Thibaut and Maxime ROORYCK, Value Feet. Portrait

Thibaut and Maxime Rooryck are the founders of Value Feet. Each from totally different backgrounds, the two brothers complement each other perfectly in their entrepreneurship. Together, they created Value Feet, offering tailor-made horseshoe solutions through the development of innovative technology. Their dream was to undertake as a couple and this since childhood. Their shared motivation and passion led them to create a complete value chain.

Thibaut and Maxime ROORYCK, two complementary profiles and a family link

The two brothers each followed different vocations, before meeting to create their business together. Thus, Thibaut ROORYCK graduated from a Master 2 in brand management carried out in the ISEG business school in Bordeaux. Motivated, optimistic and curious, Thibaut follows and accompanies the development of young companies. For this, he shares his own experience as a young entrepreneur.

Maxime ROORYCK, meanwhile, comes from a training as an engineer in structure and materials at the ENSCBP of Bordeaux. Just like his brother, Maxime is involved in the world of entrepreneurship by being a member of clusters of entrepreneurs but also of advice in certain startups.

Their complementary profiles – creative, business, technical – proved to be remarkable assets for the creation of their concept.

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Thibaut and Maxime ROORYCK in their Bordeaux factory – Photography by Manon LEPREVOST

Entrepreneurship, first and foremost

Their varied skills have allowed them to complement each other and create a real entrepreneurial profile that works. Indeed, from a very young age, they like to build together and their strong family bond unites them more than ever. Both curious by nature, Thibaut and Maxime ROORYCK have always had the will to undertake, to create together. Nevertheless, the primary motivation is not the desire to become their own boss, or for the art of management. The entrepreneurial will was mainly motivated by creation. Thus, creating a product or service and leading the project to the end, this is what sums up their entrepreneurship.

Au départ de leur aventure, le projet n’était qu’une simple idée puis tout s’est accéléré grâce à un concours. Pour s’y présenter, Maxime et Thibaut ont dû travailler sur du concret et non plus une simple idée. En recherche de création, c’est tout naturellement que les deux frères se sont tournés vers le secteur équestre. Motivés par la passion et la volonté d’améliorer le confort du cheval au travers des fers, ils imaginent alors ce qui deviendra Value Feet. 

Value Feet, dusting off the equestrian world

Value Feet is a start-up specialized in technological development for the farrier. Thus, in July 2021, the company launches Delysis,the first range of horseshoes entirely tailor-made digitally, with the aim of improving the comfort of the horse. It was while studying the goldsmith’s work of the farrier that Thibaut and Maxime ROORYCK had the idea of creating tailor-made horseshoes.

They wondered about the materials used by the farrier for the realization of irons. And in particular, on why horseshoes are systematically made of aluminum and iron when they are not the most efficient materials. The answer lay in the work constraints of the farrier. Which was forced on a daily basis to adjust a base iron to the foot of the horse. Thus, aluminum and iron were essential because they were easy to work with and adapt to the horse’s foot.

However, armed with all the possibilities offered by new technologies, Thibaut and Maxime set out to bring horseshoes into the 21st century. They are then working on solutions to provide current fittings with more efficient materials such as carbon, plastic or polymer. At the same time, they are also looking for a way to facilitate the work of the farrier and allow him to easily use these new solutions. Thibaut and Maxime ROORYCK then developed a scanner to create the3D footprint of the hoof.

Once the horse’s fingerprint scanner is made and processed by their own Hubforge software, the irons are produced in Value Feet factories. Thus, the value chain is fully controlled from the beginning to the end of the process, to keep control over the quality of the products.

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Delysis horseshoe by Value Feet – Photography by Manon LEPREVOST

Innovation and technology, a game of patience and perseverance

It took Value Feet 6 years to mature its technological innovation. Having started together for the development of the concept, they had no choice but to expand the team to develop their ideas. The search for third-party skills was necessary and imposed by the project.

During the sprint development phase, the workforce even climbed to 25 people. Engineering skills were the most sought after for the evolution of the project. Which required expert profiles in web, embedded system and software. Currently, Value Feet has 10 people to support the company on a daily basis.

A cautious market, the obstacles to overcome for Value Feet

Value Feet’ main market concerns both France and the world since the products are exported all over the world. The biggest customers are in Switzerland, Europe, Canada and Australia. Nevertheless, deployment in the most distant countries is particularly complex because the costs of transport exceed the cost of the product.

