The first seed for Betabit was planted in a village in the province of Brabant in 1984. In February of that year, Olav and Luc programmed a cake for their father's 40th birthday, under the name Olusoft inc. Messing about on the Commodore 64.
On 1 October 2002, Olav and Luc founded Betabit and this time, the first order came from their mother. They built a customer management system and a new website for her shop - lique.nl.
The first major contract: Philips
In 2003, Betabit developed a link between Curnext.com and Philips' treasury system. This was a really big order which Olav and Luc developed for 25 euros an hour. It was time to conclude a good contract in which rights and responsibilities were properly laid out. So Betabit became a member of NederlandICT.
The ambition was always to grow because you can achieve more together than alone. The first colleagues came on board in 2004. In the first instance, to help build a new software product for which there were ambitious plans.
We developed our first product between 2003 and 2005: crystalclerk.com. It was a cash flow programme with which we toured nationally to all regional offices of ING bank, training entrepreneurs in how to plan their money. The training sessions were successful, but of the pallet with 5,000 DVDs, just under a hundred were sold. A product turned out to be a bit too ambitious in this initial phase of entrepreneurship. Success with a product starts not with creating software, but with a market. An expensive lesson, but well learned. Crystalclerk ended in 2005.
In 2006, we outgrew our offices in the World Trade Center in the heart of Rotterdam and moved to new premises on the Goudsesingel. That made us more easily accessible to colleagues from the region and gave us more square meters for expansion.
Having learned from our experience, we decided not to develop any more products for the time being. We were still mad about making software, that's what we wanted to keep doing, but for other people. That conclusion created the new focus needed. In order to stay close to clients and the employment market, our new creed became 'region strategy', with regional offices in everyone's neighborhood. Our aim was to 'become big by staying small'.
The first region outside Rotterdam to have an office opened there was Eindhoven. In 2007, Sjoerd found his new basis as regional manager close to Eindhoven Airport, looking for new clients and colleagues in the province of Brabant.
A first in the Netherlands: Azure
In the early years, Betabit grew thanks to focusing 100% on C# as the new programming language. Towards the end of the last decade, there was no clear direction within Microsoft as a technology provider so the question arose as to whether it might be a good idea to look for other languages. Late in 2008, during the search, Luc stumbled on a book about Microsoft's strategy, and for the first time, read the word 'cloud' - an Amazon invention. This was being developed within Microsoft under the name 'Azure'. Scale is the holy grail and Microsoft promised to invest billions in it: a worldwide network of interconnected data centers was to be the computer of the future and Azure the new operating system. Betabit was the first company in the Netherlands to focus on developing software on Azure. One hundred per cent.
In 2009, the second regional office was opened in Utrecht. The head office in Rotterdam, as we can now call it, relocated to the K.P. van der Mandelelaan 60, a wonderful new workplace next to the motorway and Erasmus University.
In 2010, our Eindhoven office grew, thanks to the takeover of software company Extendit. Six new colleagues joined our Brabant team.
In 2012, we and the then recently established WAZUG (Azure user group) succeeded in getting Scott Guthrie to come to the Netherlands. Scott is a really big deal for developers. He co-developed the .Net framework within Microsoft, with the C# language, the core language in our company. In 2012, he was responsible for the development of Azure, and in the Netherlands at that time, that demanded a lot of explanation and 'evangelism' (as Microsoft called it).
Colleagues in Belgrade and Novi Sad
A long-standing dream came true. Following a first flight to Novi Sad in Serbia and a pilot project, we invested in a joint venture with Enigmatry. Colleagues only two hours away and within the European continent offered us a myriad of new possibilities for our clients and our development teams.
In 2014, it was time for further expansion. The capital of the Netherlands got its own regional office, under Emile's leadership.
A first venture
It always gnawed at us. We're good at making software. Complex software. Business-critical software. And with Azure, we have the best technology at our fingertips. So why shouldn't we build our own product or platform? A sort of 'best practice'. In 2014, Otto Wilten and Jeroen Kruithof, the two founders of theRoom, got the idea of developing their own 'data room'. They had the market, and we had the technology; an extremely sound basis for a new company named Virtual Vaults. The best data room in Europe.
With the goal of 6 regional offices in the Netherlands and 2 offices abroad, it was time for a new strategy. What would make us stronger and be a healthy next step? The heart of our company is our knowledge and culture: what we learn, what we make, and how we work together. We cherish them and work really hard on them every day. We will continue to invest in ventures represented as leaves on our sunflower. These are new companies or platforms which rely on that same culture and those same competences.
Betabit Den Haag
Since Betabitters love to go to the beach, we opened our office in The Hague in the spring of 2019, with Srdjan as manager. The newest office in our newest packaging. And as with our other offices, easily accessible and a great place to work.
In May 2019, we started up a second venture called YieldDD. It was thought up by a specialised team of Betabitters which focused 100% on due diligence software: a really logical combination of our knowledge of the merger and acquisition market and our years of experience in assessing and developing the best business-critical systems.
So what now?
There may soon be another new venture. We're working hard on it right now. :-)