Hortonworks investing in major international growth to cut reliance on U.S. market

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Hortonworks is planning a major international expansion this year as it looks to become less reliant on its core North American market.

The vendor of big data services and support based on open source technologies is putting its money where its mouth is, with new president Raj Verma vowing to invest 95 percent of new headcount spend on international growth over the coming year.

Speaking at the DataWorks Summit in Munich this week the new VP of international at Hortonworks, Joe Morrissey, told Computerworld UK that the investments will be on growing its sales capability globally, including doubling its sales force in major markets across EMEA, APAC and the Middle East.

Verma reiterated that London will remain the company’s international headquarters post-Brexit, after moving into new premises near Liverpool Street station in 2015. However, Verma admitted that if key customers flee the city he will have to follow. “If Deutsche Bank goes to Frankfurt, I will have to hire more staff in Frankfurt,” he said.

Morrissey said that the UK is a key market for the company and that he is planning on tripling the sales force in London this year.

Hortonworks is looking at ways to cut its operating deficit, recording 2016 revenues of $184.5 million (£148 million) at a net loss of just over $251 million (£200.9 million).

The company is looking to create more packaged solutions to ease adoption of its technology and will be trying to diversify where its billings come from, with 80 percent currently originating in North America.

Morrissey, who was formerly a vice president at open source vendor MongoDB, has set himself a target of getting that down to an even 50-50 for North America compared to international and has set his sights on a range of international hubs.

Morrissey said: “For me the priority markets are always going to be the UK, DACH (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), Nordics, Benelux and France, but all of the other markets in South Europe, Middle East and Africa are really important too.”

But does he think that 50-50 target is achievable? “I think it is absolutely attainable,” he said. “It isn’t going to happen overnight but if we get international revenue to 35 percent this year I would be really happy.

“Ultimately I think anything less than 45 percent would be disappointing for me, but I think we can get there pretty quickly. I think part of it is just about presence and entering markets where we haven’t had a focus in the past.”

This story, “Hortonworks investing in major international growth to cut reliance on U.S. market” was originally published by
Computerworld UK.