With the takeover of Open Web, Pauwels Consulting is completing its third acquisition in the Dutch market in just under a year. A remarkable feat, certainly in a time of crisis, but the founders of both companies have ambitious plans.
We asked Bert Pauwels, founder and Managing Director of Pauwels Consulting, along with Levente Bokor and Ebrahim Aharpour, founders and co-CEO and CTO of Open Web, respectively, about their plans and aspirations.
First of all, congratulations on the takeover. I see happy faces all round!
Levente: “That’s right! We had been looking for a larger party for some time to help Open Web continue to grow. We are pleased to have found our ideal growth partner in the form of Pauwels Consulting.”
Bert: “And we are very pleased to welcome another group of experienced IT specialists to the fold. This takeover fits perfectly with our growth strategy for the Dutch market.”
Levente and Ebrahim, can you briefly present Open Web?
Ebrahim: “Levente and I founded Open Web in 2014. We had experience in different IT positions at the time, and we wanted to develop new products together. To finance product development, we focused directly on consulting, too. In a relatively short period of time, Open Web has grown into a team of 35 individuals specialising primarily in Java and Bloomreach.
We mainly perform technical assignments for major clients in the private and public sectors. More than half of our colleagues are senior Java developers. Our team also consists of front-end developers and developers for mobile applications.”
What makes Open Web unique?
Levente: “We have grown into one of the strongest Java and Bloomreach specialists in the Netherlands in a relatively short period. Our areas of specialisation brought challenging projects and major customers to us, making it increasingly easy to further bolster our team with experienced Java specialists.
We see ourselves as a team of driven experts who take each other to the next level. We like to do more than is expected of us, both for our customers and our professional development.
We have also invested a great deal of time and energy into our people in recent years. Despite the fact that we often work for different customers, we are still a close-knit team – one that enjoys working together, sharing knowledge and, above all, having fun.”
And that appealed to you, Bert?
Bert: “Absolutely. As you know, we are always on the lookout for interesting companies to further strengthen our Group. When Open Web and – in particular – Levente and Ebrahim came onto our radar, we had no doubts. We immediately felt an excellent rapport between us. We recognised the ambitions of Levente and Ebrahim and their clear focus on the development and happiness of the people in their team.”
Why was Open Web looking for a potential buyer?
Levente: “Several reasons. As I mentioned earlier, Ebrahim and I are keen on developing our own products. Having to focus both on consulting and product development hampered the growth opportunities of both activities, which is why we decided to find a partner that could accelerate the growth of our consulting business without changing the DNA and culture of our team. That was the top priority for us.”
Ebrahim: “That’s why we went with Pauwels Consulting. Pauwels Consulting is a major group with big plans in the Netherlands and focuses strongly on the professional and personal development of its consultants. This acquisition gives our people more growth opportunities, enables us to do even more for our customers, and gives us the opportunity to pay more attention to the ongoing development of our e-mail security solution kevlarr.io in the near future.”
What appealed to Open Web besides the ambitions and corporate culture?
Bert: “In early 2020, we acquired Developers.nl and Bruggenbouwers, two strong Dutch consultancy firms with offices in Rotterdam and Hoofddorp. This was an opportunity to attract another IT specialist with complementary knowledge and services, a complementary customer base and a branch in Nieuwegein. The acquisitions complement each other nicely, and the Nieuwegein office is an interesting strategic foundation for our ongoing growth in the Netherlands.”
“Above all, I also see many opportunities for cross-pollination between our IT teams in Belgium, Rotterdam and Nieuwegein. We are getting stronger every time, giving us even more opportunities to help our people develop. Our customers and our employees will all benefit from this.”
It’s a fantastic decision, Bert. Congratulations to all of you once again on this takeover and good luck with your plans.