We met Anders Laustsen (Founder & CEO) at Famly's modern offices on the main shopping street in Copenhagen. Anders and his co-Founder, Henrik Rasmussen, started Famly in 2013 and is now powering over 1,000 nurseries in Denmark, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Famly is an administration tool for nurseries and a social network for parents where they can get photos and other updates about their children.
Anders always knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur, but after graduating high school in 2004 he decided to take a corporate job with A.P. Moller - Maersk which subsequently lead him to a job in Mumbai, India. The international nature of Maersk’s graduate program appealed to him, but it didn’t take long before he was working on his own side projects.
His first startup was a social network for events and nightlife in Mumbai which he started in 2006 before Facebook came to India. The company got a decent amount of users, but never really took off so after 4 years they shut it down. “I probably should have given up earlier, but it was my first start-up and it was hard to let go,” he explained.
His experience with social networking inspired him to starting Famly with his co-Founder (and childhood friend) Henrik. The idea started as a social app to let families get updates about their nursery children and was the result of a brainstorming session where they evaluated over 10 ideas using three criteria: 1. The company was product-centric, 2. The product gave early value to users, and 3. Someone wanted to pay for it.
“We had read ‘The Lean Startup’ and we knew that we shouldn’t start building any product before we had validated the idea in the market,” he explained “so we visited a nursery to pitch the product and we agreed a price before we even started building.” When Henrik’s daughter started at a nursery they saw the potential in easing the administrative burden as well.
Famly now has over 30 employees in Copenhagen. I met with Ruby Veazey who decided not to go down the route of competitive graduate programs in London, to take an internship with Famly in Copenhagen. Ruby is from Manchester and studied Education at the University of York before and is now a full-time Customer Success Specialist at Famly.
Why did you choose to work at a startup?
Initially I didn’t consider working for at a startup. I was applying to graduate programs because that’s the normal thing to do in England. Generally, people want to move to London and work for a big company (the bigger the better) because it’s more secure and the money is guaranteed. I got through to the final stage of interviews at a very large company, but was very disappointed to then receive a generic, automated email congratulating me for getting through to the last round. It was at that point that I realised the thing I wanted to prioritise was working for a company that cares about its employees, and where you can become an asset early on.
Why did you choose Famly?
I wanted to move abroad and initially I was thinking Paris because I speak French and I wanted to be able to speak with the locals. It was through a job website that I found a job posting for a sales role at Famly. I loved the look of the logo and that it was an edtech company, but knew I wasn’t cut out for sales. I suppose I could have just closed that tab, but I took the plunge and emailed Anders to ask if they had any other openings. He responded a few days later that they didn’t have anything at that point, but by this point I had learned more about Famly and was set on joining them. I suggested an internship, as I was fresh out of university and had no prior experience... I flew to Denmark for an interview and then started in October as an intern. I recently signed a full time offer as a Customer Success Specialist.
Advice for people looking to work at a startup?
Often, looking for a job i requires you to be brave and sometimes you just have to go for it! Choose your priorities and understand that you may not get exactly what you were looking for straight away. Be open-minded and realise that the opportunity may also open your eyes to something completely new!.. It is not unusual that you have to compromise something when trying to get a job, whether that be the location, the salary, or the particular role. Choose what’s most important to you and aim high!
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