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Bootstrapping to $200 Million: Jorn Lyseggen, CEO of Meltwater (Part 6)

Posted on Sunday, Aug 30th 2015

Sramana Mitra: The sales model was inside sales, I presume, because of the price point that you quoted, yes?

Jorn Lyseggen: Correct.

Sramana Mitra: Obviously, you’ve grown at a very nice rate. You’ve self-financed this business. What else have you done from a strategic point of view that has helped you achieve this kind of success?

Jorn Lyseggen: At the core of what we have been doing at Meltwater is a very strong focus on culture. Culture is very important part of what we do. Back in business school when the professor came and talked about the importance of culture, I remember how oblivious I was of that. It just seemed very fluffy. Over the years, the more I worked with teams, it became clear to me that culture is really critical.

Sramana Mitra: How do you describe the culture that you have developed? What are the highlights of the selling points of the culture that you have developed?

Jorn Lyseggen: Our culture is built around our core values. Our first core value is a Norwegian word called moro, which means fun. We chose that because we don’t think it’s possible to become world-class unless you really enjoy what you’re doing. The second value we’ve chosen is the Norwegian word en, which means number one. We are very ambitious as a company and we want to become the global leader in our space. The third value is the Norwegian word respekt which translates to the same word in English. The reason why we chose that is, it’s important how we become number one. It needs to be done with integrity and respect.

If you take each of the first letter of those words, you get the fourth word which is mer, which is a Norwegian word that means more. More was chosen as the fourth value for continuous improvement. One of the sayings that we have is we celebrate our victories, but we don’t rest on our laurels. Those are the values that we built the organization around. Beyond that, from the get-go, the company has been very focused on people. For example, the first five years of the company’s development, we have been very passionate about people and recruiting the right people. For the first five years, I met more than 3,000 people face to face in recruitment during the first five years. I spent more than 50% of my time during the first five years recruiting.

We were obsessed about finding the right people. I chose people who I was passionate about and who inspired me. Those people entered the company and became key executives in the company. They, in turn, hired people who inspired them. To me, that has definitely been a key part of how we have grown as a company. A big part of it has also been we promote and develop from within. If you look at executives and managers within Meltwater, a vast majority of them have been promoted. Particularly when it comes to the business side, they’re almost exclusively people who joined the company relatively young and have proven themselves and gone up the ranks. At a very young age, they ran large organizations and big P&L responsibilities.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Bootstrapping to $200 Million: Jorn Lyseggen, CEO of Meltwater
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