I’m not in the habit of spending time looking in the rearview mirror, but today marks a great day to make an exception.
Starting a business is not something you do everyday. It’s something most people don’t ever do. In the spring of 2018 however, it was the only thing that made sense.
A common pain
We found each other in pain. Not physical pain, but having felt the pain of so many others. The frustration of seeing pain that could so easily be relieved, but was instead ignored. I guess it’s something you might have to get used to when working as a consultant.
You’re hired to help solve a specific problem. In the first few projects you give it your everything. You won’t compromise on your professional pride. You might even donate some of your spare time to make it perfect. And then, as you’re finally getting somewhere, it’s over. On to the next client…
What you do get though is a unique perspective on many different organizations. With an entrepreneurial eye, looking for repeat patterns of pain, there is no better way to find potential business ideas.
That’s where I met Nikolai and Kjetil. Yes, we already knew each other well, but in having felt and seen the same pain, and over time being able to articulate what it was, we knew we had to do something. That something is now ShiftX. A whole new way to visualize how organizations work and operate.
A huge gap
What we had found was a huge gap. A chasm even. We had met so many leaders who struggled to understand the complexities of their own organization. A lot of work was done in an effort to communicate and align their team in forever changing landscapes. PowerPoints, documents and flow charts were created (and soon forgotten) while countless meetings were held around the whiteboard.
While this was going on there was this other, often unknown, group of people somewhere in the organization that supposedly had that overview. The complete map of the business. The enterprise architects, business process modelers and quality controllers. Working in complex tools with complex modeling languages that no one but them understood.
With this now obvious problem in mind we set out to change the way organizations are visualized, communicated and improved by building a tool for everyone.
Investing in storytelling
In the world of modeling business processes the standard notation is called BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation). Most tools use this standard. So why would you not conform to the standard? We believe there are many reasons, but one was enough to convince us to take another route. We wanted to build something that was easy to use and for everyone. We wanted to help close the gap, not widen it.
Say hello to the narrative. Could describing a business process or customer journey be as simple as telling a story? We believe so. And that’s what we’ve done in ShiftX.
After 2.5 years of hard work, and much trial and error we now find ourselves at the point many founders see as one of the most important milestones along the journey. The seed funding round.
We are so happy to have met Johan Gjesdahl, managing partner of Alliance Venture along the way. He has followed us in our efforts and have now taken the lead role in a 15.3 MNOK (1.7 MUSD) investment in ShiftX together with Skagerak Maturo, Evan Weaver and Ståle Løvbukten.
We are excited for the next segment of our journey and will keep working hard on our vision to help close the knowledge gap in organizations all around the world.
By the way, we’re hiring! Check us out!