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Past Programmes

8 CPD points HRDF Claimable

Why Governance Matters for Startups

Erik P.M. Vermeulen

Building your global business anywhere.”

Corporate governance has been one of the most important topics for business management, mainly for public companies and rarely a priority for startups. In light of governance failures to some of the most prominent names in the startup ecosystem such as WeWork, Uber and Theranos, there are now calls for startups to refocus their attention on the company’s overall governance practices.

High valuations, unrealistic revenue projections, voting power, serious failures of culture, ethics and compliance have all led to the downfall of the most promising startups. As such, good corporate governance practices in a company is now an attractive asset to investors.

Being an entrepreneur/founder of a startup company is a challenging task. Startup companies will usually need to raise a significant amount of money. But this need for money raises a series of daunting questions: “Who should we turn to for investment?”; “What kind of money do we want to attract?”; “When is the right moment to seek investment?”; and “How should the investment be structured”?

This workshop focuses on building the capacity of entrepreneurs to look into the “Black Box” of potential investors and other actors/partners. Development of this capacity is crucial to identify the particular partner who is best placed – not only to provide money – but to deliver a meaningful, long-term relationship that will fill capacity and expertise deficits, and by doing so add genuine value and give a young firm the best chance of scaling. We will term this approach “smart investor readiness”. By end of the workshop, participants will:

  • Learn about the best practices in establishing and growing startup businesses
  • Develop a deeper understanding of the “venture capital ecosystem”
  • Discuss how to approach investors and recruit advisors and board members
  • Understand the terms and conditions of an investment term sheet

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop a business growth strategy for a startup company
  • Understand how to work with investors
  • Understand the corporate governance of a successful startup
  • Know when and how to approach investors


A Senior Legal Counsel, an Innovation Advisor, a Board/ Advisory Member of several organisations and startups and a Professor in various universities, The Netherlands
ICDM Faculty Member

Erik P.M. Vermeulen is a Senior Legal Counsel at Signify (f.k.a Philips Lighting), an Innovation Advisor at a law firm in the Hague and a board/advisory member of several organisations, including a healthcare provider in The Netherlands and several startups. He is also a Professor of Business and Financial Law at Tilburg University and teaches law, entrepreneurship and finance at universities in Europe, the United States, Colombia and Japan. He is the author of several books in the area of corporate governance, startup companies and venture capital, and has appeared at numerous conferences as a featured or keynote speaker. Erik is also a co-owner of a Michelin star restaurant.

At Philips, he has been involved in several corporate venture capital initiatives which complemented Philips’ long-term open innovation strategy in the healthcare sector. The combination of ‘theory’ and ‘practice’ has proven to be very successful. His role as a practitioner has provided a lot of input for his research on the life cycle of companies as well as corporate governance and culture. The main lesson learned is that stakeholder engagement is crucial to the success of companies around the world.

Erik can best be described as an innovator and has a blog where he shares insights and ideas about how the digital world is changing the way we live, work and learn. He has a particular interest in how artificial intelligence, sensors, data analytics and blockchain are amplifying and accelerating each other, thereby creating new opportunities across all areas of the economy and society.

Erik’s thought-provoking and innovative views on business, leadership, governance, regulation and education have attracted international attention. He regularly serves as an expert advisor to international organisations, such as the European Commission, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United Nations, the World Bank, and national and local governments around the world. Erik is an expert at the European Innovation Council Accelerator. He evaluates business proposals of startup companies in the area of ICT, healthcare, and biotechnology. He is an expert advisor to Brainport Development in Eindhoven in The Netherlands. Brainport Development is a collaboration of local governments, businesses and research organizations that develops and tests different approaches to support innovation, entrepreneurship and growth. Erik has also been an member of independent expert groups in Europe on open innovation, business finance, and governance.

Download the brochure at the right sidebar to read more.

Wednesday | 8 April 2020
8.30am Registration
9.00am Module 1:
The Venture Capital Cycle
10.30am Networking Break
11.00am Module 2:
Governance of Startup Companies
12.30pm Networking Lunch
1.30pm Module 3:
Corporate Venture Capital
3.00pm Networking Break
3.30pm Module 4:
Alternative Sources of Finance
4.30pm And Now What?
5.00pm End of Day One

ICDM reserves the right to amend the programme in the best interest of the event and will not be responsible for cancellations due to unforeseen circumstances.