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Episode #39

We sat down with Fredrik Skantze, CEO and co-founder of Funnel, the Swedish SaaS company that’s raised over 120M€ to build the leading marketing data hub. Join us to hear Fredrik talk on building a global company, getting rid of sales commissions, lessons learned from Silicon Valley, and much more!

This post is based on our podcast episode with Fredrik Skantze, the CEO and co-founder of Funnel. You can watch the entire conversation here.

1. AI and data-driven marketing

Fredrik Skantze emphasized the increasing importance of AI in marketing. He highlighted that a significant percentage of marketers believe that AI will eventually take over aspects of their roles, indicating a shift towards more data-driven, analytical approaches in marketing. This shift necessitates the need for marketers to be more proficient in handling and interpreting data, and staying updated with AI developments to enhance their marketing strategies.

2. Scaling a SaaS business

Skantze shared insights into the growth journey of a SaaS company, discussing the challenges encountered in scaling from a smaller operation to a large, sustainable business. He stressed the importance of adapting go-to-market strategies as the company grows, and the need to diversify and constantly innovate to break through growth plateaus. This process involves understanding the market, continuously finding product-market fit, and having a clear vision for expansion.

3. Culture and organization

Skantze talked about Funnel’s unique approach to company culture, particularly their decision to eliminate bonuses and commissions. This unconventional approach was aimed at fostering teamwork and collaboration, aligning everyone’s goals towards the company’s success, rather than individual financial incentives. He also discussed the challenges and rewards of managing a rapidly growing company, emphasizing the importance of learning and adapting to new roles as a CEO.

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Watch episode: Building a global SaaS company with Funnel CEO Fredrik Skantze

 Building a global SaaS company with Funnel CEO – Youtube transcript

today I’m joined by serial entrepreneur Fredrik Skantze SC who’s a co-founder and CEO of funnel funnel is a Swedish SAS company that’s raised over € 1220 million to build a leading marketing data Hub that helps teams around the world better understand their marketing performance welcome to the show Fredrik thank you so uh really excited to have you on and to start digging into The pivot that led to Funnel kind of the your background uh funnels background in this kind of incredible growth Journey that you’re on headed towards an IPO I I I presume but uh before we get into all of that could you quickly for our listeners explain what is it exactly that funnel does and uh what kind of companies or teams should be using funnel absolutely so we work in intersection of marketing and data so digital marketing now has essentially become marketing with all the big budgets being digital and that’s great now marketing for the first time can really be accountable for for driving Revenue in a company but to do that you need to have a platform in place to collect all your data and to be able to measure and put it together and see how things are going and that’s what we do um and it’s both in advertisers in all different verticals um the digital marketing teams use us often they use us in conjunction with um the more technical teams in a data warehouse team as well um and at uh media agencies that then in turn help there clients which are advertisers um with their marketing data okay so it’s both the companies I presume both smaller companies and also these big Enterprises are leveraging funnel to um to better you know to store and organize their data yeah we serve pretty much every vertical and everything from small e-commerce companies to large iconic U new economy companies with you know tens of thousands of of of U employees that’s pretty pretty exciting and U I think I was reading about um as I was reading about funnel and kind of the background one thing that was really excit interesting I’d say was that it was kind of a spin-off from another company that you founded uh Quia which is a Facebook advertising tool which um at the time I believe you processed 1% of all the spend on Facebook um which was pretty Global spend so that’s that’s pretty incredible and youd co-founded that company you reach this you know elusive product Market fit that everyone wants to get do you were growing um you’d raised money and you were growing very rapidly and still you decided to to take this um pivot and and and focus on funnel which clearly was the right choice in in uh in in retrospect but can you talk a little bit about that decision that led you to you know take that decision even though you had something that was very successful on your hands you decided to kind of risk it all or or how did you think about that decision yeah that’s a good question and um it it it was a very difficult decision and as you said so we you know we really believed in Facebook at the time it was we were really early when Facebook advertising was quite unproven but we thought Facebook would go the same Journey as Google turned out that was the case we bu a build a tool to specifically help sort of smaller advertisers um with a tool make ads optimize their ads um and had really really strong tractions with that thousands of customers and that will category of a Facebook advertising tool was going to you know it looked like it was emerging to more of a social advertising platform that had other other um verticals like um Twitter and Linkedin and that’s what most of those companies did we we you know we really wanted to b a large a large company um and we spent a lot of time thinking about it um and we also spoke a lot to our customers and what we heard from them is that Facebook actually was really important to them and they want us to do focus on that but Facebook we knew from the beginning were’re