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Dexplora’s founder Hampus Jakobsson on GetSalesDone, the art of VC funding and challenges facing a startup

We caught up with Hampus Jakobsson, founder of Dexplora, a Swedish startup that focuses on CRM systems, to discuss about its new product, GetSalesDone, as well as why Scandinavian countries are so prolific when it comes to startups. Hampus is also well known for being the co-founder of The Astonishing Tribe (TAT), which was acquired back in 2010 by the company formerly known as RIM. He left the company back in August 2012.

Can you tell us more about your recent investment?

We are announcing funding of $1.2m from two VCs - Creandum and DN Capital - and 14 international angels as well as launching our GetSalesDone product to the public. Essentially, the app means that businesses can spend less time on reporting administration and start spending more time with their customers. We know that a large proportion of large organisations spend around a quarter of their time updating CRM, which isn’t the best use of their resource.

Saving time and money is one of the main challenges for businesses and GetSalesDone offers the opportunity to do both. If sales people have a seamless app to input their data into it speeds up the administration part of their job, allowing them to focus their efforts elsewhere. This, of course, will help the bottom line of the business as they focus on customer relationships. You can see more on the app within the GetSalesDone demo.

Why should SMEs care then?

Many companies face issues around trusting their data - and they are spending on average $150/month per user - and not being able to use the data means it is unviable and unable predict forecasts and create evaluations. On top of this the sales representatives know that the data is often this way and they therefore don't update the system as often as they should, rendering the CRM relatively useless. We are seeing that both SMSs and large companies have CRM fatigue, which needs to be solved and fast. We are launching our product to the public - a mobile client which is tailored for fast input and a server side component to find errors or things you should prioritised which are then pushed to the mobile device.

CRM systems is probably one of the least user friendly systems that are widespread. And prone to human error makes the data untrustworthy; GetSalesDone allows users to input the data in a quick and concise fashion to help minimise that error. One of the key usages of CRM data is for forecasting and evaluation purposes. The data will outline necessary sales planning, for example if you know what areas offer stronger results you can focus resource into those areas. Both forecasting and evaluating the CRM data will help the SME improve their overall sales process.

Don’t most of them already have CRM software?

It’s true. Many SME’s already have a CRM data software package. The issue with CRM software packages at the moment is to do with usability. At the very core of the issue they are not friendly. When you couple this with unfriendly CRM data the SME is faced with a mammoth issue which has ramifications for the overall sales process. GetSalesDone adds to the existing CRM so that the company doesn’t need to change any of their existing infrastructure.

What are the three main USPs of the service?

1. Management or teams can now set up KPIs on what needs to improve and can trust the data. The reason being is that they can set up rules that generate notifications. This will directly have a positive impact on the sales process and data input frequency, we see them as reminders.

2. The sales representatives can get their CRM on the go in a way they’d expect to as a user. We have kept consumer sites in mind, such as Facebook, when creating the app.

3. The sales reps can update and use the CRM so easily making it a companion instead of a nuisance. .

What makes it Salesforce-friendly & How is it different from the competition?

It is built for companies with and therefore integration is seamless - you log in with your ID. The benefit of this is that the customer does not need to change their package but instead increase usability through the GetSalesDone app. At the moment there are no CRM packages that sit on top of The alternative to GetSalesDone is using an existing CRM and being satisfied with not knowing what your sales people miss.

How can you back that claim?

We have been working with a number of test companies to trial the system before it launches. Right now more than 20 companies actively use GetSalesDone, and so far we have received really positive feedback. On top of this feedback we have also seen the app spread within organisations - people are recommending it to their colleagues. As usability is one of the key factors of success for us, we see this as a sign that the app is solving issues that SMEs are facing.

How techs savvy do you need to be to use it? Could my dad do it?

We like to think that your dad could, perhaps he could try it for us and offer feedback? After designing 100+ devices, including AndroidOS and the first devices that shipped Android, we know that good design has very little to do with the graphics and how things look, but more on what they can do and how easy they are to understand. We would prefer that the user understands the context - CRMs.

Creating original Android UI has really helped us to understand what works and what doesn’t work on the mobile platform. If a solution doesn’t work for a consumer it is definitely not going to work for the enterprise. We wanted to create a solution that ticked all of the boxes for the enterprise but could be used by a consumer. It makes sense to do that, there is no reason to block people using a service because of poor usability.

Scandinavia is offering a lot of startup technology at the moment, why is that?

Scandinavia is extremely exciting at the moment. We’re from Sweden and as most swedes see that the domestic market is too small to serve its own needs, this means that businesses are born globally. That’s quite unique in the global start-up market. Education and welfare is also having a huge impact on how start-ups survive, both look after the needs of a start-up and offer strong prospects for entrepreneurs. We see the UK and particularly London’s start-up scene as one of the hotbeds of talent at the moment. The area is certainly leading and is an interesting example of how investment is having a real impact on SMEs. London is a key focus for our investment and growth over the next couple of years.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.