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Best of Bootstrapping: Bootstraps in Europe, Raises Money and Goes Global in the US

Posted on Friday, Jan 3rd 2020

We’re seeing some excellent European companies make successful transitions into becoming global software companies. MP Objects CEO Martin Verwijmeren shares an excellent and inspiring story for European startups to emulate.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?

Martin Verwijmeren: I’m from the Netherlands but living in Boston these days. Before moving to Boston, I lived in Amsterdam. I was working for our European headquarters in Rotterdam. Nowadays, I’m working from our US headquarters in Boston.

Sramana Mitra: Are you the founder of this company?

Martin Verwijmeren: I’m the Co-Founder and CEO.

Sramana Mitra: Tell me a little bit about your personal story leading up to MP Objects. You grew up in Amsterdam?

Martin Verwijmeren: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: What about studies? What did you study? Where did you study? What kind of path did you take?

Martin Verwijmeren: I studied Industrial Engineering and Physics. I decided that I want to contribute to academics and research so I decided to do a PhD. That PhD was on advanced information technology for supply chain management.

Sramana Mitra: All this was in the Netherlands?

Martin Verwijmeren: Yes. I became intrigued by all kinds of algorithms which you could apply to very small agent-like systems to manage supply chains better and reduce inventory levels across companies at a scale which we’ve not seen before. Then, I decided to move on to make my career in business.

I worked for a telco which was also going into IT. There, I climbed the ranks of management. I became the IT Director and then VP IT. I was managing the technology for Western Europe and dealing with large customers of TNT. I got a nice career but I had to acknowledge that a sophisticated technology I worked for myself was not available at all in this big corporation.

I had a great career and I could continue on that path. At the same time, I had an aspiration from when I did my PhD. So then I decided to explore what I could do about it. I contacted a good friend of mine, Paul, to join forces. He experienced the same thing working on ERP systems and advanced planning systems in international corporations. We decided to build software components to manage supply chains better.

Sramana Mitra: What year was this?

Martin Verwijmeren: We had the platform ready in 2010. We had already started the early explorations around 2000. In 2010, we launched the platform.

Sramana Mitra: Who else was involved?

Martin Verwijmeren: On the tech side, the other co-founder was Paul. On the business side, it was myself.

Sramana Mitra: So two co-founders?

Martin Verwijmeren: Exactly.

Sramana Mitra: How did you know your co-founder?

Martin Verwijmeren: We know each other from childhood.

Sramana Mitra: That’s always good to have a deeper relationship.

Martin Verwijmeren: We were friends even at university.

Sramana Mitra: You quit your job and started this in a garage. You were self-financing?

Martin Verwijmeren: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: What were the specs? What was the idea? What problem were you going to solve? How did you validate that idea?

Martin Verwijmeren: The idea was to manage supply chains end-to-end across multiple enterprises, optimizing for each and every order and creating a unique flow.

Our conversation continues here.

