Oslo Innovation Week 2017 gave WOW24-7 an inspiration to talk with entrepreneurs and gather best practices for startupers.
Here is a fresh experience of mInvoice – mInvoice is the next generation service platform. Gather all your service providers in one place. You can pay all your invoices, share knowledge and experience with users from the same service provider and receive relevant information from your regular providers.
Sonni Christine Jakobsen
CEO & Co-Founder
-What is your industry?
The question is quite difficult to answer because mInvoice covers lots of different branches. We mean, more and more industries are connected to each other and become more diffused. Many different solutions merge and combine to new kinds of services.
-What inspired you and how did you decide to start your business?
It started from a school project from BI Master Executive project in Oslo. When the examination was over, we couldn’t leave the project “for better times”, so we decided to establish a company. We strongly believed that we could build the service platform, and we began to analyze the market and the customers.
-How did you find the investments? What steps do you recommend to do to find investments?
To my mind, good concept, competent team, timing, and network are keywords here. You can have the best project, but if you don’t have a competent team and network, you won’t get success or any funding.
The first “must-have” is a really good team that loves what they are doing and have a knowledge about the business you are in.
-What surprising lessons have you learned along your way?
First of all, you must love what you are doing otherwise, it is really easy to give up. Because you are always in that kind of adventures. One of the most interesting things is that all big companies talk a lot about innovations, the digitization and a cooperation with a startup. However, it is really hard to make a real cooperation with them. They are big and they are slow. They are wary and afraid of their review, so they are really conscious about how and whom they get in business with.
The other lesson I learned is how hard is to find competent, engaged and independent people. At the beginning of the startup, you don’t have so much competitive capital to ensure competent and awesome people to work with you and have the best salary. So you need to have the ability to find the competent people that are willing to work for something bigger than just money. This is always not so easy because most people will work for salaries and safety.
-It is not a secret that winning customers is the main purpose of all business. So how do you win yours and what methods and channels do you use in your work to attract your customers?
From the start, we always focused on the consumer’s expectations.
Companies that have a great focus on their existing customers can use our platform to send invoices, have direct communication and marketing with their customers, so they can get a better overview over all of their service providers, experience, better service and get less feed and reminders. I think every company’s interest is to provide the best possible services to their existing customers.
-What employee skills are important and valuable to you?
Independents. The other skills are knowledge and creativity.
-What existing apps do you use and can recommend to young entrepreneurs?
Personally, I use Snapchat, LinkedIn, Gmail and some Norwegian apps like Ruter, Espira and Nrk. In business, I think, the younger generation has more useful recommendations to me than what I can give them.
-How do you see the future of your industry?
There will be challenges in the industry near future with psd2, but I think it will be exciting, I’m not sure how it will be in the industry exactly. Everybody just guessing, you know.
-What is still your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge is to get the right strategy. The market is foreign and there are big changes in fintech industry at the moment. We are not quite sure what we are heading to. So the biggest challenge is what you do not know. All the experts and advisors are coming with their own view of that will happen in the future. But they are guessing as well. Nobody knows the future.
In my opinion, it is important to do your thing and just believe in your business.
-What advice can you give to young people who are struggling with the idea of business and turning dreams into reality?
My advice is: If you can’t leave it and you are thinking about it, you should try to realize it.
Have some balls and take a chance. You just have one life.
14 years ago, when I was a student at University in Oslo, I had another school project with 3 other students. We created a profile platform “ Blinderndate” for University in Oslo where students could make a profile of themselves and then get in contact with other students from other faculties. You could chat with other students and invite them to a coffee and a date. It was difficult to reach the other student from other faculties back in days. After only 14 days we had hundreds of student on the platform and it became really successful. The dumbest we did was to shut it down when we finished the school project and we did get complaints from students about that. After that year Facebook came to Norway and replaced the need.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have the ambitions or the knowledge about entrepreneurship back in days….14 years later, we don’ t want to make the same mistakes.
Read more at www.minvoice.no