also building these tools um it didn’t feel like the right setup there was a big Market created but it felt like you know just creating ads on Facebook over time Facebook should really you know be best set up to do that well and so we wanted to find a space that was part of this new market that was created but where the large companies like Google and Facebook didn’t give something away for free um and um so we spent a lot of time talking to our customers to understand kind of what are really your problems and are there any sort of unsolved problems and what they came kept coming back to was you know there’s lots of companies that help us make ads and optimize ads but when it come to like figuring out how things are going like my my p&l for my marketing and then being able to drill into that everybody had a spreadsheet we said okay that’s interesting we couldn’t find any company who was doing this and we asked them okay if if we do it will you buy it and they said yeah yeah we’ll buy it just build it um and we said okay you know this this makes a lot of sense like we solved this problem you know at that time it was e-commerce companies gaming companies app companies that cared about digital performance but we could see how this was going to get even larger um so we decided then to do a pivot and as you said this was pretty late in in our development and um but with we we did it with a lot of confidence and with a strong team in place and we said you know with that we’re going to build this new feature where and we’re going to quickly be able to find product Market fit and and um and do this that that’s Finding product-market fit and the early days interesting I think I remember someone saying something that you know every time there’s some kind of fun or or task that’s performed by companies using a spreadsheet there’s probably a bit anass opportunity there to come in and replace that um you mentioned product Market fit so you you had this clear problem you’ve identified this clear problem you still had money in the bank um to go ahead and start building this this new feature was it then just a matter of okay you built this and as soon as you got it out you launch it showed it to customers they said yes this was exactly what we wanted uh you got to this product Market fit or was it um how was what was the journey like like to to actually bringing it to Market well what our expectation was it’s going to take a year to build and um so and then we can launch it and and then we’re you know have product Market fit and can can kind of get customers to to just start using it and start growing and our we defined a problem as I explained and our our previous tool was for as the market for small advertis PR for like $100 you could swipe your credit card and sort of buy it and that didn’t exist in that space it was totally product Le and our expectation was that was going to be the case with this product as well so um I think there are two things we learned so one is actually every new product that you launch you have to again search for product Market fit and there is a process and it takes time and so we thought it would take a year it took two years like it took us like nine months to get a prototype out or like a beta out and then but then we actually spent over a year iterating until we really started to feel like okay now we have product Market fit so they took a bit longer than we thought now the other thing that happened was we thought it would just be small companies because small companies um you know they they have the spreadsheet large companies they have bi tools so they have this solved turns out the really really small companies have bigger problems than reporting uh but the midsize companies and even large like really large Enterprises yeah they had a bi tools um and and dashboards but they couldn’t get the data in there so they were still sitting with a spreadsheet even at like you know Fortune 500 companies so the market was much larger than we thought and there opportunity with with with with larger customers than we thought um so we sort of pivoted Away originally um you know so so we thought that it was going to be the small customer the customers uh that we were going to serve um turns out they actually had bigger problems than reporting that you know that their business wasn’t working well but midsize and large companies even though they had these bi tools um they couldn’t get the data in so they um were still sitting with spreadsheets even at forun 500 companies and so the market was much larger than we thought it was midsize and large companies that we could serve um and um so then we ended up having more of a sales Le motion um to them so we changed our go to market and uh that turned out to work really well and um then then we sort of really uh saw the business takeoff that that’s really interesting Figuring out go-to-market because I um I feel that there’s someone said that that you know Goen Market problems are typically um or product Market fit problems are typically misdiagnosed as go to market problems so how are you thinking about those very two different stages was there a clear moment any clear metrics where you said okay now we’ve got you know we’ve achieved product Market fit but maybe we just need to change from our original plan who we are going to Market it to like how are you thinking about those two things um and and not maybe letting them you know kind of confusing one for the other if that kind of makes sense yeah I think it’s a really good question but they to some extent they are a little bit interl H you know if you go for anme market uh then you know the product you need is has to be more out of the box if you go uh for you know an Enterprise Market the product has to be more flexible and and you have to to customize for each customer so so they are somewhat interl uh but but in general I think we were pretty good at saying look we don’t have product Market fit we’re going to do some go to market to get customers in but we’re going to wait with scaling until we we really got good C product