The SaaS Podcast

Data Talks: The Importance of Focusing on One Market – with Stefan Lavén [325]

Data Talks: The Importance of Focusing on One Market

Stefan Laven is the founder and CEO of Data Talks, a customer data platform (CDP) that helps sports organizations create world-class supporter experiences based on their data.

In 2018, Stefan was running a consultancy and helping clients turn their data into insights. But he realized that many clients struggled to figure out what to do with those insights.

So he and his team decided to build a product to help their clients get more value from those insights. They built an MVP and started showing it to their clients. And it didn't take them long to signup their first 10 customers.

Most founders would be delighted by that, and Stefan was too. But today, he looks back and wishes that they hadn't sold their MVP so quickly, and we talk about why and what he would have done differently.

Also, when they launched, they hedged their bets and decided to go after three different vertical markets at the same time instead of picking one vertical. That approach didn't work, and they wasted a ton of time and money.

Eventually, they decided to focus on just one vertical. And that's when everything clicked, and the business grew faster. We talk about why it's so difficult to commit to one market and how Stefan and his team got there.

Currently, Data Talks has about 500 customers and is generating around $250K in monthly recurring revenue.

I hope you enjoy it.

Transcript

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[00:00:00] Omer: Welcome to another episode of the SaaS Podcast, I'm your host Omer Khan. And this is the show where I interview proven founders and industry experts who share their stories, strategies, and insights to help you build, launch and grow your SaaS business.

In this episode, I took to Stefan Laven. The co-founder and CEO of Data Talks a customer data platform that helps sports organizations create world class supporter experiences based on their data.

In 2018, Stefan was running a consultancy and helping clients turn their data into insights, but he realized that many of them struggled to figure out what to do with those insight. So, he and his team decided to build software, to help their clients get more value. They built an MVP and started showing it around and it didn't take them that long to sign up their first 10 customers.

Most founders would've been delighted by that and Stephan was too at the time. Today, he looks back and wishes that they hadn't sold their MVP so quickly. And we talk about why and what he would've done differently. Also, when they launched, they hedged their bets and went after three different markets at the same time, instead of picking just one, that approach didn't work and cost them a lot of time and money.

Eventually they decided to focus on just one vertical sports and that's when everything click. And the business grew faster. We talk about why it's so difficult to commit to just one market when you're starting out and how Stefan and his team eventually got there. Currently Data Talks has about 500 customers and is generating around $250,000 in monthly recurring revenue.

So, I hope you enjoy it.

All right, Stefan. Welcome to the show.

[00:02:01] Stefan: Thank you. Thank you for having me.

[00:02:03] Omer: Do you have a favorite quote, something that inspires or motivates you that you can share with us?

[00:02:07] Stefan: Yes, I do actually. And it is quite short. It is the best is yet to come.

[00:02:13] Omer: The best is yet to come. I love that.

Okay, great. So, tell us about Data Talks. What does the product do? Who's it for? And what's the main problem that you're helping to solve?

[00:02:22] Stefan: I think most a lot of people know about the concept of a customer data platform. It's a platform where you collect all data about a customer like behavioral data, transactional data, whatever data you need to understand your customer better.

So, you collect that, you analyze it, and then you act on that to create a more relevant messaging. And in the end of course, to drive more revenue. So basically, what the platform should do. If you've built it correctly, is drive more revenue. Right. So, what we've done is we've built that kind of a platform for sports.

So we built it for clubs. We built it for leagues, federations and governing bodies of sports, but it's in sports. So that's what it does, it solves. Actually, one of the big problems in sports is they need to find sustainable ways of driving revenue. And then they have problems in mainly three different areas.

One is to fill the stadium, meaning selling tickets and also driving match day revenue. The second one is to drive a lot more merchandise sales and the third one, which is also an important one is to create more or better, and more lucrative sponsorship deals and data can be a real enabler in all of those three.

[00:03:40] Omer: Can you give us a sense of the size of the business, where in terms of revenue, size of customers team?

[00:03:46] Stefan: Absolutely be happy to. So, right now we, we have MRR around $250,000. We're aiming this year to have an ARR around 4 1/2 – 5 million US dollars. We're pretty sure that we're going to get to that as well.

