Transparency is the new Utopia

(Guestblog by my friend,  John Berkeljon, CFO of

Transparency is what we all strive for but find it hard or impossible to get.

Most have given up on transparency. Can someone explain the tax on a flight ticket to me?

We believe that we are masters in “being in control” and “being economically efficient”. We  annually spend trillions of dollars on tools and people to stay in control and to become ever more efficient. Is it possible to achieve this without transparency?

For many areas there are al sorts of brilliant tools that will help you to obtain transparency and we see the pendulum moving between secure enterprise solutions and ease of use BI tools. The latest step is to combine the two. In a few clicks you can securely slice and dice all the information available. I’m jealous of the people now working with it. In my previous career I had to do without. Trying to get information from an accounting system, having additional tools for relevant but non-accounting information. Trying to use Excel or other tools to make sense of it all. Once you believe you created the ultimate report things change, tools change and we had to get to the drawing board and start all over again.

Centralisation by integration and collaboration is the key to transparency.

In my current career I come across the same problems as those I faced before. In the world of software testing, the last defence before a potential disaster hits you, transparency is especially difficult. Ask Amazon or any car manufacturer, ask the most advanced banks in the world in Holland how they rank on the disaster list? Transparency is the logical step of being in control and economically efficient. Over the last 6 months we have spoken with dozens of companies in different parts of the world. These companies were mostly enterprises and they all suffered from the same problems. The most advanced companies work with several tools for the different aspects of software testing but no centralised tool to inform the users and stakeholders. The less advanced companies use one of the most famous and flexible tools in the world: Excel, in some cases combined with other tools. It feels like it’s a generally accepted methodology until they realise they have no transparency and therefore no control.

It is really very simple and easy to obtain this control and economical benefit by transparency if you want it. People only believe when they see it. We received the following remark: I have been in the software business for 20 years and I have never seen it and neither was I able to create this, implying: and therefore it’s not possible.

At that moment I realised that bringing transparency is like selling a Utopia. Luckily we meet people open enough to try our BStriker Test Manager and see for themselves and then come back with extremely positive feedback and decide to change their way of working from now on. Some even become scared of the transparency when they try us but then try to overcome this with our help.

Curious what this transparency by Bstriker’s ALTM can do for you?

Interested to invest in this exciting ride?


or visit

Opportunity to become part of BStriker

Regular readers know by now that I crowdfund invested in a disruptive Dutch software startup called BStriker. Since this was my first investment ever I was not well prepared for what was going on in startups, so I got in touch with the founders. There was a lot to learn for me. As an early investor you hope that 1 round of funding will be enough to concur the universe, but that is wishful thinking of course. Building an enterprise takes time and thus money. “We” already have a sell-able product and customers paying the bill, so that part of the plans has worked out fine. Now BStriker is looking for extra funding to accelerate growth and they’re doing this using a convertible loan. This is a smart idea because it protects current investors (me) from watering down at too low a valuation (now) and gives new investors (you) the opportunity to become shareholders at a nice discount.

Below you will see one of the regular updates the CFO John Berkeljon posts to the current shareholders in which he invites the inner circle to help fund this growth. It was OK to share this one with you, so this means it is available for all serious parties. Normally this type of loan is only available to professional parties, but now you can participate for as little as 5000 Euro.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions.

Remember : only invest what you are prepared to lose!
More articles about BStriker


John =

Lars =

Update 15-12-2014: Two more customers boarded our ship today!!

The difference between Perk Hunting and Equity based Crowd Funding

I’ve written about it before, but I feel like doing it again: Crowdfunding.

Just after Kickstarter changed its rules so backers of projects can sue the project owner for not delivering we are bombarded with the Greatest Kickstarter Project Ever. Because I’m very interested in CF I checked out what was going on. It … Was ….. A … Coolbox.

I turned the video upside down, but it was still a coolbox, I reversed it, it was still a coolbox. 13.3 million dollars. For a coolbox. I used to have respect for American entrepreneurship but this Kickstarter hype puzzles me totally.

Can someone please explain me why you are willing to pay hundreds of dollars in advance on “the greatest wet fart ever” only to get it delivered sometime in the future in a version 0.1 alpha. You are allowed to pay extra. This gets your name on the wall, or you get a T-shirt, or if you pay double you get your name on the wall AND a T-shirt. Why is it that Americans totally loose their mind once somebody hypes something and declares it the next greatest “gottahavethis”.

