Kris

Krzysztof Marszałek

rst-it.com

Can you say in one sentence what Xeneta is about and what it does?

Patrik berglund %281%29

Patrik Berglund

Xeneta CEO

We crowdsource contracted price data from companies buying containerized ocean freight and leverage the data to create transparency in the volatile and opaque shipping industry.

by Krzysztof Marszałek — 20 APR 2016

Can you briefly explain how you arrived at the current stage? How did Xeneta evolve?

Patrik berglund %281%29

PB

Xeneta CEO

We started out small, with a founding team of two industry guys and a savvy techie – building an MVP that we took straight to market in its early beta stages. As the platform holds no value without data contributed from the network connected to it – there was a huge chicken and an egg challenge to begin with. Once we got past this first barrier reaching for global coverage in our database – things started to escalate and we continued bringing in investors to further support the growth potentials we were facing.

Do you use any online tools while managing Xeneta? Could you please name a few?

Patrik berglund %281%29

PB

Xeneta CEO

We use several tools for various parts of our business – Phabricator - open source software development platform, A-ha, Geckoboard - KPI dashboard, Chartmogul metrics, Salesforce, Admincontrol, Slack, Hubspot - marketing&sales software, Meltwater - media monitoring tool – to name a few…

What made you assume there is a space for a product like yours on the market?

Patrik berglund %281%29

PB

Xeneta CEO

The first thoughts was derived from our experiences gained as emplpoyees at one of the biggest logistics service providers in the world (Kuehne + Nagel) – the validation was completed early on when we took our MVP to the first few potential companies – and the response we received. On top of this – we noticed that companies from all over the world started to reach out – with the same pain points as the local, national & regional companies we  approached ourselves.

How would you describe Norwegian startup scene? What are the biggest chances and risks?

Patrik berglund %281%29

PB

Xeneta CEO

It’s picking up – with an ecosystem that keeps developing – making it more attractive to become an entrepreneur or work with a startup. The oil-crisis helps as well – as we as a nation needed to look for alternative future sources of revenue to make our living.
I consider our biggest chances to be within the energy, maritime and health/bio/tech space – as we have deep routes within these sectors – but also in general a very high adoption of technology in the country compared to the majority of the world. To me, this indicates that there should be a good foundation for building and testing a wide range of tech products / companies. As for risks – I think one of our biggest threats is the deeply instilled humbleness (in Norwegian called ‘Janteloven’) that might prohibit us from thinking big enough – especially since the world keeps getting smaller and more accessible from anywhere…

Who is Xeneta’s biggest competitor?

Patrik berglund %281%29

PB

Xeneta CEO

Besides inertia (which perhaps is the biggest mindset to compete with) in the industry in general there’s mostly older consultancies playing around in the space we’re currently operating in – but new startups or new initiatives by the bigger service providers are more and more frequently introduced to the market – as this space (global logistics) keeps getting more attention.

Are there any books on startups that you've read and would recommend?

Patrik berglund %281%29

PB

Xeneta CEO

Did you get inspired by other startups which in your opinion are built in the right way? Can you name them?

Patrik berglund %281%29

PB

Xeneta CEO

I remember visiting Wix in Tel Aviv (right when we started with Xeneta) and still remember the vibe at their office and looking at Palantir (in terms of a company dealing with data) – but I guess looking more broadly at this from what has happened over the last 10-15 years there’s so many companies to be inspired from.

What are the main challenges - other than fundraising - of a startup founder before launching the product?

Patrik berglund %281%29

PB

Xeneta CEO

Prioritizations… always too much to do – and always a challenge to make sure you prioritize the most important and valuable things – as you’ll never get around to do it all. Then hiring – finding the right ones – with the grit, passion, competence, enthusiasm, smartness, attitude and desire that is required to succeed!

How does Xeneta’s business model look like?

Patrik berglund %281%29

PB

Xeneta CEO

Subscription based

What factors did you take into consideration while deciding on the technology for Xeneta? Did anybody help you with that?

Patrik berglund %281%29

PB

Xeneta CEO

Well, we were smart enough to pull in a developer as one of the co-founders, as we knew that our key differentiator in the shipping and logistics market was to focus on technology. We wanted our platform to be scalable, flexible in order to allow for fast development and performance. It was also important that there was zero implementation time, a turnkey solution that would basically allow our customers to be up and running immediately.

It’s important for us that we use the latest and most powerful web technologies and libraries. This also helps us recruit great talent on the engineering side.

Do you have an investor? If yes, at what stage did you start talking to an investor and why?

Patrik berglund %281%29

PB

Xeneta CEO

We have several VCs (Creandum, Point Nine Capital, Alliance Venture, Alden) – started discussions very early – when we had the first few solid metrics that supported our claims that we were onto something.

What do you wish you'd known when you became CEO?

Patrik berglund %281%29

PB

Xeneta CEO

I would have liked to know a bit more of what a roller coaster experience it would be. But then again – without the disappointments – the successes would not nearly taste as sweet! I have also learned how important people and trust are in an organization and how much people really look up to their CEO. Pressure! In all seriousness, I am enjoying it for sure and we have a great bunch who make it easy for me to lead and get inspiration from.

What are Xeneta’s plans for the next 6 months?

Patrik berglund %281%29

PB

Xeneta CEO

Continue to strengthen the product / our offering, acquiring more customers, learn, test, develop and scale, scale, scale…

Can you convince the reader to start using Xeneta in 2 sentences?

Patrik berglund %281%29

PB

Xeneta CEO

You need to move cargo in steel-boxes around the world? Make sure no one is in your pocket ripping you off in the process and make sure your rates are competitive in the market – Xeneta can help!

Thank you for the interview Patrik!

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