Capitalmind Investec Fabulous 20 Staffing

Capitalmind Investec Corporate Finance Advisory regularly publishes the Fabulous 20, a list of the fastest growing privately owned staffing companies in the Netherlands. The historic growth of Brainnet  has been impressive, especially when comparing to the listed companies in this industry.

Brainnet’s position in the Capitalmind Investec Fabulous 20 Staffing, based on a revenue CAGR calculated over the three preceding years:

– in 2018 on the 14th position, with a CAGR of 27,9%
– In 2017 on the 29th position, with a CAGR of 15,3%
– In 2016 on the 35th position, with a CAGR of 7,5%

An interview with Brainnet: unconventional and independent

More than 22 years ago, Otto Verkerk founded his company. He wanted to organise supply and demand of his staff in a transparent way. Transparency through contracts, terms and conditions and pricing is still deeply rooted in the DNA of Brainnet. Brainnet has grown to be the largest independent Managed Service Provider of the Netherlands. “A Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a specialist who designs the entire hiring process of the staff, optimises it and resolves capacity needs for customers. The administration is done through an efficient system conforming to the legislations.” says Anne Meint Bouma.

“We unburden our clients and realise grip, insight and control on the complete hiring process. From searching and finding professionals, finding people for complete project teams, screening of professionals, drawing up of agreements, time registration, taking care of payments, performance-management of suppliers, risk hedging until real-time management information.”

You emphasize that you operate independently. How do you realize that? “We have no people employed with us who we second to clients. We are doing business with all employment agencies, temporary workers and self-employed people. We propose candidates and the customer chooses which professional to use. We will arrange everything around it. That way we remain independent. Most importantly, every professional gets an equal chance to get an assignment”.

What is your core business?  “We have traditionally been active in the IT sector, banking and insurance,” continues Anne Meint. “In recent years, our customer base has expanded to the construction, technology, energy, offshoring, industry, education and business services industries. We specialize in all forms of flex such as temporary employment, secondment, payroll, self-employed, SOW and international deployment.”

Why do clients choose you? “The laws and regulations related to the hiring of staff are complex. We have made this our profession. In addition, the economic situation has become less predictable and the scarcity on the labor market is increasing. Our customers see us as a strategic partner, who in today’s market advises on labour market developments, who can provide access to talent and at the same time manages everything concerning today’s hiring effectively and efficiently.”

How do you open the market?  “Through our platform, we have access to a network of thousands of suppliers of experts (such as temporary employment and secondment agencies) and independent professionals. This enables us to find the best available candidate. With our administrative process we also offer real-time (data) reports. This way our customers get a grip on their total hiring population.

The use of advanced VMS software is an important “enabler” for our services. We have our own IT department that develops and manages our own VMS software. We can link our system with almost all the financial and / or HR systems of our customers. We help both small and large organisations to design, manage and further professionalize their hiring process. ”Globalisation influences staff deployment. Do you also facilitate this? “Certainly, many of our clients are internationally active. A few years ago, we therefore set up an international deployment desk. If a client wants to second an employee to an organisation in Dubai, Kenya or Iran next week, we can facilitate the process.”

What is your acquisition policy? “Growth through acquisitions is not on our agenda. If it crosses our path, we will have a look at it. That applied to the acquisition of Myflex in 2015. In 2018, for example, we acquired several Novisource activities. We regard unburdening our clients as the core of our business. That is why we focus on the further development of our services, increasing the level of professionality of the organisation and the application of technology and data”.

What new initiatives do you develop? “We have recently set up a Belgian company; Brainnet.be. MSP services are on the rise at our southern neighbours. Some of our clients have branches in Belgium and besides that it is a very interesting search area for talent. In that sense, Belgium is a logical step.”

What is your position in the discussions about permanent and flexible work? “The flex market has been dealing with a less positive image for years. Fixed and flex are sometimes presented as opposites. We think that is wrong. It is our deepest conviction that there must be room for everyone at the labor market. We choose for the talent rather than the type of contract. We are in favor of developing a sustainable labor market. Therefore, it is important that clear laws and regulations are introduced. We consider the postponing of the amendment to the DBA Act, for example as very unpleasant. The entire market is searching for clarity.

We consider “good commissioning” as equally important. This means, for example, that you take flexible staff seriously in your organisation and agree on fair rates. We are happy to discuss these terms. That is why we started in 2015 with the EerlijkeFlex think-tank, which we set up through the HR Horizon seminar. We care about the future of work and how we organise it together to ensure a place for everyone.”

About Brainnet

Otto Verkerk started Brainnet in 1996. He left the company in 2011. Brainnet has 115 employees who all work in Nieuwegein. The management currently consists of:

  • Tjebbe van Oostenbruggen (employed by Brainnet since 2009), general director, responsible for the entire process, legal affairs and as an additional portfolio IT manager;
  • Sieneke Meij, (working at Brainnet since 2016) responsible for the financial administration;
  • Christoph van der Stelt (working at Brainnet since 2012) responsible for the account management and front office;
  • Anne Meint Bouma (working at Brainnet since 2013) responsible for sales, marketing and communication.

Revenue in recent years was:

2016: 260 million euro;
2017: 480 million euro;
2018: 757 million euro.

Interview: Hinke Wever, FlexNieuws in cooperation with Bart Jonkman, Marleen Vermeer and Maurits Odekerken, Capitalmind Investec Corporate Finance Advisory




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