Their first office was a Cold War bunker in Assen, seven meters underground. Only when vitamin D deficiency began to play tricks on them did the trio move to an office above ground, in Groningen. Mike Kolker, Thijs Rotman and Mike Campbell have been paving the way in the world of digital advertising since 2015 and are now ready for the next step, thanks to boost funding from the NOM.
View of a growth market
The three men get to know each other while working together at a web agency. They express to each other that they actually want to do business and see an interesting development in the market for LED screens. Mike Kolker: "The price of such screens was falling and would continue to fall. At the same time, we saw that digital advertising was not yet very popular in the Netherlands, compared to other countries. We saw a growth market." So in 2015 they stepped into the world of DOOH: digital out of home, as Mundu. The two sales guys and marketer move into the bunker in Assen. And then it goes fast, thanks in part to a first investment from the Kredietunie Groningen in 2015. Kolker: "Pretty special that they went into business with us, because we had really just started, barely made any sales and were still fine-tuning our business model. This investment gave us the opportunity to grow in revenue and market share early on."
Ambition leads to ambitious business plan
In the years that follow, Mundu grows. They excel in their sales techniques and secure a nice portfolio of customers. Their product? The operation of digital screens on busy state highways. Mundu makes it possible for advertisers to reach an audience of millions with ads on these screens. Many of the large LED screens along the highway are provided with content by Mundu on behalf of brands such as McDonalds, BMW and Etos.
"In early 2017, we decided we wanted to grow further, but we lacked the capital we needed to do so. I then started writing a business plan with our new plans: even more market share, but also the development of software that allows content to be more easily accessible and, above all, context-dependent. Then, for example, a certain ad will only show when it is freezing, or when the sun is shining," Kolker says. "I started sharing that business plan with potential investors."
Click with NOM
Kolker also writes to NOM. With success. Klaas Kooistra, investment manager of the Promotion Fund does want to talk further with Mundu: "We invest specifically in start-ups. Sometimes they don't even have turnover yet. These are high-risk loans for us, because if the company doesn't live up to its forecasts, we don't see our money back. An exciting and incredibly fun playing field." Kooistra feels Kolker firmly on the line. Kolker: "They were intensive, but very pleasant conversations. The whole company was vetted, the business plan I had been writing for six months studied from point to point. Logical and good, because it also puts yourself on edge." Kooistra believed in Mundu's men and eventually awarded the investment. "My interest was quickly piqued: the DOOH market is still in its infancy in the Netherlands and is a growth market, in which Mundu has quickly gained a leading position. The platform the they are developing strengthens the business: it offers distinctive customer value and can ensure faster growth. Furthermore, I was very impressed with how they have set up their sales organization. They pay a lot of attention to training their employees and are visibly benefiting from it."
Time for action
Now is the time for action. Kolker: "Thanks to the support of NOM we can now move fast. The process towards the funding took a while, but once we were in talks, it went very quickly. The lines of communication there are short, which works nicely. We are now in the process of hiring additional people and developing our platform." That growth, by the way, is not going to mean that they are leaving Groningen. Despite the fact that the bulk of their customers reside in the Randstad, the men are not thinking of going west. "The fact that we are here does not hinder us. On the contrary: the labor market is much more pleasant here than there, which is exactly what works for us."