Mendeley’s Founders Credit their Philosophy for its Success

Mendeley is a database that allows people to share and locate research papers.  Its size and scope are impressive; users have uploaded over 300 million documents to it.  Similar to the way software programs can analyze the type of music a user likes and use this analysis to suggest songs to the user, Mendeley can direct researchers to papers they might find useful.

In April 2013, publishing company Elsevier acquired Mendeley for an unspecified amount. Initial reports indicated that the price was $69 to $100 million dollars, but some experts speculated that the price could have been as low as $50 million dollars.

Mendeley is the product of three entrepreneurs: Victor Henning, Jan Reichelt, and Paul Föckler.  Their story is typical enough for entrepreneurs who eventually strike it rich: they invested money in their startup on 2006 and were fortunate enough to obtain backing from “angel” investors.  But as a Financial Times article reported, the trio owes part of their success to their philosophy of having open (and often heated) discussions when determining a next step for the business.  As Reichelt says, “We have an agreement that we always sort things out ourselves first before moving forward.”  Frequent communication was another key; at some points, the three men lived in different locations, but they had a weekly discussion through Skype to discuss Mendeley.  Henning’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs working as a team is to work with each other beforehand to get a sense of whether they can stick together through tough times.

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