Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics

#63: Christian Lanng CEO of Tradeshift

November 28, 2019 Season 1 Episode 63
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics
#63: Christian Lanng CEO of Tradeshift
Chapters
Leaders in Supply Chain and Logistics
#63: Christian Lanng CEO of Tradeshift
Nov 28, 2019 Season 1 Episode 63
Radu Palamariu

Christian Lanng is CEO, Co-founder, and Chairman at Tradeshift. He started his first technology company at age 19 and was the youngest Head of Division in the Danish Government, National IT and Telecom Agency, where he co-founded and led the Danish Nemhandel Project (EasyTrade), the world’s first open-source peer-to-peer trade platform.

Discover more details here.

Some of the highlights of the episode:

  • How Tradeshift started in a garage in Denmark
  • Connecting 90% of the companies in Denmark through easyTrade
  • Going in 100 countries within 6 months
  • How Tradeshift differs from its competitors
  • “Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint”

Follow us on:
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Show Notes Transcript

Christian Lanng is CEO, Co-founder, and Chairman at Tradeshift. He started his first technology company at age 19 and was the youngest Head of Division in the Danish Government, National IT and Telecom Agency, where he co-founded and led the Danish Nemhandel Project (EasyTrade), the world’s first open-source peer-to-peer trade platform.

Discover more details here.

Some of the highlights of the episode:

  • How Tradeshift started in a garage in Denmark
  • Connecting 90% of the companies in Denmark through easyTrade
  • Going in 100 countries within 6 months
  • How Tradeshift differs from its competitors
  • “Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint”

Follow us on:
Instagram: http://bit.ly/2Wba8v7
Twitter: http://bit.ly/2WeulzX
Linkedin: http://bit.ly/2w9YSQX
Facebook: http://bit.ly/2HtryLd

Speaker 1:
0:00
Hello and welcome to THE LEAD business luncheon podcast. I am your host right Apollo Murray managing director of the mobile. Our mission is to connect this planet an ecosystem globally by bringing forward the most interesting leaders in industry.
Speaker 2:
0:15
It it's my pleasure to have you with us today. Christian Lange who is the CEO of trade shift trade ship drive supply chain innovation for the digitally connected economy. They raised about 400 million USD and are currently valuation at one point of 121 billion and they are one of the leaders in supply chain payments in marketplaces by helping buyers and suppliers digitize all their trade transactions collaborate on every process and connect with any supply chain and they currently have more than one point five million companies across 190 countries that use their platform to process over half a trillion U.S. dollars in transaction of value making it actually the largest global business net of people buying and selling.
Speaker 1:
1:02
Christine is the CEO co-founder and chairman and he has a very interesting story. He has studied his plus technology company at age 19 and was the youngest head of division in the Danish government on the national I.T. until the agency where he co-founded then led the Danish now funded project is it right which was the first open source yet to be a tech platform. So Christian pleasure to have you with us today. And thanks for making the time.
Speaker 3:
1:29
Oh it's awesome to be here and thank you so much for having me.
Speaker 4:
1:33
Super and I actually start you were. I feel good about this. This part of the order in your history age 19 you started an easy train peer to peer train platform as part of the Danish government. Tell us a little bit about that.
Speaker 5:
1:49
Yeah I know exactly two different moments. So maybe I had to stop by it by separating it. I did start a thought on my first company when I was 19 but we did. We work at a very different space. We worked on on the first iteration of mobile browsers. We're happy to have at that time some pretty big customers you know in 99 when the first version of mobile Internet was all the rage in Europe but it was later it was say that life I was a little bit older when we started straight and E-Trade was doing his government's trade platform and that was probably the very first purely Internet based protocol for trade and open source everybody could download it and just join in and that was around. I think we're 20 so I was 27 so. So yeah I'm 10 years later from my first company but they're both really really interesting project. Back in the day.
Speaker 4:
2:48
No absolutely. And I mean I'm guessing that the from easy trade we kind of helped you jump and start trade shoots. So maybe tell us a little bit about the story of trade shift how you created in how we evolved. I know that you are sharing the story of starting it in your own garage which is a fairly good place to be in Denmark in the winter time and in spring and in autumn I guess then a little bit of Europe. But tell us a little bit about that face you've started.