Market fit and when you had reached that and you had kind of made like you said the market turned out to be much bigger than you had uh anticipated but this was still you know many many years ago did you already then have a sense of how big this Market was going to be or or how did you think about the the potential and how did you then start calibrating you know the the funding needs and so on uh in accordance to that um well we we never really I mean we thought that the market for this primarily originally was going to be e-commerce companies and media agencies um gaming and app companies were a little bit different um so we we primarily are for us it was e-commerce companies and agencies media agencies you know I I remember investors asking us what is the market size we’re debating it like for us just that market was huge uh and because it’s Global um and uh there a huge opportunity so we were never worried about it and so we just we just kept building and selling into them and at that time sort of like 40% % of all advertising span was online and you know the e-commerce were spending all their money online uh gaming app companies but the large budgets TV TV budgets were offline on TV and you know large Brands were dabbling with social media but then the shift came you know and it went really fast over a number of years from 40% to 70% and now TV budgets are on YouTube and you know um Netflix is going to launch uh Advertising based system and so on right so you know the and then suddenly it’s every company and so that market has gradually become much much larger for us so you were timing wise it turned out to be pretty pretty fortunate timing for you that you were kind of um in the early stages of of this Market as it was this need as it was really beginning to take off yeah and at absolutely I mean at the time that you know Global digital advertising spend was maybe 150 billion and now it’s over 600 billion I mean so you know you just get pulled with this Market um which is great I want to go back to because uh you said something interesting which was uh back back in How digital marketing has evolved over the last 15 years the choir days uh you realized that you know marketing or the transition that kind of happened with digital marketing was that marketing was now for the first time kind of being accountable for driving Revenue um and and you’ve been kind of working in or at least observing and being very close to the this whole digital marketing space for for well over a decade um how would you say that it has changed from you know going back to the early days there’s the famous quote half of my advertising spend is wasted I don’t know which half it is then Google came as a first big player and told advertisers or advertisers and you know agencies that we can show how much you get we can show the actual Roi of every single dollar that you spend um so could you kind of give an overview I know this is a broad question but could you give a kind of an over rview of the the the digital marketing landscape how it’s evolved and maybe also what do you see in the future because there are you know it’s changing from regulatory techn technological reasons so how do you kind of see the past and the future of this this digital Market that’s grown to be like you said incredibly huge hundreds of billions of dollars globally yeah absolutely yeah so I I I mean there was a huge shift I mean what part of originally what made made digital so fantastic was um that both within the platforms like a platform like Google or a platform like Facebook Google with the Search keywords or Facebook with the audiences you could you could Target to a much bigger degree because they had so much data um and then you could measure I mean with you know an analytics software on your web you could see basically where the clicks came from and what was driving your traffic so you know and then you could put your money there and you know that that made a lot of sense so that that was pretty transformational if you compare that to like running a TV ad running print it’s quite hard to to really understand you like where where where am I getting the best return um now now with mobile tracking being greatly reduced with the changes that that Apple has has done and with third party cookies now you know more and more uh being restricted there is actually now sort of a going back slightly to that previous world I wouldn’t say that we’re we’re going back all the way you you can still see what what traffic comes into your web and so on but but you have less information and as a result but at the same time all these platforms that you use have much more data than than you know like a TV station TV station you know you know when you ran your ads and and you might get some sort of offline you know reporting on what the audience was but in these platforms you know you lots and lots of data um and um and you have lots of platforms and you have lot of other systems with data so you have much more data but you actually now have to do more work to put that data together and also not just use deterministic approaches to determining um what the cause and effect of your advertising is but more prob probabilistic or statistical um methods which which is much harder right so um already with digital marketing is much more analytical and much more technical than uh regular sort of more brand oriented or direct response sort of offline marketing and you have a pretty big Tech stack and now you’re taking that one step further you have to understand algorithms and all the stuff so it is a really big change for marketing and and it it is actually very very hard problem to to solve there’s no right answer but we already know that like just looking at clicks didn’t tell the whole story if you have a channel that generates a lot of awareness but you actually can’t click on it well it’s never going to give you any recognition for clicks but it’s going to drive awareness so so we already knew it I mean like take traditional TV you know if you’re a digital business you might still spend a lot