We grew up together, were in the same class when we were young, went to the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) at the same time and started the company that we still jointly own – Intelliplan.
After a few years it became clear that the studies at KTH were not stimulating enough for us. Not compared with the challenges that attracted us to the other side of Valhallavägen. We were asked by a staffing company that had just been set up whether we could build a system for them. They had been looking and looking without any success. This was at the end of the 90s and the staffing industry in Sweden was still in its infancy.
Market research? Of course. We looked up ‘Staffing companies’ in the Yellow Pages. Back then it was a thick book. We made our selection by choosing the 40 companies with the biggest adverts. We then programmed our fax machine with their fax numbers and sent them a message. It went something like this: “We’re developing a brand new system for the staffing industry. Would you like to be involved and have a say in its development to make sure that the system can work for you?” We put two check boxes under this question: “Yes” and “No”. And our fax number.
Peter, do you remember the old woman who called us up almost immediately after we had sent the fax?
Yes, yes, she was so upset and irritated and said:
“I don’t want this kind of rubbish sent to me!”.
Exactly. And we could hear her ripping the piece of paper up in the background to make her point. It didn’t feel like the best start.
Hehe, no, that was a tough phone call…
In the days that followed our fax started to make sounds, with us nervously waiting for the results. Around half of the companies we sent the message to faxed us back with the “Yes” box checked. This made us think that we were on the right track.
But knowing that you are on the right tack and knowing what you are talking about are two completely different things. So we asked a handful of companies that worked in slightly different areas whether we could go and see how they worked. How else could we have understood what kind of support they needed? Basically, we’d be at the companies during the days and worked through the nights writing code. Sleeping was something we did at the weekends.
To start with, we didn’t know how we would be paid for our product. It felt great to just get paid for what was actually being used. At that time the business model of being paid per user and per month was something completely new. And therefore extremely unusual. It is true that there were customers that didn’t want to buy the system either, but on the whole, the customers were convinced. It proved to be a winning business model.
This meant that there were real people out there using our system, every day. This was such a great feeling! The customers were extremely satisfied with Intelliplan as their operations improved significantly. (And this was back when Intelliplan was nothing like it is today.) Now and again a user would call us up and say, “I don’t have a question or a problem, or anything like that. I just wanted to call you to tell how great everything works!”. This was such a wonderful feeling that gave us the motivation to continue to develop.
Intelliplan was born through innovation, entrepreneurship and development in very close partnership with our customers. This is still how we work today. At the time of writing, we are working with our customers to develop a new Intelliplan that they can use in the future. This will eventually replace the current Intelliplan. We are doing all of this to make sure that we can help you and our other customers more effectively to succeed.
As you can see, the conversation with our customers still continues. This is something we are proud of.
Peter & Patrik
Founders and proud owners of Intelliplan..I want to know more.TAKE ME TO THE FUTURE!