Speaker 5:
3:20
I think the general advice about starting a company Nick Ross is a great idea. If you live in California let's say you live in Denmark. But we did it anyways and I think it maybe motivated us to work really really fast because if you're all in there even getting an office was a good idea. So we could get some heat. I think look I belong to the Internet generation in many ways. We're very lucky we've got world wide web. While I was in high school and you know we got to play around with this stuff very really you know and and what was very clear to me like a need to if you want off of the Internet was there was so much potential getting and connecting people and connecting things. And when you restarted the straight back in 2004 we had a very very similar vision which was the easier it would be for companies to connect and do business together.
Speaker 5:
4:14
Less the less friction that would be in that process the better it would be for the economy. Right. And it was actually a fairly provocative thing in 2004. I would eat my networks and others been doing what they've been doing for many many different years and fairly high complexity and connecting companies and running trade across a different supply chains. So so in a way E-Trade was a real sort of pioneer platform. We managed to connect almost 90 percent of the companies in Denmark to the platform. It was open source companies like Microsoft Oracle etc. all adopted the protocols and the standards and it became the foundation for the union project Keppel which some listeners might have heard about which is sort of the yuppie level version of E-Trade which is also a project to standardize trade and invoicing across all of the borders.
Speaker 6:
5:08
Right. So I think when we started tracing that exit came from from all of those lessons but also I think that's a pretty strong vision and even idealism. If you're one which is a that there shouldn't be any friction for companies to correct and do business together it should be as similar yes to connecting on LinkedIn. And while the easiest trading for people focused a lot on the technical standards where we build trades. If we said Okay now we can take all of those lessons that we have from those projects but apply a different mindset of really just having one platform where everything just works out of the box. You don't need to be a technical genius to figure it out. What if you have a company somewhere let's say in SD India needs to do business with the North American company. Can you make that as easy as clicking three times in the mouse and saying yes.
Speaker 6:
5:59
And if we can do that and we can take out most of the cost of that system we're going to be building a better very last network of trade. So that was the starting point and that's where we started out with Tracey as well. And you know this is proof correct. Right. So so within six months of starting trade if it had spread to 100 countries and really it was the job of all of the amazing sellers who joined the platform and with the advice of their customers that their sales to the platform we just grew organically out of the box. Right.
Speaker 4:
6:28
So in three months you said you reached 100 countries. Six months six months. Still six months.
Speaker 3:
6:36
Yeah. We were sitting. We were sitting with Google Translate tried to figure out what to look for these traits of beliefs. Right. Because we had no idea.
Speaker 7:
6:44
That's incredible. That's incredible hungers. And I mean this I mean I guess there's the viability of invoicing right. I mean you need to issue invoices and you know everybody has different providers and different suppliers worldwide.
Speaker 4:
6:59
But tell us a little bit. I want to get the profile of your plus customers right so I'm on the executive search business and something business I have 15 20 people on our payroll and to suppliers and then you also work with really large you know the actual logistics of manufacturing companies that have thousands and thousands of people. Can we all access your platform is there a limit. Tell us a little bit about the proposed plans and how you help them.
Speaker 3:
7:24
Yes. So I'll go next. I mean if you think about historically software especially business software has always been made to a certain size of company like Oracle and you sell to the big guys you know seats and quick books sell to the smaller guys and the players in between don't want that. Right. So it's all been segmented by size. And that makes a lot of sense when you think about software that's running inside the firewall of that company. When we start talking about trade it doesn't make a lot of sense because trade networks are sort of across all sizes of companies right. If you're a huge fortune 500 company it's only to have 10 to 50000 suppliers of all sizes from the guy that cuts the grass on your campus somewhere in Asia to to the P.C. manufacturer that leverage the core a proximity pieces that you're using inside your offices right.