of money on TV um and so you still have to take these things in account and now I think it’s the time marketers are now recognizing they need to put together systems for doing this um and and sort of more scientifically approach it and that’s a really big step for market right you said it’s a big step do you think that this could what do you think the impact will be on overall advertising Effectiveness could this be a blessing in disguise as in marketers who could previously just rely like you said on attribution the deterministic modeling now have to think about which as you mentioned did not did not paint did not take into consider the whole picture it looked at short-term results um mainly so do you think that this could actually push the market industry into creating models that are more would say holistic and there could be actually a positive impact on overall uh measurement and performance or how do you see this kind of playing out yeah I think so I I think over time but I think it’ll take quite a lot of time um and um it’s hard for the you know the advertisers to to understand what what really works and what doesn’t work with respect to measurement um and so you need to build that capability partially in house and then Pally find really good vendors to help you with that I would say um but I think it’s going to push us forward yes and I think there’s you know so much more data available now so it’s it’s possible to do things that weren’t possible before uh this may be kind of a leading question but do you think that this is an opportunity for um for Tool like funnel where where the companies or advertisers agencies are going to become even more reliant on on these types of tool to better collect analyze understand their data and use that to make make these decisions or how do you think of you know these big platforms like a meta or a Google uh they’re obviously thinking about this as well and they’re coming up with their own tools and they don’t want to be squeezed out they want to to um they they want to still get a lot of that piece of that pie so how do you think this this will play out in your kind of role in this so so I think the big platforms like Facebook and and and um Google and so on you know have a huge amount of data and are incredibly good at now optimizing advertising within their platform are going to be the absolutely best at that that’s what partially why we didn’t want to build an ad tool for for that for those platforms I think they they they’re going to own that so I think and they’re keep driving it and I think are are keep driving performance but going back to when funnel was originally started like what you want is to look at all your data in all your systems and then make decisions and you’re going to want to do that in an impartial way and and and so I think inherently it’s hard for them even to do that because they all compete with each other so they don’t share each other’s dat dat and therefore they can’t sort of make decisions about what works and what doesn’t work with their competitors and and and they probably you know you know advertisers probably want something impartial anyway so um and then going back to your question you know what what what does this mean for us well you’re going to need more algorithms and you’re going to need more um you know techniques to to analyze um your data and your performance be it you know marketing mix modeling be it sort of um unified marketing measurement being using AI to do this but the core to do any of those things is that you have all your data in a business ready format so that it’s available it’s cleaned it’s normalized it’s stitched together and it’s correct and it works and it’s up to date to the minute and and that’s what we do uh and so yeah I think what we do is just becomes more and more important um and more and it’s going to be used in more and more ways yeah I think that makes a lot lot of sense okay let’s let’s Getting rid of bonuses and sales commissions transition from the big picture kind of uh uh macro the market to funnel and one thing that I read that I thought was very interesting was their decision of funnel to get rid of bonuses and commissions and um I guess this was you know companywide so that includes sales which has you know conventional wisdom says salespeople need to be motivated with commissions or or somehow to to go out and close deals so can you talk about what led you to make that decision and and what kind of results have you seen as a as a result of that absolutely so one of the core culture values of funnel is teamwork and collaboration um and we felt like there was a little bit of distrust of sales in the company with respect to well they’re just closing the deal to get the commission check you know and they’re only focused on that we also felt like you know they were the only teams in the go to market motion that were compensated with a with a bonus everybody else had a fixed salary but in closing a deal you had an account executive with a bonus uh you had a Solutions consultant and sort of pre-sales engineering um and you had you know a number of other roles maybe product was involved and like these people were working you know late hours to close deals and help customers and do trials and and yeah it wasn’t any difference in which one works the hardest I felt really but strange that then okay we close the customer okay well now you know you get you get a bonus check to the AE and everybody else gets a gets an emoji in in in in slack um and what boil down to then is that we thought you know we don’t feel like that actually with with a sophisticated sale like this is it shouldn’t be necessary um you know we want to intrinsically motivate people really want to do the right thing and and actually it takes away sort of a lot of stress as well that you you know have to make your number to pay your mortgage and all the stuff so and we also found that there was a lot of squabbling about leads who get let watch leads and the comp plan and changes to the comp plan and then you know like the economy slows down a