Robert Howe is senior consultant at Lakana Consulting and founder and CEO of Verum Software Tools BV. He previously founded, developed and sold Mountside Software Engineering, a successful contract software engineering company. Howe is also a founder and board member of the Dutch High-Tech Software Cluster. With a solid background in designing, developing and delivering industrial software systems, Howe’s main focus is software driven innovation strategy, business development and operational management.
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I have a fundamental belief that there is a better way to engineer software systems, and I have a deep love for entrepreneurial business. With my many years of experience and my in-depth knowledge of software technology and software engineering principles and practices, I can help any company use software to improve their competitive performance. The combination of my experience, knowledge and beliefs makes me the ideal consultant to help your business move forward into a ‘smart’ future.
I began my career in software after leaving university with a degree in Physics in 1982. In the course of time I have architected, designed, built and delivered a wide range of industrial systems, ranging from water treatment plant control systems through poultry processing systems to a microprocessor in-circuit emulator. My experience includes programming from assembler through to object oriented languages on a range of systems from bare silicon through to various flavours of Linux and Windows. I have designed and implemented software development environments, including version control and configuration management systems, networks, servers and shared resources.
I have founded, developed and been the CEO of two companies, Mountside Software Engineering BV and (currently) Verum Software Tools BV. As CEO of these companies, my role in the course of time has been wide ranging. I have run sales, marketing and finance activities and have contributed to product definition, management, development and testing. I’ve dealt with complex legal issues and contributed to improving HR terms and conditions. My sales activities have consistently delivered € 700,000 to € 1,000,000 per year in revenue. In 2001, I had the pleasure of selling Mountside to Imtech NV.
As entrepreneur and founder, a core part of my role has been the development and execution of strategy for two completely different kinds of business. Over a period of 13 years I evolved Mountside from a secondment business into a contract software engineering organisation capable of reliably executing and delivering back to customers outsourced software development projects. The profitability of this business resulted in its acquisition. Over a similar period of time I have navigated Verum from initially being a software engineering consultancy through to being a successful software tools supplier with leading customers such as ASML, Philips and Thermo Fisher.
In total I have been responsible for raising over € 20,000,000 in finance for Verum. Supported by corporate finance advisors, this has included multiple rounds of finance from a range of private investors. I have managed shareholder relationships with up to 24 individuals, most of whom themselves were entrepreneurs. On two separate occasions I have successful won € 1,000,000 of funding from the Dutch government Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO) in the form of an ‘Innovatie Krediet’. I have also contributed to winning funding from various subsidy programs, both national and European.
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”