Speaker 3:
8:15
So so in a way a truly successful supply chain network needs to be able to seamlessly connect and do business for companies of all sizes and that's a super interesting challenge right. Because the software and what we found was you know what if we make the software easy enough simple enough fast enough to understand for the guy that the king of windows are a conduit grass that actually all the benefits the enterprise user and inside the big enterprise. So this notion that you need complexity to serve the big guys. I actually think most of these wrong the simpler and easier you can make things easier and better. The software will work in almost all cases.
Speaker 7:
8:56
So let's take some examples let's maybe give us. I don't know if you want to segregate that but give us some examples of some kinds that you're working with you can specify names if you can.
Speaker 4:
9:07
And how specifically did you know cut their time complexity maybe if you have some tangible metrics that you saw improve after they started using fiction.
Speaker 5:
9:17
No I mean so sort of 30 days right we built the Tracy network that was the first big tool we built. And it looks and feels a lot like Kingdom. Anybody can join. You can go jogging with your business tomorrow create a profile for your company start doing business with your customers to the platform all for free. But then you know year off when we launched. We started getting inbound leads from some of the largest companies in the world that says we keep getting suppliers pinging us if we can do business and trade ship. Do you guys have any enterprise tools. Because we have thousands and thousands of studies that we need to manage. And you know being great entrepreneurs the BEA obviously said yes showed up and I talked to them about what they use cases that will be quickly found out was for them it was really about managing the whole enterprise payment process.
Speaker 5:
10:06
So I like everything from KYC of onboarding a seller making sure that the levels complied within the countries that were doing business then running into kind of transactions between the buyer and the seller. That could be a purchase order both payment and logistics message and making sure those were compliant. Right. Maybe you live in Holland or your company is headquartered in Holland but just shipping from Germany and you're sending the goods to France but during voicing Holland will accent those different beauty roles that if you're a merchant from Germany. And so Isabelle was a big big complicated problem if you have 50 thousand suppliers and a fortune 500 company right. And then all the way out to the working capital capsule payment piece and pay out and what we thought was when we started that was that across 10 to 15 different tools you add a special software for KYC and massive data management you would have software for compliance and tax you would have software approvals workflow your software if lyrics insights you would have different platforms for the working capital.
Speaker 6:
11:07
But it was all connected to the same problem which was really managing your enterprise payment flow on a global level. So when we built the traits of a platform that sits on top of our network we're the first I think in the industry to sort of correct all of the dots between these many different sort of separate processes. And that became our first enterprise grade product. And you know if you look at the general product we have problems of all sizes using that all over the world. If you look at trusted paid they have more than six and a pleasant surprise. Customers want a hundred and five other customers in that platform and they're pretty much within every single industry you can imagine logistics retail manufacturing finance professional services. It really doesn't matter. We'd be a pessimist both when all of these industries but also with a global reach. Today we serve customers in more than 190 markets from the treaty to pay platform so we comply. Pretty much everything country you can imagine the world and that's sort of a big problem solver for the CFO because they don't need to go and to 50 different tools to solve this problem on a global level right.
Speaker 4:
12:17
Absolutely. It's it's a it's a major help and I need I want to ask you the million dollar question because you mentioned that just suddenly from a free model you attracted lots of lots of smaller enterprises. Then you ended up selling to the bigger boys because they were knocking on the. Those were incredible good problems. How do you make money. How do you can't ignore the ties. Is it monetizes as normal software. I mean how does you make money.
Speaker 6:
12:49
Yes. So first off you know just let it go on the whole the big guys knock on the door. I think when you're a small startup you always wish oh my God I wish I had three Fortune 500 companies as customers and you know that's my biggest dream and then you get three four and five on a company. It costs companies as customers go like Oh my God I wish I didn't have them. So you must be so proud of them. But I think we were a small 70 betting company. It almost killed the company right. So you're really there's a lot of things you have to solve and need to solve it a whole different scale when you search these guys. But today obviously it's super proud of living to be skies but it was not built out of growing pains. That that's for sure right.
