Interview with a CEO
1. In one sentence, what does Passendo offer and who do you target? We help the world's most serious email communicators commercialize their newsletters with strong privacy-preserving technology.
2. How did you make your way into the world of SaaS and start your company? I guess we did it the right way, we developed the technology because we needed it ourselves - And very quickly we found that being able to dynamically select an ad in a newsletter based on data - While preserving the privacy of the end-user - Was quite unique, and something we needed to bring to the world!
4. Passendo has a tech team in Serbia. What's your advice on hiring and managing a remote tech team? The three most important things are; Inclusion, Inclusion, Inclusion. That’s most of it. There needs to be no A & B team, but only one single team working in unison. You and your existing team will spend loads of time on calls, flights and conference calls, but it’s absolutely worth it!
5. Passendo has an international installed base. What is your strategy on international expansion? If you build it, they will come! Our first 10 clients in the US found us, as our product offering is quite unique, and clients were desperately looking for it. The next steps were harder, we spent years trying different models, and it’s still not perfect. Today we have 3 dedicated regional teams focusing on specific markets, and a Rest of the World team, working much broader. Some of them are local, some centralized in Copenhagen - This seems to be working for us!
6. There is no easy path to success. What was the biggest challenge you went through and what was your biggest achievement? Challenge: Choosing the laser-sharp & focused area Passendo works in. Focusing is not about what you say yes to, it’s the hard choice of saying no to business to be able to be better at what we choose to actually do. We made a big strategic choice in this area about three years ago, and this was a gamechanger and a turning point. Biggest Win: We today have 35 people going to work every day to develop, implement, sell and support world-leading technology - And everybody is having a blast doing so. I am very proud of that.
7. As a CEO, what do you know now that you wish you had known in the beginning? Focus, Focus, Focus, trust your gut (even more) and be quick in inviting clever people in, but slow in handing out cap table seats.
8. What advice would you give other founders in the B2B SaaS industry? Build something you are proud of both product and team-wise - And have fun doing it. Then you have given yourself the best starting point of success. And if you fail, you at least hopefully learned something, and you had fun along the way!