little bit and it’s harder to meet your numbers and then like there’s a big ass to change the comp plan and it’s like okay well why do we like if she sort of sort of pushing around so that everybody sort of makes their number um why don’t we just pay people a proper amount of money and again this was not about saving money I actually think we pay more for our sales organization because we pay them their full commission every month and in most companies sales I think maybe 70% of their of the quota is met um so it’s not about saving money but it’s about getting everybody focused in the same direction everybody working with same sort of long-term incentives um and so that’s why we did it um yes it seems very like a very thoughtful and reasonable decision and uh like you said you haven’t uh you didn’t do it to save money so you haven’t done that um but what kind of impact have you seen on you know the the numbers and also maybe the kind of qualitative like how people are you know has it increased uh collaboration across across the different functions yeah so what what people said was um you know this is crazy especially in the US there was that’s crazy you know you’re not going to be able to have higher salese or good salese um the really good sales people you have are going to leave because they can make more money than somewhere else um and the ones you have are going to be not motivated is to sell less um we haven’t seen that play out uh we’ve been able to attract really good salese people when you really speak to it they they think it made a lot of sense um we are really really high retention we have really high retention across the company but but we have really high retention in sales um I would almost say it’s opposite like once people are used to the fact that they you know that they get get paid every month um it’s quite hard to go away to another company where they say yeah if you sell you get a little more well can I trust you know so so I think that that it works pretty well um the whole squabbles about re leads doesn’t happen a funnel there’s none of that no talk about commission plans if we change sales strategy everybody gets online what can we do move forward when covid hit then there weren’t very many leads people say can I work as customer success can we reduce churn you know so all that thing really worked um now that having been said you know and I I sometimes talk about this and I talk about intrinsic motivation and I talk about you know how like you know the research says that you know if you’re going to perform a complex task and you give people a a bonus then actually they perform worse than you know and and in small repetitive task to perform better so you know all of that uh now with that almost you know people are really interested I get lots of feedback when I talk about this as conferences and other things and lot of people but I think relatively few people do this and it’s a big change I don’t think any everybody should run away and do this I think you should think really careful about it you know you can only do so many things different than everybody else uh for us it was important we did it it I would say requires it requires I would say more management um bonuses for salespeople is a little bit self-managing um and I think you have to sort of be a little bit tighter in how you manage your teams but you probably should be anyway and this sort of I think drives that um and I think the The Good the good things coming out of it are are are very good um so yeah have you made any other Company culture and lessons learned from Silicon Valley kind of um you know going against conventional wisdom did this experience made you look at some other things that are you know commonly held beliefs or standard practice and go like H maybe we should do that we should rethink that as well or is it more of a like you said you can only do so many things you can only be different in so many ways um so have you made any other kind of yeah convention defying decisions I mean I I think what we what we have done is we have a clear view of what our culture is and you know we really believe in our culture and we spend a lot of time talking about it and we sort of live up to it now but what I what I would say is that um in general you can build like a a strong culture and I think that’s important but you know if to build a a culture or a way of working that’s very very different from everybody else I I think there are advantages because it gels the company and everybody sort of likes that you’re little different and it it’s a bit of a belonging but it actually makes it also really hard to hire people into the company because and especially sort of more senior people they’re used to operating in sort of modern certain way working and um and when they come in then it sort of goes lots of things they do goes cult counter to the culture and and and that actually makes it harder to sort of move fast higher people and sort of things so I I think you should be very careful I think you should figure out the things that are really important to you and um and and and do those different but otherwise there’s also like a Playbook that kind of works and probably where you want to innovate the most is with your product as opposed to with how you build a company um I think that would be my general guide that’s interesting for some reason I’ve never thought of the fact that if you have a very distinct culture hiring seniors will become a huge bottom l because you’re asking people with Decades of experience to come in and and do something very differently but that that makes a lot of sense um speaking of uh culture and Company building you have a lot of work experience um and then you know study experience from the US and in uh and in Europe so is there anything that you think that we as Europeans or you know people from the Nordic countries should learn from the Americans about or the North Americans about building building companies and and vice versa is there anything kind of like lessons that you’ve been able to to to take from uh kind