“Merluno helped us create the story of what we want to bring to the market, shaping highly technological features and our personal beliefs into a comprehensible tale.” – Thomas Vanhove, CEO


Tengu is a start-up (going to scale-up) with a focus on the creation of what they called an ‘optimized platform for big data’. Today they are a team of 7 people. Their story started as a spin-off from the University of Ghent in 2016 and from then on, they were searching for a product-market fit. How to translate a highly effective, yet complex technology to something the market can understand and relate to? It was something that haunted them for three years. Tengu needed to define their unique place in the market so they could start to build their market development strategy and their use cases. For that reason they started working with Merluno, with the aim for ‘real growth’ for them and their company.


Merluno suggested two things in the case of Tengu. First, the creation of a value proposition based upon the ‘WHY’ or the purpose of Tengu as a company. As Simon Sinek – the inspiration for this approach – says: “People do not buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. If you know your ‘WHY’, your ‘northern star’, you can start making decisions based upon the unique ‘raison d’être’ of your company. A value proposition cannot be created without the ‘HOW’ and the ‘WHAT’. After the entanglement of those two, the creation of the story of any company is a logical consequence. After this inside-out approach, Merluno suggested to test the defined value proposition in the market. This we call the outside-in approach. Is the target market you have in mind also ‘the place to be’? Afterwards, we suggested a third phase where we sat together and made a match/gap analysis of what we had felt, seen and observed in the market.

Step 1: Tour-de-table with the Tengu-team

  • Why did you start working with Tengu?
  • What are your most proud of when doing your job? What do you love the most?
  • What do you share as a team? What are your common denominators?

Step 2: Defining the ‘WHY’

  • What is your reference market? What is the unique position of Tengu in this market?
  • What value do you create today? In which context do you want to be active?

Step 3: Starting from the ‘WHY’ defining a value proposition

  • Brainstorm on the main market strategy & market position within the chosen market
  • Focus on the unique selling points & definition of the ‘WHY-statement’

Step 4: Market research & advice

  • Analysis and development of the different market regions by identifying the challenges and needs of specific prospects of our client
  • Development of an account-based penetration tactic


Key findings & next step

With its current value proposition, Tengu has access to a blue ocean with a high market need. The defined pillars of the value proposition were a match with the current needs and maturity of the target market. This is a unique opportunity to start developing the market and a next step will be making sure they stay ahead of competition by developing a growth strategy.


Thomas Vanhove – Founder Tengu

Value Proposition Tengu: product-market fit

Tengu bouwt een software architectuur die automatisatie binnen development operations doorzet.

Vanuit die architectuur scheppen zij overzicht in de complexiteit van de verschillende data die met elkaar moeten integreren om de business doelstelling te bereiken. De operational maintenance van het gecreëerde platform gebeurt automatisch en innovaties binnen het veld van data science zijn dan ook op elk moment inzetbaar. Op die manier wordt de operationele kost voorspelbaar, werken data engineers efficiënter en kunnen data scientists zich op de creatie van inzichten concentreren.

Via hun tailormade platformen wil Tengu technologische kennis democratiseren en bijdragen aan een ethisch verantwoorde economie.

“As a high-tech start-up it is not always easy to clearly bring across the value you generate for your potential customers. It might be clear for the founders, but people don’t just buy technical features. This was the case with Tengu, with 2 founders having an academic background there was a need to translate the abundance of technical knowledge into a comprehensible story.”
– Thomas Vanhove, CEO

Learn more about Tengu.io