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Bootstrap First in Europe, Raise Money Later and Go Global in the US: Martin Verwijmeren, CEO of MP Objects (Part 4)

Posted on Thursday, Jul 5th 2018

Sramana Mitra: By the time you reached $4 million in 2015, was this still all in the Netherlands? What is the geographical footprint of your customer base?

Martin Verwijmeren: Although we had various offices around the globe, we acknowledged that we were EMEA-centered. Since we were providing our services to big international companies, the software was also used across multiple countries. Then we decided that there is global potential.

We are the selected vendor for corporations who do $10 million in revenue. They choose MPO despite us being a company with limited size. We had to professionalize our marketing and sales, and we wanted to do this from a global perspective.

Sramana Mitra: What year did you make that decision? At what point did you make that decision?

Martin Verwijmeren: 2016. We decided that we wanted to go global. Our products are being used globally, but we aren’t selling globally. We needed to jump in to the US market. We also got interest from external investors. They started calling us. We gave preference to an investor in the US.

Sramana Mitra: Which investor was this?

Martin Verwijmeren: This is a growth equity investor.

Sramana Mitra: How much did you raise?

Martin Verwijmeren: $10 million.

Sramana Mitra: You’re set up in Boston.

Martin Verwijmeren: Exactly.

Sramana Mitra: What is the next major milestone or strategic move besides moving to the US?

Martin Verwijmeren: We expanded into sectors I just mentioned and expanded our implementation capabilities.

Sramana Mitra: What is the competition?

Martin Verwijmeren: Our competitors include a few players in this very niche market like E2open and One Network.

Sramana Mitra: How much did you do in 2016? What did the fund infusion do to the business?

Martin Verwijmeren: In 2016, we had double-digit growth again. The MRR growth was over 50%.

Sramana Mitra: Great. At this point, how many customers do you have who are using your platform around the world?

Martin Verwijmeren: We have 25 business communities these days. These are 25 core networks. In those networks, we have 130,000 actors or participants.

Sramana Mitra: Great. That is global?

Martin Verwijmeren: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: When you moved to the US in 2016, how many of these 25 were already in place based on your drivers? How many came on board after you started the US push?

Martin Verwijmeren: We were running with 15 or so.

Sramana Mitra: Then you added 10.

Martin Verwijmeren: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: Very interesting story. That was the only round of financing?

Martin Verwijmeren: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: What have been the challenges of being a European company coming into the US?

Martin Verwijmeren: It has been pretty smooth. It’s great to have a great team around you.

Sramana Mitra: Is it hard to recruit in Boston for a Dutch company?

Martin Verwijmeren: No. We were helped through various channels. We also had a good reference from another European company in Boston area. Thirdly, the network of the investor helped us.

Sramana Mitra: You do product development still in Amsterdam?

Martin Verwijmeren: In Rotterdam. We have an office in India also.

Sramana Mitra: Where in India?

Martin Verwijmeren: In Hyderabad.

Sramana Mitra: The American push is all sales and marketing?

Martin Verwijmeren: And implementation.

Sramana Mitra: You’ve made a very nice transition from starting in Europe to a more global strategy. Is there anything else that you want to add that is worth covering?

Martin Verwijmeren: We always keep on dreaming. Other challenges are to further develop our partner network. We preferred to start with a direct model, which is great. Looking beyond, we have presence in Asia in India and Japan.

Sramana Mitra: Terrific. Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 4 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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