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London Rabobank developer seeks success in the Valley

Co-founded a company that today employs hundreds of people

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A developer that used to work for one of the world’s largest investment banks is trying his hand at a tech start-up in Silicon Valley after failing to acquire the capital required to launch the company in London.

Ross Mason co-founded a software company called Mulesoft when he left his job as an IT architect at Rabobank in 2005, following a particularly painful project that involved connecting seven backend systems.

“We had vendor products which we were working against and they weren’t helping us at all,” he told Techworld in San Francisco last week.

“When I started the Mule project, the goal was really to create a new type of integration platform built by developers, for developers. Thinking about the problem from a developer standpoint.”

Mulesoft’s Any Point platform is designed to help developers with service-oriented architecture (SOA), SaaS integration and APIs.

It’s been built to give developers the freedom to connect what they want, when they want, whether it's on-premises or in the cloud.

Mason said the idea for Mulesoft was first contrived in 2003 while he was working for Rabobank but he didn’t launch it until 2005 because he was waiting for the concept to gain enough traction. 

The business was launched in San Francisco because there was not enough capital available in London in 2005, according to Mason.

“The investment firms [in London] were much more risk averse and they really wanted me to pull a lot of pieces together to make a viable company,” said Mason. “I realised that if I was going to start a company like this I would have to go to San Fran or Silicon Valley where people will place bigger bets on you.”

Mulesoft, which today employs several hundred people, is now expanding into Europe and Mason said the EMEA region is now growing just as fast as North America, the company’s leading market at present.

The majority of Mulesoft’s engineering is done across the company’s offices in San Francisco and Buenos Aires where Mulesoft employs approximately 150 people and 100 people respectively.

But sourcing talented engineers in San Francisco can be difficult when developers demand salaries up to $200,000 (£140,000) a year.

Mason said: “Facebook and Google set artificially high prices on engineers. We don’t do that. What we do is find people who really want to solve this problem. That’s the way we get around it.”


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