On July 24, 2020, Skyberate Internet Services has been acquired by Total Webhosting Solutions, a conglomerate of European web hosting companies. Hogenhouck m&a advised Jeffrey Brussen and Sander Dingen, founders and owners of Skyberate, in this process.
Entrepreneurs since high school
The sale of Skyberate is the final step in an ‘entrepreneurial journey’ that goes back to the school benches in 2003. Jeffrey Brussen, owner and commercial director of Skyberate, reflects on these early days: “Sander and I have known each other since high school. We both decided to study in IT and this joint choice marks the very beginning of Skyberate. During our student years, we wanted to dig deeper into Linux and new open-source e-solutions for online applications. To learn more and gain practical experience, we decided to start Skyberate and host free game and chat services. Purely as a hobby in the beginning, but with our activities we soon ended up consuming the entire internet connection of Sander’s parents. We had to arrange that differently and we needed money to invest in a server and good data connections in a data center. We therefore proposed to our existing ‘customers’ to pay us a fee, in exchange for professionalising our services. Ninety-five percent of them said yes. And from that moment on, we were ‘in business’ as students.”
Websites for major brands and campaigns
Jeffrey continues: “After completing our IT study in 2007, we dedicated ourselves full-time on expanding Skyberate in the regular hosting market. In the following years we increased our market share with a number of acquisitions, which gave us a stable basis for future growth. We then decided to focus on hosting websites that required more complex solutions, for example those with large numbers of visitors from advertising campaigns by Heineken, Mars and Sultana, among others.
Focus on e-commerce hosting
When the e-commerce market started to grow, Skyberate focused on solutions for small and large webshops. Sander Dingen, CTO of Skyberate: “Since 2009, our focus has been on the Magento platform because it is a somewhat heavier platform and therefore more difficult to host. With a specific hosting solution for this area, we were able to capture a large market share of the Dutch Magento hosting market. In addition to Magento, we are now also well represented in the WordPress and Shopware sector. The challenge for us is to understand market needs and to keep renewing our services and quality of support. We’re now expanding our portfolio with our Kubernetes solutions.”
Not rushing into a deal
Rik Stikkelbroeck, managing partner of Hogenhouck m&a: “The e-commerce market has increased in size and importance in recent years. In 2020, this market in the Netherlands equals around € 30 billion. This explains the broad interest in hosting companies. It is important for our client that sufficient time and energy is invested in making the right choices in the process of selling the company. After all, the decision should be in the best interest for the owners as well as for the company’s next step.”
Teamwork with Hogenhouck m&a
Jeffrey continues: “We did our homework when it came to selecting an m&a advisor to help us, even though we had already spoken to potential buyers ourselves. However, selling your company is a complex process and we wanted to be able to rely on an expert in this field. I have learned a lot from the Hogenhouck team. The collaboration was intensive, with a good division of roles, from strategy to execution. We are very pleased with the process and the final result.”
Ecosystem for hosting companies
The former owners are confident about the future. Jeffrey: “We have transferred the company to TWS, an ecosystem in the hosting market that can help the company to expand, nationally as wel as internationally. For us personally, it means that we will be able to take up new challenges. I’m confident that new doors will open, when others are closed.”
Matthieu van Amerongen, CEO of Total Webhosting Solutions, about Skyberate: “Skyberate has managed to create a strong and distinctive position. Jeffrey and Sander have led the company with great passion, with a loyal and technically competent team that puts customers and quality first. We are pleased to welcome Skyberate to TWS.”