of mix the best of get the best of both worlds um yeah I mean I I think it’s interesting so you know yes I I I I spent about 12 years in the US and I worked for for six years in in in Silicon Valley um and um that then and then I spent sort of seven years in Europe in in London before coming to Stockholm and and and when I came back and I we s started this company I speak to you know investors in Stockholm and um they said okay it’s great that you’re starting a SAS company you know looks like you have traction so you know we be you know let’s talk about the funding and then you know what we think you should do is maybe run it for another year here in Europe and then you know wanted to take the family and move back to San Francisco and um and sort of run the company from there because that’s where everything is happening and that’s the place to be and so on um you know and I remember first of all thinking like you know what I’ve actually worked there and I know what it’s like to be there and you’re only talking about it uh and I know that you know when you’re there you sit in office park somewhere and you double down what you do the great engineers in Europe especially in the North countries in Stockholm uh they can help you build stuff and you know I I think the level of ambition is just that was just a low level of ambition I I think you can build a category defining Global SAS company based off a country like Stockholm um just like you know 100 150 years ago um companies like AB or Erikson or Volvo were were you know founded in in for example Sweden and and and really conquered the world right so I want to get I want to come back to that right now that having been said yeah absolutely especially when we started like you know over 10 years ago there were there were lots of things that we weren’t as good at in Europe now as I said software development engineering I think we’re actually quite strong it was more the sort of go to market aspect of SAS I think um that that we were a bit weaker with um and um for us we focused on you know originally with our product product Le product Le growth and so we spend a lot of time we spent a lot of time in Silicon Valley learning from others and so on and then we took it back and we sort of I think built the team and it work really well and then when we went into software sale um again sort of we had to bring the Playbook a bit to Europe um I also think you know my background is sort of product and you know I think that Europe has been behind uh especially sort of 12 13 years ago was behind on product I I I don’t know if that’s the case anymore so um yeah absolutely there there are things and you know that many things still there are some cutting Cutting Edge um things that are happening in cic um I think what I like about Europeans is I think they’re a little more method to what we do and a little more long-term thinking um and employees don’t move around as much um and you know that’s great stability um I remember you know one one CEO I was chatting with based in in San Francisco and he said look we high salese they come in um you know they they work for for six months you know as as a new account executive and then they go across the street and work for New Relic get another you know $40,000 in OT and and you know I like that’s crazy I mean we you know we still have the F you know the original sales people that we hired in the US we in Boston we decided to put our office in Boston and not not in not in Stockholm sorry sorry not in in San Francisco for for that very reason um and uh but but particularly in in Stockholm the same like you know we keep people much longer it’s interesting it sounds like we’re able to combine kind of like this Nordic DNA by also just using the best parts of this SAS Playbook that’s been perfected I think mainly in in in U in San Francisco and you’ve been able to build this global company um I think I remember hearing you on one other the podcast talking about how Nordic How the Nordic ecosystem is changing companies are are sold off too quickly startups um you’re obviously not going that route the plan is to do an IPO and to become a standalone company um do you think that do you think that um why is it so does this speak to kind of like maybe the immaturity about go to market and we maybe great a product but then we want someone commit to come in one of the big boys to come in and take it over and do it properly or or do you think that we’re it’s it’s this kind of attitude it’s changing and and maybe the capital markets are also changing where we we will have more Standalone software companies in the nor in Europe and there will be less Acquisitions of those at at earlier stages I think it is changing I mean I think now that Playbook of you know started here and then moved to the US or London or somewhere else I I I that that’s that’s not happening to the same extent anymore and I think that’s fantastic um so um yeah and I I remember you know I was living in the UK and like you know I I read in in the in the Guardian you know like is I think they were going public you know UK based is going public or something like that and and I was like well Swedish company but they were had to put the head office in in uh in London and you know so on so but I think you know now with like Spotify and clar and there some you know really fantastic companies that are that are being built to last in Stockholm I think it’s great so I think it’s Str changing and I think that creates a whole ecosystem of if companies get acquired maybe they get acquired locally and how build local ecosystem yeah so I think I think I think it’s it’s now it’s the time to to to see that you know the and but but it’s hard as a SAS company you’re kind of got to get get across that sort of hundred million dollars in annual recurring revenue and that’s a pretty big number uh you know just getting getting back 20 million I think there a lot of companies get stuck there the growth rate isn’t that high you grow 10% a year at 20 million in ARR like you’re not going to get very far you know you gotta