Avy’s free app version supporting solidarity

When a crisis hits there’s no such thing as business as usual. Focus and priorities across society changes, and the market landscape becomes reliable on both individuals and companies will to do good. In these situations, it’s up to each and every company to quickly adapt to the new situation. As a response to the spread of the Coronavirus, some businesses have really proven how flexible and agile they are. And Epicenter member Avy, can definitely count themselves as one of these businesses.

Avy works towards the real estate industry. As Corona hit the Nordics, property owners were facing a new type of challenge. Self-isolation among many of the 2,2 million people living in apartment buildings today. On top of that, about 20% of Sweden’s population is above 65 years old, making them extra exposed and vulnerable to the virus.

Avy sees a more prominent need for digital tools for property owners

The real estate industry is not famous for being ahead in terms of digitalization. Handwritten notes from property owners in the stairwell is an example of that. In these times of crisis, we also see neighbours reaching out – offering to help with grocery shopping or even dog walking, also by notes in the elevator or stairwell.

If we summarize the situation, there are concerned property owners, people in risk groups isolated in their homes. And at the same there are neighbours that are willing to help out. All that seems to be missing is a more effective way than notes in the elevator to connect these groups.

Figured out where Avy comes in yet?

App scaling up solidarity among neighbours and property owners

After working day and night the past 2 weeks with tweaking their app to make the on-boarding process quicker and without the need of any integration, Avy have now introduced a free version of their digital tool for property owners and their tenants during the crisis. Mikaela Svefors, Co-founder of Avy says:

”In this adapted version of the app, free for all property owners during the crisis, we allow for matching neighbours who need help with other neighbours who are willing to help out. It also allows property owners to reach out with their communication a lot faster, without having to run around in the buildings putting up notes”.

The property owners are able to use the Avy app to have a good communication channel, but it’s also a tool for neighbors to be able to help each other. Offer a neighbour to walk the dog, or take turns to watch the kids currently home from school; all of that can be facilitated within the app.

A hands-on solution to a problem arising just over night, and also a tool to support solidarity in society. Well done Avy!

Property owners – here’s your chance

The brilliant team at Avy are now reaching out to property owners in Sweden, offering them this service free of charge. And Mikaela says it will be available as long as Corona has a solid grip on people’s everyday life. Lastly, for all property owners – this is great opportunity to show your ability to adapt to rapid change. And most importantly; showcase your will to do good.

There’s been several articles on Avy’s free app, we’ve gather some of them here:

Fastighetssverige Article 2
It Finans

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How to survive Corona as a startup

The outbreak of the Coronavirus has not exactly been good news for startup companies across the world. These are difficult times and the upcoming weeks and months will tell us more about which businesses will make it. Many startups find themselves in the midst of a defining moment and what they choose to do, or not do will have a huge impact on their future.

Within the Epicenter community, there are several serial entrepreneurs, change makers and thought leaders. They both have insights, knowledge and ideas if what businesses can do to survive the Coronavirus. In this blogpost, we get the perspective from an entrepreneur and a VC expert. For any startup reading this – we hope this can serve as a guideline to assist you in making the best possible decisions.

What can startups do to make it through this difficult time?

Mahesh Kumar CEO Result

Companies during such pressing times need strong & open leadership more than ever before. While I have some experience of being part of a startup when the 2009 financial crisis happened, the incident with Covid 19 is truly a black swan where the general population is in panic mode. After speaking to different founders that we work with, here are 3S principles that I recommend to founders of scaleups that are having it hard right now.

Survive: To survive, you need to understand your actual runway. It is safe to assume that new sales will dry up or take much more time than you think. Most governments have introduced some sort of welfare package for small companies to save taxes to be paid on employee costs to ease the burden. But don’t be too emotional to reduce your overhead costs.

Strengthen: This is a great time to revisit your whole business model architecture to understand how can you create building blocks to become stronger. For instance, one of the companies we work with are innovating on their sales by moving their whole stack to webinars & online marketing.

