforward is there to support laboratories worldwide in this endeavour.