London company Linkbundle to Groningen due to brexit
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  • Internationalizing

London company Linkbundle to Groningen due to brexit

The Brexit hit like a bomb and the consequences are becoming increasingly visible as the separation draws nearer. More and more companies are moving their headquarters to the EU, including the Dutch IT company LinkBundle: it left London for Groningen on December 1. The transition took some doing but now the focus is back on business.

LinkBundle entered the market in 2014. 'The aim is to give top marketing managers of large companies insight into the actual performance of their various activities,' explains director Erwin Werring. 'Take banks. They spend tens of millions on online and offline marketing. Each marketing division operates autonomously.

This means it is impossible to see the big picture. What works and what doesn't? Which division is performing well? And is that actually to their credit? Take, for example, the launch of a social media campaign: it can lead to increased visitor numbers on a company's website, just as a TV ad can in turn lead to increased likes on social media.'

LinkBundle has designed a tool that maps the consistency and actual results of those activities and compares them to the competition in the same market. This allows companies to make informed decisions about where to spend their marketing budgets. They do this not only for the financial sector, but also for other industries, worldwide. Werring: "But then came the Brexit.

What does the Brexit mean for you?

'We work a lot for financial institutions. They started asking questions: how will that work in the future? Where will you be in a year? Because of the Brexit, London is no longer seen as a stable environment. Added to that are operational risks: what will happen with taxes, for example, and will my employees still be allowed to enter the country later?'

Why did you choose Groningen and not the Randstad?

'I, like the other founders, studied at the University of Groningen. So that link is there. We did look at the Randstad but there it is mostly crowded and expensive. Besides, the business climate in Groningen is simply better for a company like LinkBundle.

What's in that?

'Groningen is a fantastic hub. You have a huge IT and startup scene here, there's a big Google data center in Eemshaven.

London company Linkbundle to Groningen due to brexit

Furthermore, there is plenty of affordable office space here and it's teeming with highly trained staff. Finally, you can fly directly to London from Groningen Airport. That's important, because we do keep an office there.'

You are Stadjers as of December 1. How did the move go?

'Good, although it took some doing. Legally the step was difficult but in terms of business it wasn't too bad. The main thing was to get things up and running practically: to start with, we had to find an office. That succeeded, we are in a prime location at the Akerkhof, in the middle of the city. Then we had to set up an administration. Before Christmas everything was complete and we could really start.'

How does it feel now that everything is behind you?

'Super, especially since we can focus on the business again. The past year has been hectic, of course. We are working on new things. For example, we are now also focusing on SMEs, whereas before we only looked at large international companies. But if we adjust our product slightly, it is also very interesting for SMEs. We had been planning this for some time, but thanks to the extra manpower in the form of an operations director, it is now actually possible. To expand this further, a new employee will start on March 1, with whom we are very happy.'

NOM has been a LinkBundle shareholder since moving to Groningen. Why NOM?

'We were looking for a long-term investor. A financier who is patient so that we can focus on our work. We got that match. Moreover, they facilitated us very well, and their network offers us a lot of opportunities - now and in the future.'

What can we expect from you in the coming years?

'In our industry you always have to keep developing technically, and of course we want to continue to grow. For example, we are testing the application of artificial intelligence to our databases. Because we collect a lot of information, we think we will also be able to contribute to macroeconomic research in the near future.

Furthermore, we really want to exploit the link with the RUG: we want to start a group of interns as soon as possible. The great thing is that we can always stay here: our consultants go all over the world but we do our service mainly online. So we are here to stay.'

Laurens Kruize, investment manager NOM:

The transition from London to Groningen was quite demanding for LinkBundle but now they are back in full swing with the real business. With Daan Ellens we have brought in an operations director who monitors the culture and lays down the structure. Daan has a large network in the North and the first contacts have already been made. Furthermore, a clear strategy has been set out, employees have been added and NOM has put LinkBundle in touch with interesting companies from our network. In short, after putting a lot of energy into the move, they are now working hard again!