Michael ’Monty’ Widenius investing in Finnish IT Mill
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Following in the footsteps of billion-dollar company MySQL
One of the founders of MySQL and a global guru of the open source code, Widenius is investing in Finnish IT Mill. MySQL was sold to Sun Microsystems last January for one billion dollars. IT Mill is intended to be a success story built on the open source code, following the formula of Finland’s Widenius.
IT Mill Ltd is the only company in the Nordic countries developing RIA (Rich Internet Applications) programming tools. Its approach in combining conventional service-centered Java technologies with Rich Internet Applications is unique in the world. The company has grown at an annual rate of 50% for the past three years.
“I’m confident that IT Mill will be a success. Its products are technologically attractive and no other company has them. Furthermore, the company has operated on the market for a long enough period of time. But, the most important is that IT Mill has a clear vision for its direction,” says Monty, listing the reasons for his investment. He will also sit on the company’s board of directors, as an adviser and shareholder, through his investment firm.
“Monty possesses a unique expertise. He played an instrumental role in taking a technology outfit with a staff of only a few people and turning it into a billion-dollar player on the global market. Monty’s involvement, his expertise and network will allow us to see farther and set our goals higher,” explains Joonas Lehtinen, CEO of IT Mill.
According to Monty, the most challenging aspect in the development and success of IT Mill and open source code is building a community of product users and customers around the company. Rules must be developed for this and they must be documented. He emphasises the two words key to building such a community: transparency and trust.
Monty believes that a company must be entirely transparent in order to form a community. In practice this means that users must know what direction the company is headed, how it intends on getting there and on what timetable.
Trust must be unconditional. All promises must be kept and the company has to be diplomatic with users, if, for example, changes are to be made in products. Linux, for example, managed to do this well.
“This is particularly crucial in the world of open source code and is also the reason for MySQL’s success,” says Monty.
Monty established an enormous community around MySQL that made it one of the most recognised brands among IT professionals in the world. We also want to use this recipe for success, with the assistance and guidance of the chef himself,” says Lehtinen.
Monty estimates that open source code can garner 30% of the Finnish software market. He sees 10-15 companies in Finland as potential investment targets.
Michael ”Monty” Widenius, mobile +358 400 603 271
CEO Joonas Lehtinen, +358 40 503 5001, firstname.lastname@example.org