Communications Academy

The Staffbase founder story

April 18, 2019 Season 1 Episode 11
Communications Academy
The Staffbase founder story
Chapters
Communications Academy
The Staffbase founder story
Apr 18, 2019 Season 1 Episode 11
Staffbase
Show Notes Transcript

The Staffbase founder story and how they came to create a branded employee app platform

Here's a link to a recent article about the founders.

Peter:
0:03
The Staffbase founding story I think is remarkable in a lot of different ways. Um, for one, it's unusual in that you have this company that that's been so successful that's been growing so fas. Um, that has the, the look and feel of like a silicon valley darling. Um, but it's not at all coming from that place. And, and there, there are, um, a lot of surprises. One of the surprises is just physically we come from east Germany. Um, and so it's not silicon valley. It's not the typical place that you'd expect a great software company to come from. Um, and uh, another twist is rather than being, for example, um, founded by a couple of Google engineers, they're just super smart and wanted to go out and found a company. Um, we're actually started by a couple of people with deep relevant backgrounds, um, to the business that we're building from day one.
Peter:
1:06
So let's talk about Frank. Frank Wolf, um, our co founder and CMO, uh, is sort of the deep knowledge about internal communications that powers everything we've been doing at Staffbase in product and marketing from day one. And what frank went through before founding Staffbase was about a decade of being a consultant at Accenture and other places, working with large companies with distributed workforces and trying to help them develop technologies to support their internal communications goals. In particular, he did a lot of SharePoint intranet projects. So how do we build a SharePoint intranet? How do we build an intranet that's effective? Um, and then then pouring so much of his energy into this, watching the companies spend so much time and energy and money on these, uh, especially SharePoint, intranet projects only to have this result at the end of quite frankly, failure. Uh 5%, 10% of employees actually using or regularly reading anything that's on that, that company intranet.
Peter:
2:24
So it's through a decade of seeing the projects go wrong. Um, maybe it's the technology that wasn't quite right. Maybe it's the use cases. Um, and, and the best practice around the project that wasn't quite right, but this, this, uh, process of seeing projects fail was a great teacher for Frank and helped him understand at a deeper level how technology could help internal communication, internal communications folks really achieve their goals. And he had this deep passion for having a technology that would actually work, um, in founding Staffbase. On the, on the, uh, on the other hand, we have Martin, uh, our CEO and Co founder who in a similar way, um, had an experience of, of learning through, um, what on that, on that outward way wouldn't be seen necessarily as a success. Um, so Martin had had gotten a Phd, first of all, literal phd in how technology can help make employees lives better.
Peter:
3:31
So at background in a similar sort of vein, um, and he had gone out and founded his own first company before Staffbase. Um, and he built a great team, which became the core of the technology team at Staffbase. Um, and they built a great product, but they really struggled with, uh, getting the business model right and finding the right economic buyers for it. And through this process of trying to build that business, uh, Martin learned tremendously about what goes into building great software, reliable software, um, innovative software. And also what can go wrong with the business model and making sure that you have a really good fit, um, with solving a real problem in the world that creates enough value that you can build a whole company around it. And so in, in this way, we had two founders who brought a tremendous amount of real world learning, learning through failure, learning through trying and seeing things not end up working out, which is the greatest teacher of all, um, as the key inputs at the very beginning of founding staff base.
Peter:
4:46
And, and I think that's why if you look at Staffbase, um, the most remarkable things about it, whether it's the website where we had content like right from day one that was bringing, um, finding people on the web and bringing them to us saying, Hey, I'm interested in what you're doing. So content that was resonating with people deeply or a product that basically we keep building and adding on top of it. But the foundations are so strong that we haven't had to change them. We haven't had to, you know, swap this pillar out for something else. Um, because we really had a deep understanding of what we would build on right from the start. So I think if you look at those special characteristics about Staffbase, um, the way that we market and help our prospects and the way the product is just so tight and focused, um, you really see that in the founding story and in where our founders came from.
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