Scale: As quoted in the famous Indian scriptures “This too shall pass”. Maybe this situation would last for 12-18 months or maybe it gets better post-summer. Irrespective you will survive to find ways to scale your business. Maybe it won’t be exactly as you anticipated but hang in there.

We are planning on a founders hotline with partners & VCs that would be able to offer clarity, help, networks and anything they can to help. If you would be interested, you can send more info here.

What’s Telia Ventures advice to startups today?

Ebba Lilliehöök Investment Manager at Telia Ventures

In times like these startups should, like all accountable companies, take good care of their personnel; let people work from home and avoid unnecessary in-person meetings. The business is very likely to be affected by changes in the underlying market as we expect every startup’s customer in any business segment to be impacted. A startup’s ability to adjust and respond to those changes will be a necessity. At Telia Ventures, we will work with our portfolio companies to help them to go through these challenging times and leave stronger.

Key takeaways

In conclusion: First you need to understand your runway. Then take this time to revisit your whole business model. Most governments have introduced some sort of welfare package make sure to check these out. Also remember be patient and to take advantage of the flexibility of being a startup.

Stay connected and tune in for more articles on the subject in the Epicenter blog.

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Outsourcing and out-staffing tech roles to Ukraine

What lures an Ukranian IT specialist to Stockholm? Epicenter, naturally. Meet new member Daria Liashchuk, the digital innovator here to change how Stockholm does outsourcing.

Sweden’s software skill shortage isn’t new news. But seriously outsourcing tech leadership to Ukraine is. And that’s why Daria Liashchuk is here at Epicenter.

Representing 35 ambitious Ukrainian business, Daria’s vision is to connect Scandinavian demand and Ukrainian supply. “No one had spotted the gap” she explains. “But outsourcing and out-staffing tech roles to Ukraine makes perfect sense for Nordic organisations.” With her partners, Daria provides tech leadership on any tech-stack , as well as helps startups to push through the investment rounds.

Why outsource tech leadership to the Ukraine?

It’s simple, says Daria. Ukrainian developers, stacks and designers offer incredible value for money. If Stockholm rates for a mid-level developer are $60-80/hr, the same talent in the Ukraine could cost as little as $30-35/hr. Speed is also a key factor. Daria can resource and recruit bespoke tech teams around your business challenges in a matter of days. Lower costs, shorter lead times – and world-class quality.

“Start-ups have the strategy. They have the vision. But more often than not they don’t have the tech resources and tech leadership.”

Out-sourcing tech leadership – a perfect startup solution

For budget-limited start-ups, out-staffing affords both flexibility and control, helping avoid costly hiring mistakes. A common pitfall Daria has observed is a rush to hire extremely senior tech talent in the hope that they’ll solve all a company’s tech challenges. “People want tech superhumans,” explains Daria, “But of course they don’t exist.” Much more effective is out-sourcing your tech leadership, or making short-term hires instead.

Partnering for impact

The outsourcing case for start-ups is both logical and strong. But who else leans on Daria’s expertise to solve business challenges? Increasingly, she says, digital marketing and design agencies are seeking fast-turnaround solutions for which they don’t have the skills in-house. But with a huge range of stack, designer and developer talent available, the Ukraine can support creative agencies say yes to more clients.

Why Epicenter?

“Epicenter is unique,” she says, who moved to Stockholm almost two years ago to hunt out opportunities to better connect Sweden and the Ukraine. Having experimented with other co-working spaces, it was the day-to-day collaborations that convinced her to make Epicenter home. “You meet so many people and get all these new connections. When you hear what they’re up to it’s just natural to say ‘I can really help you with that’ – and the collaborations just roll from there.”

Curious about how to solve your next tech challenge? A chat with Daria is highly recommended. Reach out to her here and make it happen: daria.liashchuk@gmail.com

Read more Epicenter member stories here

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Pay Analytics reducing wage gaps

Margrét Vilborg Bjarnadóttir – Icelandic researcher living in the United States working hard at Pay Analytics to reduce wage gaps. What came to her as a research problem, is now an expanding business attacking the problem of unfair wages. And after this eye-opening talk with Margrét, it became clear that if you really want to fight pay gaps within your organization, you need to take a quantitative approach to it.

