We interviewed the founder of Milon and a true business financing expert. He explains how companies can best raise funding.
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Just funded: Quickchannel
A conversation with Viktor Underwood, CEO
In this series, we interview experts from recently funded companies about their experiences in marketing, sales, and customer success and find out how they use tools and data to grow their B2B business. This series of interviews gives you the chance to gain insight into how some of today’s successful and fast-growing B2B companies operate.
Sweden-based video software platform that allows organisations to create, record, manage and broadcast anything from events, seminars, meetings and internal/external presentations.
- HQ: Stockholm, Sweden
- Employees: 30
- Last funding amount: €470k
- Total funding amount: €1,42M
- Total funding rounds: 3
What does your company do and for whom?
Quickchannel develops a streaming and online video platform for video communication. We sell mostly B2B and our customer consists of two main groups: the public sector and enterprise sized businesses. Currently, we focus on the corporate client because that’s where we see our future growth. Therefore we emphasise interactive live streams such as webinars and on-demand videos that businesses use to reach out to their customer base but also to prospects to generate more leads. With this use case we’re selling more into the revenue-generating side of businesses, for example marketing managers and communication managers of our clients.
Broadcast live and on-demand with Quickchannel’s streaming platform
What is your role in the company?
I am the CEO of the company, which I have been for the last 6 years. I started working in this company as the third employee, when I was 18 or 19 years old. It was my first job as a sales rep and I worked at the company for about 2,5 years after which I left for about 7 years but then got the opportunity to return to the company in this role.
The role has changed quite a bit in recent years. A few years ago, we participated in a corporate accelerator programme, where we learned a lot about business operations, for example, how to draw up more detailed business plans and KPI targets. Then I also started to read and listen to a lot of podcasts about Software as a Service from Silicon Valley companies and started to understand that SaaS is a pretty capital-intensive business model to run. So if you want to grow fast, you really need to take on the cost of employing a lot of people now to be able to recoup the revenue in the future.
In 2020, I started approaching investors and we got the first investment from Blq Invests, an investor focused on B2B SaaS. When they invested in us in 2020, we had about 12 employees, but when the pandemic broke out, the demand for video tools increased dramatically and we experienced extreme growth in the product and its use. Today we have 30 employees and have established branches in Finland and the UK with employees on site. We have been able to build a complete organisation with marketing which generates leads centrally and sales teams in Sweden, Finland, and the UK.
The sales team is structured with SDRs working outbound, Account Executives managing the sales process, and a customer success team responsible for onboarding, upselling, and renewals. We also have a technical support and delivery team for assistance and training, and finally the product team that owns the product roadmap and works with the software development team. This is how we are structured today but we haven’t always been this specialised; that has been a transformational journey in the last two years.
How do you make use of data to be successful in your role?
Data is very important to me in my work. Since we got the investors on board, we have really grown as a company. We have a data-driven approach to everything really: everything from monthly surveys with employees on their health and engagement to NPS surveys with customers.
We work with OKRs (objectives and key results) as a way of doing governance. We have a strategy at the base that I spend a lot of time on, as well as the strategic bets for the year, those strategic bets are translated into objectives, and then each manager and team sets key results and initiatives on a quarterly basis. We then report weekly on these various KPIs and deliverables, which we also communicate company-wide on a monthly basis. That is the time we take to reflect on where we stand, what we missed and why, and what we can do differently. We have a learning mindset, which means we don’t use KPIs and data to be heavy-handed to the organisation, but rather to gain insights, learn what works and what doesn’t, so that we can improve. In this way, we can create our own best practices in our process and continue to improve what does not work.
Data is also very important to our investors; we report to them on a lot of data points. We fully incorporated this into our process last year when we did a massive IT transplant when we changed CRM, marketing automation tools, website, brand, and subscription management and billing. It was a huge project that went live in September. Now we run entirely on HubSpot for sales, marketing and CMS, and we use Younium for subscription management and billing. Since we started using this new tech stack in September, it has probably taken about a quarter to get into it properly, but now we have really good insight into the full funnel, our sales process is represented in the different stages, we can drive the process in the CRM through mandatory fields and mandatory data points.
