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“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that an airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. – Henry Ford

“Decision making in the cockpit is key,” said Olivier Verhage. “You’re not just responsible for flying the plane, you also need to communicate and navigate – much like founders and CEOs. Circumstances change continuously and there’s no straight path to landing or success, so you shouldn’t be afraid of going after the unknown.”

To fund his degree, Olivier started an ecommerce business which he successfully sold while in college at age 21. He earned his Economics degree at Groningen University in The Netherlands and after a short stint in technology M&A, he went on to complete his Finance Masters at City University London. Olivier continued his investment career at Kennet Partners, first in London, and then in Silicon Valley. After a break from investing, he founded his first VC-backed SaaS business which failed soon after capital was raised. This experience made him appreciate the art of bootstrapping companies.

“There’s no such thing as building a product your customers really need,” continued Olivier. “Ensuring you deliver value with demonstrable ROI, creates a foundation for a lasting business.”

After finding out the hard way that bootstrapping delivers more value than an ‘all-or-nothing’ approach, Olivier learned all about making calculated risks—just as pilots do—not a 1/10 bet. He discovered that if you’re ready to fail, you’re also ready for success. Olivier bootstrapped the successor of his first company on which he is still serving as a board member today.

At Savant Growth, Olivier is responsible for sourcing and execution. He loves engaging with founders, discussing their “flight paths,” and helping them design a data-driven roadmap for growth. When not at work, Olivier enjoys flying with friends, taking off in his little plane to go after the unknown and dream away.