A foothold in the Netherlands

Blog

23 Jan 2020
Today it was announced that Pauwels Consulting is including the Dutch Developers.nl in the group. This acquisition follows shortly after those of HCM and AlphaZ, and fits within Pauwels Consulting's ambitious growth strategy in the Netherlands.

So it’s time for a chat with Mark Smit and Maarten de Boer, respectively founder and general manager of Developers.nl, and Bert Pauwels, managing director of Pauwels Consulting.

About Mark, Maarten and Developers

Mark Smit, a husband and father of two daughters, started his career at Pink Roccade in 2000. He then moved on to earn his spurs as a commercial manager at various SAP consulting firms, until he founded his first little IT project sourcing company in 2010. He then founded Developers.nl in 2012. Mark was responsible for the day-to-day management for many years and grew the company into Developers.nl in its current form. In 2017, Maarten took over as leader and Mark became an external consultant so that he could focus on other challenges.

Mark and Maarten are childhood friends and both are from Spijkenisse, near Rotterdam. Maarten has been at the company since the very beginning. “I originally came from the automotive sector and I didn’t immediately know if IT was something for me”, he laughs. “Mark asked me to help him with implementing a system in his organisation. Then I started getting involved in operational matters and, in the end, I found it very enjoyable, because of the constant contact with people.” Mark and Maarten also have similar mindsets. “We both share the traditional Rotterdam trait of saying what we do and doing what we say.” Maarten started off as a recruiter, was appointed field manager when new employees joined and eventually became general manager in 2017.

Over the years, a pleasant corporate culture has been developed within Developers.nl. “Our people come first”, says Mark. “These are the people who make the difference with our customers”, adds Maarten.

“Our people come first” – Mark Smit

Tech Nights and Devpoints

Staff are given support with monthly Tech Nights, IT workshops with an extra angle. “They’re also fun and exciting networking opportunities”, explains Mark. Every year, the firm also organises teambuilding events and trips with partners. Every employee is also given a fixed budget and conference days every year, which they can use to attend IT conferences. Devpoints is a points system with which employees can accumulate extra budget by organising activities and workshops, writing blogs, etc.

Both Mark and Maarten highly value the human aspect. They want their employees to feel good, so they can give the best of themselves and remain loyal.

Bert Pauwels consulting

Customization

The customers are SMEs, but also public authorities and multinationals. Developers.nl is the place to go for every company that needs a customised application. It has developers on board who go beyond simply building a website, they enjoy solving complex problems with unusual applications.

The developers are what make the company special

Developers.nl’s strength is the quality of the expert it assigns to the project. He has to be at the top of his game and Developers.nl knows how to attract him. “We don’t work on a project basis. Our client manages the project and we find the experts needed to implement it”, explains Maarten.

Realise growth in the Netherlands

“This acquisition by Pauwels Consulting is a necessary step to guarantee the continuous growth of Developers.nl”, explains Mark. “We grew strongly for eight years, but this flattened out almost completely last year. We reached a threshold where we needed a helping hand from a bigger partner with the knowledge and resources to grow.”

“Bert and I clicked immediately. His vision of doing business and the way he thinks and acts were important factors that made us want to sit down at the table”, says Mark. “Bert’s priority is also the staff, it’s all about the people. In addition, he wants to do business pleasantly and honestly. That vision, in combination with his openness and transparency, made me decide to work with Bert.”

“There was immediately a good vibe between Mark, Maarten and me”, Bert confirms. This positive understanding was partly due to the technical expertise being in line with the activities of Pauwels Consulting and partly due to Developers.nl’s corporate culture. “Culture and values are underestimated, but I think they’re the most important elements in any acquisition”, says Bert. The corporate culture, values and services all complement each other perfectly.

Bert Pauwels Maarten de Boer Mark Smit

The future

“There are plenty of IT projects in the Netherlands. This number will only increase and it’s all about customisation”, says Mark. “However, the war on talent also applies to finding the right developers. With Pauwels Consulting’s help, we can grow even further in this area”, says Maarten.

It’s no secret that Pauwels Consulting wanted to extend its operations to the Netherlands, so it could help international customers across national borders. Developers.nl offered the ideal opportunity to make this a reality. It’s a company with a fantastic team, composed of specialist developers who offer added value.

“Never change a winning team”, Bert announces. “Nothing will change for employees.” It’s a win-win situation, where combining strengths brings benefits, such as knowledge sharing, international career opportunities, etc.

Pauwels Consulting is taking over all Developers.nl’s employees and services. Founder Mark Smit and general manager Maarten de Boer will remain on board even after the transition process to further develop the services. Following this acquisition, the Pauwels Consulting team now consists of more than 700 experts in the fields of life sciences, engineering and IT spread across Belgium, the Netherlands and France.

“Never change a winning team” – Bert Pauwels