Interview with Nick Ford, VP of product marketing at Mendix

  • Mendix is a low-code software platform providing tools to build, test, deploy and iterate applications.
  • The company was founded in 2005 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands where they now hold annual Mendix World conferences.
  • In August 2018, CEO Derek Roos announced the acquisition of Mendix by Siemens for $730 million.

 

Here, Nick Ford, vice president of product marketing, discusses Mendix, its achievements and challenges. Nick established the UK business for Mendix nearly ten years ago, when the company was less than 40 people globally, and has seen it grow to over 800.

 

 

What is Mendix, and how is it unique within the application development industry?

 

Mendix is a platform that empowers anyone to build, integrate and extend applications. Typically, we allow organisations to do that ten times faster than they would be able to do with traditional technologies, and with 70% fewer resources. How do we do that? For the most part, we employ model-driven development and collaboration tools. Mendix provides a single technology stack that allows you to build applications without the obstruction of complex coding, and by doing that, we ensure that business and IT can collaborate to create the right software. 

The platform provides an environment where different types of developers, with varying capabilities and skill, can come together and share experiences and collaborate. Mendix has evolved over the last 15 years to enable anyone to build apps. It has also grown into an ecosystem, a vibrant community with around 120,000 members who work with our technology daily. For many, their careers rely on Mendix. Users interact with our one central platform which includes application templates, a vibrant marketplace, cloud services and industry solutions. In this way, Mendix acts as a powerful engine to help organisations build the software they need more rapidly and with very different resources to the traditional world reliant on software engineers and coders. 

 

What success has Mendix achieved?

 

Mendix has probably achieved too much success to mention. I’ve been with the company coming-up-to ten years now, in fact, I helped launch the UK subsidiary when there were less than 50 people in the company. If I look at what I’m most proud of, it is achieving well over 1000 global enterprise customers that are building and delivering value to their business through the Mendix platforms. We’re able to create an application in a small number of weeks now; just 12 weeks to build applications that perhaps couldn’t have been made before. By their estimations, those apps can save companies between fifty and one hundred thousand pounds per year. 

 

Having crossed $100 million in annual revenue in 2019, what are your plans for further growth?

 

We’ve reached $100 million, which is a significant milestone for Mendix and we set our sights now on how we get to a billion! We’re putting together, and already executing a digressive scaling and product investment strategy. We want to continue to be a dominant player in the low-code space, and we’ve put plans in place which will help us get there. We’ve already got a solid foundation for us to make that next move and head toward a billion dollars in annual revenue.

 

What is the biggest challenge the company has faced?

 

I’d have to say the challenge we find ourselves in right now, the coronavirus pandemic, has taken everybody by shock. The safeguarding of our customers is critically important to us, so we’ve had to make some tough decisions, such as postponing Mendix World, but they are the right decisions. It impacts our business and we moved over 800 staff to remote working literally overnight. What’s amazing is that, thanks to our very strong continuity plans, we have been able to continue providing our services and posed no disruption to our customers. It’s a phenomenal effort from our employees and the wider ecosystem coming together. 

For ourselves, born in the cloud, it is slightly easier to make those transitions. However, for some of our customers, they have to rethink their business models, and they’re using Mendix to develop solutions rapidly to help support that. When the dust settles after coronavirus, I think there will be a significant rethinking in businesses’ approach to infrastructure and supply chain. A shift towards low-code will be significant in helping organisations to address this fallout and to generate new opportunities. We can see how low-code is benefitting those customers, and I would expect our business to accelerate.