The 12th edition of the Main Software 50 Benelux ranking reflects the wide and increasing adoption of SaaS models in - and resilience of - the software industry. Despite continued economic uncertainty and relatively high inflation, the Top-50 software companies in the Benelux are consistently performing well with average revenue growth of 24%. This year's winners are Textkernel, Refinery89 and WoodWing.
The Main Software 50 is the leading ranking of the most successful, privately held software companies in the Benelux. The first ranking was published in 2012 to draw attention to the important but often underexposed enterprise software industry. Leading software investor Main Capital Partners indexes the hundreds of companies that apply each year based on seven company-level metrics: revenue, revenue growth, profitability, cloud- and SaaS-based revenue, recurring revenue, international revenue and revenue from partner channels. The results were verified by independent research firm Dialogic.
More and more revenue coming in via SaaS
The 2021 and 2022 financial data show that the average contribution of SaaS (software as a service; software solutions delivered via subscription models) to the revenue of the top-50 players on the list rose to 85%, up from 81% in the previous edition. Bram Kaashoek, Partner and Chief Operating Officer at Main Capital Partners, says: “In recent years, more and more companies have moved from on-premise to cloud solutions with an associated Software as a Service business model, which has led to an increase in the percentage of recurring revenue. This says something about the robustness of software companies’ business models and the predictability of their revenue streams. Software companies build more resilience to market dynamics such as rising inflation, while companies that work a lot on project basis experience significantly more impact when the market conditions get worse.”
Main Capital saw a remarkable number of software companies operating in solid end markets in this year’s bids, including software for healthcare, HR, financial-administrative work processes and mobility. After two years of strong growth in almost all software segments, driven by digitalization processes due to Covid-19, Main Capital now sees mostly bidders from markets with a long-term underlying digitalization trend. However, economic uncertainty even makes the 50 best-performing software companies somewhat reserved: recruitment and hiring slowed down in the software industry (22% FTE growth in 2022 compared to 32% in 2021), although an FTE growth of 22% remains significantly high; again underlining the stability of the software market.
Winners Main Software 50 Benelux Awards 2023
Five awards were presented at the award ceremony: the Overall Champions Award for the top three, the Highest Growth Award for the company (with more than 1 million euros in revenue) with the highest revenue growth and the Main Accelerator Award for the start-up (founded within the last 5 years and with revenue less than 1 million euros) with the highest revenue growth.
Enterprise information management software company WoodWing managed to secure third place. Digital advertising software company Refinery89 participated for the first time this year and climbed straight to 2nd place in the rankings. This year’s No. 1, Textkernel, which uses AI to improve the matching of candidates and vacancies in recruitment processes, achieved a first place in the ranking for the second time.
In addition to familiar faces, there were also numerous new entrants who signed up for this year’s leading ranking. Document automation software company, Datamask walked away with the prize. Lastly, Belgian software company for building and property management Keypoint has won this year’s Highest Growth Award. The Highest Growth Award is presented to the company that managed to achieve the highest revenue growth between 2021-2022.
“This year the Main Software 50 takes into account the Belgian market for the second time. We see many innovative and profitable software companies from Belgium this year. In both countries there is a healthy software industry, which contributes significantly to competitiveness, thus strengthening the resilience of the Benelux economy,” Kaashoek concluded.
In both countries there is a healthy software industry, which contributes significantly to competitiveness, thus strengthening the resilience of the Benelux economy
Read more about other recent acquisitions or mergers within the Main network.