Speaker 6:
13:31
So so back to your question and business model right. Nick I pretty much and I'm probably a little provocative here. I pretty much think the industry has gotten it completely wrong over the last twenty five years. Right. So the nexus of almost every single business model in this industry has been you pay per transaction and the sellers pay. Right. So if you take something like that happen at work you pay five to ten thousand dollars to join then you pay 15 to 20 basis points for every single transaction and the buyer obviously also pays something. But if you look at the total revenues it's a fraction compared to what the sellers are paying over. Right. And I think that generates some deep problems because you know if I go to my customer and say Hey of course you my customer but I'm earning more money on your suppliers but I am a new who's really the customer and what's the alignment right.
Speaker 6:
14:27
From a vendor perspective I'll tell you. OK I'll long wanted 10 percent of the supply because that's aligned with me right. They have 50 percent of their contracts and so there's some obscure volume no game that's going to solve the most acute transactions you're going to be happy. But in reality that's not really how it works right. It's it takes some of my large customers and we analyze various acts of the cost from the supply base. It might be that the 10 percent lots of suppliers is 50 percent of your transactions but they're certainly not 50 percent of your costs because they know what they're doing they know how to something works correctly. They know how to use those all of these things. But if you look at the tail end you know thousands and thousands of suppliers that will call to ask about the invoice to make mistakes the main voices are the transactions who have an issue.
Speaker 6:
15:12
Should be cost far more than the last guys. So but the incentive loans are not aligned in the classical business model. It's the seller's you pay and per transaction. So we've done something very different. We tell our customers one it's complete free for sellers because that's in your interest. That way we can maximize that to the station of the supply chain which is what you should wish for. We want to make every single cell in your supply chain as digital as possible. And number two our business case is performance based. But enterprise customer. So we say if we can you know we'll guarantee that we can hit a certain titration degree at your supply chain and you will pay us a flat rate over three to four years if we hit that target. Right. So. So we think clearly more than be disruptive on the technology there when we actually have to disrupt the commercial model by keeping completely free to sell us and to making the pricing better very transparent and performance are aimed at the buyers.
Speaker 6:
16:11
It's clear that your CFO. OK. This is the value and you don't. From an ongoing perspective you don't create that friction in onboarding the Celeste to the solution right. If you're using a sort of traditional solution from one of our competing providers right. I mean every single roll out. Got to stop with a call to the supply we have bad news and we have bad news The bad news is we're going to switch over to electronic business. Another bad news is you're not going to be paying a lot of money just for telling a customer that that they owe you money versus a call from from from the customer Salon platform which is bad news and good news the bad news is going to switch over to did so and that could be a little troublesome if you're not used to before. But the good news is it's completely free.
Speaker 6:
16:58
Take care of the migration we take care the integration and you don't have to think about the pain point and the recent. This could work at scale. It's obviously that we are two or three generations ahead of technology and wants to be solutions started out. So it's not true it's not true sort of classic where you want it to be necessarily that that a lot of these networks they charge it's just if you're a technology platform is 15 20 years old but it cost a lot to operate all of these transactions that cost a lot to operate all of this support you have around the brands we have automated most of the setup process automate most of the integration process for the suppliers and we are on a modern sort of very next generation cloud since the transaction. It's not the biggest part of our cost. So. So we've been able to take away most of that cost that was part of that process and that really create a much more frictionless onboarding so. So that's the basis for my business my line.
Speaker 4:
17:52
I'm sorry I'm going to break here is this something I'm incredibly passionate about so can probably here and I'll let you follow up times in Q3 it's indefinite definitely they can feel the passion in your voice and also I'm processing the information as I used to work for a big software company and and it is true that the models have been fairly standard like even in my question asked you like the general efforts of the company right. So so intrigued and I would look further into the into the model because it makes a lot of sense right charge for value and also the fact that all the senators are not charged makes it much much easier for that onboarding which brings me to the point of asking you point blank if you may as a PR reborn right. Probably one of your biggest competitors or frenemies or whatever you want to call it.
Speaker 5:
18:42
We've heard about them.
Speaker 4:
18:42
Yeah you're right. I also had one of them slightly bossy and that was the difference between Trichet and CPR.
