Bo Mattsson and Creandum adds tens of millions of dollars to their fortunes when the VC giant Nordic Capital takes over the ownership of Cint.
Today, Cint is the fastest growing company in Sweden, but during its first year the company was far from a success.
“We started around the year 2000 with the hope of becoming a Swedish version of Yelp. We thought it was a great idea to sell customer reviews to companies, but that turned out to be impossible”, Bo Mattsson says.
The company pivoted in 2004, and Cint became an online marketplace for market research. Cint built a huge user base, with some help from media companies, which other companies could create surveys for.
“At the time, our competitors would charge $12 dollars just to interview one person. We offered interviews for less than $4”, Bo Mattsson says.
Eventhough Cint had a way cheaper service than its competitors, customers were suprisingly hard to win over.
“We beat our heads bloody against market after market. The hardest part was to convince the customers that you didn’t actually have to do the interviews by phone, and that results from internet surveys can be just as good”, Bo Mattsson says.
One inch at the time, Bo Mattsson and his colleagues managed to convince customers to try the new method of doing market research. The plan has always been to create a global company, which resulted in red bottom line for a number of years. The company didn’t turn a profit until 2014 when the operating profit reached around $2 million and revenues reached $27 million. Last year, the company had revenues of almost $30 million.
“Turning a profit has taken two to three years in each new market, but we’ve always reinvested the money in further growth”, Bo Mattsson says.
Last year, Bo Mattsson decided to step down as CEO of the company and the Norwegian Morten Strand took over.
“I honestly felt that I had reached my level of competence, and it was just better to get in a reliable guy like Morten”, Bo Mattsson says.
At the same time, Bo Mattsson and the other two major shareholders, Creandum and Prime ventures, decided to sell his lifes work Cint. It was revealed yesterday that Nordic Capital has acquired 100 percent of the company.
How much Nordic Capital payed has yet to be disclosed, but according to two unrelated sources to Breakit, the company sold for well over 1 billion SEK ($120 million), in the transaction in which several companies made offers.
According to documents from the Swedish Company Registration Office, Bo Mattsson owned 12 percent of the company while Creandum owned 22 percent and Prime ventures was the largest shareholder with 36 percent.
This isn’t the first time Bo Mattsson has created a successful tech company. The tradingplatform Eurotrade and the broker company Mangold are both on his track record, and he’s definitely not planning to retire after selling Cint.
“I’ve pulled together a team of developers who work great together, and we have a number of ideas ready. My only demand is that we create consumer faceing services. I want to sell directly to the end user this time around”, Bo Mattsson says, and reveals that his team is currently working on a music app and a horse riding app.
“I’m funding this myself right now but there are a few other people who are interested in investing”, he says.
After he quit his job as CEO at Cint he also took up an old hobby, programming.
“I was at a 12-week course in Gothenburg in the fall. It was incredibly fun. Once upon a time, I was programming in Pascal, but this was completely different. I wasn’t any good but it was fun to understand how the things you use actually work”, Bo Mattsson says.