I mean between Acubiz and myself. Obviously, this means that today, it’s 24 years ago I founded Acubiz and that I can celebrate silver jubilee with the company next year. And what a journey it has been so far up until today, where we stand as the leading fintech within the Expense Management category in the Nordics.
24 years ago, I threw myself into the life as an entrepreneur and started to develop IT solutions. IT solutions that were designed to optimize different types of administrative processes. Here’s a little bit of the story about how we got to where we are today.
Well, when a company has got 24 years of history it means that, in most cases, a long list of achieved milestones can be shown. That’s also applicable for Acubiz. I truly mean that we have achieved many good things with the company so far. Today, I’ll stick to mentioning a few of the most important ones.
As I said, in the first years of Acubiz’ history we developed many different types of customer specific solutions. At this point in time, Acubiz focused on developing software that lifted many types of administrative processes to new efficiency levels. In other words, we covered a lot of different process areas. One of the solutions that we developed was a solution for handling expenses. After some years, we made a strategic decision to focus on this particular process area and thereby perfect ourselves within the Expense Management category.
This was an important decision and meant that strategy, direction and investments could be built around creating a strong position and brand within this category. I’d say that we’ve done pretty well with that, which I’ll touch upon later. As such, the decision also stands as an important milestone in our history.
The story behind the first version of our solution to handle expense receipts is that it was ordered by Henrik Malling, who at that point in time worked at Ernst & Young. Today, Henrik is a part of the management team at Acubiz, where he holds the role as COO.
The business model
Following the financial crisis that rolled in 2008, we launched a new business model that has proven itself very important to us ever since. We introduced a subscription-based model where the customer can pay per user, per month or per transaction. It’s thus possible to settle based on users, on consumption/usage or on a combination of the two.
The model is flexible and easy to understand and the customers understood the idea and the flexibility behind the decision – and they still do. Especially the consumption/usage-based element is good, as it gives customers the opportunity to get started in an easy and cost-efficient way, on terms where the price they pay walks hand in hand with the value they get. It’s actually my opinion that we, with this approach, has been industry frontrunners as the current trend amongst Software as a Service (SaaS) vendors is to change for usage-based models.
The mobile first approach
Acubiz is a technology business and that’s why we’ve always been up to speed with the technological development. Both when it comes to hardware and software. As the first smartphones hit the market and as this technology developed, we were quick to spot the opportunities, from an Expense Management process as a whole and, not the least, from a user perspective. Therefore, we prioritized mobile-app development and the user experience. This was an important strategic choice and when smartphones started to be found in every pocket, we stood with a strong hand in the shape of our intuitive mobile-app, Acubiz One, which here in 2021 is downloaded more than 100 times per day on average through the two app stores (App Store and Google Play).
Rethink the processes
We’ve always had, and still has, a very high focus on our customers. It’s in the daily work with the customers, that many ideas for new development occur. One of the truly unique things with Acubiz is that we’ve always been very close to the process around managing expenses at the customer side. We’ve always forced ourselves to rethink the ways things are done. We’ve never liked the idea of taking a paper based manual process and then copy it 1:1 to a digital process. No, in all cases we’ve rather wanted to figure out how the process could be made smarter. As I like to say, it’s about envisioning a process as if it was born digital.
Proof of Concept!
Here on our 24th birthday we’ve passed 180.000 users across 45 countries and a turnover of 5,3 million euros a year. We now have quite a few skilled colleagues within our field – some of them even with valuation ideas in the billion-dollar class. One thing is for certain though: Acubiz has the markets’ most solid proof of concept for the complete service. We’ve had this confirmed over many years, when large danish businesses such as Danish Crown, Pandora and Bestseller has trusted us with their global Expense Management process. We’re also still having this confirmed, when large foreign businesses as Stena Rederi, Sennheiser and Oldendorff Carriers chooses a danish developed service in the shape of Acubiz to support their global Expense Management process. I’m proud every time we can put logos like these on the list.
We also use to say that Acubiz travels along with the CFO’s and the Finance Managers. We say that, because we often see that they carry Acubiz with them, when they change jobs and start in new businesses. It’s always a great pleasure to witness, and it definitely indicates a solid Proof of Concept.
We know that many of our competitors are quite interested in us. It’s obvious for us to see that our approach inspires several of our industry colleagues. When I look back at our various launches of features and functionality over the years, we’ve often had internal bets on when our colleagues from the industry are coming with similar features. I’ve always taken this with ease and think of it as yet another confirmation of our strong Proof of Concept.
24 years with the same company registration number
We’re celebrating the company’s 24th birthday in a somewhat special and uncertain world situation, as COVID-19 still has its grip. With entrepreneurship, the thing is that many people have good ideas and start businesses, which is great, but reality is also that a lot of the start-ups are not getting traction and are forced to close again. During the 24 years of operation, Acubiz has also had tough periods, but we’ve managed to withstand and progress. Earlier in the year, I blogged about how the corona has affected us and what arrangements we made when it rolled a year ago. These arrangements, in combination with some of the major strategic decisions we historically made, have created the solid foundation that Acubiz stands upon today.
At Acubiz, we’ve built the business and the growth with the resources that we’ve created ourselves. It’s what’s called the “old method” by some people, meaning building a business without money from the outside, so to say. We could probably have realized higher growth rates if we had taken in venture capital, but I’m actually very proud of the growth that we’ve realized over the years. The truth is, that our growth actually comes from a very good product that has – and now I’m repeating myself – a really strong Proof of Concept.
The bottom line is that we make money on what we do – and it’s not for everybody to have this position, and not necessarily some of those with the high valuations. With our financial standpoint, extensive knowhow and solid Proof of Concept to back us, we’re well equipped for the coming years.
Big congratulations with the day to Acubiz and to our dedicated employees, who, day in and day out, are working to remove paper-based processes.