Speaker 6:
18:51
So I once did an interview where I said again maybe brought to me that I said Yeah but they don't really have customers that presidents ask. That's not entirely true. But but I think look a rebate is a great solution. It's a really great spent management platform. If you want to mention procurement and spend spend you know you'd probably come down to two platforms by the bar be damned. I mean I that's fine. I mean they're great tools for what they do. But treated is a very very different animal and we often get boxed in with these guys. But in a way you can say if you buy a ribeye or some other competing solution what you get is a tool that could be one thing really great in your supply chain right. So now you have a solution for running and I'll be doing a PEO mending contract and that's it and if you want to do something else you're rolling out a different tool.
Speaker 6:
19:45
So. Well we got a beat custom of it in you know packed goods and an end date. Be talked to the supplies we ordered that the supplies as they hate coming tools and processes and spreadsheets and PDA apps and faxes. Are you dealing with to do business with this customer and the amateurs answer XML file is twenty four twenty four different tools and processes just to do business with one customer where they kill it pop was only one of those twenty four right. Then the sourcing department that own responsible sourcing app Finance Treasury quality management like it just went on and on and on. Right. And what's really neat about the Tracy platform is it's a platform. You roll out the tracing network to supply chain. You pick a product. Tracy pay and of course that becomes an enabling process. But then we have more than 150 third party apps and the platform that takes care of everything from direct materials logistics responsible sourcing carbon footprint anti slavery.
Speaker 6:
20:52
And those are just apps that you activate and their billable. On the digital platform you just roll out all of your suppliers to not paying for that cost over all over again. So if you really want to look at that comparison it's really the question how do a solution like Salesforce today compare to the last generation of CRM products that could only do one thing if you're buying self-taught you're not just buying a CRM you're buying the whole sales ecosystem and it's same with straight ship right. When you're buying freight you you're not just buying a solution for four years. You know your payment process or AP automation or marketplaces you're buying a a a supply chain ecosystem. And the most expensive pattern supply chain is not really the software policy right. It's the change management cost but cost is going up to 40000 to 50000 suppliers and get them to do something else.
Speaker 6:
21:46
So if you can put a platform like trade shift then the future course of change management pretty much goes to zero and every new process you want to switch off to the suppliers or chains rights of the change costs goes down dramatically and I think to surround that whole thing off on what's the difference here. Right. With a rebound or Cooper somebody else you can bring down your transaction costs but you're increasing your cost of change because it gets even harder to change something because now you have one solution it can only do what you want to do it's like the old market feature phone if you want a new feature you've got to wait for not going to release a new version of the software. Right. And we treated this like a smartphone you're running a smartphone out in your supply chain that you've got a new app it's just like activate an app on your phone and you can have a new process the part of a supply chain overnight.
Speaker 4:
22:31
So that's a big difference huge difference and like a provocation with the prison that makes it for I mean the I think it's my calling that you hear such rollouts and new things and the change management process to know easily between one if you're optimistic two to three four years if you're realistic and by the time you're finished doing it things have changed so much that sometimes you kind of wonder why you did it in the first place. So I think that's a major that's a major issue that a lot of space. He looked at the numbers so I was I was reading and I hope it's accurate that right now there's a trade for a little so that the big number was half a trillion USD just to make it more practical for our listeners. That's about three times the size of what Amazon has which is that maybe makes it more more real real and easy to comprehend so it's huge basically. What's what's the plan from here. I mean you know I mean what's your future one two three years down the line where do you think you're going to go.
Speaker 6:
23:42
So first off I think you know that's a number that you know on the business side we love and be a product every day and on the technical side people they get a wonderful challenge every day right. It's a huge number. But it's also I mean it's growing you know easily 40 to 50 percent year over year. So it's a continuous challenge. This doesn't stop tomorrow but I think if you look at the future you know we think the next generation of B2B networks are going to be a hundred to a thousand times larger than what you've seen in the past. If you think about it on the consumer side all software today as consumers is connected you're not having a single app on your your iPhone or Android that is not connected to some kind of network that network could be you know Facebook Twitter LinkedIn.
Speaker 6:
24:27
It could be the app store from Apple but it's connected and it has the ability to share transact to collaborate building from day one right. That's essentially consumer software is about today in B2B software we're still discussing the route from on premise to cloud. But we haven't really started discussing we move from cloud to network and consumer. We already finalized that move. Nobody would dream of using a stay Malone cloud of cases as a consumer anymore. Right. It's all about how these connected how we use them in our everyday lives. Gates but others network has become the default as consumers but it hasn't become the default get us as B2B so I think when you start think about that future you've got to think about what it totally network future for B2B look like what would B2B software look like when the future is totally network.