kind of get through that at at a high velocity and then aim at 100 million plus and then you can be that sort of Standalone larger business that can go public and it can acquire other companies and do you think why do you think that they get stuck there is it a question of they’re not getting enough funding um they don’t know how to do m&a they don’t uh maybe this goes back to what you mentioned about maybe that immaturity regarding go to market what do you think about the key reasons why companies get stuck and why funnel has been able to to go way beyond that that threshold I I think it has a lot to do with go to market um I think that you know what when you start a company the first thing you need to do is find product Market fit should just be focused on that and not until you have a good product Market fit should you start thinking about growing the the company at at a rapid scale um and to do that you need to find a good um scalable sort of go to market Channel and and probably you’ve sort of tinkered with this while you were at product Market fit and you found sort of a combination of um product Market fit for a market and a go to market Channel and you only need one that works and the scalable and then all you should do is just scale that you don’t know anything else scale it scale it scale it right from 1 million to 5 million to 10 million but then when you start approaching 10 million actually at some point you got to start to think okay well how how far is this go to market Channel going to take me and you know to to sort of diversify it broaden it rebuild it and and and make sure it’s going to take you to 20 and Beyond at a at a good strong uh growth rate and I think that’s maybe where where you know boards go there and they say oh you grow 70% last year why don’t we make a plan for 80% and everybody’s just sort of spending more money doing the same thing and nobody sort of like actually like think doing some deep thinking about like how can we actually build this to last and and you got to do that if if you do that if you can keep proving that you can do it I think the capital is available I mean there’s every International investor will invest in in the nordics now and so but and you of course got to have enough of a large market and you got to have the right strategy you got to be differentiated and so on so it’s a bunch of pieces you gota the fit together yeah that M that that makes a lot of sense let’s let’s talk a little bit about AI you recently in the summer I believe it was um you Key takeaways from Funnel’s survey on AI and marketing conducted a big survey among your customers about you know how they’re thinking about the impact of AI could you talk a little bit about what were some of the in your opinion key findings uh from that survey yeah absolutely so I I think essentially there were two right so I think the first one was that something like 64% of all marketers said that what they do or part of what they do they think over time is going to be um taken over by AI so there was a bit of a worry uh that people had um and and certainly like u a strong need to sort of stay stay in touch with with what’s happening and up to date with what’s happening losing the latest techniques and actually a worry that you know um what what what our competitors doing we we need to to make sure we do that um and the other big takeaway was to do Ai and do it well AI relies on data and you know that’s partially why we did this survey to understand what you know we think actually um what we do and providing a good business ready data sets really important for um actually be able to use AI to do your marketing and and there was a lot of you that came out strongly in the in the survey that that was very much the case that you need more more now than ever you need to make sure you got your data strategy in place and a good data platform for underlying what you do do you have any kind of thoughts on what people in that 64% who are you know being fearful are they uh right to have that fear and if so what are kind of you know just you from your personal perspective skill sets that marketers need to acquire to not to be able to leverage uh AI as opposed to being replaced by it um I mean I I think it’s going to play out different in depending on exactly what what your role is and what we manage to automate in general I think it’ll raise the bar for what we as like it’ll make us more productive and we will get better at what we do because we’ll have better tools but it doesn’t actually necessarily mean we we won’t have a job I think we’ll do better marketing we’ll do more with less and and and so on so I think that’s the general case I I also think we’re still in the early endings of AI and it’s easier to see a demo and go oh wow it’s going to have a huge impact but there’s still a lot of quirks and and you know it’s a difference between getting it sort of 70% right and like the 95 99% that you really need to to to to to get it to to apply it at scale um but I think just staying up staying really up to date trying new things um and and sort of up upskilling I think there’s probably great opportunities for the people to do that yeah I I agree I mean when you start playing with some of these things you realize that uh it feels like you know the the the difference between the people who are not using and people who learn to use it uh in productivity is going to be huge um just just by playing around with chat TPT and using it to for whatever whatever kind of workflows a task you’re you’re you’re doing right now and and you know like everything changes like the role of a performance mark eight years ago was to change bits on keywords right and have long spreadsheets of keywords and and now you know you kind of give broader guidelines to for example Google and Facebook’s algorithms and then you feed them with your first party data that Google and Facebook don’t have access to to make them make smarter decisions on your behalf right so it’s a different it’s changed you got your head around that and your role changes and then you know