Why Wunderkraut - The Background
Discussions that finally lead to establishing Wunderkraut started already many years ago. European Drupal community is a relatively small bunch of people and talks on potential cooperation were started as soon as small Drupal shops started becoming real businesses. Owners of Drupal shops met multiple times every year and each time different topics were discussed. Everybody seemed to agree that closer cooperation would be a good idea but at the same time everybody was too busy in running the daily business to actually do anything about it.
More detailed discussions on a large scale cooperation got started late February 2012 at Drupal products meetup in Rome. At that point myself and Thomas Barregren from NodeOne had both talked to other shops about closer cooperation. At that point NodeOne and Mearra were two largest Drupal-only shops in Europe and starting with two of us felt natural. At that point we had a short list of companies to get onboard: Krimson from Belgium, Mearra from Finland, NodeOne from Sweden, Wunderkraut from Germany - and one from the UK.
All companies involved in the discussions were closely aligned as far as company culture, provided services or customer verticals were concerned. Some strengths of the companies were fully shared, others complimentary. There was really nothing that would cause obvious conflict in closer cooperation. Having 140+ people physically in nine different European countries was naturally a challenge because of different national cultures. However quite few of the people already knew each other through the Drupal community so the potential for cultural conflict was nothing new at this point.
Discussions on the cooperation were prioritized by all companies and took a lot of management time during the spring. Before summer we had considered number of different options for cooperation starting from strategic alliance and ending up in merger. After careful consideration we decided before the summer that there was most to be gained by merging the companies. At this time it became clear the UK company wouldn't be able to be part of the merger.
During the late spring and summer we finalized all major things that had to do with merger and operations after the merger. Our basic plan was that very few things change after the merger and we change things one by one. We did not want to break anything that was already working, the plan was to instead start working on the synergies one by one.
Going public with the plans at DrupalCon Munich was a natural thing to do for us. We are deeply integrated into the Drupal community and we wanted everybody in the community to know that great things are happening. The reaction of the community was quite overwhelmingly positive and we were really proud to finally go public with our plans!