Despite opening its doors at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, RF repair specialist Odyssey Europe is gaining traction. Less than two years after launching, the maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) company has announced plans to scale its business operations by tripling its workforce and expanding into the adjacent medical market.
It’s safe to say that starting a new business at the beginning of a global pandemic probably isn’t the safest plan. Even now, nearly two years into the coronavirus, it seems supply chains are on the brink as they can barely keep up with the demand for a whole host of goods, supplies and all-important semiconductors. But despite the daunting challenges of doing business in the midst of the pandemic, there are some companies, like Nijmegen’s Odyssey Europe, that seem to have found their footing.
Odyssey Europe opened its doors at the Novio Tech Campus (NTC) in March 2020 – just as the first wave of Covid spread over Europe. “You could definitely say that the beginning of a pandemic probably wasn’t the best time to start a new business,” notes Angelo Andres, the general manager of Odyssey Europe. “It has certainly presented a lot of challenges.”
Due to Corona safeguards put in place across the globe, Andres’ team couldn’t visit any of its existing or potential customers. Andres: “Like everyone else, we really had to learn how we could adapt our business and engage our customers remotely. Additionally, normally, all our trainings are done on location at the Texas headquarters. However, due to the Covid travel restrictions, we had to re-design the company training program to the virtual world. But our ability to remain flexible and adapt seems to have paid off.”
And paid off it has. Just 18 months after opening its European office, the Nijmegen maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) company announced it received a first-of-its-kind new business loan from the East Netherlands development agency Oost NL. With these funds earmarked to help accelerate its expansion ambitions, Odyssey revealed its plans for putting this injection of capital to good use.
“When we opened our doors, we started with just a few employees and workbenches. To date, we’ve already grown our team significantly, but even with this growth, the business is running close to our capacity limit,” explains Andres. “With this support from Oost NL, we’re now looking to triple the size of our team by 2023.”
In addition to the increase in manpower, the RF repair expert also has some big plans for its physical footprint. With the infusion of cash, the company will also significantly increase its lab space and repair capacity. “Not only do we repair equipment to original equipment manufacturer specifications, meaning no patchwork replacement parts, but we also offer custom testing and failure analysis for our customers spanning from R&D to application,” expresses Andres. “That means we require very specialized equipment, outfitted with advanced cooling systems and the test capability to do measurements up to high power levels. That’s not an easy specification to hit. It’s safe to say, you’re probably not just going to find one of these workbenches in someone’s garage.”
Bread and butter
Odyssey’s workspace and capacity aren’t the only goals for expansion. According to Andres, starting early next year, the company will extend its scope beyond its RF semiconductor customer base and add the adjacent RF medical market to its growing service list.
“Up to now, we’ve been a semiconductor repair business because that’s been our bread and butter in Europe. While the medical market does expand our focus, the two are very similar,” describes Andres. “The biggest difference is in the application. Adjacent to supporting all the major semiconductor fabs, we’ve now added equipment to service higher power sources that are used in detailed imaging, for example in 1.5 and 3.0 tesla MRI scanners.”
This move to the adjacent medical market is a logical next step, as such a transition holds a lot of potential for Odyssey, opening the door to support all major MRI system vendors globally.
Despite only just announcing its current plans to grow through 2023, Andres and Odyssey are already eyeing the company’s next growth spurt. “As we continue to get bigger, we’re going to need to start thinking about further expansion and space. That’s why we’ve already started discussions with NTC to see what’s possible,” tells Andres.
“That has actually been one of the biggest benefits of being part of the campus. NTC’s ability to help us scale our business and provide the appropriate space and support that we need when we need it. It means we can always keep the business running smoothly, always at the right size at the right time.”
This article was written in close collaboration with Odyssey Europe and the Novio Tech Campus.