The Road Through the Software Maze- swipx and Digital Denmark

Svend Erik Kundby-Nielsen is realizing his life's dream of starting his own business. Based on an innovative idea he wants to make it easier, faster and more qualified for small and medium enterprises to find the optimal software solution. He hopes this will encourage the digitization of businesses.

Digital Denmark and democratizing the access to software solutions worldwide were the two main topics discussed in the latest interview published by Dansk Erhverv,  the newspaper of The Confederation of Danish Enterprise.

Interview about Digital Denmark in Dansk Erhverv

According to the Danish Dictionary, a maze is a pattern or grouping of individual parts which are difficult or impossible to navigate. This is exactly how many SMEs feel when they start to digitize their business processes.

According to the Danish Dictionary, a maze is a pattern or grouping of individual parts which are difficult or impossible to navigate. This is exactly how many SMEs feel when they start to digitize their business processes.

Therefore it is no coincidence that a labyrinth is part of the logo in the tech start-up company swipx, which stands for Software International Platform Exchange.

The company’s idea is a digital platform where SMEs can find the software solutions and suppliers they need. Briefly put, IT suppliers upload their solutions onto the platform and the potential customers define their criteria and specifications for a solution. Then, the system offers suggestions for possible solutions.

No commissions

The platform is basically free for both buyers and vendors. There is no commission in the swipx business model. However, suppliers can buy an additional Expansion package, if interested. The package offers the option to upload links to videos, marketing material, monitoring traffic and more.

“It is an essential part of the business model, we will continually develop,” says swipx’s founder, Svend Erik Kundby-Nielsen.

No prices

Are there any restrictions?

You can’t make a search based on price. Suppliers and customers can, of course, discuss prices all they want but it is not a parameter on the platform. The aim is that the customer finds the optimal software solution. In the process, the price does not play a role, because what is cheap and what is expensive? Suppliers can not buy into a higher ranking. Customers should not feel like they are about to get stuffed something down the throat. There must be a high degree of independence and honesty present on the platform. We had originally decided that customers shouldn’t be able to search the suppliers’ names because we would like the focus to be on the solution. But it has been a widespread desire among potential customers that we would like to fulfill. ”

We are moving fast

It has only been one and a half years since swipx went live in Denmark. Finland was launched in September 2016, and right now, the platform also has a small team in Germany.

Later this year comes Sweden, then Norway, the other German-speaking areas of Europe and the UK. “The scaling continues and we move at a very high speed. However, it is important to find the right people from the start in each country.”

Where did you get the idea from?

“For many years I worked for IBM in different positions. Among other things, I was responsible for identifying which countries, mainly in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, were suitable to be home to a new IBM subsidiary. It took place very systematically with data models with detailed information about each country, for example, technology, education, competition, purchasing power etc. swipx is, of course, different but in principle, our platform expansion works in the same way, but with software requirements rather than country specifications. Using our algorithms we make it easier for our users to compare software solutions. swipx thus becomes the search engine for software. ”

No black figures yet

Svend Erik Kundby-Nielsen also uses proprietary algorithms to find new markets. When Finland became the first foreign market for swipx, it was simply because it was the country that stood out in relation to satisfying the criteria for a new market.

The company has good reasons to not have a positive bottom line yet because swipx has only been up and running for a short time. So far there are more than 5,000 different software solutions on swipx. Svend Erik Kundby-Nielsen expects to gather approximately 8,000 solutions by the end of 2017.

The software solutions are divided into 12 different business areas, for example, Customer Management & Services,  Finance & Accounting and Sales & e-Commerce, with a total of more than 200 underlying processes.

Investment, business, and vision & Digital Denmark

For Svend Erik Kundby-Nielsen, swipx is obviously both an investment and a business. It is a way to contribute to the creation of Digital Denmark.

“It is also a vision to reduce the high degree of alienation of IT and drive innovation and digitalization forward by democratizing it. Software can be difficult to understand for leaders and employees in many small and medium size enterprises. They can not figure out what they need and cannot find the right solution. Being a software salesman is as unpopular as being a used car salesman or mobile phone seller. Therefore, I would like to make it easy, fast and free to find the right solution.”

Have you taken your medicine?

“Yes, we even found our software solutions in the same way including our accounting and CRM systems.”

Expertise from Momondo

swipx has no significant competitors in Europe and only one in the United States. But Svend Erik Kundby-Nielsen believes his company is the market leader. So far there are four permanent employees plus three students assigned as part of their studies at Copenhagen Business School. They come from Portugal, Slovakia, and Romania.

The latest employee that joined the team illustrates very much the type of business swipx is. It is an employee with experience from the search platform Momondo, which in principle works with travel products in the same way swipx works with software solutions.

Good and demanding sparring partners

swipx is a private limited company, where Svend Erik Kundby-Nielsen owns the majority. In addition, three external investors put money in, and two of them also constitute the Board together with the founder. One of the committee members is Jørgen Bardenfleth who has had a long career in the forefront of global IT companies, including the United States. Another is Kim Østrup, an IT expert with management positions at IBM. They are some of the managers of the IT industry that created the foundation of Digital Denmark. The third investor is Lars Eskesen, who has a background as CEO in eg Sparekassen SDS and Unibank.

“It is a great strength for the company to have such solid skills available to be consulted in regards to capital issues, IT development and operations. They are very good but also demanding sparring partners, “says Svend Erik Kundby-Nielsen. In addition to these private investors, the public InnoBooster – Innovation Fund granted a total of 500,000 kr. for development.

swipx & Digital Denmark

  • IT company founded by Svend Erik Kundby-Nielsen, aged 52, in 2015.
  • It is a digital platform that matches preferably SMEs that need software with potential suppliers solutions.
  • The company has so far been represented in Denmark, Finland and Germany. There are plans for further scaling in Europe.
  • CEO Svend Erik Kundby-Nielsen was in his early years tennis player at an elite level and later became Master of Economics from the University of Copenhagen.
  • His long-standing career has taken him around in both banking and IT world, nationally and internationally. First, in the now-defunct Lannung Bank and then the Association Office & Data, the current IT industry. Since then, Svend Erik Kundby-Nielsen has held a number of positions within Dresdner Bank and IBM. Among others in Frankfurt, New York, Sydney, and Zurich.
  • In 2014, him and his family returned to Denmark and decided to realize their life dream of starting their own business and contribute to the development of Digital Denmark.

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