What confuses me even more is that the whole financial industry is so intrigued by all this perking. Because what happens : Some dude has a brainwave and his friends tell him to try to Kickstart it. Without any experience, just reading the intro of “Kickstarting for Dummies” a business plan is made and for 300$ they have a flashy video made in India. And there we go, 25.000, 50.000, 100.000 dollars, maybe even 1,2, 5 or 10 million is collected.

And there is the young entrepreneur with a trunk full of cash and no experience who needs to suddenly build an enterprise, delivery channels, manage suppliers. So Kickstarter just released new contracts that rids Kickstarter from any responsibility if projects go bust. And when the the project succeeds? Then the young company gets bought for an obscene amount of money and everybody who backed the project is left behind empty handed.

That’s all pretty negative isn’t it? I’ll cheer you up with how we CrowdFund in Holland.

We have Equity Based Crowdfunding….. Scary isn’t it? You give money and you get shares. Period. You don’t want to lose your money? You do due diligence! You read his business plans, you try to understand how he is hoping to monetize his ideas and what potential shareholder strategies could be to convert the shares back to money. If you have questions you call the entrepreneur. This should lead to a lot of rejections, making good plans is difficult. That’s good, it means the plans fail before money is seeded.

But some ideas are genuinely unique,may be even market disruptive, and if these ideas are managed by experienced entrepreneurs, we might have ourselves a new Apple or Google at hand.

So if your beer is cold enough and you are looking for a thrill seeking adventure where YOU can be the angel investor, and not some Silicon Valley hotshot, go look at Symbid projects and start reading and see if there are ideas that trigger you.

I invested in in January. The founders are very experienced entrepreneurs and they used Crowdfunding to pay for the development of a revolutionary software test manager form alpha to 1.0. Features are added on a predefined schedule, no deadline had been missed and “we” are monetizing already, 9 month after the formation of the company.

Good hunting!


P.S. I’ll buy coolbox 2.0 with a bread toaster in stead of the mixer, so I can roast Pop-tarts. And have you seen that it also doubles as a portable toilet? It’s really remarkable versatile!


Fun with crowdfunding : #BStriker testmanagement software

In January I got involved in Crowdfunding. Not the American socialistic perk based variant , but the real equity based version. I got some shares in a Company called, based on a promising YouTube video and an anonymous tip. The “IPO” was arranged by Dutch equity CrowdFund specialist

So did up I have fun, did I learn anything? you bet!
– It is great fun being involved in a start up, lots of things going on
– it is VERY important that the entrepreneur KNOWS what he or she is doing, that there is a PLAN and a realistic BUDGET
– communication with the investors is very important to gain trust
– small companies can do what Fortune 500 companies can’t : make a plan on a budget, execute ahead of schedule and instantly react to opportunities
– If you are lucky your investment will be used wisely to deliver a working product or service in (or ahead of) time
– If you as an investor have skills that the entrepreneur lacks or doesn’t have time for, offering a hand can do miracles, you almost become part of the team.

I learnt what “burn rate” means (it’s not about Entrepreneurs buying Tesla’s and organizing fancy press parties, costing millions a month). It is the amount of money spent monthly on getting the best programmers in South America to deliver, on an amazing schedule, product after product until the complete service is ready for sale. This only works if you have a CFO who knows what it means to count beans.

Well, here “we” are: Bstriker is ready to launch, customers queuing up. Shares are traded within the coop at ten times initial rates, so I could sell 10% and be safe but…… I won’t !!!

I have too much fun with my coop friends, and we’re going to ride this wave to the horizon. Looks like I did invest early in the next Whatsup.


This Dutch-Argentinian company sells a software service to be used in software testing departments. It is aimed at improving testing, speeding up testing, lowering costs. It will disrupt the testing market once our magic is released : automatically finding and reporting bugs.

Users of Bstriker software will get real time status information about the testing schedule and results. Testers and developers share the same information, feedback is instant.

Why you haven’t heard of Well, we’ve done something unknown in Silicon Valley : we don’t make wind and don’t deliver, we build, deliver, go to market and THEN party.

Interested? Ask for a demo: you’ll be amazed!

Twitter : @JohnBerkeljon or myself @LarsBoelen
Email :