On Tuesday 11th June, The BTN, in collaboration with Planday, hosted an event in Copenhagen for 80 technologists all around start-up to scale-up.
The session was led by Christian Brøndum (CEO at Planday), John Coldicutt (CMO at Planday) and Chris Micklethwaite (CTO at Planday), all of whom were giving their insights as to some of the challenges, hurdles and successes of moving Planday from a start-up to where they are today.
As the CEO of Planday, Christian talked through the organisation's journey from a 4 person company, that was founded in a bar, to a company that is now around 200 people, which has raised one of the highest 'Series C' investments ever (more than Spotify). This part of the evening looked at the challenges of maintaining a culture through times of rapid growth and how to overcome the hurdles that investment pressure can present for a growing organisation, whilst still maintaining their identity. As a start-up the importance of starting with a big vision that you can maintain as you grow is integral to keeping your identity, for example, if you want to be global, start with that in your vision, don't start small and then try to grow and change from that, you need the vision to come all the way through the growth process with you. From this, the conversation progressed to how to adapt the hiring and internal processes of a growing start-up to attract and retain employees, particularly millennials.
The conversation then was passed to Chris who discussed the organisation design strategy of a technology team and how this changes within a growing organisation, emphasising the importance of assessing and understanding your business, it's needs and challenges and to build a team to reflect this. There is no 'one size fits all' approach to building a dev. team. Following this, the significance of recognising where change is needed and being agile in the approach to change was considered, highlighting how the assessment of legacy systems to understand which should be maintained and which should be rebuilt is integral to scaling your technology strategy.
John followed on from this, discussing how to take your product to market and then scale it internationally, focusing on how to decide which markets your organisation should penetrate and how building brand engagement and awareness can affect the success of this.
Focus on building your own tailored approach to growth. A 'one-size fits all' doesn't work, what works for another organisation, may not work for yours.
Ensure that your goal is scalable. It's better to have a large goal, than one that you will overachieve then struggle to grow from. EG. If you want to be global 10 years down the line, then start with global as your aim, don't restrict your potential at the beginning.
Understand what your organisation needs to grow. Understanding your organisations need is integral to growth and maintaining your identity as a startup in a saturated market.
In short, the open and engaging conversation covered Planday's growth, whilst looking at how to grow and scale a tech business, using examples of how Planday have built their tech team and the importance of adapting to your organisation's situation, not attempting to use a 'one size fits all' approach and staying true to your company's culture.