Siemens is acquiring Rotterdam software company Mendix. The German electronics group is paying €628 million for the acquisition, in a deal that represents one of the largest takeovers of a Dutch scale-up.
Mendix offers a low-code app-development platform that both non-technical companies and IT professionals can use to build apps and websites. The company’s customers include KLM, Philips and DSM. With the acquisition of Mendix, Siemens hopes to strengthen its position in relation to the Internet of Things (IoT).
All Siemens appliances, from washing machines to trains, will soon be connected to the web. A well-known example is the smart fridge, which takes stock of its contents and creates a shopping list that it sends to the user's smartphone by SMS or email. The user can then stop by the supermarket on their way home. Mendix offers a platform for these kinds of applications.
Siemens in turn is investing in Mendix’s product development. "We will remain an independent company under Siemens’ wings. In that way, we will be able to retain our speed and culture, which are essential to our success," says Mendix founder Roos.
Support from investors and government
Mendix’s success is in part thanks to the financial support of Dutch investors henQ, an investment fund that uses the Seed Capital scheme, and Prime Ventures. Whereas many investors will hold off until a start-up has well and truly proved itself, henQ is prepared to step in from the first financing round. HenQ was also one of Mendix's very first investors, having recognised the company's potential as early as 2006.
The Seed Capital scheme is an instrument whereby the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate supports innovative technological and creative enterprises in securing venture capital. "The government support has been key in attracting attention from investors," explains henQ fund manager Hintzen. "It offers them more certainty and rewards success."
The venture capital company has since launched its third fund. The henQ III Seed Fund helps young innovative software companies spread their wings and realise their ambitions. It mostly supports techno-starters producing software aimed at the business market.