Speaker 6:
25:17
Do we really need to do. Do we really need to do most of them. The general letter inside the enterprise can be calculated on the network on the fly off things are coming in. Do we need to wait till we have all of the data in the API before we run analytics and cost savings numbers are could we actually also get that from a network level. How do you think about benchmarking do we want to optimize just by single enterprises to we and optimize the whole value chain. So some pretty big questions about fundamentally how software works and in a way I think you can see all of the hype around block chain as a method for this. BLOCK 2 has a lot of take up the challenges as a technology. I think we're pretty far away from that particular implementation of networks to be the most important one. But I don't think we are there far away from catching intimidation but what it means when everything becomes networked and I think from trenches side you know we care less about the technology we think that technology is a little bit of a distraction this a discussion but we think what's the most important discussion is what's the future B2B suffer when it's that work. And we think that so many super exciting use cases we haven't even explored yet and which is emerging.
Speaker 8:
26:28
I'm trying to I'm trying to comprehend that I was there explaining the enormity of it really is like it's like needing to be linked to where you guys are very specific on the on the trade invoicing all the flows that come company that those companies supply chain.
Speaker 4:
26:50
But indeed if you if you if you manage to do it from a network perspective through an algorithm see the data analyze the data in real time then it's mind blowing the type of power that you would have given the fact it's increased in global scale so fast again you can you can do it at the global level it's not going to be big enough for country a bunch of implications right. So.
Speaker 6:
27:18
Just to give you two examples actually maybe to make it really sort of you know practically relevant because this of course is a big mindblowing mission. But but to sort of super practical real world examples right. So one is collaboration around the process right on tracing network. If I sent you an invoice and doesn't answer with that invoice in the old in the past what would happen is that it was just what you paid then two to four weeks later I would give you a call I ask hey where's my money. You would tell me hey there was an issue with invoice that we haven't paid yet. You would go back you would have to pay an exception the new invoice a credit note be created new invoice. But maybe if you're lucky you would eventually get paid like and basis a bunch of entity once a time once a people on both sides that are involved in resolving this problem on a trading platform.
Speaker 6:
28:06
If I sent an invoice an issue with a line. The guy that's receiving the invoice you can just knock that line and say hey we have an issue here. It opens up a collaboration with the sender. A little bit like Google Docs are both looking at the same document. And that's a common but little bit like you know comments in Google Docs or somewhere else and says hey this life has an issue. You can drill time together in the software on the document collaborate resolve the issue if it can be resolved straight away and click OK. And now it's your fault right. So that's one example which is what we call shallow collapse works well instead of thinking about the workflow just inside the receiving site. What if we can resolve the issue with the facts before it even gets it. So are you happy and we have an exception and we have to go through all of this pain.
Speaker 6:
28:47
All right so that's one example of where having a network mindset when you build works no collaboration exception handling is massive valuable. The dollar example is it's on there A.I. machine learning right. So you know that sort of traditionally you know whenever you receive a transaction you try to match it so you can do straight through processing and not have humans touch it right. So you might match its repeal. No. You might match it to a contract. All of these things but it's sort of a very primitive way of thinking about matching stuff right. I mean the chance that an invoice is going to break when it gets max to is actually fairly high. It can just be system differences. It can be how we name things. It can be small variances but it's actually still a good invoice. So what we do instead is we use all of the network data we have on a global level.
Speaker 6:
29:40
We look at all of the invoices the suppliers. But sending out all of the invoices despite receiving and then using a machine learning on that particular transaction we're looking at four to five thousand data points for every single transaction and we say OK you know if we think like a human should be approval should we not approve this transaction. And then we see what the humans do in between the algorithms based on the human input see what they do. You call the system data. It's our machine learning system for decisions. And right now I'd ask the following 15 to 20 percent better than humans on approvals. Right. So so what we're now starting to tell our customers is you can turn off approvals for the majority of the organization only run approvals in five to 10 percent of your users. Think about that as a random sample. And the rest will just be fully automated using Ada up to maybe a certain size because we oppose our prospects over to people. You still want to take certain transactions out and make sure humans will get them. And both are cases that are possible because we have a true network and we could build true network business processes. It's not just an enterprise application right.
