The article from Berlingske Business, here in English
Customers in the shop. The virtual company WebProof is unstoppable. In just six months the company has increased the number of its customers six-fold and has earned a place on the Red Herring Top 100 list of the most promising tech companies in Europe.
In the past six months it’s been all systems go for the virtual company, WebProof. Since the company implemented a new business strategy in January 2015, the number of customers has increased six-fold and the company has been named as one of the 100 most promising tech companies in Europe by the international business magazine Red Herring.
WebProof, which has existed since 2000, operates a cloud-based platform that provides solutions for online collaboration, proofreading of documents and graphic design. Whereas previously the company pursued major players such as The Lego Group, Coop, Walt Disney and Aller, the solution is now also targeted at small and medium-sized companies.
It was WebProof’s owners, the father and son team of Jan and Jakob Adeltoft, who set the change of strategy in motion. A major large customer gives WebProof more than 2,000 users throughout the world and more than 30,000 projects each year. But, according to the CEO, Jan Adeltoft, there is great business to be had from small and medium-sized companies.
“Our bias has been towards big customers, but there are thousands of smaller companies. The greater the number of small customers we can acquire, the more future-proof we are. We have woken up to the fact that small companies may also become big one day,” says Jan Adeltoft.
Like winning an Oscar
The new strategy opens the doors for significantly smaller companies with 2 to 100 users. WebProof has also launched a special license, which enables freelancers, designers, project managers, and small agencies to try out the service on an unlimited basis with up to 8 users. This has turned out to be the decisive factor in the growing number of customers, which has been increasing ever since.
WebProof received even more attention, when the business magazine Red Herring named them as one of Europe’s 100 most promising tech companies. Jan Adeltoft believes that being placed on the list has helped to raise awareness and create more networks.
“It’s like winning an Oscar. If you win an Oscar, it raises your status and more people take notice of you,” he says.
Jan Adeltoft, CEO and co-founder of the virtual company, WebProof, which in just six months has increased the number of its customers six-fold. Photo: Sara Gangsted
The attention is coming particularly from the other side of the Atlantic. Jan Adeltoft soon became aware that 3 out of 4 new customers came from the USA. That is why he decided that, starting in July, his son, Jakob Adeltoft, would head a newly established office in Florida.
“We had previously received inquiries from companies such as Walmart, but when they discovered we were based in Europe, they backed out. Larger companies expect their support to be located in the same time zone. So, now that the number of American customers is growing, we need to be there,” says Jan Adeltoft.
Even though, on the whole, WebProof runs its entire business virtually, it is vital to meet the really big customers face to face. That is why it makes sense for the company to have a man based in the USA, since the influx of customers is coming from there.
“If we really want to enter the American market, we need to be there. We don’t have an aggressive sales organisation. It’s very much about the companies finding us. We don’t go out looking for them, but the moment they find us, we take care of them,” says Jan Adeltoft.
First Marketing Campaign
In fact, WebProof has never done much in the way of marketing. When Jan Adeltoft established the company in 2000, he game from the graphic industry and had good contacts in the field. WebProof has never had a sales organisation. Existing customers spread the word. That has accounted for the company’s steady growth.
“For the very first time this autumn we are launching a campaign, so I’m not afraid of aiming at an increase of 1,000% or several 1,000% in the number of customers before the end of the year,” says Jan Adeltoft.
WebProof consists of 20 employees, 15 of whom are programmers based in different parts of the world. Even though the company has a physical address and meeting premises on City Hall Square in Copenhagen and in Miami, nearly everything is conducted via the Internet. Online customer meetings, chats and emails are WebProof’s way of communicating, interrupted only by monthly meetings for Danish staff in Copenhagen.
Previously the company had an office in Roskilde. But because the programmers needed to concentrate without disturbance, the staff still communicated by email, even though they sat next to each other.
“We discovered that it worked better if they worked from home. I absolutely believe that this is what companies are going to be like in the future. But I do miss the old lunch break,” says Jan Adeltoft.
- * WebProof has existed since 2000. It is a cloud-based platform, where companies can work together on proofreading and graphic projects. It is an online collaboration tool. A company can purchase licences, and business partners and staff can place documents and designs online to make them accessible to several users.
- * The company has an address and meeting premises on City Hall Square in Copenhagen and in Miami. Otherwise it is a virtual business, in which just about all activity is conducted on the Internet via chat, video conferencing and email.
- * WebProof has 20 employees spread all over the world including India, the USA, Cyprus, England, Denmark, Portugal and Lithuania.
- * WebProof’s turnover is in the double-figure millions and last year it made a profit of DKK 500,000. The CEO, Jan Adeltoft expects the turnover to double in 2016.
The article was written by Kirstine Benedicta Lauritzen, Belingske