Camilla Ley Valentin, Co-Founder of Queue-It, tells a wonderful story of capital-efficient
entrepreneurship, including scaling a company born in Denmark that now has 40%
of its business in the US.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s
start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you
born and raised? What kind of background?
Camilla Ley Valentin: I come from a
creative family. My father was a child TV star back in the 70’s and 80’s, which
was when I was born in 1973. At that time, you can imagine that there weren’t
many TV stations in Denmark where I’m from. We were part of a mini celebrity
family and worked a lot in the entertainment industry.
and I would sometimes participate as performers. Both of my parents were also
writers and published books. My father was also a music composer and a pianist.
He was a cartoonist and did animated films as well. It was a mix of businesses
that I grew up in. We lived in a small town in the northern part of Zealand,
which was about an hour out of Copenhagen.
we moved to Copenhagen, which is where I spent my teenage years. Following
that, I started working within the ocean shipping industry at the early age of
19. I joined the management training program in the biggest company in Denmark,
Maersk Line, which is a shipping company. I worked for them internationally for
about six or seven years before I moved into IT and internet.
Sramana Mitra: What
did you do for Maersk?
Camilla Ley Valentin: I worked in
ocean shipping. I did that as my training and also did management training. So
the way that it worked at that time in the company is that you switched jobs
every one or two years completely. I probably had four different jobs in that
time frame. Most of them were within container ocean shipping and freight. We
were moving stuff inside of containers in different parts of the world.
everything from managing the repair of the containers to positioning the
containers around the world. I was managing a small team. For one project, I
worked in the US deck porters. That team was handling freighting for ocean
shipping going to South America. In the mix of many different things, this is
the way that the company operated.
Interesting. I grew up in a shipping family. My father founded one of the first
continent shipping lines in India. When you said you did shipping for a few
years, I was curious what you were doing. What happens after that?
Camilla Ley Valentin: At that time, I
lived in the US and worked in the office over there. I wanted to go back and
settle in Denmark. I made that decision and quit the job. I’d been there for
six or seven years, which is a relatively long time at a young age. It was my
first job. I thought I needed a change.
worked in the US, in addition to my main job as a team lead, I was engaged in a
lot of IT and internet projects. In the late 90s, a lot of the business was
moving online. We were chasing a lot of the services that people and customers
would normally access by dialing into the service center. People would
generally look information up at work for the company. But then we moved all
these services online so that customers of the shipping company could look
information up for themselves.
engaged in a lot of IT projects and I thought it was very interesting. I
decided that I wanted to move into IT and then do something that had to do with
IT and the internet. I moved back with that objective and worked temporarily
for Accenture for a while where I did graphic support and a lot of the