The secret of The Bicycle Repair Man? Combining technology with start-ups

The founder of The Bicycle Repair Man, Marc Evers, is in charge of several high-tech service companies and coaches start-ups in his talent factory. What is his secret?

Marc Evers: “Because we are all together, there is a lot of contact." (Photo: Sam Rentmeester)

Bring together engineering service companies and start-ups in a warehouse in Geldrop, and you get a highly energetic and innovative cross-fertilisation, where every idea can be immediately converted into a prototype or production line. With this idea in mind, Marc Evers started his new company The Bicycle Repair Man (TBRM) in 2019. “I’ve spent my entire career in high-tech engineering and have always owned companies,” says Evers. “This model that combines engineering companies with start-ups had been an idea of mine for some time, so when I turned 50 I decided to do it.” Evers calls himself an initiator and a leader. “The ideas for start-ups come from the market or the engineers in our service companies,” he continues. “The start-ups mainly focus on developing machines for production. For example, Industrio, a small company, builds large industrial printers. They are currently used to produce shoe soles and dental braces. The start-up Fast Micro makes scanners that measure pollution caused by the microelectronics production.” The aim is for the start-ups to develop rapidly. After three years, whether they are successful or not, and whether they grow to ten employees or a million euro turnover, they have to leave the premises.

The concept works, says Evers. Not spending too much time theorising and analysing, but instead quickly testing ideas in practice, keeps up the pace. “If a prototype is needed, our Protoshop is only a few metres away, while the staff in our assembly plant can manufacture any parts. That way, development doesn’t stop and your idea can be made right away.”

‘I’m doing what I do best, supported by the energy of the youth’

Evers is happy with his new company. “I’m doing what I do best, supported by the energy of the youth. Many new inventions are conceived here. It offers perspective to people who really want to get things done. Because we all work together in one place, we have a lot of contact. Employees can ask each other anything and cooperate on projects, sometimes even visiting customers together.”

They are growing faster than Evers expected. “It was supposed to be up and running in five years, but now after 18 months we’re already on our seventh start-up. The idea is to take this model to the United States and Singapore as well.”

The engineering branch of TBRM consists of four service companies: an engineering firm, a secondment agency, a protoshop and an assembly and testing company. In addition, the incubator currently supports six start-ups: the previously mentioned Industrio and Fast Micro, Addcat (metal printed catalysts for air cleaning in aircraft and animal barns), Prespective (Digital Twin software), CatIP (IP licences for using catalysts) and Designo (software for scanning 3D printing designs).

  • Company: TBRM (The Bicycle Repair Man) Group
  • Product/Service: High-tech incubator
  • Founded in: 2019
  • Degree programme: Mechanical Engineering
  • Employees: 120/130 (60/70 in service companies)
  • Revenue: 6/8 million service companies, 6/8 million start-ups
  • In five years’ time: “TBRM will be a solid brand, with the same model up and running in the USA and Asia, each with around 150 employees.”

Marc Evers took his inspiration from Monty Python: see the film The bicycle repair man

This story previously appeared in the section The Firm of TU Delft’s alumni magazine Delft Outlook

Managing editor Dorine van Gorp

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