Five Facts about Mendix, Another Cloud Enterprise App Startup

3/20/12Follow @xconomy

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really waking up to the notion of apps vs. enterprise systems,” says Roos. That money has helped Mendix double its R&D efforts, expand in the U.S., and build a global support team, he says.

—Mendix’s technology is “all about time to market and simplifying app delivery as opposed to providing a hosting platform for code.”
That was Roos’ response when I asked him what makes Mendix different from other local companies, such as CloudBees (which my colleague Greg wrote about last month), offering app services in the cloud. Mendix’s focus is on the non-techie employees who need applications faster than IT departments can build or source them. “It’s vendor hell. Coding hell. There’s nothing wrong with coding, but it has nothing to do with the business,” says Roos of how company IT departments typically function.

Roos thought the process of working with IT on the job should be as easy as dealing with Facebook after work, so he focused on building his company’s software with social features. Many of the Mendix apps for clients start within an app store, which builds on projects done for previous customers. And each app has an activity stream with it, similar to social media feeds you’d see on Facebook and Twitter.

—-It’s looking to work alongside existing software giants, not unseat them
Mendix’s primary customer target is midcap-and-up enterprises. “The more existing systems they have, the more rigidity, the more pain, the better,” says Roos

Mendix’s technology works by building apps as a layer on top of existing systems, so it’s not worried about putting big names in business software out of business. (That’s another differentiator from CloudBees, which is trying to disrupt software providers like Oracle, IBM, and VMware.)

For example, one of Mendix’s clients is a big insurance company that uses SAP software to manage some of its HR processes. Mendix helped build mobile applications atop that system that give employees easier access to do things like request time off and submit timesheets.

—The vision is big
Mendix sees the old world of doing everything through corporate IT departments as expensive, exclusive, and cumbersome. Its platform, by contrast, enables it to work with customers on small projects one at a time, for which the company charges a monthly fee without requiring them to shut out one vendor in favor of another.

“We really see it as a before and after. Right now we’re at an interesting time where enterprises are waking up to that mega trend of cloud as an enabler and the notion of apps,” Roos says. “We apply the idea of apps to the enterprise, and it’s a totally different universe of opportunities.”

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