actually your just your overall role is still to drive you know conversions for your company um and paying for those so yeah yeah totally uh final question for you Fredick you’ve now been the CEO here What keeps Fredrik motivated and excited? for um for how long has it been for funnel um so we started building funnel 2014 okay so coming up had previous company before that so in total it’s probably around 12 years okay so that that’s a a sizable a sizable period of time and obviously your role has changed massively the company has changed massively you went from working very close to the product now you’re managing teams of hundreds of people um first first question or or first part of the question would be how have you been able to grow in your role to grow with the company that’s I guess fairly uncommon at that massive like scale scale and um second question how have you been able to stay motivated and and not you know not not look for something else to do with 12 years in like what keeps you excited about about keeping keeping uh to keep pushing forward yeah a really good questions so when it comes to Growing I mean I I would say that the number one thing about being successful with a startup is being great at learning at like the the pace you can learn theer part to a large extent the success because you got to learn a lot of stuff you know you come very I mean with you know before funnel I had started an e-commerce company in um the UK so I and I part of that I had a role of like CMOS I kind of understood the the problem statement we were doing that that help but putting it all together like you got to kind of learn the industry you’re in that you’re often you’re trying to change in Industry you got to learn what it is and then you got to learn what customers want to get product Market fit and you’re G to learn how to find a what uh go to market channels work and then you know you’re got to learn how to hire people and set a good culture you guys can learn learn learn so I think just having that ability to quickly learn is I think is absolutely key and and it sort of never ends it’s incredible how many development stages a company can go through like every six months like it changes and there’s new sort of broad challenges and new you know new development stage it’s and it’s the same it’s the same like with kids like they go through so man you know every couple of months they change you could never make all this stuff up um it it it’s so multifaceted and it’s the same so I think that learn just that absolute learning capability I think is important so how do you learn them I mean one you do it through talking to people and customers and all the stuff but you know I I like to also read blog posts I like to listen to podcast and I really like to speak I think that’s the biggest one for me is to just network with and speak to other CEOs of growth companies and learn from them and their businesses um to me that’s uh you know that’s hugely valuable um and um and then that’s probably what I’ve learned the most from got it do you have just out of uh because one thing I’ve heard and read is that CEO especially if a kind of a growth company is a very lonely job because you’re facing all these challenges there’s a lot of pressure a lot of stakeholders to manage and you’re the only one in the company try to keep it all together so you kind of have a support group of CEOs and in growth companies that you guys talk talk to or or um anything along those lines yeah I have I have a CEO group um that that we actually sort of meet monthly and and and chats and sort of partially acts like that and then I have a couple of CEOs that I know locally that you know I meet meet up with for lunch regularly and and and and also is really helpful and it’s kind of like you know you do it for a number of years you see each other grow I mean I think it’s actually really really rewarding um now then just to answer your other question which was you know how do you keep motivated you know I think your role um changes a lot as the company grows um originally you know you very into the details of especially me coming with a product background into the product and the details and and then as it grows you know you get a lot of work with the organization it’s a different type of job and you kind of like I mean I like creativity and creative work I think i’ I found I’ve gone from you know reeving in the creativity of building a product to actually the creativity of designing an organization and a business model and a system my compan is really a system and making tinkering with it and making it all kind of work and I I think that’s sort of what I what I found a lot of U you know that gives me a lot of of satisfaction and that that I find uh really interested and and then just you know the opportunity to see the people in the company come in young maybe their first job and then growing and you know we have some people who come in and you know we’ve given them a chance they didn’t have a lot of Education we believed in them and and you know just seeing them evolve and grow has been fantastically satisfying yeah I can I can to totally see that uh fredi thank you so much for coming on it’s been a real real pleasure to talk to you uh I had a bunch of questions that we didn’t even get a chance to to go through so maybe we’ll have to to do a part two but um where do people you know checking out funnel of course uh it should mentioned gendra is a funnel partner um so if you if you want help with actually implementing that um you can contact us you can go check out fun on the website uh but for people want to connect with you is it LinkedIn the best place to go yes LinkedIn is the social media where where I’m the most active so connect with me on LinkedIn okay I’ll put a link uh in in the show notes once again fredi thank you so much uh good luck with everything you’re doing at at funnel and uh thank you yeah thank you shot thank you for listening you can find all episodes of the growth pod on Spotify YouTube and apple

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