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Bootstrap First in Europe, Raise Money Later and Go Global in the US: Martin Verwijmeren, CEO of MP Objects (Part 3)

Posted on Wednesday, Jul 4th 2018

Sramana Mitra: You provide this to e-commerce companies?

Martin Verwijmeren: Yes. We have two markets. On one hand, we have brand owners including manufacturers, wholesalers, or retailers. They want to orchestrate their supply chains better. They make use of MPO. Within that market, we focus on consumer products. We also focus on industrial markets. Think about machines and capital products. We focus on high technology and healthcare.

Sramana Mitra: I see. They’re wholesalers or they’re retailers. These are the two broad configurations within those different industry sectors.

Martin Verwijmeren: Yes. To complete the story, these days, manufacturers, who traditionally were just producing for the wholesalers, are also trying to go direct. They have an interest to organize their supply chains better.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s go back to your entrepreneurial journey. When you got your platform ready, who was your first customer who adopted the system?

Martin Verwijmeren: The first customer was CEVA Logistics – an international logistics provider.

Sramana Mitra: What kind of a customer was this? Was it a SaaS business model? What was the business model? What was the pricing model? What was the deal size of this first customer?

Martin Verwijmeren: We provide only SaaS. It’s cloud from the start. We get a platform-based fee and a fee per transaction.

Sramana Mitra: It’s not a subscription. It’s a transaction model.

Martin Verwijmeren: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: What kind of volume was this logistics provider doing? What did that amount to from a deal size point of view?

Martin Verwijmeren: MRR ranges from $10,000 to $100,000.

Sramana Mitra: The first customer helped you fine-tune the product. How did you go from the first customer to ten customers to a hundred customers?

Martin Verwijmeren: We had success with the product. We grew on the technology side with a lot of domain knowledge. Thereafter, it was word-of-mouth. We expanded into a handful of customers.

Sramana Mitra: Were these also logistics services providers or were they more diverse?

Martin Verwijmeren: Also, other categories forced to us to organize ourselves as a true SaaS provider because it’s not just about having the software. It involves having the infrastructure and the application platform to support around the globe.

Sramana Mitra: Was there any financing involved?

Martin Verwijmeren: Not yet at that moment. We built the technology and the organization in a self-financed mode.

Sramana Mitra: How many customers did you do in a self-financed mode?

Martin Verwijmeren: Around 10 or so large customers.

Sramana Mitra: You started in 2010. By 2011, you had the platform ready. When did you have the first customer? In 2011 as well?

Martin Verwijmeren: In 2011.

Sramana Mitra: How much revenue did you do in 2010, 2011, and 2012? Those three years are pre-financing?

Martin Verwijmeren: We only went into external financing in 2015.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s understand how the customer ramp is happening in the progression of your company.

Martin Verwijmeren: In 2015, we had external financing.

Sramana Mitra: How long did it take you to hit the $1 million annual revenue run rate?

Martin Verwijmeren: That must have been 2013 or so.

Sramana Mitra: That must be a cumulative effect so the transaction volume is growing on your platform at this point.

Martin Verwijmeren: Exactly.

Sramana Mitra: What happens in 2014? Was that an inflection point?

Martin Verwijmeren: From there on, we went for accelerated growth. We reached $4 million to $5 million in 2015. We were at a pretty steep growth curve there.

Sramana Mitra: When you went out to raise financing, you were already at about $4 million?

Martin Verwijmeren: Yes.

This segment is part 3 in the series : Bootstrap First in Europe, Raise Money Later and Go Global in the US: Martin Verwijmeren, CEO of MP Objects
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