We have about 500 customers using the platform. We have a team that is around 45 people, 16 different nationalities. We have customers in 10 countries, mainly Europe, but also Australia, not in the US yet.

[00:04:22] Omer: So, the business was founded in 2018. You bootstrapped it from the outset. And have you just gone through a funding round recently?

[00:04:32] Stefan: Yes, that's. That's correct. So, so we are bootstrapped with some help from family and friends, but just now we actually sort of did the first funding round with people from like outside of of the, like the family and friends’ network. So that's been really exciting to see how it's responded, especially in these times, like the during the discussions with the investors the macroeconomic situation totally flipped. So that's been very interesting.

[00:05:02] Omer: Let's go back to 2017, 2018, where did the idea for this product and business come from.

[00:05:09] Stefan: It materialized over a longer period of time. So previous to data talks, I was running a consultancy. We were working with the big data and customer insight and building those customized solutions.

And one of the things that we discovered was, first of all, we were doing some of the things we were doing over and over again. We felt that okay. Okay, great. That we can charge for it, but it doesn't make sense to be doing like the same thing over and over again. And more importantly, the thing was that we didn't really believe that the solutions were giving the value.

They weren't really giving the customer the value that they deserve. Right? So that, that was a big issue. And the reason was that a lot of customers were asking us. Great, now we get insights, we understand a lot more about our customers. That's fantastic. We understand a lot more about our supporters, but now what do we do now?

I mean, we have to like, how do we start using this? So that sort of led us through to the insight that we need to build platform we need to build it specifically for a vertical, that like shows that we know the business and that it like directly and instantly gives value back to the user and the user, as we see it is the marketer.

[00:06:20] Omer: There, there was a product called Data Talks, which I thought was the one that you had started back in 2014. Was that a completely different product?

[00:06:27] Stefan: No, that was actually not a product that was actually two very skilled guys working with marketing automation that also saw that they were like, they saw that we, there's so much data floating around and we're not using it. And I was talking to them and saying, yeah, we understand how to use it.

Let's do something together. This is what we want to build. Are you interested to, to join that? And that's when we acquired. So, we were actually acquiring the competence of those 2 guys. And so, we did that. So, we required a company that was called Datatalks, and we actually liked that name. So, we kept the name.

[00:07:01] Omer: Tell me what happens then. So, the acquisition you've got this team in place. What did you do next?

[00:07:07] Stefan: So, then we had like, we, during the last part of 2017, what we had built was an MVP and we had been able to present or actually sell that MVP incredibly enough, but we had sold that MVP to customers.

So, then we, when we had the launch in January 2018, we actually had a customer with us. And then we just sort of developed from there. Just trying to sell that what we had a lot on like PowerPoint level but that's how we did it. And then also putting as much resources as possible into building or improving the, I would say building the product, improving that would be saying too much. It was building the product.

[00:07:48] Omer: So, what did the MVP do? And how many customers did you end up selling it too.

[00:07:55] Stefan: We actually had pretty good growth of with customers there during that period, it was fairly easy. We were, we did one smart thing. So since we didn't have enough big of a team, so we needed to find out like, figure out how do we collect?

How do we get the data in so we can start analyzing it. So, then we said let's use the different marketing automation systems out there. Let us let them do the collecting and we just bring it out from those systems. So just build like easy integrations and then put it into mainly like they ended up in, in dashboards, like sort of dashboards.

And in those dashboards, you could start creating segments and then exporting those back to the marketing automation. The value was that you could actually very easily from going from getting an insight, doing analyzing of your customers and then right there, and then creating segments from that.

So, you could understand this is who we should be targeting. Well, can I find these individuals? Yes, I can. I can right there, and then I can create a new segment and just put that back and start my activations on that. So that was the value that, that, that was the big thing. And that insight actually led us to starting to develop the product in a way where we saw that we need to have something in the product, which we now call the segment builder, like being able to build really good segments and being able to do that seamlessly from finding an insight and then going right into the segment builder. It's hard to like to describe, it if you don't see the product, but that was that was how we started off.

