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Building an App Platform Company from the Netherlands: Mendix CEO Derek Roos (Part 7)

Posted on Sunday, Jul 7th 2013

Sramana: You have a strong company with roots in the Netherlands. If you started looking for companies to acquire, would you find anything of interest in the Netherlands?

Derek Roos: Possibly. We are not in a mode to do acquisitions, but there is a lot of talent and some very creative companies in Amsterdam. I can also tell you the same thing for the States or the UK.

Sramana: We work with a lot of different ecosystems in 1M/1M, and we typically find that in ecosystems which are establishing themselves that one or two companies will establish themselves as the preeminent companies in that region. They will create international acclaim, and when that happens everyone looks for those success stories to pull the next batch of companies up.

Derek Roos: I have not thought too much about that. We are very focused on our own organic growth. It is a good thing that Europe is building that reputation. That is good for us and others.

Sramana: It sounds like your organic growth is scaling your sales organization, and you are down to executing vertical by vertical. Are there any other levers you can push, such as channels?

Derek Roos: There are a number of levers. We go to market with a direct sales force and a channel partnership. Our partners build Apps on Mendix and sell them to the customer. We have strong relationships with implementation partners that help us go to market. One of the most important drivers for our business is our existing customer base. We have a “land and expand” business model. With Mendix it is possible to start small, and when you like what you see, you can scale the use of Mendix.

All of our customers are doing that quite aggressively. In no time they see other opportunities to deploy Mendix. That has become a very important avenue for our growth. Our customers are mid-sized organizations and enterprise customers.

Sramana: What is the profile of your channel partners?

Derek Roos: Sometimes they are startups that are looking to build their own SaaS or mobile application. They don’t have the technical expertise or interest to have a technical department, so they use Mendix to speed up their own development. On the other side we have global system integrators and ISPs that use our platform.

Sramana: Do you have a formal program to work with startups?

Derek Roos: Yes, for startups and universities. We give our tools to younger organizations to get going quickly. Obviously there is a different arrangement there. Being a startup, we know what is needed and what kind of partnership is required to be successful.

Sramana: What is your biggest challenge going forward?

Derek Roos: Our biggest challenge is people. We have a fantastic team and we are working hard to find people capable of joining it. They need to share our vision of changing business IT. That is really what I am focused on. I spend half my time recruiting people. I believe that is the best way I can spend my time.

Sramana: Congratulations on your success so far, and good luck with the next phase.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Building an App Platform Company from the Netherlands: Mendix CEO Derek Roos
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