Two years ago, the executives of software startup Mendix elected to relocate to Boston to better tap the region's well of investors and tech workers. On Thursday, that decision paid off with a $25 million investment from Boston venture capital firm Battery Ventures.
Mendix helps businesses make their own mobile apps, and the additional funding will allow it to add to its local workforce and become a larger player in the technology economy.
The company has grown quickly since arriving from the Netherlands in 2012. It is moving into a new office in Boston's Innovation District in February that has enough room for the company to double its staff of 35 during the next year, said chief executive Derek Roos. So far, Mendix has raised a total of $38 million and has about 150 employees globally.
Mendix was one of the first software companies to help business customers develop and deploy mobile and Web apps. For instance, Liberty Mutual Insurance used Mendix to build an app for its customers to update insurance information. Other Mendix clients include Genzyme Corp., Sprint Corp., and Dun & Bradstreet Inc.
While smartphone users are accustomed to the rapid pace of mobile app development, corporations increasingly want to innovate and release new digital products at the same speed, said Michael Brown, general partner at Battery Ventures, who is also becoming a member of Mendix's board of directors.
''The expectation of the business users is that development should move as fast as the App Store does," said Brown.
Companies such as Mendix offer businesses tools that speed up the development of software applications, and get them into the hands of employees or customers much faster.
Even though Mendix has already established itself in Europe and is just beginning to break into the United States, it faces competition from big software companies such as IBM Corp. and Microsoft Corp., according to a recent report on the sector from Gartner Inc., a research firm.
The Boston area is a top choice of many European-born software companies looking to expand stateside. Another Battery Ventures investment, the French marketing software company Neolane Inc., did the same thing when it opened in Newton in 2007. Last year, it was sold to Adobe Systems Inc. for $600 million.