Rudy Nadilo: I have a thought that is separate from what Tobi just said. A lot of people told me I was crazy to go work for the Swedes. When I joined, it was probably $2 million. There were more than 30 clients. I looked at this, not as a risk, but as a gift. I built companies from scratch and knew what it took. When you think about Tobi’s journey, he was all in. He put the horse, the farm, the pig, and the cow on the line.
I’m now launching into North America and I’ve got a list of clients that I can go to and say, “Hey, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Hilti, and KLM are using this software.” I’m actually able to show them examples of that. To those people, I was never that guy who could invent the thing. Tobi is the inventor. I have always prided myself in being able to take a product and figure out a way to package it, sell it, and grow it. For those people who are more on the marketing side, we’re still entrepreneurs. If you find something that excites you, that’s okay.
Sramana Mitra: People are tolerant of different levels of risk. If your tolerance for risk is more for when the product is ready, that’s a different stage of the company but that’s a find.
Rudy Nadilo: I just brought it up because so many people said that it’s risky.
Sramana Mitra: In terms of selling, were you selling direct all through or was there any kind of channel involved?
Rudy Nadilo: We sell direct. I started out doing everything. I had a lot of help from the folks in Sweden. We were very lucky in the beginning. In that first year, we did around $800,000 in revenue. In Sweden, there is nepotism. I suggested that we hire my son who is a kind of jack-of-all-trades. Tobi offered to send over a young man who was a real expert in the product. He came here and joined us.
It wasn’t a cakewalk. We had our challenges. There wasn’t a pile of money that was thrown at us. It was a very different mentality when you work that way. While it’s stressful, it’s also incredibly satisfying. It’s a really odd thing but in hindsight, you can really be proud of what you’ve done more so than if somebody just gave you $10 million.
Sramana Mitra: So the $7 million in revenue you did last year was all organically built? There is no external financing?
Rudy Nadilo: There’s some financing. I’ll let Tobi talk about that.
Tobi Andersson: We have some outside equity, but there is no significant outside equity in the company. With a starting capital of $25,000, we grew it to $800,000 the first year. In the second year, it was about $1.9 million. This year, it will be about $4 million. Total company is about $7 million.
Sramana Mitra: These are revenue numbers?
Tobi Andersson: Yes. $800,000 in the first year, $1.9 million in the second, and $4 million this year.
Rudy Nadilo: US is definitely the growth area. There’s all the logistics behind it – hiring people and finding the right people. When you have outside money, you can sit there and say, “We need 10 people, so let’s hire them.”
Tobi Andersson: We are only financed by cash from operations.
Sramana Mitra: That’s excellent.
Rudy Nadilo: And the credit line. Sweden has an incredibly friendly and very supportive economy as well as banking structure.
Sramana Mitra: With the kind of numbers you’re quoting – $7 million run rate with a reasonably long history of operating as a healthy growing concern – a lot of US banks would also give you plenty of credit lines at this point. But I get your point. You’re mostly organically grown and it’s wonderful to see that. It was great talking to you.