Against all odds, the Delysis technology has above all come up against the hermeticism of the environment for innovation. The brand provided a disruptive solution, applicable to all customers. On the other hand, the market was not digitally mature enough to grasp its full potential. In France, Thibaut and Maxime ROORYCK are therefore forced to note that Value Feet offers solutions that are too efficient for a market that is not yet ready. On the one hand, for the farrier, digital technology is experienced as a heresy in a profession with ancestral know-how. The majority of French craftsmen are therefore not yet ready for such a radical change in their profession. They are still on the reserve, for fear of the impact on their daily lives. And this despite the contribution of additional comfort for their activity, as well as a differentiating and qualitative offer.

The product is unbeatable in terms of price and time saving but this is not enough. Far from being defeated, the start-up then targets distributors in addition to direct sales in France.

Nevertheless, foreigners have a different mentality. Indeed, once the advantages of the product are noted, its unbeatable nature in terms of technologies but also costs, professionals agree to try Delysis and adopt it.

The health crisis, entrepreneurship under severe strain

In addition to market-related difficulties, the Covid-19 health crisis has also impacted the business. Thibaut and Maxime ROORYCK estimate that more than a year has been lost in the development of the brand. Indeed, like many activities, the equestrian sector has been strongly affected by the crisis. The sport and competition part has stopped, especially with the cancellation of horse shows. Thus, due to a lack of activities and interlocutors, the start-up was unable to sell and make its product known more. More than not making a satisfactory turnover, Value Feet must incur significant financial losses.

The resumption of competitions for professionals was able to take place around February 2020, giving hope to Thibaut and Maxime ROORYCK. Nevertheless, a few days later, the sector faced a new difficulty because of the rhinopneumonia crisis of horses. The International Equestrian Federation has thus established a worldwide forty horses. Which has therefore brought the equestrian sector to a standstill. According to Value Feet, the resumption of a normal pattern is estimated at September, or even later, because of a certain inertia in the process.

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Thibaut ROORYCK on the left and Maxime ROORYCK on the right, founders of Value Feet – Photography by Manon LEPREVOST

The Bordeaux region, a more sentimental than business attachment for the ROORYCK brothers

The choice of the Bordeaux region to launch the Company Value Feet was not a strategic choice. Natives of the region, it was more than obvious for Thibaut and Maxime ROORYCK to found their company here and not elsewhere. The Value Feet factory and premises are therefore located in Canéjan, in the Bordeaux metropolis.

Despite this above all sentimental decision, founding your start-up in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, especially in Bordeaux, is no less relevant. A region with strong economic dynamism, Nouvelle-Aquitaine relies in particular on its reputation in France and abroad. But also its entrepreneurial network and its cutting-edge industry. A landscape in which Thibaut and Maxime ROORYCK were quickly able to anchor Value Feet.

And yet, the equestrian market is not located in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. If it had been necessary to make a purely strategic choice, Thibaut and Maxime would have chosen to set up their company near Belgium or in Normandy where the market is more concentrated. The majority of customers are therefore far away but this does not prevent the development of their future activity.

The conquest of the recalcitrant, the ambition of Value Feet

For the two brothers, the next step is to deploy Value Feet’ Delysis solution to enable the company to make money. And for good reason, Thibaut and Maxime ROORYCK have made a lot of investments, both professional and personal. Their desire to create a complete value chain is justified to control quality and deadlines, but this strategy requires massive investment from the outset. In addition, entering the industrial sector entails significantly higher costs than in most other sectors. Thus, apart from the passion that drives them, seeking the profitability of the company is necessary.

In December 2020, the entire technology matured. Value Feet took 5 to 6 years to develop and now the course has passed. The start-up is therefore entering a more comfortable period. The challenge now is to have the product accepted by the sports market and the amateur market, especially in France.

The founders of Value Feet are absolutely convinced that their technology has its place and legitimacy in its market. They believe deeply in their innovation and intend to dedicate the coming months to making their brand known. Currently, Thibaut and Maxime say they are already very proud to have been able to contribute to the improvement of the equestrian sector. An innovation for both horses and farriers, which should dust off the sector in the coming years.

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