Speaker 4:
30:48
That brings me to the that brings me to a question that several of our listeners had coming back to the point where you said that there is the bad news and the good news and the bad news you know you've got you've got to go digital right. The sellers have to go digital. How do you solve it. How do you apart from this the zero cost to them which definitely is a big help when you have industries like you you work with major logistics companies and this company and logistics is an industry in shipping and trade and a lot of things like customs and ports and all of that and other industries as are heavily paper based. Right. The traditional paper endorsed him working through that. How do you kind of do that change managers and change management maybe with sellers and suppliers and help them digitize.
Speaker 6:
31:32
So so I think you know I would love to say that we were super smart and strategic when we arrive at the solution to this we were. It was sort of out of necessity. You started with tell us first. We didn't stop that bias. So that meant my first customers even though I was a street for them was sell us all over the world just signing up to buy some parts and do business with the big big customers. Right. And that meant we couldn't really just rely on a big guy forcing them to do something you really have to make sure that there was enough value. So the answer is actually incredibly simple to say but very hard to do in practice and the answer is you just got to make sure that there's not value for those they need to change to change. It's as easy as that.
Speaker 6:
32:15
And most solutions in this space have not tried to build enough value for the seller. They have relied on the push from the buyer and that creates massive resistance even though you technically the CFO of a big company can tell you oh you got to use this to get paid. You might kind of do it but you're not really going to do it. And if you your assistant you can get all of these things. But if there's not value and be call up the seller's them and say look we need you to get on this back. But here's all of the value you're going to get. You're going to get prepayment status you know exactly where your payment is. You can resolve any issue much faster. We can integrate your banking system so you don't have to stop typing. You got access to get paid earlier than your invoice terms just using me building financing solutions on the network. Then most sellers are like oh this is super interesting and you're not chatting. Right. So so the answer is it's very simple build more value for the seller so. So there's not value in changing your behavior. And that's the carrot. And then. But doing that in practice requires a lot of iteration a lot of practice in actually just selling to sellers without relying on the stick.
Speaker 4:
33:26
The bottom in terms of growing very fast and I want to bring the topic of discussion now to. It's incredible the journey that you've had in terms of getting to know your 800 employees right both countries.
Speaker 3:
33:39
I was reading we actually eleven hundred eleven hundred now so.
Speaker 9:
33:44
Yeah so this must be from three months ago or six months and you're growing very fast.
Speaker 4:
33:52
Tell us a little bit. It's a flip question but I like I liked it and I will ask you what were the three top learnings not to be repeated from building the startup.
Speaker 5:
34:04
Oh don't ever do big thing.
Speaker 6:
34:08
You mean you get these ideas sometimes oh we need to do a massive change. Let's do a big bang across our whole company. Whenever we've done that it's been hot and in it it killed a lot of autonomy and empowerment and because it needed to be centrally coordinated and you get tied up in democracy. So I would say whenever we have leaned on our teams leaned on the parliament giving the teams the freedom to set their and run. We've been doing extremely well and whenever we move to another direction it's been it's been way more painful right. So I said that's one. Another big one is don't go single market. I think especially European startups have a tendency just to look inwards. Look at one continent the two countries. Most businesses trade global and require global solutions. So at the moment we went global.
Speaker 5:
35:04
It cost more but it helped are commercially successful a lot faster right. And then finally I would say you know you have got to feel that there's something wrong with an account or you should talk to a customer or you know you should do it as fast as possible. Like whenever you have that costume in your stomach listen to it because it's a lot smarter than your brain. It's in many ways. And it knows what's wrong way before you to do it. And the amount of times that you help us just to reach out and talk to people to hate is the issue here. You know it's something that that's maybe not aligned but we're not creating value the way we thought we were. That has helped us every single time and we haven't really lost a lot of customers to date so I believe that that helps us a lot.