There is a lot of talk going on about fixing the wage gaps. Unfortunately, it still often stays on a discussion level. Strange? Maybe so, taking into account that it’s year 2020 and well-known that lifting people in an organization is an investment – not an actual cost. And guess where we usually find the root to the problem?

Regulations around wage gaps

Within the EU, laws and regulations around wage gaps differ between the countries; each country is taking a different approach. There are some countries that are not doing anything, while others are taking action. Margrét says that:

“Governmental Regulations that push employers to look at their employee and compensation data makes a huge difference and pushes change.”

And Iceland is really acting as role models when it comes to decreasing the pay gaps. Iceland was the first country to require each company to get an equal pay certification, which includes a requirement for salary analysis. Well done Iceland for addressing the issue, as well as giving us Margrét!

Analytical software to support salary decisions

The two brains behind Pay Analytics are professors Margrét herself and co-founder David Andersson, and they are both professors in the US. Margrét explains the software and says:

“A 4% pay gap between genders is typical if you have not been actively managing it, sometimes even higher. and that is the gap after we have accounted for all factors that should explain differences in wages, such as responsibilities and education. If the software measures a gap that cannot be explained by anything else than gender – we fix it, providing each organization with a detailed road map.

Today, Pay Analytics has over 30 subscribing organizations. And they are given something to actually take action on. Subscribers run salary analysis to 1) measure pay gaps and 2) to understand what adjustments the employers need to do to make things better, and 3) to see how much it’s going to cost the employer. She continues by saying:

”Basically, what we have done is building an HR analytical platform to support salary decisions. Both to close the gender pay gap, or any other demographic pay gap – but also to support decision making. We want to bring a good analytical tool to the HR department.”

Tech companies leading the way to decrease pay gaps

Looking across the Pay Analytics subscribers, the general trend is that tech companies have lower pay gaps compared to other industries. Margrét strongly believes that this has a connection to the competition for talent. She has noticed that where there is competition for talent, the pay gap tends to be smaller.

Very proud to have such an impactful member as Pay Analytics in the Epicenter Community! Make sure to reach out to Margrét (margret@payanalytics.is) if you want to learn more about their software. And of course if you want to reduce eventual wage gaps!

Attend lunch masterclass with Pay Analytics for International Womens Day!

To highlight International Womens Day March 8th, you’re invited to a lunch Masterclass with Margrét. Come and listen to Margrét talking about how her software is used to help drive pay equity! Make sure to sign up to the masterclass!

Attend masterclass with Pay Analytics.

Check out the Pay Analytics website here. 

Read more Epicenter Members stories here.

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Increase sales with easy to use Instant ROI Platform

With headquarter in Krakow Poland, and more than 100 employees spread over 20 countries – the eCommerce System edrone, has expaned to Stockholm. And we are super happy to include them in the Epicenter Community!

Highlighting the simplicity of using edrone’s Marketing Cloud, Justyna Mosek, Country Manager edrone Sweden, believes edrone has great potential in the Swedish market. Justyna tells us that:

“edrone is super easy to use and is dedicated to eCommerce stores. And looking at other equivalent Marketing Cloud Solutions, edrone is also a more flexible option”.

She means that for any size eCommerce store, edrone’s Marketing Cloud could be a great resource to help understand customer behavior, as well as increase customer engagement. In other words, it helps increase sales.

Sounds like a product that could be useful to you? Make sure to continue reading this post because Justyna has an offer to eStores interested in trying out their Marketing Cloud.

360 Marketing Cloud for eCommerce

Justyna explains that the edrone Marketing Cloud is built on two Sections. First of all, there’s the learning section, which is all about getting customer insights. Advanced behavior statistics, to a detailed view for each and every client is offered within the system.

Secondly, the engagement pillar, allows you to use gathered knowledge directly to communicate with your customers. You are able to set up the communication manually. Or use the already set up templates.