[00:09:28] Omer: I just want to make sure I've understood this. So today the product provides those insights, but also gives customers the way to act on those, that information. And then the, but the MVP in the early days was the insights part.

[00:09:39] Stefan: It was much more the insights, part and creating of the segmentations, but no activations. So, then we had to like push those back into whatever tool that you were using for the activations, but that was not like that was not a sustainable solution. So, we had to do two things we had to develop like better analytics, better segmentation, and also more activations.

[00:10:02] Omer: Okay. All right. So, you've built this product. How much were you charging for it?

[00:10:08] Stefan: I think it was like, I think it was like something around say $1,500 per month. It was something like that. And that is our lowest price point right now.

[00:10:19] Omer: And so how many customers did you sell it to the MVP?

[00:10:22] Stefan: Oh, the MVP. I would say we sold it to like, 10, 10 customers. And actually, one of those customers is still with us today. So, they've been through all the different versions be they been very patient.

[00:10:35] Omer: So, it's interesting because a lot of founders would be very happy to take an. Go and sell it, get those first 10 mythical customers who aren't your relatives and whatever.

But when you and I were talking, you were saying, I kind of wish we hadn't done that. I wish we hadn't sold it to them. So, can you tell us about that?

[00:10:58] Stefan: Yeah, absolutely. So, one of the I would say one of the major, well, as always, there are a couple of major lessons, but one of them is definitely what we did was okay, so when we went into it, we said, okay, we have to have like, a specific user in mind. We have to build it for it. It's not a tech product. It's built for the end user. So, it's the marketer. That's who we're building it for. We need to give them the power of using data and see that it can actually drive revenue from data.

That was it. And we also said that to be able to do that, we have to also be a vertical specific. We can't build one size fits all that won't work. Right. So, then we said, okay, so what verticals should we be targeting in all textbooks, say that, yeah, choose one customer type or one. We sort of said, nah, wow.

One. That seems a bit that, that, that seems scary. So, we picked three, right? That was a big mistake. That was a big mistake. We should definitely have gone with one vertical and like just gone with it and made sure that we got a good product market fit and could like scale the sales and marketing and everything from that.

And then if we wanted to expand. But since we chose three, it was really hard for us to find a good or get to the state where we could see that we had a good product market fit. That was really difficult. And it was also it put a lot of stress on the team, like trying to juggle all of these three and having different messages and things like that.

I mean, the team was very small. So, I mean, it was, that was a big mistake. And that also is something that we are a little bit suffering from still today, since we do have, I mean, we're totally focused on sports today. But we do have customers in other verticals, and they need support as well. So, it sounds really strange, but that's, that is not, that's not the best way for us or for them to be honest.

[00:12:57] Omer: So when you started out, you had sports as one vertical and then retail and utilities were the other two.

[00:13:05] Stefan: Yes.

[00:13:05] Omer: How did you figure out, what those three verticals were gonna be.

[00:13:10] Stefan: Okay. So that's a real good question. So, sports was like, that was given, first of all we got, we acquired a first of all, we already were working in sports.

We love sports. We were working in sports. We early on we hired a guy who came from the sports world. And so like, that was a given. Retail was that we had a couple of good retail clients. It's a huge market. We saw the potential and everything. Right. So retail was. It was very opportunistic, this whole like idea of how to find those verticals.

And then utility was the same thing. We saw that there was a big need for a platform like ours in utility. We saw that they could benefit a lot from it. And we were actually getting early traction in that vertical as well, so, well, okay. So we said, let's go with these three. We should have said, like no to some of the traction in, in, in utility, for instance, and in retail.

[00:14:01] Omer: That's really interesting what you just said there, because there's one thing, if you're going in and saying, we don't know which of these three verticals to focus on, so we're going to hedge your bets, we're gonna try these different areas and figure out which is the right place. But when you were just describing the verticals, there was a lot of passion when you talked about sports, it was experience. It was already a skillset. And you said sports was a given. Yeah. So it was interesting that you already had that conviction about that one vertical, but still felt that you needed to hedge your bets and spread your efforts across a number of areas.