We have come a long way from where we were and are now using many best practices, but perhaps we are not yet perfect in execution. That is where my focus is at the moment. For example, we have a sales process, but it is not always fully followed in practice, which means we might get data that is not fully reliable in terms of our pipeline and forecasts. One of my strategic bets for the company this year is to achieve predictability in our SaaS revenue organisation.
What is the main focus for you this year?
Exactly to get that predictability from lead to deal, and to understand the different conversion rates and the time between stages, and so on. Everything has to do with predictability: if we can predict what is going to happen, it means that we have become reliable and we can obtain more investments. If we are predictable, it means we know our business and understand where to inject money in order to get more money out of it. If it is not predictable, it is more like gambling than running a business.
When we set the budget this year, we didn’t just pick a random target. We looked at our historical data: closed deals, lead times, sales cycle time, and our lead sources, for example. This helped us understand how many demos we needed to book, both outbound and inbound, to meet our monthly and quarterly pipeline targets. In this way, we were able to build our budget based on data and have a structured approach to growing the business. My main focus this year is to prove that the model we have created works well and to improve it where necessary.
What is your favourite metric and how do you use it?
The most important metric we have is our ARR (annual recurring revenue). It’s not just the ARR per se, but we also use it to track corresponding metrics like ARR growth, expansion ARR, contraction ARR (churn), cost of acquisition, average deal size, and early leads like MQLs and SQLs that we can use to predict our revenue growth. Of course, we also track monthly active users, uptime, and roadmap execution on the product and technical side.
We report on many of these figures to our investors and they have a set of tools that they like to use and that help us look at trends and benchmarks. Different teams internally own different sets of metrics. For example, customer success owns churn and expansion metrics, while sales owns metrics around new business. Each quarter, we try to analyse and project our deliverables around these metrics. We have now started using a churn forecast, where every second month we forecast the next six months of churn. This is not just to give me data, but it allows the teams to identify risks and focus on the most effective actions they can take.
How do you capture data?
We now capture a lot of data in HubSpot. We have our website, marketing automation and CRM in HubSpot, all of whose data we can now bring together in one single view. One of our biggest sources of leads are webinars, whose data we capture through our own webinar platform. We also sync the data from our webinars to HubSpot’s CRM, where we can then carry out follow-ups and further marketing and sales activities. Compared to the past years, when we were working with five different tools, we now only have to use HubSpot and we have integrated everything into it, which is a huge step forward.
It was a huge project to get everything into HubSpot and have all the teams working in it. We didn’t underestimate it, but it was still painful and quite a learning experience. But it was a conscious decision, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy, so that’s why we did it over the summer. We started the project in May, when the website was built, we did the data migration, setting up the processes and templates. The work during the summer was quite heavy, but the roll-out from September until we were doing deals in HubSpot didn’t take more than 6-7 weeks. Still, it continues to be a learning process, we were still fine-tuning things up until February. Now it feels like home, it works great for us.
Finally, what advice would you give to a business owner who is looking to raise capital in the near future?
From a data perspective: know your data, know your numbers. It is good for both you and the company to start looking at and understanding your business from a data perspective. You will learn a lot from this very clear picture of where your business needs to improve or where you are doing great. Those insights come very early, I would say.
And when you raise capital, make sure your ARR growth is high and your churn is low. That’s always going to help you, but if one of those metrics isn’t right, you need to be able to prove that you understand the process and why that metric isn’t right. Then you can show what actions you can take to improve it and what the expected effects of those actions are. This also builds trust with investors if you are a smaller company. Not everything has to be perfect, but you have to know your business from a data point of view. Otherwise, it is difficult to attract capital.