From Malmö to Silicon Valley in less than two years - the story of GetAccept
From a small university city in the southern parts of Sweden, to the pulsing streets of San Francisco - here’s how four entrepreneurs from Lund turned their startup into a million dollar business in less than two years.
It all started with a problem that Samir Smajic and his three co-founders too often experienced in their jobs at the time - a great amount of their potential sales ended up in the so called “Valley of Death”, meaning you think you have a deal with a new customer, but when you follow up on the meeting you never hear back from them. Determined there had to be a way around the problem, they decided to join forces and make use of their various skills to develop a digital tool that utilises the process of signing, tracking and sharing documents and agreements through e-signatures.
They spent four months at Minc’s StartupLabs, working on their idea and using the network to discuss and develop their product, but the bigger goal was always to run the company from the US.
- Since we all had previous experience from building companies, we knew what we had to do, says Samir, CEO and co-founder. The first problem we encountered was actually when we started growing and had to start hiring people - which isn’t always easy. It’s a constant balance between how much you can afford to pay and what kind of experience you need, he continues. If we could do it all over again we would hire more senior people at an earlier stage.
After having built a foundation in Malmö they started looking across the pond and got accepted to Y Combinator, the famous accelerator program in Silicon Valley. The application is a two step process, starting with a movie and a written application, followed by an interview if you make it to the next step.
- We came up with the whole thing a bit late, so we only had a week for the application. Since we’re much better in person than we are in writing, we decided to put most of our effort into the movie. We also kept the writing as short as possible - we figured the jury were more likely to read it all if they could just scan through it quickly, Samir continues.
Once they were called for an interview they pencilled down some 150 (!) questions they thought they might be asked, which were then split between the four of them - making sure they wouldn't all start talking at the same time in the interview.
Samir’s three best tips for succeeding with your startup
Never run a startup alone - it’s a lot of work and you'll need the support
Run it with good people, that gives you energy during the day
Don’t think too much! Realise your ideas as soon as possible and use MVP’s to speed up the process
It seemed to have worked - in December 2015 they were accepted to Y Combinator, and GetAccept made the move to Silicon Valley. Today their headquarters are located in San Francisco, but they still keep a foot in Sweden - in Malmö, to be more precise.
- Our Swedish headquarters was located in Stockholm for a while, but when we continued to grow we decided to move back to southern Sweden. We found it easier to attract good people there. The startup scene has grown a lot in the region and there are many competent developers in Malmö.
Most recently they raised 13m SEK in VC, money they will use for hiring more people and further develop their product.
- It can be tempting to go for the quick runs, but we always try to think about the best deal for the future product. It’s important to be consistent!
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