Speaker 4:
35:50
And in terms of building global teams because I know you have you have a number of offices and I also saw also professional license executive search and recruitment. I looked at some of the jobs that you have which are remote. I think you actually advertise on the Web site that are globally anywhere. The person is is there is there a sanction for secret recipes for building global teams actually to go to this mosque.
Speaker 6:
36:17
Is there a special Danish approach since the Danish sleep last.
Speaker 9:
36:23
No I think that that danish butter cookies. I don't know.
Speaker 10:
36:28
I know we became global by very early on we were 70 people. And I think some of the very big lessons is always just video whenever you can look people face. I mean I. Nice voice is very different than video. I mean this sounds trivial but it's a massive difference. It's the difference between feeling like you're there and working with people and you know there's so many great digital platforms today but that's not really an issue. I think teams that need to collaborate bring them together early in the beginning. So you do the team built early and then they can easily go remote and be separated off. But that early DNA and team goal is super important in creating that cultural connection. And then I think you know as a company right we are a global network. Our thesis is that business software is network that everybody is going to get connected. We can probably sort of do all of that and then advertise that we we don't want our employees to be a network either. So I think it's just in our DNA to think the networks. And I think the more organizations in the future while thinking networks the more remote work is also just going to be a natural part of that landscape.
Speaker 4:
37:35
How about your biggest mistakes in terms of hiring.
Speaker 5:
37:39
Oh look you know there's been situations where I would say you you hire a little bit too far ahead of the curve right. You hire some big shot from a big company. And you think you know they have all the answers. And what you often find out is that you know sometimes you've got to be a little careful even if it's a big title and a big CV because just because you know how to solve things at you know one hundred thousand people company you might not know how to solve solve them at a thousand people companies. I think that's one of the biggest ones I would touch out on. And then another one is again and again you know the people have proven track records in solving difficult problems even if they didn't succeed viscerally to be always the people who keep surprising us and keep surprising me over and over and how how much value that.
Speaker 4:
38:30
And final question. There's an aspiring entrepreneurs listening to this to this podcast as well as corporate people that maybe wants to step into the entrepreneurial life at some point. What would be one or two pieces of advice that you would give as a successful entrepreneur we can say with confidence right to know what what would you share to somebody that would embark on this entrepreneurism.
Speaker 6:
38:58
Look it's about grit. You'd be surprised how many of our competitors we've killed off over time despite being more stubborn and lasting longer so the ones who have the most sacred thing can last the longest often end up being the winner of the category. And so so I think that's more important than the thing and then to as a budding entrepreneurs is it's a marathon it's not a sprint.
Speaker 5:
39:22
I see a lot of young people who are getting themselves burned out within the first year of being an entrepreneur. We've been doing this for 10 years now and it look at me you know for a trade shift and you know I've been doing startups since I was 19 so my whole life right. And I think in the early days we ran like there was no tomorrow. That's great and that's a lot of like you know startup blocks and also about us having that approach. But we've got to be sustainable because most companies these days are going to take 10 to 15 years to be built to scale. So pace yourself with that for that time make them not just the top months.
Speaker 4:
39:55
Mm hmm. Excellent advice.
Speaker 11:
39:56
Well Kristen been a pleasure really really enjoying the conversation.
Speaker 4:
40:00
Great examples practical studies and I wish you all the all the best and all the success with French.
Speaker 3:
40:08
Excellent thank you so much. It was it was great to be here.
Speaker 2:
40:11
Thank you for listening to our podcast.
Speaker 12:
40:13
If you liked what you heard. Be sure to go to w w w l called Global dot com and click the podcast button for all the show notes of the interview. Also subscribe to our mailing list to get our latest updates first. If you're listening through a streaming platform like I choose Spotify or stitcher we would appreciate a kind of you. Five star works best to keep us going and our production team happy. And of course sharing with your friends. Most active on LinkedIn so do feel free to follow me and if you have any suggestions on what what to do and who to invite next. Don't hesitate to drop me a note and if you're looking to hire top executives in supply chain or transform your business of course contact us as well to find out how we can help.
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