[00:14:39] Stefan: Yeah, I know it was like, it was a feeling that we were more safe to go with three, instead of just one, that, that was it. It was like a, that. In our minds, it was like not believing whatever textbook tells you that like, be very specific and say no, that sounds scary. So, let's go with three. That was basically it.

We should, of course listen to what others, like founders and others, very smart people have said but that's the…

[00:15:09] Omer: Okay, so that was around 2018. Yes. What were the main takeaways from building and selling that MVP. Were there any surprises and then where did you go next from those learnings?

[00:15:21] Stefan: All right. So, so one of the main learnings also was that we actually sold the MVP, right? So, so we did sales, which means that we the expectations from the customers were, was actually that, that we sold something that should work. Which it didn't always work.

We should have been, we shouldn't have sold it. We should have been more honest in saying, hey, listen, because the ones we were selling to were the early adopters. Right? I mean, they were the, otherwise they wouldn't have jumped on it. So, if we would've had an honest conversation with them and said, Hey, listen, We have this idea. We think it's a great fit for you. You're obviously interested, so let's do it like this. Let's do it like a joint development. We are bootstrapping this, so we don't have any investor. So, we would really like to charge something for it. But I mean, this is it. We'll not charge much. This is what we need to charge.

And it's an MVP and like, be more honest and like doing it, like in a joint development project or something like that. I am quite sure that the, those early customers would've said, yeah, I'm fine with that because that they were early adopters. So, they were interested into finding out how this could work.

They saw the potential in it. So, so we should have gone that way. So that was a big learning. And then going from there, it was a big like leap to just really start investing in, in, in the development of the product. Like, I mean, just getting everything out of the way and just like really focusing on, on, on developing the product and to make it in a state where you could say that now, it's now, it's like a first version and it's really working.

[00:16:53] Omer: You talked about how you felt that you didn't set expectations better with these MVP customers. Yeah. What was the implication of that? What problems did that cause?

[00:17:05] Stefan: Well, actually the biggest issue was that it, it made the expectations. They thought they were buying like more of a finished product than we were than we had. Right. So, then you understand that those clash the expectations and finding out that the product wasn't as finished as they thought it was. And we didn't think that we were like, it's not like we were saying something that, that wasn't true or anything.

It's just that, I mean, the stability of the product wasn't there. So there were a lot of like fixes that needed to be done and things like that. So, so that, that was the main implications of that.

[00:17:39] Omer: Outbound has been probably the biggest driver of growth for your business. Let's talk about that. What exactly were you doing and how did you figure out how to make that channel work for you?

[00:17:52] Stefan: Since we didn't have like any basis, we were very like always short on cash. So, we had to like to spend it wisely. So, it was natural to like to do the outbound because that was just hard work.

So, you can always spend a lot of hard work. There's no end to the budget for hard work. So, we did a lot of cold calling, a lot of cold emails, but also, we started doing also our own events, like seminars, inviting seminar. Yeah, in different with different topics, but always like connected to, to like data activations, revenue through data, all of that.

Like, but just keep keeping at it, basically like just a few people came in the beginning. So, we had to get some friends in there, so it wasn't totally empty, but then we were getting some more and more traction. So, so that was actually something that, that was working, like having these breakfast seminars and that kind of very simple events.

But those actually worked. As good lead generating activities. So, we just kept at it. And one of the good things we did also was that we tried a lot of different messaging and like, okay, so how are we now doing the cold calls? What does the script look like? What do we need to change?

What's working. What's not was working, was not working and so on. And the same with cold email. So, we've always had a, or been pretty good at trying different things and not being afraid of doing something in a different way. Right. So, so that's, I think that's being part of the success.

And then once we had some more money, we also went to some external events, like networking events and things like that. Having a booth that was also really good lead generating activities. And then as we started getting some more traction, that's when we felt that we need to have something else, we need to start working a lot more with content marketing, like trying To get to that place where we could like be seen as more like thought leadership and taking that approach.

So that's when we a little bit too late, but anyway, we hired a person that could actually drive marketing and especially start building that content marketing and doing that with quality in the beginning, we didn't do that much, but what we did was with quality.

And it was within, in one channel, but we focused on that, and we got that right. And saw that we were like getting the traction for the content and, okay. So that's good. We have the right to like, approach to it. And then we sort of just expanded from there, I would say.

