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Building an App Platform Company from the Netherlands: Mendix CEO Derek Roos (Part 6)

Posted on Saturday, Jul 6th 2013

Sramana: What other strategic decisions were made in the process of penetrating the US market?

Derek Roos: One of my priorities after moving to the States was to build out a senior, experienced, management team. Before we made the move it was me and my founding partners. We were young, first time executives and we felt that we needed to build a team to speed up the company. That would also free me up to focus on other things.

Over the past year and a half I have built out a strong executive team here in the US. Our VP of Global Sales is here as are our VPs of Global Marketing and Business Development. They have built out their own teams here. Globally we have about 130 people of which 30 are in the United States. We expect to double that number this year and we are hiring aggressively. That has been the biggest strategic decision we have made.

Sramana: How is the organizations structured? Is it development in Amsterdam with Sales and Marketing groups in Europe and America?

Derek Roos: Yes. Our R&D team is in Holland. They are a brilliant team and although we are scaling that team that is not where the real growth in terms of headcount is at. I am a firm believer in small product teams, especially if you are a platform team with a single product. You need a core team of extremely talented people and that is what we have. That team will stay in the Netherlands. We do have a sales team there as well as in the UK and South Africa. The weight of our sales and marketing folks are here in the United States.

Sramana: How has the ecosystem in the Netherlands evolved? You have been around, as a company, since 2005. We are now 8 years into this process. How have you seen the tech entrepreneurial environment evolve?

Derek Roos: I think it has changed a lot in the last 8 years. When I founded the company it was pretty much the norm to go work for a big company when you graduated from College. All of my friends did that. Today you are starting to see some of the leading Universities focusing on entrepreneurship and business venturing. I have a lot of people approach me and ask to hear about our story. They have similar ambitions. They want to build a global startup and the Internet makes that possible very easily.

There is a big change in Europe as a whole, especially the Netherlands, where there is more ambition and appetite to take risk and look beyond the local market.

Sramana: Do you have estimation as to the number of startup companies operating in the Netherlands today?

Derek Roos: That is a good question, I don’t know the exact answer. It is far less than in the US in a similar market size.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Building an App Platform Company from the Netherlands: Mendix CEO Derek Roos
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