This segment is a part in the series : Best of Bootstrapping

. Bootstrapping to an Exit
. Why is Bootstrapping Important?
. How Can You Play this Low-Probability Game Intelligently?
. Do NOT Go to VCs as Beggars - Go as Kings
. Excess is NOT Required for Success
. Bootstrap First and Raise Money Later
. Some Bootstrapping to Exit Case Studies
. The Buy Side of Bootstrapping to an Exit
. Blitzscaling vs. Bootstrapping
. Bootstrapping to Unicorns
. Cinedigm Acquires Bootstrapped 1Mby1M Company Future Today for $60 Million
. Mailchimp Bootstraps to $600M Revenue
. Bootstrapping from Arizona to $10 Million
. Bootstrapped Basecamp Executes a No Nonsense Strategy
. How Under30Experiences Bootstrapped to $5 Million
. Bootstrapping with a Paycheck
. How CEO Amjad Hussain Bootstrapped using Services from Michigan
. Seed Investors Who Like Bootstrapped Businesses
. How iHeartRaves CEO Bootstrapped a Niche e-Commerce Company to $20 Million
. Bootstrapping with Services
. How The Intern Group CEO David Lloyd Bootstrapped to $13 Million
. How Passageways CEO Paroon Chadha Bootstrapped from Indiana
. How SmartBuyGlasses CEO David Menning Bootstrapped to $50 Million
. Death by Overfunding
. How RainmakerForce CEO Mack Sundaram Bootstrapped Decisively to $5 Million+
. How FormAssembly CEO Bootstrapped a Virtual Company with a Paycheck
. TimeSlips CEO Mitch Russo Bootstrapped to Exit with Sage
. The VC-Entrepreneur Compensation Disbalance
. BioConnect CEO Bootstraps with Sophisticated Strategic Maneuvering
. Tremend CEO Marius Hanganu Bootstraps from Romania
. Gesture CEO Jim Alvarez Bootstraps to $10 Million
. SproutLoud CEO Bootstraps to $30 Million from Florida
. Tuft & Needle CEO Bootstraps to Over $100 Million
. Co-founders Bootstrap Linguamatics to Over $10M from the UK
. Ownership Matters
. Vainu Co-founder Mikko Honkanen Bootstraps from Finland
. Entrepreneur Couple Bootstraps to $10M from Colorado
. Power2Motivate CEO Bootstraps to $80M from Canada
. Financial DNA CEO Bootstraps to $10M+ from Australia
. Big Barker CEO Bootstraps a Niche E-commerce Brand
. PrecisionLender CEO Bootstraps to Over $10M from North Carolina
. Master Bootstrappers with Over $1B in Exits
. Ultra Mobile Founder Bootstraps to Over $100 Million
. Bootstrapping a Two-Sided Marketplace to $10M
. Can You Bootstrap a Virtual Company to Over $5 Million?
. Capital Efficient Entrepreneurs Turn $1M into $80M
. Discussing the Journey Through Failure to Success
. From a Small Town to $12 Million
. Bootstrapping to Y Combinator and $10 Million Series A
. Bootstrapping a Marketplace to Over $10 Million
. Freightwise Bootstraps to $33 Million
. Bootstraps First to $5M ARR, Raises $10M Later
. Bootstraps in Europe, Raises Money and Goes Global in the US
. English Major Bootstraps a Tech Company
. Bootstraps with a Paycheck to $15M from Tennessee
. Queue-It Bootstraps from Denmark to the US
. Bootstrapping A Virtual Company To $25M
. ActiveCampaign CEO Bootstraps Using Services to $40M
. Alteryx Bootstrapped with Services to a Public Unicorn
. Inspyrus Bootstraps Using Services to an Awesome Business Model
. CEO Bootstraps Using Services to Millions from Russia
. Wiredrive CEO Bootstraps Using Services to $10M
. Scaling to Over $10M by Bootstrapping Using Services
. Bootstraps Using Services from Poland to a US SaaS Company
. ButcherBox CEO Bootstraps a Perishable Meat Business to Significant Scale
. Waveform CEO Bootstraps to $8M
. Bootstrapped Entrepreneurship from Estonia
. From Laid-off Engineer to Successful Startup CEO
. Imagine Easy Solutions CEO Bootstraps to Exit
. BannerBuzz CEO Bootstraps to $35M
. Bootstrapping a Virtual Company to Scale
. Bootstrapping Using Services from Wisconsin
. Best Tactic for B2B Startups
. Bootstrapping by Piggybacking from Romania
. Bootstrap First, Then Scale with VC Funds
. Bootstrap to +$10M First, Raise Money Later
. Madwire CEO Bootstrapped First, Raised Money Later to $120M
. Bootstrap Using Services First, Raise Money Later
. Wonderful Bootstrap with a Paycheck Story
. RushOrderTees CEO Bootstraps to $23M
. Bootstrapping with Freemium and Free Trials to $13M
. Bootstrapping, Pivoting, Gaining Liquidity, Scaling to $100M+
. Bootstrapping with Affiliate Marketing
. Bootstrap to Exit, Bootstrap Again, Then Raise VC Money

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