[00:20:22] Omer: What were you doing with the content? Was this mostly for SEO purposes or were you promoting it and trying to get it in front of your target market in other ways?

[00:20:33] Stefan: We did that but very limited we didn't have that, that much budget for it. So, it was very limited, but we did try to get it in front and just tried to drive them to our website and then try to convert them there in, in some way.

And in, in some of the content was just for brand awareness purposes just trying to start creating a brand awareness and those kinds of things. But that's actually worked quite well. I would say that our content works. I mean, the marketing works, I must say.

[00:21:00] Omer: Were you still targeting all three verticals at this point when you started on that content strategy?

[00:21:05] Stefan: Yes. But very quickly we dropped the utility parts. That was, yeah, that happened about the same time when we started saying like, we need to be more strategic about. We need to start working in another way than just outbound. That was basically at the same time that we dropped the utility.

[00:21:21] Omer: Okay. Why did that vertical go? Did you have like no success there or was it, I think it's sometimes it's easier if you have no success, because then it's, you can just say, yeah, that's out. When you get a few customers there, like, oh, I don't know.

[00:21:34] Stefan: We actually had we still have a few customers and we had a few customers.

So, so we were actually closing deals there, but we saw a couple of things. One was that it was really slow. I mean, it, it took a lot of effort, a lot of time. So, it was a very long sales cycle and we saw that this will not suit us. It will not suit what we, where we wanna take the company.

And then we also looked a little bit more like a structured approach to looking into that market. And we saw that it was it was very different depending on what geography you were going into? The market was very different. So, we saw that it would be very hard to scale with that vertical. So, then it was a quite easy choice to say, well, no, this is not a vertical that we should be pursuing.

[00:22:19] Omer: Okay. So, then you're left with retail and sports and so content and the outreach, the cold emailing, the cold calls that still continued.

[00:22:31] Stefan: Yes.

[00:22:31] Omer: Focus on both those two verticals. Were you mainly targeting customers in Sweden at the time?

[00:22:38] Stefan: We have always had the, like the ambition to, to be, to go internationally. So what we were yes, of course, Sweden that's like, of course, I mean, it that's our home market, so that was natural to, to be there. But then we were very quickly out in Europe. And then we specifically went to the Eastern part of Europe actually.

That was also a market that we saw that we were getting some really good traction. They were very open and are very open to new ways and new ideas and new solutions. So that I was actually a very good market to, to start off with.

[00:23:12] Omer: And the cold outreach, how was that working for you? I mean, we mentioned earlier that yeah, outbound has been the biggest growth driver for you, but doing cold calling or cold email is often not a fun experience for both sites. Nobody wants to make that cold call, and nobody wants to receive one and many startups, many founders, they try that, but they never really figure out how to do that well. And there are plenty of examples out there of people doing it badly, the emails that you and I, and people listening to this will get every day, which makes it even easier for us to just ignore that noise because it just keeps coming through. So, what was your experience and why do you feel that you were able to make that channel work for your business?

[00:24:04] Stefan: Okay. So, so this is a, it's, it’s bit of a tricky question, but I would like to answer it this way. We didn't really have a choice since we, I mean, we were bootstrapped, so we didn't really have a choice. We didn't have any big marketing budgets to go and try to sort of warm up the market and do a lot of advertising and try to like, get those inbound leads.

So that was one aspect of it. But we did manage to get it pretty well and where we did actually see some good traction with the outbound was in, in sports. So that was one of the markets where actually the outbound was working. And also specifically, we went into a part of Europe where not like it's for some companies, it's not the first choice.

So, it was also, we didn't target like we didn't go to the. Markets like Germany or the UK, which are, I mean, though, they're really tough. We chose other ones, smaller markets, and that also made it a little bit easier. We're saying that we were from Sweden could help and, well, we could use those things for us that could actually work for us.

But I mean, yes. Cold calling, cold emailing. It's tough. It takes a lot of volume to, to make it work. But at that time, it was like that was what we had, that, that we could actually, that, that was the choice we had.

[00:25:24] Omer: So eventually you also dropped retail and you went all in with sports that happened quite recently, I think maybe about a year ago?

[00:25:36] Stefan: Yeah. Yeah. So, we saw in the beginning of 2021. We saw like the first signs of like, maybe we need to rethink this strategy. And there were a couple of reasons. One was that is really hard. Even if you're like starting to build a little bit larger team, it's still hard to keep like two messages like and trying to be like, really have the credibility of like for a smaller team to say that yes, we're in retail a really huge vertical and yes, we're in sports. Yeah. But can you really do both? I mean, it's that's tough. And also having two messages creating a website that sort of can appeal to both its, that is quite challenging and demanding.

So that was one thing that started, like, it started to make us think a little bit, but what really made us what really made us drop like, like the retail focus was that it was no doubt. I mean, if we just looked at the amount of leads coming in and saw the conversions and everything, it was like, Sports that's where you had the and where we saw that we had the product marketed.

So when we went into these meetings with the customers and we showed them the platform, like in sports, they said, wow, yes, this is what we need. Yes. This you nailed it. Give us this. Where in, in retail it was more like, ah, well, yeah, it's okay, but maybe we're not ready. There are other options out there that was the more of the response.

And I wouldn't blame them because I, if I look at, we always built it like for sports first, so naturally the product market fit was better there. So that was, that made us drop drop retail and go into sports.

[00:27:11] Omer: At the beginning you said, you know, we should have just focused on one rather than the three. Without the benefit of the hindsight that you have now, if you were back in, in sort of starting out, what do you think you could have done differently to get to that point and that focus faster?

[00:27:33] Stefan: Woo that's…

[00:27:35] Omer: Was this just a, you just maybe intuitively you knew sports was the vertical, but you just didn't have enough confidence to make that bet.

[00:27:45] Stefan: Exactly. That is exactly it. And maybe we wish, I wish we would've had someone who had made the mistake earlier and said, listen, guys, go with sports, forget the rest. Don't worry about it. You'll, that's what make you, that'll make you, it works for you. So, so forget the rest. These are the problems you'll see if you go with these three. We didn't have the confidence. That's exactly right. We didn't have the confidence of saying that, no, let's go with sports. We thought it was a safety belt to have more, and it was it's the opposite.

So that's definitely like, like it's such a learning. So, so I think someone if we would've had someone who would've like advised us and said, listen go with this.

[00:28:27] Omer: We've talked about some of the downsides of trying to have these three verticals, you know, working them in parallel. How did things change when you then said one vertical sports? How did that change the way that you ran the business and the focus of the team?

[00:28:42] Stefan: It was huge. I mean, I mean, huge. I didn't even, I couldn't even imagine the impact it would have, like on, on the company. As a whole like, like the team, all of a sudden everything just came together.

The whole team focused on one vertical into sports. One kind of customer, the product is built for this. This one message. Everybody knew what they were doing. Everyone was running in the same direction. It was like, boom, flipping a coin. It was amazing to see. I mean, not just from the sales and marketing, but the whole team, product development, customer success, everyone in, Data Talks that it was awesome. It was awesome to see.

And I think, I mean, that has nothing to do with, or maybe it does that we do have a passion for sports, but I don't think that's the thing. It was more that, that we had one, like we, everybody knew. This is one reason for us to exist. That was it. So that made it so much easier.

[00:29:45] Omer: Yeah. That's powerful stuff, you know, intuitively we all know that's the right way to go. Getting there is always so hard.

[00:29:53] Stefan: Yes. Yes. And it, and I think you're on, I think you're to the point when you say that is about having the confidence and having the guts to actually do it. I think that, because that, that I think is what was lacking for, in our case, in the beginning. So, so that's also, that's a really good point there.

[00:30:11] Omer: Let's talk a little bit about fundraising. You bootstrapped the business for largely most of this time, since you launched in 2018, you went and raised some funding recently, when you and I were talking earlier, you said, I wish we had done this. We had raised money sooner.

[00:30:28] Stefan: Yes.

[00:30:29] Omer: What do you think would have been different if you had been able to do that?

[00:30:32] Stefan: Very good question and there's actually very, there's a very specific answer to it. And I think it's, once again, it's about choices, right? Making the right choices or the right decisions.

