Fredrik Skantze knew that one day he would start a company, and it would have to be technology-related. His passion for robotics led him to think about a toy company that utilized artificial intelligence (AI), but the market was not ready. After a few trials, he finally landed on Funnel, which was created to replace Spreadsheet and help in reporting and analysis. As the Stockholm-based startup gears up for an IPO, let’s learn about the CEO.
1. His Fascination with Robotics Led to Him Working at Mattel
According to his interview with EU-Startups, Skantze worked in the robotics field after graduating from MIT with his master’s degree. He felt compelled to utilize his knowledge in AI in the toy manufacturing industry; thus, he sought employment in Mattel, the world’s largest toy manufacturer. Unfortunately, he realized it was too early to apply AI in toys.
2. He Always Wanted to Start His Own Company
After attaining two master’s degrees from reputable institutions, Stanford University and MIT, Skantze had a growing need to become an entrepreneur. He scratched the itch by starting his first company that sold used cars on an e-Commerce platform. He now is recognized as the CEO and co-founder of Funnel; one Breakit journalist, Stefan Lundell, who believes he can spot a super-entrepreneur, is confident that Skantze is one. The journalist said that Funnel’s chances of becoming a new Swedish unicorn are high considering that it grew its annual revenues 5X from SEK 20 million to SEK 100 million.
3. He Looks Forward to Funnel Going Public
In 2019, Breakit published that Skantze was eager to put Funnel on the stock exchange but only when the time was right. Now that it has raised $66 million in its latest funding round, the company could take about six to eighteen months before it is finally on the stock exchange. The funding was termed a “pre-IPO” round meaning that the CEO is now ready and there will be no other fundraising filed until it goes public.
4. His Parents Were Against Him Leaving Employment to Start His Own Company
We have heard of parents who support their children as they prepare for their entrepreneurial journeys. Take the case of Phil Knight, Nike founder, who credits his parents for assisting him in starting the company. Other businesses have been founded by parent-child partnerships, including NuFACE, created by Carol Cole and daughters Kimberly and Tera. Unfortunately, not all parents understand when their children want to leave their jobs to become entrepreneurs. Skantze’s parents fall in that category, and they wondered why he would leave Silicon Valley to become a salesman. However, with time, they understood, especially after Skantze’s company raised over $25 million in venture capital.
5. Advice He Would Give to His Younger Self
Even after having the experience of establishing his first company, Skantze believes that the learning curve does not flatten. He wished he had been patient enough until he found the right people to work with, and developed a good culture for the company. He opines that without a great team and culture, a company barely has a chance to scale.
6. Why He Started Funnel
According to Tech.EU, Skantze, and Per Made co-founded Funnel because they were frustrated by how ineffective reporting got in the way of unlocking the potential of digital marketing. Upon further research, the two entrepreneurs realized that other people faced the same predicament. Hence by solving the problem, Funnel has been expanding every year. When Alston Zecha joined the company’s board of directors, he was proud to be associated with Funnel due to its culture, technology, and rapid growth. The CEO hopes to continue building a company that facilitates reporting and analysis through business-ready data.
7. Why He Studied at Stanford University
Skantze was bent on studying engineering, so he attended Brown University for his degree in engineering before furthering his education with a master’s degree in artificial intelligence and robotics from MIT. However, since he wanted to start a company, he knew that his chances of success would be minimal without knowing the fundamentals of running a business. Therefore he joined Stanford University to learn more about business. Besides, he knew that he could network with like-minded people and get exposure to Silicon Valley while at the institution.
8. His Biggest Lesson from the Failure of His First Business, Autoquake
The CEO spoke to Alejandro Cremades and disclosed that Autoquake was very successful, growing at 500% within a year. However, when the financial crisis struck, they were adversely affected by the recession. They had to let go of a large part of the business, but they could hardly sell it for the amount they expected after building it for years. Looking back, Skantze realized that he and his business partner had focused so much on growing at a fast rate instead of scaling gradually. He now knows that it is much better to improve the company and product.
9. Why He Focused on Funnel Instead of Qwaya
Skantze and his business partner approached Facebook, and they were given the green light to build an advertising tool; hence Qwaya was born. Unfortunately, while the CEO and his partner wanted to build social advertising tools, Facebook wanted them to build more features for them. Skantze knew that making the features would not turn Qwaya into a billion-dollar company as he hoped, so they had to go back to the drawing board and strategize. They found that Facebook had a loophole in reporting hence shifted the remaining funds from Qwaya to establishing Funnel.
10. The Ideal Way to Contact Him
In this era of social media, most entrepreneurs are active on different social media platforms. However, while some do not mind private messages in their accounts, Skantze prefers that anyone who contacts him uses his LinkedIn account.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee