Success Tips

Digital Waves #9: Three success tips from Mayke Nagtegaal, COO, MessageBird – Silicon Canals

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On a mission to modernise and simplify the overcomplicated space of customer communication, Amsterdam-based startup MessageBird has come a long way, since its foundation in 2011. The Dutch startup is a leading cloud communications platform with its own telecommunications carrier infrastructure and connects over 15,000 enterprises to their global customers via the fastest and most reliable SMS, Voice and Chat APIs in the world.

Currently, MessageBird is powered by a world-class team of over 20 nationalities from offices in San Francisco, Singapore, Sydney, London, Hamburg, and Shanghai. Recently our founder, Ramco Janssen met Mayke Nagtegaal – the COO at MessageBird – where the ambitious female leader gave an exclusive insight into her company at European Women in Technology organised by Maddox. Read the article to find out the tips of this businesswoman about running a successful company.

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When asked to tell more about MessageBird, Nagtegaal was quite enthusiastic about the company having raised around €50 million of funding so far and becoming one of the biggest Dutch scaleups at the moment.

Nagtegaal said, “it sounded really easy. We have raised funding some time ago already, it’s been 1.5 years. And of course, it was a big thing for the company.”

“In 2017, MessageBird actually started accelerating and there was the first big institutional round. We were a team of around 30 people at that time and we are rapidly scaling up now.“

You can work from anywhere

“The garage is where it all started. Initially, as a tech company, you don’t need a lot, rather, you can work from anywhere in the world. But after the funding, the team was getting bigger so we needed more facilities and got more serious. If you’re building a company in a team, it depends on many circumstances but we showed that you don’t need a lot in order to be successful. And that is still in their DNA.“

Work culture thrives with diversity

“At MessageBird, right now we are close to 200 people and last year, 44% of the people we hired were women, without having any rules settled. MessageBird consists of over 30 nationalities, there are all kinds of languages going on a daily basis – Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, and we are open to it.”

Maintain the hiring balance

“Right now MessageBird team is much bigger, therefore alignments, communication, and HR are very important. We are indeed looking for someone to lead the HR team that truly believes in the company values, because, as soon as the company scales up, you have to set the priorities right. At the beginning of this year, we were only a handful of people, so it was not that important, but over time, we are now 200 people, so onboarding and off-boarding has now become crucial.

We are not hiring people just for hitting numbers or to be a big company. We are always focused on hiring engineering, sales teams, and business support functions. It should all be in balance. So if you have an HR department of 25 people, it’s too massive in comparison to the rest of the team. In the end, it’s all about balancing the team and the dynamics of the company.“

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