The word is out: founders Rudy Dijkstra, CEO, and Siemen van der Heide, COO, are taking a step back within Acquaint. However, they will remain members of the board as non-executive directors. They are moving Christine van der Valk forward, currently financial manager, as CFO. Next to that, Erik Driessen, a well-known name in the water sector, is appointed the new CEO.
More relevant than ever before
Acquaint has evolved into a profitable start-up rapidly. All because of the revolutionary technology that was developed in an area that could not be more topical: prevention of pipeline failure in order to avoid water wastage and optimize asset management of underground assets. In close collaboration with the Dutch Water Alliance and research centre Wetsus, Acquaint is well on its way to making a massive impact worldwide. “The problem that we address is of such magnitude that Acquaint has the potential to make big waves in this space”, Rudy comments.
New phase needs new leadership
After its rapid growth, Acquaint has entered a new phase that requires a leader that can continue this growth spurt at a major strategic level. The organization is mature enough and the technology has advanced far enough that a different view on the business is now needed according to Rudy: “In any phase of growth, a certain kind of leadership is needed. Siemen and I are noticing that a different, fresh look is necessary to bring Acquaint to the next level in order to tap into all the market potential it holds. In addition, by taking a step back, I myself can look at the company in a different way and make my contribution in other areas”.
Siemen adds: “I want to focus more on new technical challenges, innovation and special projects. This is where my strengths lie, but I can only do this if I am less involved in running the company. I also believe that by doing this we strongly differentiate and position ourselves from the competition and future-proofing the company in the process”.
Not a difficult choice
The decision to promote Christine into a more responsible role was quickly made: “With Christine there has always been a good cooperation and understanding, we can always challenge each other well. This allows you to keep pushing the limits in terms of growth together”, Rudy explains.
The decision to hire Erik was not a difficult one either. Siemen elaborates: “Erik exactly reflects the character of Acquaint: reliable, no-nonsense, tech-minded and he puts people first”. Rudy adds: “In addition, he has a huge international network and has sat on both sides of the table, he has worked as a tech supplier and at water utilities, which means he can position our solution perfectly and increase the business’s impact”.
The future in hands
In her new role as CFO, Christine will continue to look at the company’s areas of constraint so that Acquaint can continue to optimize. She says: “A lot has changed in the past year and I think it is great that I have been able to contribute to this. We have done this together, as a team, and I think it is important that we continue to do this. Everyone is important. This is how we got to where we are now and this is how I believe we will continue to grow as well”.
Erik also foresees a bright future: “I have come across an awful lot of innovative water technologies in my career, but Acquaint sticks out from all the others by a long shot. They have a proven technology and within no-time they have become commercially viable. What Siemen and Rudy have put in place is phenomenal and I look forward to continuing this. The first steps have been taken in the US and the Middle East and I plan to solidify and expand this further. On the one hand by getting the very best out of the team and strengthening it with new qualities and talents, and on the other hand by finding the right partners worldwide. I truly believe, with this team and revolutionary technology, in a few years Acquaint will be the world leader in pipeline failure prediction”.