Eli Peel, founder of Linea Recta
‘Linea Recta’ means ‘in a straight line’, ‘straight on’. That is exactly how the Ghent start-up studio of the same name does it: they develop a rough idea or primarily developed project directly into a marketable product or application by means of efficient and reliable technology or a balanced combination of technological tools. “Together with the entrepreneur, we look for the shortest way to concretize an idea into a sustainable and scalable solution”, says founder Eli Peel. He has more than 25 years of experience in the development and implementation of technology applications and products for international markets.
After his civil engineering studies, Eli Peel (50) started his career as a software developer. “My passion for software started in my childhood. In the 1980s, when the PC already existed, but they were still large and expensive devices, my mother now had such an iconic Apple Macintosh for work. My father was a technical translator and regularly wrote about software. That world fascinated me enormously,” Peel recalls.
After working as an employee for almost a decade, the motivation to become self-employed grew. In 2013, he decided to set up the start-up UCast with a partner. “We applied innovative technologies to build a new type of cloud-based platform for high-end IPTV, digital signage and video communication,” says the founder.
The power of entrepreneurship
At the beginning of 2022, Peel and his partner parted ways. “I am proud to have contributed to the success story of UCast. But I felt it was time for something new. I deliberately pushed the pause button for a few months to think about what I really wanted to do with my career and my life.”
“A friend pressed me with the facts during a conversation. She said, “Eli, you’re looking for yet another one product to make, but do you know that you are actually much better with people?’ Quite confrontational, but you can tolerate something like that from good friends.”
I want to inspire and help as many entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs as possible to chase their dreams
Peel took her advice to heart and that is how the idea for a start-up studio was born. “I wanted to launch my own start-up ‘with people’, as I was advised. That search brought me to the concept of guiding people who have an innovative idea or project in their head and want to develop it into a ‘viable’ company..”
Young – or less young – entrepreneurs who want to start a company with the support of a start-up studio, have come to the right place at Linea Recta. They can go there for information, strategic or tactical insights, support and feedback.
“All elements that are important for starting up and developing a start-up into a healthy company,” says Peel, who firmly believes in the power of entrepreneurship. “I want to inspire and help as many entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs as possible to chase their dreams. The earlier we can support them, the better”, the founder explains the mission of his company.
I have three children who are growing up in this world. If there is anything I can do to make things better for them, it is to ensure that many innovative companies are created
Linea Recta’s focus is on sustainability, energy management, climate solutions and clean tech. According to Peel, these domains contain the most complex challenges we face today. “I see many opportunities here to make an impact. It is also partly personal: I have three children who are growing up in this world. If there is anything I can do to make things better for them, it is to ensure that many innovative companies are created that bring about change and improvement.”
Quickly to Rome
Having built UCast from an idea into a successful company with structure and market potential, Peel has the expertise and insight to do the same for other start-ups. Linea Recta is not the only start-up support lab in Belgium, the founder realizes. “From colleges and universities to incubators and accelerators: today there is a well-developed ecosystem to support start-ups. I welcome this, because I believe that every initiative has its right to exist.”
“The more start-ups there are that bring about change and innovation, the better. Linea Recta makes the difference by the fact that we can also act as a co-founder. This means that from day one we sit down with the entrepreneur(s) in question, from student to experienced entrepreneur. We guide him or her to translate a rough concept into a concrete solution and a start-up that delivert. We cover the entire process from idea to realization together, always looking for a balance between ROI and making a sustainable impact”, says Peel.
Not all roads lead to Rome, but at Linea Recta they look at how they can get to Rome as quickly as possible from day one. A tech SWOT is always made to determine which technologies are appropriate and what their added value is to the project or to the reliability of the solution.
“If the project is based on one specific technology, for example AI, we create a tech script and roadmap to those that depart from that technology. But we also look objectively at other ways to solve the problem,” explains Peel.
All projects that Linea Recta supervises are also tested against their ‘SEC’ barometer. It is examined whether the idea meets their standards in the field of Sustainability, Energy and Clean. “If an idea is good and meets all requirements, we will act quickly. Conversely, we sometimes also have to make it clear that a certain idea will not make it, and that that is not a disaster. With honest and constructive feedback, the entrepreneur can adjust the idea or project and still make it a success.”
Without financial worries
In addition to tech support, Linea Recta offers a range of support services such as legal support, human resources and intellectual property management. “In this way we unburden the young entrepreneur and he or she can fully focus on developing a healthy company,” explains Peel, who can count on freelance specialists for this, each with experience in a specific field.
Linea Recta also provides financing for start-ups. “We provide the necessary capital so that the entrepreneurs can develop their product or solution into a successful business without having to worry about financial matters. There is even the possibility to provide a reward. This way we can convince people who would otherwise not dare to take the plunge, such as students,” says Peel.
For the time being, the financing is entirely with own capital. The ambition is to set up its own investment fund in a few years’ time that can inject capital into the start-ups. “In this way we can help even more starting and experienced entrepreneurs to go straight towards their goal.”
Peel sees his start-up studio as the logical symbiosis of his passion for technology and his interest in people. “It took me a while to find what I really wanted to do, but I think I’ve found it now,” he says confidently.
“What I do today, I see myself doing for a very long time. I find it incredibly fascinating to come into contact with so many different ideas and challenges. This way I build up expertise in fields that I might not otherwise come into contact with myself.”
What good is being the richest man in the graveyard? I prefer to help young talents to make a ‘jump start’
“Linea Recta is one of the founders of numerous innovations that contribute to society in many different areas. It may be harsh, but what good is being the richest man in the graveyard? I prefer to help young talents to make a ‘jump start’. This is how I invest in the future, and that gives me great satisfaction as an entrepreneur.”