Our new series “European FinTech Journeys” showcases European FinTechs’ journey to a funding, exit or closure – and the blood, sweat and tears in between!
We are proud to launch this series with Qumram, a FinTech Forum alumnus which was acquired last week by Dynatrace. Qumram was selected to present at the FTF On Tour | InvestTech event in London (Sep. 2015), as well as in Apr. 2017. You may also want to read the 7 Questions with Mathias Wegmüller from our archives nearly two years ago.
1. Congratulations on the exit! How did this come about?
It started as many other events in life (as a entrepreneur): Out of the blue. Qumram gained a lot of traction and was globally one of the most rewarded Fintech companies. We were not planning on an exit at this stage. We were just in the middle of closing a financing round.
When Dynatrace reached out we realized almost immediately that this was a perfect match and then it went really fast. We had excellent deal teams on both sides of the table.
The technology and cultural fit are so obvious that both management teams agreed on joining the forces and using the synergies.
2. Was this a planned move, and what made you go ahead with the deal?
It was not planned by us, but it was planned by the buyer, by Dynatrace. I am a strong believer that the market dynamics are becoming more and more buyers dominated.
This is not just true for the M&A market in Fintech, but also when selling or recruiting. Over the last 6.5 years after founding Qumram I was always in roles close to the market and it became more and more a “buyers market”. Digitization and more efficient networks help larger organization and their buying, hiring and acquisition centers to be faster and better informed before even talking to the seller or candidate.
3. What do you expect in the next 6-12 months?
We are already working on the alignment of Qumram into Dynatrace. This isn’t a rebadge – like most of the Tech acquisitions end up in the new product stack – , but instead our teams are rebuilding, unifying and reinventing how the solution will come together to take advantage of Dynatrace’s AI and automation.
It’s extremely exciting to see the Qumram’s core technology capability take on a new life within Dynatrace. I can see the enthusiasm in our engineering teams! The potential for what we will collectively deliver, to borrow a line from Dynatrace, will redefine not just monitoring, but digital experience and behavioral analytics.
4. Any step(s) from founding to exit that you would like to share?
It’s been quite the journey! Looking back you do wonder whether you’d do it again. You just never know when you start these things. I just felt compelled to do it, and I’m proud of what we achieved.
I have a very personal analogy: With the start of Qumram I also “founded” my family. You do not know about the sleepless nights, the unbearable crying and the unbeatable smiling when you launch your family. Friends and family are important for your babies at home and your start-up. It takes an entire eco-system to bring stability and further momentum into those ventures. And still there is a lot of risk involved.
I have two mantras to share which I repeated over and over again over the last 6.5 years and I will keep them beyond the Exit of Qumram. I am happy to share them with you: “Dream big, work hard. Stay focused and surround yourself with good people.”
People are the most important part of it. Here comes my recruiting mantra when it comes to people I work best with: “Dream big, have fun with and get shit done!”
5. What tips or advice do you have for other European FinTechs?
Think and talk about the finish-line already when starting. This will give you a plan and good guidance when going after the major milestones, such as winning first customers, funding, expanding, hiring key persons, exiting, etc. It also helps you personally as a founder to always compare where you are with where you wanted to be accordingly to your plan.
I am more than happy to share the experience with any founder who is interested. As you read above, reality most of the time turns out differently than planned. And still having a game plan all the way to the finish-line is crucial for starting and scaling an awesome Fintech start-up. I hope the Qumram story will help others of the European Fintech community on their journey to whatever goal they want to reach!