Stockholm is bursting at the seams with fast-growing tech companies. But what are their secrets to furious growth? This month’s Stockholm Tech Meetup gathered growth gurus from Trustly, Truecaller, Soundtrack Your Brand and Kry to share their tips:
1. Over-invest, but strategically
Soundtrack Your Brand’s CEO Ola Sars ignored advice from investors, who said the company should either focus on large enterprise or SMEs, and not try to tackle both. “But I didn’t listen to that,” said Sars, who decided to go after both segments. “It was important to avoid the trap of going ‘startup theoretical’ because if there’s no competition, go for all of it. If you can over-invest and raise money, go for it. Don’t think too small.”
2. Build a great product
Sabina Wizander, CCO at digital healthcare startup KRY, emphasized that above all, it’s important to build a great product.
“We’re in a situation where I think maybe the music industry was 10 or 15 years ago — that people don’t know there is another solution to healthcare. So we have to educate the whole market.”
Wizander explained that the biggest challenge for KRY’s marketing team is that you’re not supposed to sell healthcare to people who don’t need it, so the company can’t rely on traditional growth strategies. But at the end of the day, if you build a great product, people will use it.
3. Evaluate market fit carefully
One of the main things that kills startups, said Nick Larsson, Head of Growth & Partnership at Truecaller, is that there’s no actual market need. “Whenever we look at entering a new market, we have to evaluate if there’s even a need,” he said.
In Truecaller’s case, that means looking at how many spam calls consumers in that market receive every month. That number can vary drastically — in India, people get on average 22 spam calls per month; in the US it’s around 20, but in Sweden it’s about 4. “So maybe we need to pitch other features like manual lookups of a number,” said Larsson. Personalization on a country basis is key.
4. Grow through partnerships
Larsson went on to explain how partnerships have also been crucial to Truecaller’s growth. The company’s main partnership category is device makers. For the most part, these relationships involve preloading the app on smartphones, but “in some markets, we actually replace the phone dialer, so we become the default dialer, contacts and messaging app,” said Larsson.
Stefan Backlund, Trustly’s VP of Marketing & Communications, agreed that partnerships have been key to Trustly’s growth. “The number one reason that Trustly is growing is that we have an ability to innovate together with our customers. They see a lot of value in working with us,” explained Backlund. For example, Trustly has grown its partnership with PayPal over the past few years, enabling consumers to instantly top up their PayPal accounts initially in Sweden and Finland, but have since expanded into nine new markets.
5. Attract top talent
At Trustly, attracting the best employees on the market has also helped the company drive sustainable growth. “You can talk about different marketing and growth strategies, but ultimately it’s about the people you hire. And after you hire them, you need to keep them happy and help them see their growth trajectory so they stay motivated. They want to feel recognized and it’s often the soft values that are more important than the compensation,” said Backlund. “So that’s what’s really growing Trustly: dedicated employees.”
Of course, what works for one company might not work for another since industries and markets can differ greatly.
Interested in a growth opportunity at Trustly? Check out our current job openings.