Following our previous post on Lund-based BI company Qlik’s journey from small-scale startup to global competitor, here is the next instalment in our series reviewing the most notable, but perhaps more obscure, success stories of the Oresund region.
Sitecore: the iPhone of the Web content Management Industry
Born in Copenhagen at the start of the 21st century, Sitecore is now recognized as Denmark’s top information technology company. The firm offers web content management and portal software, allowing organizations to create exciting website experiences. Businesses using their products enjoy growing success in their online realm, which Sitecore allows them to maintain and monitor.
While global headquarters remain in Sitecore’s home-city of Copenhagen, the rest of the firm’s 500 or so employees span across 11 other major offices worldwide – Sweden, Germany, United Kingdom, Australia and USA host a few of these – putting Sitecore on the map in the literal sense as well as figuratively. With over 3000 customers, including the big-brand names of Nestle, Siemens and Toshiba, the firm enjoys a diverse client base which also includes governments and public institutions.
The company was first founded in 2002 by five technical colleagues, headed by current CEO Michael Seifert. Seifert started coding at the early age of 11, and by age 15 had already started his first IT company. Amidst studying and graduating, Seifert collaborated in writing one of the earliest forms of multi-player gaming, DIKU MUD, which quickly became a massive online hit and paved the way for similar role-playing games like World of Warcraft. With a Master’s degree in Computer Science and Human Computer Interaction under his belt, Michael left Copenhagen University to tackle advanced technical work within a number of Silicon Valley startups in Northern America.
It was while working as the president of a multimillion dollar custom software development company that the idea behind Sitecore first sparked. The goal was to develop a Microsoft-centric product which could both create and manage websites, thus transforming online experiences beyond that provided by current technology. With the help of four other tech-enthusiasts, Seifert initiated Sitecore, which would eventually take the market by storm.
Even the best ideas need money to drive them forward. In 2003 Sitecore received a multimillion cash injection from 13 private investors connected to investment organisation MVI Danmark, part of Merchant Venture Investments. These private investments were disbursed in accelerating the firm’s growth within Denmark as well as introducing Sitecore’s product to a number of North European countries.
Funding for the Future
The firm is mostly self-funded and has succeeded in making returns on its private investment from substantial profit margins. In late 2011, Sitecore received a large boost in investment from California-based private equity Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV). Finances were put towards increasing investment in R&D, enhancing marketing and sales as well as expanding the firm’s global outreach by opening new offices in Shanghai, Beijing and Singapore. Seifert recognized continuing product innovation as a vital element in earning the firm the deserved recognition from the industry. The mission thereon was to continue along the road of growth.
And so they did; in 2010 the firm celebrated rapidly rising annual revenues with a Year-over-Year growth of 40%. In 2013 Sitecore made profits of just over USD30 million (167,652,000 DKK ), quite an improvement on their 2012 turnover of under USD20 million (100,013,000 DKK).
In August 2012, Sitecore invested in Komfo, a social media marketing platform provider, integrating this with their own CEP to grant marketers insight and control of the customer experience within Facebook and other social networking sites.
All of the software and services offered by the firm, including their Sitecore Experience Platform (CEP), Web Content Management (WCM) and their Digital Marketing System (DMS), are built on .NET framework. Seifert believes that freedom from ‘hybrid technologies’ avoids unnecessary expenses and complexities, allowing them to supply products which are hassle-free and accessible to all.
Patent makes Perfect
Sitecore currently has 17 on-file applications. In the past year, two patents were awarded, the most recent being the Sitecore Human Experience Analytics U.S. patent. Filing patents has allowed the firm to protect and strengthen their market position, providing them with the best opportunity to gain profits from their inventions. As Sitecore is often developing and launching new and updated products, patenting has been a significant method by which to ensure that their advancements are recognized as Sitecore’s own intellectual property.
With their name on the sticker, Sitecore has gained widespread attention for their entrepreneurial spirit, awarded ‘Leader in 2012 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Web Content Management‘ and featured in KMWorld’s 100 Companies that Matter in Knowledge Management, amongst numerous other prestigious awards.
Not the End
As of yet, the company has not made their IPO, but, according to a lot of online speculation, this might be happening quite soon.
What was once a spark is now a raging fire: it is undeniable that Sitecore’s progress from startup to big-league player has been immense. With strategic planning, focused determination and an insightful understanding of the CMS and WCM industry, Sitecore has succeeded in securing a strong place in the market. As said by Alan Pelz-Sharpe of the 451 Research Group, “Based on Sitecore’s current performance, one would not want to bet against it.”
Our bets are all for Sitecore’s continued global growth and success, and their latest deal with L’Oreal suggests that the company is a sure bet.