As you might remember from our blog previously, we have an internal development program called Blacksmith. The aim is to shape the talent we have at Vainu and benchmark the way we work with other companies.
We held our fourth Blacksmith meetup this month in sunny Barcelona. All in all, thirteen participants from our five Vainu offices took part in the four-day-long event. Everyone stayed together in one big Airbnb apartment, apparently the same one that Harrison Ford always stays in while in Barcelona. This was a tactical decision, as a lot of value was unlocked in those informal discussions we have over dinner and drinks.
A lot of value was unlocked in those informal discussions we have over dinner and drinks.
Daytime in the apartment, we had a couple of workshops and gained an improved holistic understanding of what’s important in Vainu’s operations in order to further develop and improve the company and reach our growth goals. The relaxed and informal atmosphere of the apartment favoured out-of-the-box thinking and creative discussions.
At Vainu, we believe one of the best ways to gain fresh ideas and understand both what we’re doing right and what we can improve in our daily business is to benchmark with other successful companies. We visited three SaaS companies and received a walkthrough of their structure, operations and sales.
First office visit was at the Typeform headquarter. Typeform is an online SaaS company that specializes in online form building. Its main software creates dynamic forms based on user needs. Typeform’s innovational organization culture and environment was truly something we will take as an example back to our home offices. The office reflected the company atmosphere – creative and open.
Typeform is using their shared values as both a tool to attract new talent and as a way to align the entire organisation to ensure that everyone is aiming for the same shared goals.
Our discussion with Tom Döhler, VP Engineering, started with operational key performance indicators and continued through corporate culture and recruitment process to organisational values. It was fascinating to see how Typeform is using their shared values as both a tool to attract new talent and also a way to align the entire organisation so that everyone is aiming for the same shared goals.
Second visit was at Kompyte, which provides a cloud-based solution that allows you to follow your competitors’ online strategies in real-time. We met with two out of the three founders, Pere Codina and Albert Colmenero. They gave us a warm welcome and it was very inspiring to hear their growth story and see their enthusiasm as they explained their business idea. One key takeaway from Kompyte was their brainstorming sessions, which are arranged with all the employees at the office. These sessions develop new business ideas and can easily be implemented at every SaaS company.
During the discussion, it became obvious that both Kompyte and Vainu believe in systematic and data-driven approach to sales and marketing. There are lots of KPIs being tracked and it seems that most of the best-in-class SaaS companies rally their entire teams around these important business metrics.
The third visit was to Barcelona Tech-City, located in the middle of the city, right near the dock and with a fantastic ocean view. Barcelona’s Tech-City is an association open to all tech companies based in Barcelona.
It seems to be a global phenomenon; success creates success, which is why there are more and more tech and startup hubs in all major cities. Barcelona Tech-City, Maria 01 in Helsinki, SUP46 in Stockholm and even the global WeWork network are all built on the concept of co-creation and colliding ideas with like-minded people.
It seems to be a global phenomenon; success creates success. There are more and more tech and startup hubs in all major cities.
The Blacksmith team had fruitful discussions around the status of SaaS, B2B-sales, data-driven prospecting and high-growth startups. To us, it’s clear that the SaaS space is a rapidly growing area of business. Offering a license-based subscription to an online, cloud-based software where the implementation is seamless and effective and doesn't demand time-consuming installations is a requirement needed to break through in this crowded space. To continue to grow and be a global SaaS player, we at Vainu have to have a clear idea of where we are, where we are going and what we need to do to reach our growth goals.
We that we need a strong team to succeed, along with strong high-performing members with a “Vainu DNA” at each office. These people aim to motivate their co-workers and lead by example at their local office.
At Vainu, we’re of the opinion that hard work pays off and we’re always looking for new employees and future Blacksmith members.
After the trip, all the Blacksmith participants were full of energy and inspiration. This program is a great initiative for employee development and knowledge sharing. Stay posted on where the next Blacksmith trip in November will take place. At Vainu, we’re of the opinion that hard work pays off and we’re currently looking for new employees and future Blacksmith members – are you our next one? Have a look at our open positions.
Written by: Roosa-Maria and Henrik Folkestad