Today, 46elks announced a 2.6 MSEK investment by Almi Invest and a number of private investors, among them are Daniel Laurén and Mathias Ackermand. Ackermand has previously invested in companies such as Vint, Fishbrain and Freespee. 46elks is a cloud communications platform which makes it easy to integrate Voice, SMS & MMS into applications. The team is based in Uppsala and I decided to have a chat with Johannes Lundberg, founder and CEO.
Johannes tells me that the investment will allow them to continue growth in Sweden in addition to European expansion: “The investment will also allow us to expand our services into new markets. We are mainly looking to Europe and the rest of Scandinavia, and are already searching for the right people to add to our team.”
“We are mainly looking to Europe and the rest of Scandinavia, and are already searching for the right people to add to our team.”
Tell us about the early days, what got you started with this platform?
I’m a hacker at heart, and after doing various software development I found myself building custom telephony software for companies like Blocket. But it was hard to integrate telecommunication into applications. And it required even more time to gather the domain-specific knowledge that’s needed to tailor such software for each customer and make it really good. Which is why I we came to the conclusion that it should be dead simple to build telephony applications. That’s the reason 46elks was founded, to provide tools so that companies can build these custom solutions themselves.
“That’s the reason 46elks was founded, to provide tools so that companies can build these custom solutions themselves”
Is the market for cloud based telecom services growing?
I see many things moving to the cloud, and telephony based services are no exception. A topic that is very important to telecom customers is privacy, which is why many of our customers enjoy that fact that our services are operating fully from within the EU.
What has been your biggest challenge so far and how did you solve it?
The biggest challenge by far has been persistence. At first, just securing the needed telecom contracts took us almost two years of negotiations. I was lucky to get help here in my network. And then giving the company enough time to let customers grow in their own needed pace with a Pay-as-you-go business model, while at the same time convincing our selves and investors this is indeed a fruitful endeavor in the long run was for sure not an easy task.
“At first, just securing the needed telecom contracts took us almost two years of negotiations.”
We would not have survived this long without entrepreneurial stubbornness, personal sacrifices and the clear convicting as a developer that “I want this service, others will too!”.
Mathias Ackermand is a Stockholm-based private investor with an impressive resume. He spent 20 years at Deutsche Bank, then founded and took a company – Transmode AB, public on the OMX-Nasdaq in 2011. Since then, he has been working as a private investor and invested in Vint, Fishbrain and Freespee among others.
Åsa Otterlund, Investment Manager at Almi Invest explains why they invested: “The company not only has a good product, it has a highly competent core team. We were very impressed how such a small team could build a developer community of several hundred Swedish developers. This community of developers has already started to move towards practical usage such as startups and established banks.”