Hasselt, 1 november 2023 – Limburg’s Scapta, an app development company, achieved a major breakthrough when it successfully sold an e-commerce app to Microsoft. Founder Alex Vandereycken now aims to replicate this remarkable success story.
Established in 2015, Scapta had been operating as a medium-sized software company, catering to the needs of local businesses. Alex Vandereycken, a seasoned IT professional with a history of accomplishments at various IT firms, including co-founding Helios-IT, which was sold in 2008, served as a key figure within the organization.
When Microsoft began offering an array of cloud-based business applications, Vandereycken recognized an opportunity to leverage his expertise on a global scale. He envisioned bridging the gap between his e-commerce website, powered by Shopify, and Business Central, Microsoft’s cloud platform designed for SMEs to streamline their administrative processes. This vision materialized in the form of Scaptify, an app that acted as a seamless connector between the two systems.
Vandereycken introduced the connector for sale through Microsoft’s app store, and it became an instant hit. Companies from around the world eagerly downloaded Scaptify to automate their online sales through Shopify, integrating it with their billing systems. In 2018, Vandereycken took the bold step of launching a new venture, Scapta AppFactory, dedicated solely to developing business apps.
The Limburg-based app’s success did not go unnoticed by Microsoft. Over two years ago, Microsoft approached Scapta with a proposition: they wanted to develop their own Shopify connector but were also interested in acquiring Scaptify. Vandereycken made the strategic decision to sell the rights to his app, which boasted approximately 300 customers, to Microsoft, although the specific sum remains undisclosed. This sale also included e-commerce applications for the consumer market.
Today, Scapta has a new app, Scaptify Plus, designed for the B2B market where companies sell their products to other businesses. Vandereycken explains, “In this segment, we see a strong demand for a bridge between Business Central and Shopify Plus.”
With over 2 million active e-commerce sites worldwide, of which at least 10 percent have a B2B component, Vandereycken envisions significant growth potential. “If we secure a 1 percent market share in this segment, we’ll have 2,000 paying customers or an annual revenue of 12 million euros. And if we manage to capture 10 percent, just imagine the possibilities,” he adds.
Small team, global impact
Vandereycken emphasizes that in today’s app-driven economy, a small team can have a global impact and generate substantial revenue without the need for extensive international travel. Scapta currently employs 27 people, with a dozen working at AppFactory.
However, Vandereycken cautions that success does not come automatically. He underscores the importance of having a well-rounded team, including a robust marketing and help desk operation. He recalls the early days when they spent two to three hours daily addressing customer inquiries, highlighting the necessity for a team effort. He also points out that it takes time to become profitable, estimating that they required 300,000 to 500,000 euros to cover the first three years of operations.