MADASTER IN BUSINESS
Author: Germien Cox, Madaster
The Madaster Foundation is governed by Board of Directors, consisting of Thomas Rau, Pablo van den Bosch, Ken Webster, Carol Lemmens and Lex de Boer. The foundation has a clear vision: to eliminate waste by giving materials their own identity. This vision strongly calls for publicly available insight into and overview of materials, components and products. It also calls for a valuable digital platform for anyone working with waste-free business models. Which organisation is allowed to develop, optimise and implement such a platform? How is this complex project being funded and what is its relationship with the Madaster Foundation? Time for a conversation with Martijn Oostenrijk, Director of Madaster Services B.V.
Over the past twenty years, Martijn Oostenrijk has earned his spurs as a business consultant and entrepreneur working in financial services. Since 1 February 2017, he has been heading Madaster Services, together with Ronald Eleveld. This management duo works closely with the Madaster Foundation. Martijn Oostenrijk explains: "The Madaster Foundation serves the public interest, while Madaster Services looks after the commercial interests. A formalised collaboration balances the two. The foundation supervises three Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): financial stability, the quality of service provisioning and corporate compliance. We have a biannual reporting obligation and, at the end of the year, the foundation issues recommendations for adjustments to policy and management. Ultimately, the foundation even has the authority to switch to another service provider.” It is therefore important to have those three KPIs well organised. Let’s examine this in more detail.
The platform has a very large amount of data at its disposal. Is it, therefore, fair to say that Madaster in fact is and will remain a register? Martijn Oostenrijk agrees: "Madaster, at its core, is and will stay the register of materials. However, collaborations with services and solutions partners enable the platform to also offer its users a variety of services and functionalities. Examples are the application of Building Information Modelling (BIM), the creation of validated contents (i.e. terminology), and calculating the environmental performance of buildings. In this way, Madaster is like the linchpin of the ecosystem of the companies it works with."
What is the difference between a services partner and a solutions partner? Martijn Oostenrijk explains: "The difference is in the content. A services partner provides services, whereas a solutions partner builds software functionalities for integration into the platform"
So, these partners are able to market their products or services via Madaster? Martijn Oostenrijk: "Yes, but on the condition that the products and services enhance the platform and present a possible added value for platform users in their circular operational management."
This sounds like an interesting sales channel for all those partners! Martijn Oostenrijk continues: "From a financial perspective, it can indeed be very interesting for organisations with products or services that could accelerate the transition towards a circular economy. But this is also important for us. Madaster Services is a business; it has a certain turnover and needs to control costs in order to survive. By 2021, the revenues are projected to outweigh the costs. In the meantime, we are managing our costs by applying for subsidies and attracting foreign capital. In addition, subscription formats and the partner programme create greater certainty about turnover."
How are services and solutions partners, in practice, contributing to Madaster’s turnover? Martijn Oostenrijk: "Partners pay an annual fee of € 1.995 and are obligated to introduce ten new users to the platform, every year." Prospective partners, therefore, need to be sales-driven, in addition to being willing to pay the financial contribution. Martijn Oostenrijk: "For Madaster Services, such partnerships are based on serious collaboration that is shaped by costs and revenues. This is vital, if we are to guarantee the future of the platform. A partner’s willingness to work with us on this point is essential and means that the partner fee can be recovered relatively easily and rapidly." Can you tell us how? Martijn Oostenrijk: "In the partner programme, we work with a commission-based system. In the first three years of each newly introduced subscriber, the introducing partners receive an annual percentage of the new subscriber’s subscription fee, of 40%, 20% and 20%, respectively. The average subscription fee is € 900, so by introducing a few new subscribers, partners can quickly recover their own partner fee."
Does this knife cut both ways? To put it differently, does Madaster Services also receive a certain commission for the products and services sold and provided via the platform? Martijn Oostenrijk: "No, Madaster Services does not make any money off the trading of products and services of the partners. For the simple reason that we wish and need to preserve our independence. A partnership, therefore, can never be exclusive." Madaster Services does not need the additional revenues that this would represent, to bridge the period up to 2021? Martijn van Oostenrijk replies: "I feel very confident about Madaster Services’ ability to achieve a very strong and healthy enterprise, on the basis of our current business model. An enterprise that, by developing a digital platform, will be able to make a crucial contribution to the creation of a waste-free world."