For a while corona seemed to floor the company for good. But MyEmma stood its ground and, with NOM as a shareholder, is growing like never before. 'MyEmma ensures that accounting and administration firms are better prepared for the future.'
Dave Leeuwerik is a little perplexed. In the spring of 2020, the CEO and founder of MyEmma submitted another application for the Corona-OverbruggeningsLening (COL). That was reviewed and eventually granted by Klaas Kooistra, Investment Manager of NOM. 'That means they have confidence in the future of the company,' Dave told me enthusiastically at the time. And indeed, a good number of months later, last June 4 to be exact, Dave and Klaas again signed autographs. 'The NOM has invested in MyEmma and has even become a shareholder,' Dave clarified. 'Having the NOM behind you and acting as a sparring partner gives the company a fantastic boost in all respects.'
In short, a lot has happened at MyEmma recently. For example, at the time of the COL application, it was still solely a Document Management system, or more precisely, a customer portal in which accounting and administrative offices can share and find documents securely and encrypted, as well as have them approved and signed. 'Meanwhile, in terms of documentation, we have become a true communication platform, where employees can communicate quickly and easily, via a built-in chat and messaging system, among themselves and with customers, among other things,' Dave says. 'For example, they can query documents if something is still missing or automatically send customers a reminder when documents are due by a certain date. The platform has become so comprehensive that we can now serve many more markets than just accountancy. In fact, MyEmma is a solution for all organizations where there are large document flows. Think of notaries, brokers, mortgage advisors or debt relief.'
Still, MyEmma will initially focus primarily on clients in accountancy. After all, in that field, Dave and his team know the ropes. 'It is important to stay focused on the basics,' Klaas emphasizes. 'Moreover, accountancy is on the eve of a major digitization battle. MyEmma has everything it needs to play an important role in that digital transformation. In other words, MyEmma ensures that accounting and administrative offices are better prepared for the future. A major reason why we as NOM invested in the company.'
The idea for MyEmma came about when Dave, then active in the world of online media, had a conversation with an accountant in 2017. The accountant mentioned that clients regularly asked him if they could see an IB or other tax return again. Not an unusual question, only: where was the document in question again? In the mail, in Dropbox or perhaps in Google Drive? He would rather see the documents in one central location, so that customers could easily find them themselves. But how do you realize that? Dave decided to look for a solution. From the very first moment, he was helped by software developer Sergen Nurel. 'Sergen is the technical brain behind MyEmma,' Dave emphasizes. 'Without him, I wouldn't know what to do.' After a period of thinking, sparring with programmers, building and fine-tuning, MyEmma was officially launched in 2019. A hit, it soon turned out. In fact, it went so well that, to enable further growth, in December 2019 Frank Smit and Erik Dokter of VMSP came on board as investors. VMSP participates and invests in start-up Northern Dutch software companies with a Business to Business SaaS model, in other words in companies like MyEmma.
A few months later, Covid-19 broke out. 'Suddenly, all appointments made and outstanding quotes were put on-hold,' Dave looks back. 'Simply because accounting and administration firms got very busy supporting clients in applying for all kinds of coronagraphs. So they had something else on their minds other than implementing new software. From one moment to the next, MyEmma found itself in dire straits. We were able to survive by making substantial cuts and, above all, thanks to the COL. I then rethought the future of the company. What have we learned so far, what is going wrong and what needs to be improved? For example, conversations with customers revealed a great need for an onboarding program. So that we will train employees to make the best use of MyEmma's capabilities. And yes, we now offer that option. But I also came up with entirely new pricing for our subscription model and put together multiple packages for customers to choose from. That has worked out great. For example, early this year we already had more sales in two weeks than in all of 2020.'
MyEmma has continued to grow ever since. Hence, contact was made with NOM. That had been in the planning for some time, Dave smiles. 'With Frank and Erik, the investors who give me fantastic support, it had already been agreed at the end of 2019 that as soon as MyEmma really generates traction we wanted to approach NOM for growth funding. That moment was in early 2021. Now they have become shareholders in addition to investors. Absolutely wonderful. What will we use the funding for? Mainly to invest in a professional team. Given the expected growth, we think we need to hire seven new people in the next two years, salespeople and developers. We will also continue to perfect the platform and, where necessary, expand it. If that is successful, we will also be ready to connect multiple industries to MyEmma. Who could have imagined that a year ago?
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