With customers such as Lancerto and Tous in the portfolio. Justyna and the rest of the team are now ready to take on Swedish eStores. Justyna says:

“Businesses that have used edrone, were able to increase their sales between 5% and 20% on average”.

Want to try edrone?

For a limited time, Justyna now offers a free 2-month test of edrone’s Marketing Cloud to the first two eStores that sign up. The only requirement is that your platform is based on a technology integrated with edrone. This could for example be Magento, PrestaShop or WooCommerce. Check out edrones website for some more details. Sounds interesting? Please email Justyna Mosek at j.mosek@getedrone.com. She guarantees instant satisfaction and increase in sales!

And lastly, we also want to wish Justyna a warm welcome to the Epicenter Community. It will be exciting to follow your growth in the Swedish market. Stay tuned for more Epicenter member stories!

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Axis Communications believes in business cooperations

When hearing Axis Communications, the first association may be surveillance cameras. Fair enough, that is their core business. But there is a lot more to Axis with innovation and partnership in the core of the organization. And we welcome Axis as a great contribution to the Epicenter Community!

Carl Staël von Holstein, Business Development Manager for the Retail sector in Northern Europe at Axis Communications, says that:

“The Epicenter ecosystem is one of the main reasons for us being here. In this ecosystem, you find people with great ideas and I want to meet these people,”

There is no doubt that Axis have come to the right place. With the variety of companies and talent in this innovation hub, the opportunities to find business synergies are endless. He continues saying:

”Axis are really good at innovation. Our ARTPEC chips were a small revolution for us and for the industry, but no man is an island, we believe in partnership and we are at places like Epicenter to Interact with people and corporations that can develop software and applications to complement our technology and products.”

With a job that requires a lot of travelling, Carl and Axis Communications has a Knowledge Membership at Epicenter Stockholm, go say hello to him if you pop into him in one of the co-working areas! Or why not reach out if you want to brain storm business cooperation?

Knowledge membership perfect for Axis

And lastly, if you want to find out more about the Knowledge Membership, go to this link to get some more details. Epicenter has several memberships suited to all kinds of companies in all sizes and stages. Check out all memberships here.

Also make sure to pop Axis website a visit to learn more about their work on innovation! Super interesting company working to create a smarter and safer world.

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Orkla Ventures looking for new investments at Epicenter

How do you become sustainable in the consumer goods industry? There may be some challenges in connection to this. But at Orkla however, the journey has already begun. Say hello to Charlotta and Viktor, two new amazing Epicenter members!

With over 300 brands in their portfolio, Epicenter member Orkla is aiming to be industry leaders in sustainability by 2025. Orkla Ventures – consisting of Charlotta and Viktor has an important role here. These two have the task to find, evaluate and invest in startup businesses with the potential to help Orkla move in the right direction. Way to go! Charlotta Gylche, Manager Orkla Ventures, says:

“We’re looking for our next investments in companies that either challenge or develops Orkla and where Orkla can add strategic value beyond capital”

And what better place to look for investments and collaborations than Epicenter? Financial support from Orkla Ventures, could make a huge difference for an early stage startup. Are you also a member of Epicenter? Well, Charlotta and Viktor both sits around Epicenter several times a week. And are open to new business encounters. Viktor Söderberg, Head of Orkla Ventures, says that:

“We would love to connect with other Epicenter members for potential investments or to find synergies”

Orkla Ventures truly are an amazing contribution to the Epicenter Community. And since they are fairly new to the community, we also want to wish them a warm welcome to Epicenter!

Want to find out more about Orkla Ventures and their work? Make sure to check out their website here. You will find more detailed information on what they are looking for and also contact details. Go find out if you’re who they are looking for!

Work alongside Orkla and other Epicenter members

Lastly, if you’re looking for an innovative working environment – Epicenter is definitely for you! Even if you are working at a larger company like Orkla, or if you are an early stage start up – you’ll find a membership suitable to your needs. Check out all Epicenter’s memberships here.

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