Anamcara Founder Series — Jonatan (CEO), Robin (CPO) and Fredrik (CCO), Founding Team of Bits Technology
When I log into Zoom for our meeting I expect each founder to log in separately. Instead the video opens into a room and I find all three of them together. All dressed in natural matching tones. I suppose they are always together. As you will read below this turns out to be a quick observation that says everything about the culture this founding team intends to build at Bits. Its all about togetherness and showing up at your best.
- What according to you makes a great team?
J — I think a great team is a complimentary team, you need to complement each other, both on the professional and personal side — in terms of skillset and in working with people you like to spend time with.
I would say Bits is a unique example in the industry because we started from day 1 with everyone — 100% on-site in one office, all together in the same room. It is important to us that we like the vibe of the people that we are hiring, and want to spend as much as time as possible together. When the three of us started the company, we sat together in a really tiny room, like a closet, and we spent a lot of time together. I think that was a good test to see if we like each other as people to hang around and also tackle all the challenges we will have on the road of building a successful company in the long term.
R — I would also like to add to that the quality mindset. It’s hard to work together if you don’t share the same value of what quality is. And that has been very crucial in all the recruitment and dialogues we have had, that we need to be on the same level, and have the same vibe regarding what we think great quality is.
F — What does great look like, even though we bring different skill sets to the table.
R — We need to have a unified view of what great looks like.
- What is one principle that is absolutely non-negotiable?
J — I would say quality. In every decision that we take, we need to prioritise quality and make it as good as we possibly can in all the decisions that we take.. If we are not focused on quality then we are on a risky road.
F — … that can be tough sometimes, especially if we need to move fast. We all insist on high standards, but we need to choose and agree as a group where we over-invest for best possible quality and where “good enough” decisions are needed to move fast. It’s not an easy task in the day to day.
R — Exactly, to know what corners we can cut, that will not bite us in the end. Quality is really something that underpins the Bits DNA.
J — We have had a lot of discussions along the road, and every time we end up with the conclusion that we need to always prioritise quality and we can’t compromise on that. So when it comes to, for example, hiring — we said no to a couple of candidates, because we didn’t feel 100%. It’s a very expensive choice to go with something that we don’t think is 100% quality.
A — You mean A players?
J — No we don’t want the Real Madrid type of superstars and divas. Just the stars that have the right mindset and focus on the right things. So it could be a junior candidate, who is fresh out of school but has the right mindset and wants to deliver the same quality that we strive for.
R — …and have the same view as we do as a team on how to get to the quality.
- What is some advice you would give your younger self?
F — Personally, I would say, just get moving. This is super important. Action above everything. Stop caring what other people think great looks like. It’s super critical to get the ball moving. Stop over-analysing things and planning too much. It’’s important to get started with whatever you have in front of you. If it’s building a business, or in your own role or what you are doing.
R — I would also add that you should do what you think is core and close to your heart. You are going to hear 100 different things from 100 different people about what they think is good and great. It might be similar to your own ideas and visions, but it might not. I think, learn to filter that in a way that it doesn’t take too much bandwidth. So really, stand your ground.
J — I would also value the timing because we thought about starting a business like Bits for multiple years, but it was never the right timing up until when we actually took the step and decided that we needed to do this. Even though we had the thought of starting Bits years ago, I don’t think we would be at the place we are at, at the moment, if we had started then. Maybe the market was better that time. But it’s the timing in life that makes the decisions, the right ones.
- What do you want to be remembered for?
F — Personally, I want to be remembered as an individual who was creative and built stuff. It doesn’t matter what I built, but an individual who was very creative and wanted to build things.
J — When it comes to the business side, I want to build a company that people are proud to work at, and really appreciate that it is a great place to be. Seeing so many success stories from companies that are just terrible inside. I don’t want to be remembered as someone who just started something for the sake of it. Not build a douchebag company. It all goes back to the quality mindset. You want to build something great and something good with the highest quality and be remembered for that.
R — I want to be remembered, when it comes to the product side, that our solutions actually solves a lot of headaches for the companies out there which are working in the space. Ultimately, that is what I really want to achieve with Bits, to change the way you build financial services, and to be remembered as someone who sort of pioneered that.
- What life event has had the biggest influence on you to-date?
R — For me, I have 2 kids, so that is life changing..
F — It’s hard to choose one.
R — I picked two!
F — In a business context, the best one to date has been meeting Jonatan and Robin. It’s a text message that you could’ve said no to, but decided to say yes to it, and set up the meeting. And fast forward to our position today, we have a lot of opportunities and things to build in front of us. But I feel so thankful for saying yes, and it’s fascinating what life can throw at you if you decide to jump and just you know, agree to set up a meeting with someone you don’t know.
J — Taking the decision to go all in with this. It’s been a great decision. I am really happy that I finally took it. As I mentioned before, we have been thinking about doing something like this for multiple years, and now is the perfect timing for this, and let’s go all in. I am really happy with that decision.