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Bootstrapping Using Services From Sweden: Dapresy Founder Tobi Andersson and CEO Rudy Nadilo (Part 5)

Posted on Monday, Aug 22nd 2016

Sramana Mitra: Were all the hundred customers, most of whom you transitioned into the new common platform, in Sweden? What was the geographical distribution of these clients? It sounds like you really remained close to them throughout this process.

Tobi Andersson: I’d like to make one correction. The number of customers were about 30 and they were all in Sweden.

Sramana Mitra: Geographically, it was a manageable thing to do for you to personally visit these customers.

Tobi Andersson: Yes. Nowadays with modern technology, everyone can achieve this even if you have customers around the globe. Another advice I have here is when you’re dealing with customers, turn on the video so that they can see you. They should be able to see your face and your body language.

Sramana Mitra: When you made the transition, was there any impact on your pricing strategy? How did that evolve?

Tobi Andersson: One of the reasons for doing this transition was that we’re creating an offering that would create the same value for less money. The average deal size, where it was $50,000 for the customized solution, went down to $1,500. I had the opportunity to maintain the software at a lower cost. Each new customer didn’t cost as much as the customized solution. This was a SaaS offering where I can easily have new customers without driving fixed cost.

Sramana Mitra: What year did you finish this transition?

Tobi Andersson: The transition was done by 2010. Then I started the next phase, which was to internationalize the company.

Sramana Mitra: What did you finish, revenue-wise, in 2010?

Tobi Andersson: It went down to $1.8 million.

Sramana Mitra: What was the internationalization journey in 2011? What were the immediate next steps? What did you want to do? How did you go about it?

Tobi Andersson: The reason I started to internationalize the company is I had some sales in the Netherlands. I knew the software worked. I decided that I will now create a three to four year plan on how to take Dapresy outside of Sweden. I designed my core markets. Very early on, I decided that I won’t be able to be there in all markets. I would focus on a few key markets. I decided that the key markets will be the UK, Germany, and North America. I also decided that I will not go after all these markets at the same time. We basically don’t have the bandwidth in the company.

The first market I went to was the UK. We started to, more or less, practice the same methodology in the UK as we have been doing in Sweden – investing a lot of time in building trust with potential clients. It went better than I had planned. I got one, then I got two customers. They started talking about us. All of a sudden, it just started to grow. I went to UK in 2011. Then in 2012 to 2013, I started in Germany. I started to generate revenues in these countries. I was also able to get global agreements with some global players.

Very quickly, I went from being only a Swedish company to have paying customers in 20 countries. From 2012 to 2013, I had only been able to cover the UK and Germany. We’re now looking to the US because I clearly see that the US is the future market for Dapresy. We have received some inbound calls from US customers, but were never successful in closing the deal.

I needed to be present in the US. This is also a very interesting story of how Dapresy got into the US. I started to try to get some funding to go into the US. I went to some local companies in Stockholm asking them to invest. Everyone of them told me, “We don’t think that the company is ready to do this. To go to the US will cost a lot and you will fail five times before you’re successful. We don’t see why we should invest in your company.”

I was very confident that I was going to be successful here. Sometimes things just happen for a reason in life. I was at a trade show in the UK. I demonstrated my product to a potential UK customer. All of a sudden, a guy approached me and talked to me. He said, “I can be your guy in US.” I said, “Truth be told, I don’t have money to give you. I have $50,000 as starting capital. Will you be able to do something from that?” That was Rudy.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Bootstrapping Using Services From Sweden: Dapresy Founder Tobi Andersson and CEO Rudy Nadilo
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