So, in 2019, like in the end of 2019, we landed a huge customer. Whoa, it was a mega deal for. So, and it was like a really a lot of cash a good deal. It was like it was also giving us a lot of revenue in professional services. It was fantastic. No, it wasn't. Now after seeing, like having the answers, it wasn't because what happened was like having this mega customer makes you. It takes basically all the resources. Right? So, then we were struggling with having resources left for product development. We were having struggling with having resources for other customers and customer success. And so, then we were like finding, okay, so how do we actually move the company forward? Now we're just supporting one, one customer.

So even if it was a lot of cash and it sort of funded us for a long time, it would've been better there and then. To actually do a fundraising, take the same amount, but do a fundraising because then we could have actually put that cash to work and developed the company developed the messaging developed the product, developed everything else.

So that, that was that's something that I've, I realized now that if I go back and I'm in the same situation again, then I will say, great. It's really good that we can land a mega deal like this, but this means that we have something that's valuable. Now let's go out to an investor and show this because we'll get the same funding at least.

And, but we can make more use of that. We can take steps much more faster with having funding that's focused for just building the company. So that's like, and that sort of made us wait with the fundraising. Good or bad but that's, and then, I mean, then we started getting other clients in, so it sorts of eventually turned out really well, but it, I would say we put us back like nine, 12 months.

[00:32:47] Omer: So was your intention always to raise money at some point or was this let's try to bootstrap as far as we can and if we need to raise money, we will. What was your sort of view to this?

[00:32:59] Stefan: From the beginning we've had like this ambition that we wanna go global. So, we said at some point to be able to do that, we will need to raise funding, but let's find the right time to do it.

So, so we knew that we had to raise do some fundraising eventually. And we were totally fine with it. And that was like where we were heading. We just didn't know when.

We should

[00:33:23] Omer: wrap up, move on to the lightning round. So, I've got seven quick fire questions for you. Sure. What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?

[00:33:34] Stefan: Know when to give up.

[00:33:36] Omer: What book would you recommend to our audience and why?

[00:33:38] Stefan: Then I would recommend the Factfulness by the professor Hans Rosling and I would recommend it because he brings data into explaining the state of the world. And he shows with data that we're in a much better state than we think we are.

[00:33:54] Omer: I like that what's one attribute or characteristic in your mind of a successful founder?

[00:33:58] Stefan: Determination.

[00:34:00] Omer: What's your favorite personal productivity tool or habit?

[00:34:03] Stefan: Do not procrastinate. So that's both a habit and the tool I would say.

[00:34:08] Omer: What's a new or crazy business idea you'd love to pursue if you had the extra time?

[00:34:12] Stefan: Okay. So I have an idea of how to disrupt the player agent market.

[00:34:17] Omer: In sports?

[00:34:19] Stefan: Yes. In sports. Yes.

[00:34:21] Omer: Okay. You're not gonna tell us anymore. What's an interesting or fun fact about you that most people don't know?

[00:34:25] Stefan: I've actually been a gymnastics coach, but I've never, ever done the gymnastics or even been interested in gymnastics, but I've been a coach for gymnastics.

[00:34:35] Omer: Wow. And finally, what's one of your most important passions outside of your work?

[00:34:38] Stefan: Music.

[00:34:39] Omer: Awesome. All right. Great. Well, well, Stefan, thank you so much for joining me. I appreciate you sharing the story and taking us through from the early days of the idea, through to where you are today.

If people wanna find out more about Data Talks, they can go to datatalks.se.

[00:34:56] Stefan: Yes, that's great.

[00:34:57] Omer: And if people wanna get in touch with you, what's the best way for them to do that?

[00:35:03] Stefan: Then I guess look me up on LinkedIn or drop me mail stefan.levan[at]datatalks[dot]se.

[00:35:09] Omer: Awesome. Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure and thanks for staying up late to have this conversation with me.

[00:35:16] Stefan: Well, thank you so much for having me. It's been a pleasure.

[00:35:19] Omer: Yeah, same here. Thanks a lot. Cheers.

[00:35:21] Stefan: Cheers. Bye-bye.

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